Muskoka, Ontario: A Lifetime of Memories in Cottage Country

by Nora on July 17, 2014

About a two hour drive north of Toronto is Muskoka (also known as cottage country); a conglomeration of lakes set in masses of precambrian shield (aka granite – lots of it), surrounded by dense forest, and populated with thousands of cottages.

I’ve just had the good fortune to spend the last couple of weeks with family at a friend’s cottage.


I have a lifetime of memories in Muskoka.

Visiting cottages owned by family friends since I was a child, Muskoka is responsible for planting a lot of seeds of discovery:

  • It’s where, as a child, I first learned to appreciate a beautiful sunset.
  • I had my first canoe ride (and later, motorboat ride).
  • I learned to waterski.
  • I developed a fierce love of water lilies and lily pads.
  • I discovered that perception of distance is skewed on water, after nearly drowning trying to swim across a bay.
  • I fed chipmunks peanuts until their cheeks were stuffed so disproportionately full that they couldn’t walk straight.
  • I learned to sail, and had fun with my teenage girlfriends overturning our little sunfish and pretending to have trouble righting it so we could meet cute boys in passing boats.
  • I fell in love with hummingbirds and frogs, and learned to hate mosquitos.


Nora in her motorcycle days

Later, in my 20s, I discovered how much fun the roads in Muskoka are to ride on a motorcycle, and I attended the annual Sportbike Rally in Parry Sound (pictured above – that’s me, 12 or so years ago).


Muskoka is Unique

A childhood friend of mine who lived in London (England) for a while and worked at a travel agency laughed when they sat all the employees down one day and said “today we’re going to learn about ‘Cottage Country’ – a world famous place in Ontario, which is in Canada”. Growing up in Toronto as we did, Muskoka was just next door; I guess sometimes we have to travel around the world to find out what we’ve got on our own doorstep.


After traveling around the world – a few times over – here are some pictures of what I discovered in Muskoka:


This picture could be taken anywhere, but somehow the sun sparkling off the calm lake is soooo Muskoka to me




It was a wee bit too cool for skinny dipping (or chunky dunking) for me this year, but there were lots of hearty water-skiers and swimmers enjoying themselves.




Yet another epic Muskoka sunset



Recommended Reading

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Train Travel Abroad: The Journey is the Destination

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anna July 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Dude. Those sunsets. INSANE.
Also, man, what a badass 😉


2 Nora Dunn July 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

Hey Anna – Thanks! (Badass….LOL!)


3 Desiree Fawn July 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Gorgeous pics! Glad you had a good visit 🙂


4 Nora Dunn July 19, 2014 at 11:52 am

Thanks, Desiree! 🙂


5 Fida July 19, 2014 at 1:00 pm

You brought up memories of lazy summer days in Ontario. I lived for about a decade just a bit north of Muskoka chunky dunking all summer long 🙂 Oh, and you look dashing in that biker outfit 🙂


6 Nora Dunn July 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Hi Fida,
Growing up visiting Muskoka fostered my love of swimming in lakes – which apparently freaks some people out (maybe similarly to how I’m freaked out by swimming in oceans). And glad you like my leathers! 😉


7 Fida July 20, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Speaking of freaking out: I got quite a scare when I met my first snapping turtle 😉


8 Nora Dunn July 21, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Hi Fida,
Indeed! There’s always a tale lurking around about snapping turtles having bitten off the toes of swimmers, but I don’t know anybody who this has actually happened to – I think it may be a myth, but it always makes you think twice about swimming in deep water!


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