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.
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, circa 2004).
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: