Opening Statement



Monday, 14 July 2014

Land of the Lakes, Ontario, Canada!

Teacher summer news + views continue below my travel blogs....



Lake Mississaganon is but one of many lakes that dot the “Land of The lakes” region in Lanmark County Southern Ontario. It is a true reminder of the great splendour and delight of the province of Ontario Canada in summer. A three hour drive north east of Toronto or two hours or so north west of Ottawa and you are here! It’s just close but far enough away from the crowded cities to provide a perfect get away.

This year I bought a 40 foot house trailer with a huge deck on a nice treed lot a 2 minute stroll from the beach. There are a dozen lush Maple trees surrounding our new home away from home. The lake water is clean enough to drink and it’s teaming with fish. Hunters come here in the fall and winter, a sport for which I myself am not keen. Ditto ice fishing. However both speak further to the locations natural, rustic allure. Or simply look up and the Milky Way stretches across the night sky, a starry site not seen from at home in Toronto.

Our city condo is a busy enough place in summer with family + friends coming and going all the time.  Somebody is always around. Sometimes they like to borrow our place for a few days holiday in the big city. Some also come to visit our trailer. Some, but not too many. Oddly enough, despite the common urban misconceptions I am hardly roughing it up in the countryside.




Quite frankly, I figure I am too big to be sleeping on the ground anymore. I bought a thick double mattress for our trailer bed. Our trailer has lots of storage space for life’s amenities. Also electricity, water, a complete kitchen and living room. Mostly though I prefer sitting outside under the awning on my wood deck. Or I’m swimming in the lake. Hiking about the site.  At night there is always the fire pit.  Internet and cable are spotty at best but it feels great to be weaned off them for the summer. The other campers are very friendly in a down home Ontario manner. Most are gone during the week as they are not retired like me. And company or not, no matter! I quite enjoy my solitude.

I have a lot of time to read. There’s a full book case at home. They are books I’ve always wanted to read at my own leisure, as opposed to those I had to read from throughout my busy teaching career. Last week I finished an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, another by D.H. Lawrence, and two histories. Next week there will be more. I confess to having a very nice stereo system here also and lots of tunes for a change of pace when I’m not just enjoying the quiet or the sounds of nature, the birds, crickets, squirrels or the chorus of frogs at night. Likewise there’s a sack of classic movie DVD’s and more current downloads to play on my Blu-ray at night should it be raining or there’s too many bugs come sunset. Yes! There is a mosquito, and horsefly season and summer was late in coming this year! The temperature can dip at night, occasionally requiring me to turn on the trailer furnace or perhaps the space heater. Nonetheless it’s a trade off from the hot smoggy humid life in the city that I am pleased to make.



I could relate numerous tales of pure bliss but this is the most recent one I like best. If you have followed my BlogSpot for very long, you will know that I am also keen on swimming and diving. Lake Mississaganon is located on the “Canadian” or Cambrian shield. It stretches across northern Canada. Many deep lakes, and crevices were carved out of the bed rock by the glaciers during the ice age. The water from springs deep below the surface is remarkably clear and clean. The lake temperature in summer hits about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not bathwater warm like the Caribbean where I usually go for swimming and diving but nonetheless it is incredibly refreshing and invigorating all the same. Once in the water one warms up pretty fast and on all but the cool days find it perfectly fine.

Lately I have been enjoying the freedom of movement I have when snorkeling, more so than the laboured preparedness and all the equipment that comes with scuba diving. I understand this lake is relatively shallow, bottoming out at about 60 feet. The shallow water often has a sand bottom with huge boulders and rock formations poking through. Following the rock sides further out I have done free dives down about 20 feet or so holding my breath. I like hanging upside down looking around, then completing a half somersault to head back to the surface. Or I like doing a slow breast stroke or the crawl as I follow the rocks down into the deep. The water temperature drops, quite a pleasant sensation on a hot and sunny day. The often quite spectacular rock formations and slopes continue to dip far down into the even colder dark depths below. I was quite fascinated to find a sunken tree, which I’d estimate was probably close to a hundred feet long. It stretched from near shore into the deep dark depths below.  Without scuba gear I couldn’t follow it any further down. However there are many other such marvels, especially along the shallower shorelines of the island that’s just a couple of hundred feet off our beach.

I swam around the island the other day. The island is thick forested with many coniferous and deciduous trees warmly lush and resplendent in every possible shade of green. The water was a deep royal blue below a pastel blue sky. The sun was beating down. Schools of pike, and perch swam along among the sea grass, weeds and fallen trees. There were plenty of boulders off and along the shore where I could stop to rest and lie in the sun.  It was quite peaceful and marvellous to lie sunning on one huge boulder protruding from the lake on the far side of the island. It was completely peaceful except for the sound of the birds, and the light rustle of leaves. I gazed out at nothing but greenery without any sign of people or other busy things, quite perfectly alone but for myself, surrounded by nothing but water, forests and rock everywhere I looked. I felt so completely free, centered and relaxed.

It is great to be so close and yet far removed from home in Toronto. No time need be spent in airports. Nor is a passport required to get here. As I write now in my trailer a booming thunderstorm has just rolled overhead. The sun is once again beating down. The last of the raindrops are dripping off the trees. The birds are chirping. It’s a perfect time for a stroll back to the beach.

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