Tag Archives: Lake Simcoe

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.

Georgina – walking on water

In the UK I used to to get excited when the puddles froze solid – usually there was little more than a thin layer of ice on the surface. I’m once again stunned by how alien our own planet can seem within the context of previous experience.

Ice (Lake Simcoe) Ice (Lake Simcoe)

We have just returned from a much needed long-weekend away. We chose to head an hour or so north of Toronto, to Jackson Point on Lake Simcoe. In the township of Georgina, this area lays claim to being the ice-fishing capital of the world. Although not a ‘Great Lake’, Lake Simcoe is an expanse of water so huge that you cannot see the far shore. And at this time of year, it is not water, but a vast, blinding whiteness of ice. Not only can you walk on water, you can drive on it (though this is not covered by your insurance, so we didn’t!).  Peppered across the ice are clusters of ice-fishing huts. A constant traffic of skidoos and the strange vehicles that offer transport to the fishermen traverse the lake. But, in a couple of weeks or so, there will begin to be air patrols to ensure that everyone leaves the ice before it starts to break up.

Ice (Lake Simcoe) Lake Simcoe's endless ice, peppered with fishing huts

Out on the ice Ice fishing bus Lake Simcoe Ice Road

There are ice roads out to the Chippewa territories on Georgina Island. A few years ago some people strayed off the road in a whiteout and were lost. An ice-breaking ferry was brought in, but Simcoe’s ice was too deep for it and the ice roads remain the only viable form of winter access.

Georgina Island Ferry The next ferry leaves in April . . .

“The next ferry leaves in April . . . “

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