Exploring Ontario: 2021 Land Rover Discovery to Bayfield
Sure, it’s a big SUV, but is it big enough to fit the Adirondack we just bought?
With the all-new tough-guy Land Rover Defender snagging all the press of late, the Land Rover Discovery must be feeling, well… a little left out. Not to be confused with the smaller Discovery Sport, the Discovery is about the same size as the Defender 110, has an additional third row, is available with the Defender’s new 3.0L turbo straight-six, offers more features per dollar, and will take you as deep into the boonies as you dare. But it will never be as cool as the Defender.
So we’re here to give the Discovery a little love. And put it to work.
My wife and I have a very green composite Adirondack chair to pick up from a furniture store near Bayfield — a charming little town on “Ontario’s West Coast” about midway between Grand Bend and Goderich. We’re always looking for an excuse to head out to this part of Ontario that brags lush farmland, long sandy beaches, a bit of history, and a bit of shopping.
Our steed today is the six-cylinder Discovery P360 R-Dynamic S that carries an MSRP of $76,100. Ah, but don’t think you’re going to get away with that price. This tester is packing $14,655 in options, with the most visible being the fab $1,900 Namib Orange paint. Other upgrades include 21-inch alloys, Meridian sound, head-up display, wireless charger, 20-way front seats, powered third-row seats, premium LED headlights with signature DRLs, gesture tailgate, and so on.
This luxurious Landie certainly makes for a fine day cruiser. A tall greenhouse and haute seating position bestow excellent outward visibility (an off-roading requisite), and the standard air suspension that gives this Discovery its serious off-road chops, also does a stellar job of delivering serene and smooth on-road travel.
After a couple of hours of wafting through the bucolic countryside, we roll into the hamlet of St. Joseph where our furniture store is located. As I suspected, squeezing this large chair into the back of the Discovery proves to be a challenge. The Land Rover is a big vehicle, but hatch space is not really in tune with the car’s exterior, due mainly to its high load floor. Nonetheless, after removing the thick rubber floor mat we just get it in.
We then waft north along the Bluewater Highway (#21) to Bayfield where lunch at the Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro awaits. About fifteen years ago Ted McIntosh and his wife Kathleen scraped the paint off this historic grocery-store-cum-beer-hall and turned it into a going concern. The food is fabulous, and with 50 beers and 150 whiskies on the menu, it’s a destination for aficionados of said elixirs. In better times, there was plenty of good live music too.
Bayfield’s quaint main street is lined with galleries, clothing stores, bistros, and craft shops. On this warm summer weekday, the joint is jumping — the “tourists” obviously as happy to be wandering about as the local economy is to embrace them.
Named after Henry Wolsley Bayfield, a British cartographer who was first to accurately map Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, the town was established in 1832 as a logging settlement. By 1851 Bayfield had a school, a church, a distillery, two blacksmith shops, a tannery, a brickyard, wagon and plough-making works, and about 125 residents.