Muskoka, Ontario: A Lifetime of Memories in Cottage Country

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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, during one of my visits back to Canada; a sojourn of sorts from my full-time travels.

This post was originally published in 2014. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

I have a lifetime of memories in Muskoka.

An epic orange Sunset over Lake 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, circa 2004).

Muskoka is Unique

Muskoka dock

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:

Sparkling lake in cottage country
This picture could be taken anywhere, but somehow the sun sparkling off the calm lake is soooo Muskoka to me
A perfect Muskoka scene with lake and trees
We don't skinny dip we chunky dunk
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.
canoe on a dock on Lake Muskoka
Muskoka glass down by the dock
Another epic Muskoka sunset
Yet another epic Muskoka sunset

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8 thoughts on “Muskoka, Ontario: A Lifetime of Memories in Cottage Country”

  1. 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 🙂

    • 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! 😉

        • 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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