Growing up, I spent my summer holidays at our cottage on Lake Simcoe.
When my Father was a bachelor, he purchased a bright red, canvass covered, cedar strip, Peterborough canoe with sponsons, or pressurized air pockets, down the sides. It and his 1927 Hupmobile were his pride and joy. He kept his car in top shape and his canoe in ship shape.
Then he married my Mother. They had two daughters and all things changed. He had to share his beloved canoe with a family.
When we went out for a ride, it was a special time. The lake would have to be as smooth as glass.
He would announce at supper that we would paddle to Tent City for ice cream cones. Big Cedar Point was directly across the water from us and Tent City was around the Point.
It was quite a ritual to get the canoe ready. Actually, when I was a teenager it was downright embarrassing, but I digress. First the canoe was wheeled down to the dock and tipped in.
Then rugs, pillows, back rests and paddles were placed inside. My Grandmother was next, then my Aunt, my Mom, we four kids, the dog and finally my Dad shoved off. Everybody knew their spot and
everybody knew the boat rules. My Father was very strict about his canoe. We kids were never allowed to take it out on our own.
In spite of all this, we loved going for a paddle. My seat was on a pillow at the very front, in the bow. It was fun to drag my hand in the water, hold up my arm, and my nails looked very long. We kids had our own paddles and we paddled carefully when asked, remembering never to scrape the edge of the canoe. My Dad had taught us all how to paddle, dip and pull, quietly like the First Nations people who lived on the islands. There were very few boats on the lake back then, other canoes, sailboats and some small motorboats.
In our bay, a doctor owned a spiffy launch. When he took it out the whole bay knew. We heard the growl of the motor and we’d rush to watch it go by. We’d wave and wish we could go out for a ride but we were never invited.
In our canoe, we would arrive back at the cottage about dusk, just in time to put everything away, then go inside and light the lamps. As a kid, to see the sun set across the water and the moon rise over the bay
was truly a delight.
Remembering times like these gives me great pleasure. I was a very fortunate little girl.
Do you have special memories of times at your cottage? Please feel free to send them to me and I will post them on the blog.
Until next time,
Photo by Tony Belissimo: Dusk at Lake Simcoe