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?

Saturday, July 23, 2011


A beautiful sunset from my favourite viewpoint and final stop before getting prepared for work. At The Rosseau the sun is also setting on our receivership status after recently being sold to Canadian Niagara Hotels. With a new boat arriving, at the lower left, and replacing the incumbent, I hope it's a smooth trip after the bumps from the wake.


Seeking relief from the heat and for a change of scenery I kayaked the Shadow River, its mouth marked by coloured stakes instead of buoys. When I left the bridge and cottages behind I felt as if I was entering a magical place of the past, alone among the wildlife and wetlands, before a passing jet contrail brought me back to reality.


The regatta closed with swimming events which fittingly served as the opening act for Joy Jarvis, appearing on cue, after a marathon swim of Lake Rosseau. This is her last time, taking 9 1/2 hours to swim the 25 km distance from Port Carling, and 11th year, raising over $150,000 in total for Camp Oochigeas and cancer awareness.


I visited Rosseau again today, this time to watch their 45th annual regatta. It was a great event with one of the best teams being the Father and Son Double of Bobby Genovese and Bobby Genovese Jr., the father, a venture capitalist and TV celebrity, demonstrating the same prowess in athletics that has made him successful in business.

Friday, July 22, 2011


After my boat tour was over and the farmers' market finished, I took a stroll through the village of Rosseau itself. I stopped at the antique store and when I browsed through a shoebox of mixed postcards was ecstatic to find a vintage one of Paignton House, the predecessor to The Rosseau, on Fish Rock, something I've never seen in any photos.
[Credit to Natural Colour Cards by A & M Workshop, Pickering, Ont.]


Due to its waterfront location the Rosseau Farmers' Market brings a lot of visitors by boat, including the Wenonah II that makes Rosseau its destination on Fridays. I ran into Randy Potts, owner and captain of the Idyllwood, the small yacht parked at the end of the dock, who invited me to accompany him in the wheelhouse for one of his tours.


I visited the Rosseau Farmers' Market today, reknowned as the best in the area and was impressed by the variety of vendors and wares, the live entertainment beneath the gazebo and the waterfront with its beach. There was something for everyone in the family to enjoy, like this family of different generations, watching the boats arrive.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I joined several other people for an interesting visit of the Gregory Christ Church and its cemetery, the second such event hosted by the Muskoka Lakes Museum. We learned about some of the area's early pioneers, heard stories told firsthand by their descendants, and the controversy behind the Smythe family and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
[Click here to visit Ed's post on this and his great Muskoka website.]
[Thank you to Doug Smith, museum Director, for use of his picture.]

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This "cottage", built by and for the founder of Mattamy Homes, the largest home builder in Canada, is the largest one on Lake Rosseau and sits on the original grounds of Ferndale House, later sold to the Canadian Keswick for a Conference Centre before it burned in 1946, was rebuilt, went bankrupt and was abandoned, now since replaced.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Woodrow Wilson, before becoming the 28th President of the USA, was enamored by Muskoka on previous visits that he once bought this island, and the Muskoka Lakes Museum has in its collection a faded wood sign, its painted message signed by himself, granting visitors access to his private property if they honoured his wishes.


This morning I started out at 6:00 am, as soon as the sun emerged and for the first hour had the lake to myself, its surface like glass, before I encountered a pair of scullers who were busy with training, followed by the newspaper delivery boat making its rounds and by 9:00 the lake was very busy from then on with boaters and barges.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


For the pioneers it was free land with dreams of a livelihood,
followed by loggers after who cut down everything they could,
With the First Nations it was peaceful with canoes and loons,
replaced by cottagers now and their loud Sea-Doos and tunes,
Paradise found by all who came, their ideals not all the same.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. After time relaxing at a cottage, followed by a concert, the boys wanted to stop at the wharf, one of their favourite places, to visit the ships. They were disappointed to find the Segwun missing but while we watched the sunset they heard its familiar whistle and soon their ship came in.


Belting out the most popular hits from Shania Twain is Shania Twin, a tribute artist who performed at Music on the Barge. Despite some sound issue technicalities, the show was good and her resemblance and impersonation great. The real Shania was discovered when she worked at Deerhurst Resort, and still has a cottage on Lake of Bays.


After spending the previous week at separate locations of Ontario Pioneer Camp, my boys take some time to share their experiences when we spent the weekend relaxing together at a relative's cottage on Lake of Bays, the second largest lake in Muskoka, however not as well known as the other big three of Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I visited the top end of Lake Joseph and even from Port Cockburn where I started out, could see this cottage. Perched at the top of cliffs and flying the Welsh flag, it resembles a modern day castle, with a deck projecting outwards like a bastion and the initials HP, from the name High Point, emblazoned like its own coat of arms.


At the bottom of the cliffs, below High Point, lies a jumble of huge boulders and hidden behind them is a small pool, a special place to locals. You can enter from the front by swimming through a narrow archway, too tight for my kayak, or from either sides and clamber over some smaller rocks. I stopped for a photo op and brief swim.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I returned in time to catch the last light of the setting sun. I love the different looks and moods with each time I visit. The harsh daylight exposes the blistering paint, the sunset burnishes the lighthouse in gold, and then the dark silhouettes before the solar powered lamp starts its flashing sequence, the only thing that remains constant.


As Prince William and Kate tour Canada, their first time since their wedding in April, and today slipped away to a private retreat, some may recall when Prince Andrew and Fergie came to Canada on their first tour in 1987, and stole away to Muskoka where they spent their first anniversary at this cottage, owned by a family with close ties.


Our role in the Million Dollar Memo competition that began with my idea, was embraced by our team and supported by others has gone as far as it can, as we weren't accepted into the Final 20. We are proud of our accomplishment getting this far into the semi-finals and despite the outcome, are already a winning team and company.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


A close up of the picturesque lighthouse. The pair of cormorants perched on its roof remind me of the rumour that there were two graves at this site, which was a small island, and when the water level of Lake Rosseau was later raised they were covered. In the background on the left is one of three sailboathouses on the lake.


I spent the evening exploring by kayak from the town of Rosseau, and found this scene interesting, a collage formed from a gnarled cottonwood tree leaning out above the dock of the Rosseau Lake College, a touch of colour provided by the canoe and in between, looking out of proportion with its miniature size, the lighthouse.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Recently voted as first in National Geographic Traveler magazine's 10 Best Trips of Summer, Muskoka is, according to Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief, "not a vacation; it's a generational experience." I wonder how many generations of Fenn's, before and since Robert, have spent summers here at Fenn's Point and can claim the same.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


My boys and I went to the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre to check out Canada's only certified Lego professional, who was busy building an 8' replica of the Segwun on his third and last day. After offering other kids a chance, Stirling won a Lego kit in a trivia challenge for correctly answering the year the Segwun was built, with Dad's help.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I attended the fireworks display at The Rosseau, and during the day scouted out my prime location, a rock mound that extends out from Ouno Island. When dusk arrived I climbed atop and hauled my kayak up, activated glowsticks attached to it to announce my presence and this unmarked hazard to all the boats that came out to see the show.
[Click on this link to watch a one minute sample from the fireworks.]


Happy Canada Day! I took this photograph while kayaking last night but waited until today to post it, as it seemed fitting with these two dogs standing on guard for thee next to the flagpole while I passed. This cottage, the Crayola colour of sunset orange, is on the edge of Wellesley Island, its many windows facing the best view for sunsets.