Rosie Stevens gives us a peek into her adventures staying lakeside in Ontario this summer.
It is the world’s second largest country — encompassing six time zones, the world’s longest coastline and 60% of the world’s lakes. Despite its size, Canada’s population is just over half that of the UK. This summer, I was lucky enough to cause a minor increase to Canada’s population, spending two weeks in the heart of the Canadian wilderness, enjoying a fortnight of true respite before the madness of university.
To a Canadian, this would not be real wilderness — I actually stayed in Ontario’s Cottage Country, a land of lakeside cottages which become a holiday destination in the summer months for city folk (if you’ve seen Cheaper by the Dozen II, you’ll know what I’m talking about). For a Surrey girl like myself, being a half-hour drive plus a ten minute boat ride away from internet certainly seemed like wilderness! However, some of the lakes in this area are pretty remote, with cottages like ours accessible only by water. This in itself led to some adventures, and it’s fair to say I don’t think my parents will agree to me getting a car any time soon, based on my boat-driving.
The lake itself changed everyday, sometimes as still as glass reflecting the purple sky at sunset, other times becoming windswept and white-capped with optimum conditions for sailing. Temperatures frequently creep above thirty degrees Celsius, gently warming the lake water to an almost bath-like state, whilst the lack of salt and chlorine means there’s no need for unsightly goggle marks – although my dad didn’t seem to get that memo. Hotter days also provide the perfect opportunity to try out more adventurous water activities, my favourite being tubing. If you’ve never tried it, this essentially involves clinging to an inflatable ring whilst a motor boat drags you around the lake at high speeds.
Bears are known to live in the woods behind the cottages, though they’re rarely seen. In any case, we successfully managed to avoid them, seeing instead beavers, wild turtles and osprey – a true haven for any biologist or nature enthusiast. On calmer days, the only sound that disturbed the lapping water was the cry of the loons. These days were among my favourites, lying on the dock gazing out at the sapphire water, watching the odd boat float by as I willed my luminous skin to tan. With celebrities such as Jim Carrey and Mike Myers known to frequent the area, it’s clear that this is somewhere special – truly authentic, rustic glamour.