Manjul Pande Parvez
Our sojourn in Canada again got extended and by now we were really feeling very homesick and missing our beloved hometown Lucknow in UP, India. My daughter worked out the next best thing - she took us to the namesake town here in Canada - Lucknow, Ontario - a distance of about 250 km. The drive was picturesque once we reached the countryside . Wide open spaces running miles into the horizon with clear blue sky as a backdrop. Suddenly we came upon this sign on the roadside that announced that we were heading into Lucknow. Half a kilometre further and we were there! Can you imagine the surge of emotion we felt when we looked at the signage in Lucknow!
We learnt that this Lucknow boasts a strong Scottish heritage that reaches back to the late 1800s. Three-quarters of the early settlers in this Lucknow area were Scottish. They chose the name Lucknow after our very own Lucknow -that name in India where the Indian Rebellion of 1857 took place between Indian freedom fighters and the East India Company army. Scottish soldiers helped to protect the city and quell the uprising. As a result, Lucknow, India became a part of Scottish history that was recognized when the community was named in 1958. Lucknow is known as the “Sepoy Town” too which refers to the Indian Foot soldiers who fought on the British side in the Relief of Lucknow. Lucknow's main street is thought to have been named for Sir Colin Campbell who led a force in the Indian uprising. Other streets, Havelock, Outram, Willoughby and Canning, are named after British generals of the same era. We in Lucknow India have or had the same names for the streets (Ashok Marg was earlier Outrum Road, Lucknow University was Canning College and we still have Campbell Road and Havelock Road (just to mention a few). Although British names all these sounded so familiar and were like music to our home deprived ears!
We had landed on the Main Street where we found a number of sign boards indicating what and where happenings were in Lucknow. We were very happy getting ourselves clicked at these signages. One kind soul, a woman wheeling a physically challenged person, very warmly offered to click our picture together. We told her that we were from the original town itself - she was totally amazed and asked us a couple of questions like, whether Lucknow India was a big place and what language was spoken there etc! She couldn’t talk for much longer since her duty beckoned. Unfortunately, it was middle of the afternoon on a working day and the streets were absolutely deserted of people - only a few motor vehicles were on the road. So, we roamed up and down the Main Street and a few side streets too catching a glimpse here and a look there of life in a foreign Lucknow!
On Campbell and Havelock Road, we came across a magnificent old church - the United Church of Lucknow. The Church, we learnt, occupied a distinctive and honoured place in the town. Its location on top of a hill on one of the busiest corners in the community made it an impressive sight as one enters the town from almost any direction. By now it was way past noon and we were ravenously hungry so we drove to Mary’s Family Restaurant (had heard good things about the place and also it was on the Main Street so convenient too) at one end of the road and had very nice service and food with good portion size. Me being a total vegetarian had to content myself with fries and bread with cheese and olive oil. It was quite good !
Since there wasn’t much else to see there so we decided to move on. We took a road out of Lucknow called the Lucknow Line. A straight and long road. The setting around was fairly rural but the houses were big and really neat and it was clear that the residents took pride in their houses. On the way we crossed a river which we later learnt was a tributary of the Nine Mile river which is a small to medium sized river that flows into Lake Huron. The river begins in the Lucknow, Ontario area, where it is also called the Lucknow River.
About Lucknow It is said that tomatoes taste better here, children smile wider and dandelions have an upside. Cheese goes with beer and bread dough is made fresh every morning. Sunrises are as inspiring as sunsets are conclusive. Even breathing is more rewarding. Lucknow is the quintessential Canadian rural town. Whether you're here for a visit or simply passing through, it's worth the stop.