Some things never change. I grew up counting down the weeks until summer when it was time for my family to drive to Muskoka, ON—“cottage country” as the locals call it.
Just a few hours north of the Canada-US border, urban landscapes and farmland give way to glorious vistas: rugged granite cliffs, lush forests and glistening lakes rimmed with rustic cabins. When I inhale my first whiff of pine and smoky bonfire, I feel a wave of bliss wash over me.
No doubt it’ll be all business when the world’s major industrialized nations meet to discuss issues such as global warming and poverty at the G8 Summit in Huntsville, ON (June 25 to 26) and the G20 that follows in Toronto, ON (June 26 to 27).
If it was up to me to plan the agenda, I’d include some relaxation time so visitors could soak up the many splendours of the region—from a loon’s cry breaking the evening stillness to dining al fresco in your swimsuit, to rubbing shoulders with the locals at noteworthy events like these:
Flavours of Muskoka at The Rousseau, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Minett, June 29:
Thanks to yummy treats like fresh grilled pickerel and cranberry wine, guests of this popular event go home with very happy tummies. Thirty-five local restaurants, breweries and wineries serve up their local best.
Antique & Nostalgia Show and Sale, Bala, July 3 to 4:
I love to hunt through junk and gems for unique vintage items. This annual event is a must-do for those seeking Canadian souvenirs: folk art, early wooden kitchen tools and vintage china (look for diner ware from Muskoka hotels and eateries).
Muskoka SummerFest, Bracebridge, July 2 to 4:
If you put the best things about a Muskoka summer together in one place, it would result in this popular cultural festival. There’s lots to drink and eat, and music aplenty (more than 20 band performances) to keep bellies full and toes tapping. My highlight? The dock dogs competition: canines of every description attempt to jump the farthest off a dock to prove who’s top dog.
Edge of the Woods Outdoor Theatre Festival, Stan Darling Park, Burks Falls, July 5:
Bring a picnic basket, kick off your shoes and let the grass tickle your toes while you enjoy great entertainment. The combination of balmy summer temperatures and the beautiful natural setting is a winner.