GRAVENHURST, ONTARIO – It’s intermission, and members of the band Pretzel Logic are standing on a patio outside a Gravenhurst concert venue called Peter’s Players. There’s nothing unusual about that, perhaps, but in this case they’re mingling with members of the audience on a perfect late spring night in Muskoka. A couple band members are drinking from bottles water. One is nursing a beer. But they’re all chatting with audience members about their favourite songs or about music in general. One of the singers is trying to rustle up a fishing trip for the next day. A few feet away, ... continue reading →


GRAVENHURST, ONTARIO – In one corner is a mock-up of the glorious Segwun steamship, symbol of Muskoka. In the other corner is a fabulous re-creation of an old-time Muskoka resort, complete with a front porch. In the middle are wonderful old-style postcards and a gleaming wooden boat from the days when craftsmanship was more than a marketing buzzword. Mary Patterson, a delightful historian, is giving me a tour of the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre on the Gravenhurst waterfront. It’s a fun spot with interactive displays that not only show wonderful wares but tells great stories of both society’s elite ... continue reading →


The “gallumph” sound of water bouncing off ancient rock covered in pretty patterns of moss and lichen. The way the sun gleams on the surface of a shimmering lake. A solitary pine tree, bent with the wind and eking out a living on a rocky islet. Not to mention great food, golf, sunset boat excursions, shopping, swimming, lake tours on the Segwun or Wenonah steamships, friends, quiet hikes, diving loons and old wooden boats varnished to a glossy sheen. Come summer, there’s no place on earth I’d rather be than Muskoka. I’m lucky enough to have three good friends with ... continue reading →


  MUSKOKA – I love a hotel where a general manager pitches in and gets his hands dirty. In the case of the Sherwood Inn up in Muskoka, it’s true in both a figurative and literal sense. I arrived with my Dad and a friend last week, only to see GM (he calls himself the ‘general manipulator”) Esa Paltanen in shorts and a t-shirt in the lobby. He’d been planting annuals that day and was planning to do so again the next day with a member of his family. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d prefer a GM in shorts ... continue reading →