Tag Archives: Ontario

Summer Reflections 2: Spirit Island

The largest freshwater island in the world, Manitoulin is considered sacred by the People of the Three Fires, the Ojibwe, the Odawa and the Potawatomi. It has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years and possibly for as long as 30,000. We found it restorative and fascinating, though not a place we could live. It seems to exist in that difficult space in which you have to be born there to be truly of it, yet if you are born there, you may well have to leave to make a life!

Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay

Downy Woodpecker at Summerbloom (outside our back door) Downy Woodpecker at Summerbloom (outside our back door)Looking out over Mudge Bay from our cottage, the language of legend seemed to seep through me – I saw the wind striding from Killarney across the depths of Georgian Bay towards us, a huge being, throwing down his shadow-cloak as he passed. It is easy here to sit and watch for hours as the light and water shift. It is a place to be still, surrounded by the noisy peace of woodpeckers, blue jays and the constantly changing rhythm of wind and water.

Sunset at Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay Sunset at Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay Bridal Veil Falls, Kagawong Bridal Veil Falls, Kagawong Kagawong Harbour Kagawong Harbour
Carter's Bay, Manitoulin Carter's Bay, Manitoulin

Highlights that remain with me (in addition to Wikwemikong and the cultural Pow-Wow there, which merit a post of their own), include Kagawong’s bridal falls –  much-visited, but still magic; kayaking up river above the falls, existing outside time in the flow; and, to the south west of the island on Huron’s shores, the sweep of Dominion and Carter’s Bays, sand dunes and scrub offering up an ancient, solitary beauty.

For more photos, see our Gallery (Summer Trip 2013)!

A counting of blessings . . .

Skies blue enough to swim in, Fall sunshine, still warm but gentler now than summer’s pounding intensity.

Apple Factory - Harvest Apple Factory - Harvest    Apple Factory - Harvest Apple Factory - Harvest

Pumpkin, squash and indian corn; orange dominating, but highlighted in shades of yellow, cream and gold, with dashes of green for contrast – resonant with the gratitude of harvest. Farm-store feeding frenzy – the busiest day of the year; pies, pies and more pies – apple, blueberry, bumble-berry, pumpkin (of course) and more, flying from the shelves.

St. Elias Church St. Elias Church  St. Elias Church St. Elias Church - bell tower   St. Elias Church St. Elias Church

A fantasy of domed turrets from a Russian folk-tale beckons, resolving into fabulous, wooden Eastern Catholic church, St. Elias. Ukrainian folk-song, hauntingly wraps round me as I absorb the sense of shared thankfulness of the apple festival, of a place truly built to the glory of God.

Counting caterpillars as we walk (along with blessings), furry brown and orange, exuberance bursting from us, hearts full.

Hills of the Headwaters Hills of the Headwaters - Rolling Hills in Fall Finery

” Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue”, over a jewelled landscape; flying, flung free a while –  it is not difficult to relate to the thought of “touching the face of God”. (Read more)

Terra Cotta Conservation Area Terra Cotta Conservation Area    Terra Cotta Conservation Area Terra Cotta Conservation Area
Terra Cotta Conservation Area Terra Cotta Conservation Area  Terra Cotta Conservation Area Terra Cotta Conservation Area   Terra Cotta Conservation Area Terra Cotta Conservation Area
Terra Cotta Conservation Area Terra Cotta Conservation Area   Terra Cotta Conservation Area Terra Cotta Conservation Area

Reflected reds, golds and greens; the shimmering of Aspens caressed by a warm breeze; an occasional flurry of yellow leaves, swirling like snow; a single splash of red, spiralling downward; cathedral columns, drawing the eye heavenward.

A perfect day for thanks-giving!

The Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekend, 2013

Expeditions and Adventures

I seem to be too busy living to keep up with making albums of our various expeditions and adventures (a good thing, I think!)

But I have just uploaded photos from a recent escape to a lovely nineteenth century farmhouse, about and hour and a half north of Toronto near Mono Centre – a much-needed retreat. And we saw our first porcupine.

Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood

 

In the same album are photos from a nature walk filled with natural wonders in Mono Cliffs Provincial last August, a magical day at Alton Mill in the winter and some earlier photos from the area.

Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs

Alton Mill in winter Alton Mill in winter

We spent a glorious Spring day at the Royal Botanical Gardens on May 19, just catching the Rock garden saturated with the colour of the tulips, yet still with the pastel daintiness of the cherry blossom. These are a series of gardens that you drive between, though it was too early for some. But we had a wonderful long hike out through Arboretum and beyond, again blessed with an abundance of wildlife and natural wonders. For the first time in 50 years, Bald Eagles have raised chicks on the shores of Lake Ontario – we were able to view the nest from a distance. That so many people were so excited by this is truly heartwarming.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood
Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton

 

I`ve also finally posted photos from our trip to the Midland area last August – we particularly liked Awenda Provincial Park.

Awenda Provincial Park Awenda Provincial Park

(Lots more photos in the Caledon Hills, Royal Botanical Gardens and Midland Area galleries in our  Ontario Album!)

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The Briars

The Briars The Briars, a lovely family home that is now a resort, where we stayed

I don’t think we could have made a better choice for our first weekend break out of Toronto than The Briars on Lake Simcoe – a beautiful, historical home in a glorious setting, offering fab food, memorable massages and the opportunity to do as much or as little as you feel like.

Lovely to stay somewhere that has belonged to a single family, the Sibbalds, since the nineteenth century.  It has also long been a resort in the classic North American tradition, with cottages and golf course.

Watching Canada win the Olympic hockey alongside staff and family members on a big screen in the great hall (and, on Sunday afternoon, we were the only remaining guests!) felt very personal and special. We were even treated to celebratory champagne alongside yet another excellent meal that evening.

Redolent with the family’s history, the Briars also has literary links. Both Stephen Leacock and Mazo de la Roche had cottages locally and both are buried at St George’s Anglican Church at Sibbald point – apparently the Briars is recognisable in some of de la Roche’s descriptions.

Stephen Leacock Leacock Cottage Mazo de la Roche - gravestone

For us, arriving after heavy snow on Friday, it was truly wonder-full to walk (wade) along the woodland trails, finally experiencing a real taste of Canadian winter.

On the sleigh Winter woods Snow angel

You can see the full collection of photos from out trip to Lake Simcoe and the Briars in the Sightseeing section of this site.