The Cottage. Peaceful, tranquil, and all the while completely charming. Your own slice of Canada’s rugged wilderness that thankfully does not hold back one ounce of it’s beauty. It is a place to enjoy all four of our widely varying seasons, each one providing a completely different picturesque scenery. I no doubt consider myself lucky to have a family cottage that I can pick myself up and head to on a whim. There are many great things to be said and many stories to be told on this site. In my posts on The Cottage Front I plan to highlight some places to go and things to do for those that are open to suggestions. So without getting too wordy and into my life story, My name is Brian Johnston and this is my cottage intro.
My family cottage is situated on a small lake in the Kawarthas, a vast area of modest sized lakes located on the southern portion of the Canadian Shield halfway between Toronto and Ottawa. While the vision I perpetuate may be bolstered by my own bias, the family cottage is by no means the grandiose estate that you may imagine from the front of a Heart and Stroke Lottery brochure. The cottage itself was built in 1941 by my Great Grandfather and has since been passed down through the generations for mine and the next to enjoy. Like many, it is located on a small waterfront lot on a lane way with several other cottages. The lot is quaint, but by no means completely secluded, this can be confirmed by the neighbours who have spotted my father nakedly running in and out of the lake at both dusk and dawn. Thankfully these antics are not a surprise to those along the lane way because unlike cities where neighbours come and go, things haven’t changed one bit over the past half century. The cottages changed a little, the boats got a bit faster, and now you can wander along the lane way picking up wi-fi signals, but the people remained the exact same. A community of people that only know each other in the laid-back weekend mentality. A community so close to being a family that the kids approach adults by prefacing their names with “Auntie” or “Uncle”. As a child those unaware of our lifestyle likely thought I was born to a family of hillbillies because I was able to list off so damn many aunts and uncles.
While still wondering what my future will bring and where it will take me, I know where my family home is. I can safely say I have reached the age where I can sit peacefully at the cottage and appreciate the small things. My parents have most definitely noticed the trickle down effects of this as they no longer have three kids demanding to take them for a combination of boating, skiing, wakeboarding, knee-boarding, tubing, and anything else that can be towed behind the boat. Lets face it, kids literally have unlimited energy and can do all of those water sports in a day….twice. I was no exception, needing to be toured around the entire lake while doing any one of these water sports. I can now safely say that I can do one quick ski, complain about the soreness in my shoulders over dinner and then use it as an excuse to pack it in early. I am comfortable with saying this. There are no losers when it comes to going to bed early at the cottage and getting to breath in the, yep you guessed it, unbelievably fresh air.
This is my spiel to prove to you readers that although I may live in the city, being at the cottage will always have a special place in my heart. Time at the cottage is always going to be too short. Fridays at work eat up far too much of the day and Sundays always have the dreaded commute home looming on the back of your mind. Consider yourself a “Weekend Renegade“. Willing to do the drive so you can sit back and crack open that brewski or bottle of wine by the lake. We all know it tastes that much better. We all know that you have the best view of the sunset on your lake so take it in and enjoy it. Victoria Day Weekend to Labour Day always moves surprisingly quick despite the long days. So when you are watching the snow come down in January, think this is the year I make the most of my time at the cottage. I said at the beginning that I consider myself lucky. This is why.
Look for some of my weekend stories, reviews, and other musings here on The Cottage Front or follow me on Twitter: @BJohnston42