This summer we split our vacation time between Canada and England. Family celebrations were on the agenda: the marriage of my niece at a country wedding on an Ontario farm and the 90th birthday of my husband’s aunt on the Isle of Wight. We stayed for two weeks in Ontario and spent the entire time with family. This post is about the Canadian part.
Everything in Canada is bigger – the cars, the houses, the people. Both of my sons (now 14 and 19 years old) enjoy the Canadian side of their heritage and love spending time in Canada. Of Canada my youngest says, “It is open, not cramped. The nature is wicked, people are friendly.”
So it was no surprise that this mega truck, owned and driven by Jesse, a young man who is dating my sister’s daughter, was the source of much admiration. The couple are in their early twenties, both over six feet tall, handsome and fit. The truck is a GMC Sierra with 450 HP and has enough room in the back seat, as my son says, “For me and two ogres.” It is impossible for Jesse to pick up or drop off his girlfriend quietly; the entire house rattles when the booming engine of the GMC announces its approach. Jesse listens to country music in his truck. For a summer outing, he took my son to a demolition derby. He also took part in a “Tough Mudder” event this summer. This truck is his pride and glory:
We also visited a summer house on Ahmic Lake, owned by my brother-in-law’s brother. (This is as complicated as the family gets – promise). The original cottage was set on a beautiful spot, a point, surrounded on three sides by the lake. Since it was falling apart, the owners eventually had it torn down and replaced with their current home, a 3,500 square foot summer house with master bedroom and ensuite bath, a similar suite for their daughter, five additional bedrooms (20 people were staying there the weekend we dropped by), poker table, three fireplaces, hot tub, two refrigerators, two dishwashers, ATVs in the four-car garage and even a tennis court. Next year an outdoor pool will be added.
The lake boasts one of the oldest summer camps for kids in Canada, the girls’ camp separated from the boys’ on opposite sides of the lake. The camp is known far and wide for its swimming program. I wished my son could attend. I learned to swim in a lake (and am a good strong swimmer) and still love to swim in the cold lakes of Ontario. A kid we met said, “Up here, you just get thrown in the water when you’re litle. Everybody learns to swim.”
Here are some of their neighbours’ houses:
A number of American families have their summer homes on the lake.
This is the filling station at Ahmic Harbour:
Some families live on the lake the whole year round, skidoo-ing across the frozen expanse of white ice in the winter. I met one of those families, a young, good-looking family of athletic, outdoor thoroughbreds. The husband’s brother is the author of a brilliant novel I read while there. Joseph Boyden‘s novel, “Through Black Spruce” explores an aspect of Ontario life that has oddly been neglected in literature – the experience of native Canadians. Much of the story is set in the area north of Ahmic Lake, making it very easy to imagine – even in summer -the trapping and hunting, the pickups and skidoos, depicted in the novel. This interview with the dashing writer, though not recent, provides insight into his background and sensitivity to the native experience. The author has received high honours for his novels; I’m just new to them.