Thursday, June 30, 2011


When I left Windermere the waves had subsided and I was witness to an incredible sunset. I was heading in the opposite direction but made frequent stops to admire it. I parked at the shore across from Guide Island, its boathouse lights having served as my guide, for a final picture, my kayak's bow barely discernible at the bottom right.


Stopped in at Windermere for a beer, to wet my whistle and dry my clothes, after being sprayed by random waves while kayaking across the open stretches from Brackenrig Bay, where I put in at Dock Road earlier. It was quite wavy and quite the workout but well worth it as Windermere House has one of the best patios and views on the lake.
[Thank you to my server Megan, for taking this photograph for me.]


As our final act of activation and appreciation regarding the Million Dollar Memo competition we submitted another video. It features a message by everyone involved in the first, the original cast and our executive team, the members of a future committee if we advance into the Final 20 and if not, we promise not to riot at The Rosseau.
[Click on this link to watch our video and meet the team behind it.]
[Photo by Sarah Ryeland, from her article in Sideroads of Muskoka.]

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Stan Hunter, a local boatbuilder, was one of the venues participating in Doors Open and this painting summarizes the place, its boathouse with his four Duke Playmates he has available for rent, the workshop occupied with current restoration projects, with its adjoining room devoted as a gallery where this painting and other art is on display.

Monday, June 20, 2011


The sun sets on the crumbling ramparts and turrets of a sand castle, a former fortress for a young child and their vivid imagination while a picnic table wallows in the water, a product of older kids with more mischievious intentions. Hanna Park is a favourite place for kids of all ages, with its playground and beach, where memories are made.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


We heard the piercing whistle of the Frederick Ross before we saw it and I didn't recognize it when it steamed into view and then docked. Its industrial appearance is softened by the balusters, cloth trim and stained glass church windows of its cabin. It is owned by a couple in Puslinch, who also own and run the Ontario Steam Heritage Museum.


Our boats, from the right: Stirling's colourful ski boat, Wake Zone, complete with tower and wakeboards, Alistair's Silver Karp [sic], a traditional boat, and mine, Not Enough Time, the result of helping them. Alistair won in the Traditional Boat category and its prize, a lake cruise for us in a classic wooden boat, a future tour and post.


Great weather and time with my boys made it an awesome Father's Day, where at Butson's Boat Shop we competed against others in a special event building various types of boats from prepared blocks. Following a bbq lunch all the boats were then lined up to be judged, for prizes in different categories, before racing them off the dock.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


The boys finished the day with a swim off the dock at Hanna Park, and were thrilled when the Wenonah II arrived on the scene. It was such a coincidence for earlier that day when visiting the abandoned Georgian Bay Store we salvaged a musty copy of The Cottage Times dated from May 31, 2002, announcing the debut of this newest ship.


Resembling an advancing alien monstrosity, stunning observers with its size and appearance, is the Big Chute Marine Railway, a specially-designed railway carriage used to transfer boats between waterways. Unique in North America and operated by Parks Canada, it was found to be a successful barrier against the further migration of lampreys.


A carpet of Gold Moss Stonecrop brings colour to the scene however its other name, Graveyard Moss, seems more appropriate with the inukshuk acting like a tombstone now for the derelict Georgian Bay Store along Highway 400. Vintage vehicles have been removed since the last time I visited, hopefully spared from the damage by vandals.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


This 12' Lowe aluminum boat has seen better days, its hull buckled and with gravel on top, like the first shovelful tossed on at a funeral. It sits buried among the overgrown foliage at the shore of Thompson Lake, a small gem of a lake with a solitary island that can be spotted from the highway, and accessible from behind the Esso gas station.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Tondern Island should be renamed Torndown Island after last week's storm and swath of destruction, sparing no property, toppling trees and damaging several buildings. Cottagers claimed it was a tornado which appeared credible to me. Following in its wake was Davey, a tree services company, who planted a business mug on every dock.


Twin buckets of geraniums, repotted for the third time due to the recent storms, bracket Wildwood Island. This picture was possible because of the courtesy of a cottage owner on The Brothers Island, who allowed me use of her dock and warned me of Wildwood Island and its nesting gulls, that would have attacked if I had approached.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


This rusted relic had this scrawled handwritten sign duct taped to it:
It's a AS IS A
Handyman Special
It came out when Hitler went in
1933 Chev. 1 Ton Stake Truck FOR SALE


It didn't stay dry for much of the Antique Car Show in Gravenhurst today, raindrops collecting on Muskoka Dry's vintage Dodge flatbed like beads of condensation on a bottle of ice cold Pale Ginger Ale on a hot day. Their famous soft drink, produced since 1873, remains a novelty with my boys and me, a treat we enjoy when they visit here.

Monday, June 6, 2011


The cross, standing guard at the base of Bala Falls, bears life saving equipment donated by the Bala & District Lions Club, and is a grim reminder of the people that drown in these waters every year. The levels of every waterfall in the region are very high, exacerbated by the heavy rainfall and runoff accumulations of the past two months.


A panoramic shot was necessary to capture this row of boathouses, made up from single level tinnies, behind the Residence Inn. Due to their delapidated appearance they are considered an eyesore to the new Muskoka Wharf development, however a subsidized renovation proposal has, like my son Stirling, caused ripples, among the locals.


The following morning dawned clear and hot, allowing me to get this glowing reflection of the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre, adjacent to the Residence Inn. The museum, built like a reflection of earlier boathouses, features in addition to its permanent exhibits, several antique boats that owners are proud to display on a rotational basis.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


A fiery sunset brings the evening to a close over the boats and the row of boathouses behind the Residence Inn. It is also the resting place of the Sagamo, Muskoka's largest steamship whose years of service came to a fiery end in 1969, its twisted steel hull partially exposed among the concrete debris and foliage in the foreground.


I always arrange a special highlight for their visit however didn't tell them in advance this time that it would be high up into the treetops itself at Eaglecrest Aerial Park, located at Santa's Village. They soon overcame their initial trepidation, which later turned to exhilaration, with the 350' zipline over water the grand finale of the treetop tour.


I had my boys join me for the weekend and stayed in Gravenhurst at the Residence Inn. In the morning they reneged on their decision to accompany me while I slipped out in the early morning mist to visit and photograph another set of siblings, the Segwun, North America's oldest operating steamship, and the Wenonah II, a modern replica.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I'm pumped about Keowee, a used kayak a colleague of mine found at a bargain price for me, its wide beam offering better stability for photography, and look forward to exploring the lakes this summer. Kayaking is not only my preferred choice of transportation but also my favourite word to use to stump people in the game of Hangman.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Some of the crew from The Rosseau joined others from the tourism industry aboard the Wenonah II for a cruise around Muskoka Bay, courtesy of Muskoka Steamships. It was a beautiful but very windy day, and I was amazed at the prowess of her crew and the captain when we docked without a hitch. I wish I could parallel park like that.
[Thanks to my colleague Jocelyn for this photo and her permission.]

TOP 70

Thanks to everyone's votes The Rosseau has made it into the Top 70 and the only Canadian company to make it through to this stage. We still need your support to get to the next and final level in our bid to win the grand prize, to reward our staff and benefit several charities The Rosseau supports. Every vote counts and the more the Marriott.
[Click here to see and support our entry. View. Like. Share. Cheers.]