Maplelea and the Mendelson Family

August 27, 2018 10 min read 16 Comments

Scroll down to see the most recent adventures!

Meet the Mendelson family, the winners of our first ever Maplelea Family Model Search. 

Alice, Simon, Emet, Kol, Naomi and Baila Mendelson recently travelled from their hometown of Hamilton, to Newmarket, to do the photo shoot for our new, upcoming Canadian Moose Pyjamas.  They are a delightful family, full of energy and laughter. We had a blast at the photo shoot, especially when we added a dog to the group to model the matching Bandana for Dogs.  We can’t wait to show you the photos in our upcoming catalogue, due out in September.

During the photo shoot, the family happened to mention that they were going on a road trip this summer to Eastern Canada and were taking Maplelea along with them.  They wondered if we would be interested in some photos.  Of course we are!  Starting today, we will be following the Mendelson family, along with Jenna and Léonie, on their journey as they explore the sights from Ontario to the East Coast.


The first leg of the trip saw them travelling from their hometown of Hamilton, ON to the big city of Toronto.

Jenna loved her visit to the CN Tower where they had a fantastic view of the whole city. Léonie, Naomi, Jenna and Baila also did some sightseeing near the CN Tower. They were all amazed at the funky building on stilts that houses the OCAD, Canada’s biggest and oldest art and design university. Then they enjoyed watching Toronto’s iconic red streetcars.


Léonie was fascinated with the herons in Grenadier Pond in High Park, Toronto Ontario, and then a stroll along the waterfront finished off their time in Toronto.  You can see the CN Tower in the distance too! 


Outside of Toronto, the Mendelson kids stop for a picnic lunch at a lavender farm.

 Léonie enjoyed smelling the lavender flowers while Naomi watched out for bees! Jenna and Léonie thought the fragrance was wonderful.



In Kingston, Léonie, Jenna and the Mendelson family visited the Royal Military College of Canada.  

The Royal Military College of Canada is where members of the Canadian Armed Forces are trained as commissioned officers. Léonie and Jenna pick flowers along the Saint Lawrence River with the red roofed Murney Towner in the background.  The Murney Tower was built in 1846 as part of the defensive fortifications of Kingston. 

With flowers in her hair, Léonie waits patiently for her Thousand Island cruise boat to arrive on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River.

The Mendelson family timed their trip perfectly to be on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Canada Day!


Everybody is waving flags for Canada Day!  At the Canadian Museum of History in Hull, QC, the family rambled through thousands of years of Canada's past and were particularly fascinated by the Great Hall with its magnificent Indigenous artifacts.


Next stop: Montréal, Québec!

Jenna and Léonie enjoy a long Boardwalk at the old port in Montreal, Québec.  The Jacques Cartier Bridge, spanning the St. Lawrence River, can be seen in the background.

Léonie is getting ready to climb the steps of Saint Josephs’s Oratory,  Canada's largest church. Léonie says it is supposed to have one of the largest domes in the world.
Jenna is telling Léonie all about the Montréal Clock Tower.  It was built between 1919 and 1922 from a design by a Montréal-based engineer, based on the Big Ben in London.  It is legendary for its accuracy –sailors would set their own time pieces by it.   The clocktower was important as the port’s time keeper in a era when wrist watches were not yet common.  If, on the rare occasion the clock stopped working, port employees would not know the time and reported late for work!

Jenna and Léonie are looking forward to the next stop on their road trip.  Léonie is thrilled to be heading for her home town—Québec City! 

Léonie loved showing Jenna and the Mendelson Family around her hometown of Québec City!


Jenna and Léonie stand below the Château Frontenac, Québec City’s most recognized building. The Mendelson girls were surprised to learn that, in spite of its name, Château Frontenac was never a real château (palace)!


Léonie loved taking Jenna on a tour of the old city in her home town of Québec City! They were so excited - they couldn’t figure out what to see first! Kol, Jenna and Léonie enjoyed a street festival in the Old Quarter.

 Above, Léonie shows Baila and Jenna one of her favourite quiet spots in Québec City, the Old Port, which hasn’t changed too much in 100 years! Then, Léonie and Jenna took a walk on the Plains of Abraham in Québec, an historic battlefield and now a fantastic urban park and playground.


The whole family, with Jenna and Léonie, in the Old Quarter of Québec City, a UNESCO heritage site! Thank goodness there was a stroller for poor Baila--she broke her leg on the first day of the trip!
Léonie couldn’t wait to show the Mendelson family the Changing of the Guard ceremony at La Citadelle in Québec City! 

La Citadelle is the oldest military building in Canada and forms part of the walls or fortifications that surround the old part of Québec City. The girls anxiously waited for the rest of guards from the 22nd Battalion to arrive.  They also tried to get this guard to say hello, but he was busy with his guard duties! After waiting very patiently, they saw the guards put on their raincoats and sadly learned that the Changing of the Guard Ceremony would be postponed. 

For their time in New Brunswick, the Mendelson family chose a remote log cabin near Miramichi.  To access it they had to take a 20 minute ride in an all-terrain vehicle, which sometimes had to travel through water!



During a hike along the Miramichi river, Baila discovered a moose antler! She was surprised to learn that this antler belonged to a very large moose - a local hiker told her that an older moose (male) has more points and heavier antlers than a young buck. 


The Mendelsons had so much fun looking for the famous the Ruby-throated Hummingbird which is only found in the east coast. Kol spent hours waiting with his camera and finally caught this unique hummingbird in flight! Here, Baila, Jenna and Léonie show a hummingbird wind chime they found in Moncton.
The Mendelsons were able to explore spectacular Sackville, New Brunswick.  Here, close to Mount Allison university, Jenna takes a ride on Kol’s shoulder for a hike around campus.

Jenna was anxious to run along the trail at the Sackville Waterfowl Park. They met so many joggers and walkers along the route who toldthe family where the best spots to find baby ducklings were.  Sure enough, they found a duck family and they were sure to stay far enough away from these gorgeous baby ducklings so that they felt safe.

On this day, the family forgot to bring their backpacks for Jenna and Léonie, who (like Naomi) soon became tired. Luckily, Dad had the perfect spot for them to perch and watch for spectacular birds! 

Baila and Léonie were amazed at the elevated walkway along the marsh - they were able to see all of the marsh’s wildlife come “to life” right below their feet! They needed to rest along this covered bridge while Jenna continued to look for for fuzzy, zebra-striped young grebes which we could hear begging noisily to be fed.  The visitors centre told us that grebes can be seen hitching a ride on their parents’ back just like Naomi! When the day turned to dusk, we could see dozens of Tree Swallows, Bank Swallows and even a few Barn Swallows. The sounds of the frogs and birds made quite a symphony for us! Naomi was shocked at how loud a sound they made. 

Bouctouche, New Brunswick

They spent the day in Bouctouche, New Brunswick.  Bouctouche was founded by a few Acadian families in the 1700s and retains its French language and culture today so Léonie felt right at home!

Bouctouche is in Micmac territory and was originally named Tjipogtotjg (pronounced Chebooktoosk), a Mi'kmaq word meaning "Great Little Harbour".  It is an amazing town that is proud of its heritage. Many people spoke with the family in French in Bouctouche—most were worried about Baila’s broken leg and offered lots of suggestions for short, flat walks in the area.  This boardwalk along the dunes was a perfect short walk and picnic spot!

This dune at Bouctouche Bay is 2,000-years old and is always changing. Emet and Kol were surprised at how much the dune has changed in the last 20 years.  There are pictures in the visitors centre that show how even a storm changes the look of the dunes overnight!

Bouctouche Bay has 12 kilometres of fine sand where locals and visitors love to spend the day and watch wildlife.  Whilethey were there, another family caught a live lobster by scooping it up with the bucket they were using to make sandcastles.  The wildlife in Bouctouche Bay is protected, so the lobster (and all other plant and wildlife) stayed safe and sound. The walkway in Bouctouche overlooks everyone on the shore.  While the Mendelsons were there, they saw a live lobster! Because the dunes are a special habitat for a wide variety of aquatic plants and animals, they were sure to respect the ecological site and left this friendly lobster in his home.


Jenna, Léonie and the Mendelsons said good-bye to New Brunwick and hello to Nova Scotia!

Jenna was so excited to be on home territory in Nova Scotia! As soon as they crossed the border from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia, Jenna was off to find a lighthouse to explore.

Naomi and Léonie enjoyed exploring the blueberry capital of the world - Oxford, Nova Scotia.  They picked enough berries to make blueberry pancakes for breakfast for the whole family. Emet and Kol loved tasting Nova Scotia’s unique ice cream - Oxford blueberry!

At Pier 21, Baila and Léonie took the time to read the stories of family recollections of their immigration to Canada. They were surprised to learn how many Canadians came from other parts of the world and are proud to call Canada home. The Mendelsons loved the interactive display where people could plot where their family first arrived in Canada with an orange sticker on a map. Naomi put her sticker on Pier 21 - where her great grandparents arrived in 1945! You can see how most people arrived in Port of Quebec, Port Victoria and Halifax (pier 21).


The kids explored the museum at Pier 21 for an entire day.  It had a canteen modelled after the one set up on the Halifax Pier to meet the needs of immigrants arriving at pier 21 over 50 years ago!  Most immigrants were very surprised to see and taste the texture of North American white bread!  The Mendelsons really enjoyed serving “customers”.  Many visitors wanted to buy Jenna but we had to tell them thatour Jenna was not for sale.



The Mendelsons were able to visit the beautiful townof Lunenberg, which is the home of the Bluenose. Baila thought the bluenose was a dolphin, and was surprised to learn that it is also a famous racing boat. Naomi and Léonie were hoping for a sighting of the Bluenose in the port of Lunenburg. The Bluenose was a vessel unlike any other and made Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada very proud when most people were having a tough time during the Great Depression.

Naomi called Lunenberg the “rainbow village” because of its beautiful brightly painted homes and shops.  The Mendelsons were surprised to learn that even now, 250 years after its first streets were laid,  architecture and common spaces in the town remain the same!


The people of Lunenberg are warm, welcoming and very playful! Léonie enjoyed seeing the fairy doors around town and this fisherman overlooked the wharf!  Naomi and Emet took a break from shopping for books in the many bookstores to watch the ships floating in the bay.


After all their travels, Léonie, Jenna and Naomi enjoyed a relaxing beach day at Ketch Harbour, just outside of Halifax. Ketch Harbour is in the Chebucto Peninsula on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and is often very foggy but not on this day! Léonie and Jenna wanted a ride in the kayak - but they will have to wait until they get their very own.  For now, they had to be content to watch the Mendelsons from the dock.

Naomi and Baila had a good laugh watching Jenna try her hand at soccer with a beach ball at Duncan’s Cove, Nova Scotia. The girls were told that you can spot whales in the spring off the granite cliffs so Kol brought his binoculars just in case, but didn’t end up seeing any. Maybe next time!



Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is said to be the most photographed place in Canada so the Mendelson family didn’t want Jenna and Léonie to miss out on a trip to see it. The lighthouse was built in 1915 and still functions beautifully - they were there as day turned to dusk and the red beacon light switched on!


Léonie and Naomi take a break from rock exploring at Peggy’s Cove. Everybody around them was having such fun climbing the rocks and exploring the area along hiking trails, and by kayak. 

The Mendelson kids were excited to learn that Peggy’s Cove is a working fishing village. They were able to watch fishermen come and go, set lobster traps and set out fish nets on the wharves and roadside. Here, Baila could not wait to touch the nets!


Kol and Emet were eager to jump, scamper and climb the gorgeous rocks at Peggy’s cove. Léonie was more cautious, reading the signs that remind visitors to stay off the black rocks at the edge of the sea because you can be swept up suddenly in a wave. 


The Mendelsons liked learning the traditional Mi'kmaq tale which explains that that the tides in the Bay of Fundy are caused by a giant whale splashing in the water. Jenna and Léonie were able to walk across the riverbed of the ocean at low tide - at high tide, this spot is ocean! Emet was very curious to know why the Bay of Fundy was so special.  He learned that, unlike most other places in the world which have two rides (high and low),  the tides in the Bay of Fundy are semidiurnal, which means that they have two highs and two lows each day.

There are approximately six hours and thirteen minutes between each high and low tide so we had a chance to picnic and explore.

Thank you, Mendelson family, for bringing Léonie and Jenna, and all of us, along on your wonderful Canadian summer road trip!

16 Responses


December 05, 2018

I am really loving this section of the website. What a great way to showcase our country! Just found this while looking for some Christmas gifts and now we are leaning towards Jenna for sure.


October 27, 2018

What fun to see this family travelling through the summer and then see them when they arrived with our Owl magazine. We recognized the Mendelson family right away. Just wondering why you didn’t have Jenna in the photo shoot?


October 19, 2018

Lovely! I adored this trip portfolio – what fun. I think some of our fondest trips with our girls were travelling with their favourite dolls. It would be nice to see what our girls and their families are up to over Christmas!


October 08, 2018

We were too busy in the summer to follow along but it is fun to see this pictures of the summer now that it is getting to be fall. We have such fond memories of our own trip to Halifax a few years back. Canada is such a magical place with so much to see. Thank you, Maplelea and the Mendelsons, for helping us to rediscover what makes this country amazing.

Next up – What about a family trip to Winnipeg? There is lots to do here as well. If you are really brave, you can make it a winter road trip :)


October 06, 2018

This was so much fun for me and my family to follow along with! I loved seeing all the great places you were able to explore with Jenna and Leonie! Are you doing a west coast trip next summer? Come visit us in beautiful British Columbia! Bring your kayaks, girls!


September 24, 2018

I loved hearing about your adventures! Thank you!

Julie Naidich

September 16, 2018

Thank you!! This was so wonderful and interesting! Thank you for sharing your great trip with us. God bless all of you!

Joan Nathanson

September 16, 2018

Loved the family trip from Hamilton to the Maritimes. My granddaughter’s first 18" doll was Leonie, my gift for her fourth birthday, almost eight years ago, and I made sure that I forwarded the Maplelea email so Maya could follow the journey with your Leonie. My work in the early 60s took me to the Maritimes, so many sites were familiar, though many were new and interesting as well. I was treated in Lunenberg to ice cream and peaches by Captain Angus Walters, the skipper of the Bluenose, by then retired and running the Lunenberg dairy in his 80s. He took my friend and me to see the shipyard where the Bluenose was built. My friend had written a sea shanty about the history of the Bluenose at the time Nova Scotians were pushing for a new Bluenose to be built. I set her words to music, which was recorded at the Bridgewater radio station. Canadian Music Sales published it. It was sung on the Don Messer TV show. Within a few months, construction of Bluenose II began. Travel can bring us many surprises and happy memories. I hope other Maplelea girls will travel with their families and share their stories: Canada is such an interesting country!


August 31, 2018

This was a lot of fun for our family to follow along with the Mendelsons! We think that family road trips are such a great opportunity for a family to bond. Nice to see the. Ours getting into this as well :)
Lots of fun, thanks for sharing your trip!


August 31, 2018

Thank You for this exciting post of the Mendelson Family touring parts of Canada. What a lovely family. Hope Baila’s leg is healing.


August 31, 2018

Thank You Maplelea and the Mendelsohn family for sharing your trip. Also Thank You Jenna and Leonie for showing all the wonderful sites and history to see in Canada. Hope Baila’s leg has now healed.

Jo Hare

August 31, 2018

This is a wonderful adventure diary! We took Taryn with us last year on a trip through the Rockies and to the West Coast. It was so much fun for my daughter and son. They were really pleased to take Taryn to her hometown of Banff during the trip. Thanks for sharing.

Beatrice Benian

August 20, 2018

Great photos!
Our family enjoyed a trip along the East coast this summer as well. We left Cambridge ON and traveled for three weeks to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. We brought along Saila our daughters Maplelea doll from Iqaluit. What an amazing adventure!!

Julie Naidich

August 20, 2018

I love these photos! And their explanatory comments, too. Thank you, Mendelson family and Maplelea, for sharing these with us!! You can be sure I’ll keep checking back for more (if there are more – this might be the whole trip here). If you’re still travelling, enjoy your trip! You look like a great family!

Shannon Gair

August 11, 2018

Such an awesome family. I am really enjoying your Canadian Eastern Canada holiday with the Maplelea dolls.

Cheryl Brown

August 10, 2018

Beautiful family including your Maplelea family. Enjoy your trip!

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