Foraging, stargazing and a dawn canoe: a nature-filled week in Ontario | Discover cool Canada

Canada has at all times been on the high of my bucket record. I’ve lengthy dreamed of a holiday that was nothing however lakes and timber, the place I may really reconnect with nature – and revel in an journey, not only a holiday. So I set the bar fairly excessive! Did Ontario ship? Beyond my wildest goals. Here’s how you can spend a life-changing week within the area …

Day 1: Barrie time

In order to go to Ontario, many individuals fly into Toronto. It’s a three-hour drive from there to Muskoka, so in case you don’t fancy making the journey in a single go after your flight, the lakeside city of Barrie is good for an in a single day cease en route. Refuel on the Burger’s Priest. It serves a number of the greatest quick meals I’ve ever eaten – and you may unlock the “secret menu” by answering a trivia query.

Day 2: The bay and a beer

On your drive to Muskoka, make a cease on the city of Gravenhurst. It’s referred to as the “Gateway to Muskoka” and it sits proper by Lake Muskoka. The very first thing I did was make a journey on the 130-year-old steamboat, RMS Segwun – it’s an effective way to see the water, and there are superb envy-inducing holiday cottages lining it (think about having a lake as your again backyard in summer season!). Rumour has it, one is owned by Steven Spielberg. And the lake is so huge; as soon as we acquired correctly out into it, in case you’d informed me it was the ocean, I’d have believed you!

Canadian flag on the steamboat

Katie Pix at Muskoka Brewery

Stop for lunch at Dock of the Bay, a fantastic seafood and steak restaurant (“surf and turf” to the locals) proper by the water. Grab a desk on the veranda and gaze on the lake when you eat.

A tour of the Muskoka Brewery, simply north of Gravenhurst at Bracebridge, makes for a implausible afternoon. It’s an actual native hangout the place each beer has its personal story, and it feels really crafted from the world. Not a beer drinker? They make gin, too.

Day three: Jetskis and sunsets

It’s time to get out on the lake once more – this time on a jetski. Rent one from North Lakes Marine. The water is normally so nonetheless and tranquil, you’ll be able to go as quick and so far as you want with out worrying about bumping into different jetskiers. Even on the serene lake, you’ll be able to really feel Muskoka’s robust sense of group – locals on the shore and in passing boats wave at you as you jet by.

Sunset at Huckleberry Rock.

Later within the day, take a sundown hike up Huckleberry Rock. At simply over 2km, it’s a comparatively straightforward path with loads of benches on the way in which and only one barely steep part at the beginning. And it’s price it – Huckleberry Rock is among the most jaw-dropping locations to observe the sundown from. Up on the pink granite rock, overlooking the forest and lakes, it’s onerous to not get lost within the view. I used to be completely targeted within the second; the panorama of the pine timber and the lake beneath me was totally spell-binding, and felt so, so peaceable.

Afterwards, head for some well-deserved rooster wings at Carey’s pub in Gravenhurst. They’re famously sizzling (and which means very popular!).

Day four: Swimming in Algonquin park

Leave Muskoka for Algonquin provincial park, an hour’s drive away from Gravenhurst. So many individuals promote their native farm produce by the aspect of the highway, you’ll really feel compelled to cease. The corn on the cob stands out as the sweetest you’ll ever style.

Katie Pix at roadside produce stall

Arowhon Pines hotel

Arowhon Pines hotel

At 7,653 sq km (2,955 sq miles), Algonquin park is huge – you possibly can match Cornwall inside it, twice. My resort, the Arowhon Pines, was completely situated subsequent to a small lake. The foremost central constructing has an enormous fireplace pit out entrance, and little wood cabins scattered among the many timber. It appears like one thing out of a Bear Grylls journey.

Spend the afternoon swimming within the lake. Everyone eats communally on the lodge and so they ring a bell to sign dinner. The meals’s spectacular. I had the seafood linguine with large scallops, adopted by freshly caught lake trout, and a scrumptious cheesecake made with hand-picked blueberries. Heaven.

Day 5: A dawn canoe and the freshest bass

Canoeing in Algonquin park

Time to rise up early (sorry, I imply 5am) and take a canoe out into the center of the lake to observe the dawn. This is such a serene second – I feel it’s the one time in my life I’ve been conscious of utter silence. The solely noise comes from the sound of your paddle on the water. That is, till the native “loon” birds begin their morning name across the lake – nature’s model of an alarm clock. As the solar got here up, it created essentially the most unimaginable mist over the floor of the water. It’s a second that may stick with me for a lifetime.

Later on, go fishing. Local Frank Kuaick has been displaying guests around the park for 74 years – he’s 84 now! – and is aware of Algonquin higher than anybody. He’s full of wonderful tales, just like the time he fought off a bear one-handed, and catches fish on daily basis for lunch and dinner. Under his professional tuition, you’ll be able to’t fail to catch a bass or two, which he’ll then take to shore, grill and serve. It’s a implausible expertise.

Fishing with Frank Kuiack

Day 6: Mushrooms and marshmallows

I lucked out on my ultimate day and went foraging within the forest with David Cooke, Arowhon’s head chef. We collected chanterelle mushrooms, wild horseradish, edible wild flowers, and pine needles – and, again on the fireplace pit, he cooked all of them up with some freshly caught trout. Canada’s culinary tradition is all about utilizing the bounty that grows round you – the forest-to-table dynamic.

On your final night, say farewell to Ontario across the fireplace with toasted marshmallows and loads of Muskoka beer. Miles from the lights of a metropolis, it’s the best place to put down on the dock and watch the celebs. Seeing the Milky Way from there’s totally unimaginable. It made me really feel so grateful for being someplace so lovely, and I can’t wait to come again.

Photography: Sebastien Rist

Feel the serenity of Ontario with a Canadian Affair journey

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