Sunday, December 4, 2011


A dozen staff from The Rosseau took part in the Bracebridge Santa Claus Parade today, after decorating the shuttle bus and oursElves for the occasion. We all had a festive time and was fortunate that the rain held off until we were finished. It also gave us the chance for the night shift to meet and mingle with some of the day staff.
[Photo taken by a passerby, used courtesy of my coworker Nicole.]


I am fortunate to work with two lovely and talented colleagues on the Night Audit Team at The Rosseau. This morning we had the luxury of some extra time and decided to create Paint characters in lieu of our names, and this was the finished result, my colleagues having helped me put the last touches to mine, which we dubbed Lego Mal Kayaker.
[Thank you for the help and contributions done by Nicole and Leslie.]

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Shalom was the greeting we exchanged with people we encountered on our trek to Bethlehem, around the block in Bala. Hundreds came to take this recreated journey, decreed by Caesar to pay taxes and be counted, and were led in formed groups, the story of The Saviour narrarated by actors and vignettes set up around the neighbourhood.
[Cameras didn't exist then and weren't permitted for pictures now.]

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This afternoon MacTier was a pit stop for the CP Holiday Train on its 12th annual journey across Canada, its goal to collect food and funds for local food banks, and would have been nicer to see at night for it is decorated with thousands of lights. During the stopover folksinger icon Valdy, joined with Brothers Dube to sing from its box car stage.

Friday, October 28, 2011


The tugboat Uncle Jim sits idle at the dock by Foodland, silhouetted against the misty surface of the Indian River with Hanna Park in the background. Last night the temperature dipped below zero, autumn slowly being moved along as if by a tug, making one appreciate the beautiful mornings like today while they last, before the snow flies.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


This weathered dock, down by the Port Carling locks, attracted me with the pattern of its planks, horizontal and vertically, its uniform colour separated by a single beam of brilliant blue. It also reminded me of the weather we've been getting lately, multiple days of rain and grey overcast skies, with today finally a bright blue sunny day.


With the Segwun undergoing inspection and maintenance in the dry lock, it allowed me a better view of the phoenix that adorns the top of its pilothouse. It's a replica of the one carved for the Nipissing, a replacement for its namesake that burned the previous year in 1886, the original phoenix lost in the fire that gutted the Sagamo in 1969.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It's great when you can find a hairstylist that you can trust to do a consistent job every time and knows what "the usual" is without further explanation. It's even better when she works from the deck of her cottage and instead of sitting indoors staring into a mirror you are treated with this view while relaxing in a Muskoka chair.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Barb, one of my colleagues from The Rosseau, poses on top of the pumpkin she and her husband grew locally this year. Entered in the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest, it was weighed at 1,641 lbs, making it the third largest in Canada, and was a huge hit with our guests during the Thanksgiving weekend when it was displayed by the entrance.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


One of my favourite older boathouses is this one on Belle Isle, with its distinctive red roof and grey siding, its matching cottage burned to the ground last year. In the foreground a footbridge connects to the smaller oasis of Artist's Island, with the red tree, and in the far distance you can see the white tower that crowns Huckleberry Rock.


Two white buoys mark the location and 78' length of the Waome, a wooden steamship that capsized in a sudden storm on this date in 1934, sinking within a minute and claiming the lives of two people on board and a third afterwards. The wreck sits upright, at almost the same depth as her length, the buoys tied to its bow and stern.
[Click here for more info and to see some photos from the wreck.]

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


After cooler temperatures and all the rain we've been getting, the forecast is looking up with great weather ahead for Thanksgiving and beyond. Today was a perfect day to be out in my kayak again and for a change am looking up to one of my favourite viewpoints, where its bench can be seen at the top directly beneath the moon.


I spent several hours kayaking among the Venetia Islands and along the west side of Tobin Island, before heading home through Cayleys Cut and under the footbridge at Woodmere Island, where this photo was taken from underneath it, using it for a top border and the two islands to frame my destination of Armstrong Point in the distance.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

M & M

It was sad saying goodbye to Meagan, my Amazing Race partner and colleague at work, who I have known since coming here and worked together with the past year, the other M from the Night Audit Team. I gave her a card I thought was appropriate, featuring the two ships with M on their stacks, side by side at the dock, like us at the desk.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


As I was passing through Gravenhurst at dawn I stopped at the wharf to catch the morning sun as it reached Greavette Island, highlighting its miniature replica lighthouse, a popular attraction in photographs. I had the wharf to myself, empty of the bustling summer crowds and the crew and cast that were here last week filming for a TV special.
[Click here and scroll down for more details and a couple of photos.]

Friday, September 16, 2011


Last night was the first frost of the year, a harbinger of the seasons to come. In the meantime it made for a beautiful morning with mist rolling along the lake and the sun a welcome relief when it put in its appearance, dispersing the mist and melting the frost, the shadows providing only a temporary reprieve from the sun's rays and warmth.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It's been two years working at The Rosseau and living in Muskoka, and the start of my third autumn, the colours changing rapidly this year. I had a great summer exploring several lakes with my kayak, offering a different perspective from my first year discovering the area by road and trail, and I'm looking forward to the third ahead.

Monday, September 12, 2011


A pair of guests approached the front desk to comment on the trails, including one they thought was "spooky". "How do you mean spooky?" I probed further. "There's a couple of trees with a pole going across, with chains and meathooks attached!" I realized then this was where kettles of maple sap had been hung to boil, its apparatus still intact.


I was attracted to this scene during a walk through the woods today, the ghostly image of trees reflected from the remote side of a pond, intertwined with the shadows of the trees on my side, captured on a canvas of green algae, several swathes of blue with a stroke of gold completing the impressionist quality of my photograph, Forest Pond.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Flags from both countries fly at half mast to honour the victims of 9/11. Unknown to many, including myself then, but when the twin towers collapsed they obliterated the Marriott that stood between them. Two associates never left before then and are remembered for helping people to safety, two heroes as tall as the towers were.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the clouds roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah
I'm sittin' on the rock of the Bay...


Directly below me at this viewpoint of Georgian Bay I discovered by accident a large alabaster statue of Jesus on a crucifix, attached to the cliff face and at the portage nearby, just above the water's edge and built into the rock ridge, a shrine dedicated to the Madonna of Georgian Bay, so although I was there by myself I was never alone.


I spent the past couple of days camping at the portage that connects Georgian Bay with McCrae Lake, after hiking in. This was a new area for me and after setting up camp, went off exploring, swimming and taking pictures. It was nice to disconnect from the world and others, a getaway from the everyday, and reconnect with nature and myself.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I went to the book launch for The Hidden World of Huckleberry Rock, held at The Rock Golf Club, where I met the photographer and author that collaborated on it. I was also thrilled to meet two other Muskoka bloggers: Ed Boutilier of Muskoka Blog and Cathy Webster of Life on the Muskoka River, and just missed Deb from My Great White North.
[Artwork obtained from Cathy's post on the people behind this book.]

Thursday, September 1, 2011


We redeemed our gift certificate today for a tour aboard the aptly named Muskoka Memories, a 1960 22' Shepherd runabout. Jeremy Fowler of Butson's Boat Shop took us to Port Sandfield to enjoy ice cream, before cruising into Lake Joseph and returning by the river. We had an awesome time, another one for our Muskoka memories.
[Thank you Jeremy for a great tour and for taking our photograph.]

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Today I took my boys and their cousin Sydney out on a short cruise aboard the Segwun where between enjoying the views we explored around the ship, visiting the captain in the wheelhouse for a photo, checking out the engine room, writing out a postcard and hanging out at our favourite spot, the entrance door opening by the water.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


As recipient of Associate of the Month award, I wish to invite all my colleagues to share this honour with me, for it is our teamwork that deserves the recognition. The Rosseau is like a family to me and it is a pleasure and privilege to know and work with everyone, and I'm grateful for the opportunities that strengthen the bonds of our team.
[Picture taken by Alistair for the Associate Engagement Committee.]

Monday, August 22, 2011


I was shocked to learn about Jack Layton's passing today, reminding me of when I visited Huckleberry Rock a day after he announced he was stepping down, and found parallels with my favourite tree, that was healthy last year. Both were imposing figures in their respective landscapes and now each has succumbed to disease. RIP Mr. Layton.

Friday, August 19, 2011


As the sun began to set we decided on one last swim and that's when my boys encountered this dock spider lying in wait at the dock. They are the largest species of spider in Ontario and can reach the size of a plate, this one only the width of my palm. They can race across the water's surface or dive underneath, often preying on small minnows.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


It's a shame when I hear about people driving to Orillia to catch the same movie playing at The Norwood, a vintage theatre that opened in 1949. Built a year after its sibling, The Capitol in Huntsville, and run by the same family, it offers modern amenities with a nostalgic charm, and I love that its three theatres are named after the lakes.


We then ventured over to the original rock cut during our quest for blueberries, where our shadows became a source of entertainment as vehicles ran us over. Alistair then suggested we wait for a white car to pass, to photograph our shadows on top, and were fortunate when a truck came, the result looking like an ad placed on its side.


Every time I visit Huckleberry Rock there's always something new to discover, a different mood with the weather or a change in scenery. I took my boys up there for their first time and as we explored near the lookout, Alistair beckoned us over to show us this rock detail, a crack perfectly symmetrical, which we called the miniature rock cut.


We went kayaking this afternoon, my boys anxious to demonstrate their prowess honed at the camps they attended earlier, and were pleased when allowed a kayak each. We circled around Ouno Island where they saw the sailboathouse and the bear (statue) that I told them lived there, before returning to the resort where we started.
[Thanks to Dan Arcand and the MSR staff for use of their kayaks.]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


My boys came up to visit a relative's cottage giving me a chance to have them spend my days off with me. They had never tried tubing before and through the generosity of one of my coworkers, spent a day at his place where they had an exciting time on the water being towed by his WaveRunner, and for Alastair, some time in the water.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


We had an amazing day participating in the Muskoka's Amazing Race, with this year's theme focused on Georgian Bay. The race involved the towns of MacTier, Port Severn, Honey Harbour and finished on the gem of Beausoleil Island. We met terrific people, experienced good weather and saw some beautiful scenic places.
[Photo by John Challis, President of the Muskoka Trails Council.]

[Photos by the MTC, TAR title song composed by John M Keane.]
[Photo of the Delawana Inn obtained from their website gallery.]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I headed up to Armstrong Point in hope of catching some dramatic photographs of the storm, with the sky an ominous black and blue, but shortly after an eye appeared, offering a glimpse of the better weather above and it wasn't long before the storm began to break, the sun highlighting the clouds red, resulting in a beautiful sunset.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This Saturday is the date of the third annual Muskoka's Amazing Race, an event modeled after the hit TV series with a local twist, this year starting off and finishing at the Delawana Inn, a day of physical and mental challenges, as well as one of endurance for I work the night before and after it, but it's all for a worthy cause.
[Please help the MTC with a pledge to my team, The Night Owls.]
[Photo of the Delawana Inn, obtained from their website gallery.]

Saturday, August 6, 2011


The sunset from Huckleberry Rock Lookout was eerily reminiscent of the Hiroshima explosion, on its anniversary, starting with a blinding light, then a fiery core with a cloud above, a dragonfly that could be the Enola Gay bomber, the fiery core intensifying afterwards, with the smell and smoke from fires below me enhancing the simulation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


What started as a pleasant afternoon changed without any warning, the sudden gusts of wind causing the waves to swell that frequently crashed over the bow and splashed the cockpit, forcing me to cover it with a garbage bag drawn taut and held tightly in place by straps. I'm Scottish by birth so I'm thrifty, and it's a kayak kilt, not a skirt.

Monday, August 1, 2011


A final glance from my launch site at Adams Bay, to the vista of the Venetia Group, a cluster of islands where I spent the past couple of hours threading my way amongst them, exploring them for the first time. It was a beautiful day and long weekend, and with the summer now half over, hopefully the remainder of it is as nice as it has been.


Ironically music by Wings was playing from this boathouse, a former hanger, when I approached in my kayak. I met Jeff McLaughlin, who not only volunteered the history about his family, one of the original to this area, and his great-grandfather's business, Red Wing Flying Service, but also offered to close the doors to allow a better picture.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Huckleberry Rock took on new meaning tonight when I was treated to a performance by local resident Don Corbeil, who often comes to the lookout to jam. A talented artist, he covered a few classic rock songs on his Ibanez Talman and also played Weird Night, one of his own. It was wicked and himself, could be the next homegrown star.


I climbed up to Huckleberry Rock Lookout to photograph the Segwun passing by, which I'd seen leave Port Carling earlier with passengers for a sunset cruise to Gravenhurst, heading there in time to see the fireworks. In the background and looking roughly the same length is Ship Island, or its nickname of Shit Island, due to all the bird guano.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Ken Buchan, Lockmaster for the past eight years at Port Carling, was kind enough to offer me a crash course on the small lock and how he considers it a technological wonder, its hydraulic design and function ahead of its time when it was installed before the computer age. It's self service most of the time and more convenient for smaller craft.


It isn't common to see the Segwun lock through to the other lakes unless chartered for a special occasion, the only scheduled trip its annual Thanksgiving run. This year afterwards the Segwun and the Wenonah II will be put in dry dock at the Port Carling locks for any maintenance necessary to meet the federal mandated inspections.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I came across this lovely vessel during my travels today, docked at a cottage on Lake Rosseau in the bay below Port Sandfield. I tried but couldn't find any information on it, other than learning that Cara Mia means "my beloved" in Italian and is also the name of a popular song first from 1954 and again in 1965. Do you know the Caramia Secret?