A Canadian Initiation
You may have noticed that I haven’t written in some time. You may notice this is a wild understatement… at 97 days since my last post, I think it’s the longest break I’ve ever taken. I promise it’s not without reason.
Since I last wrote in May, I have packed up and left my former hometown of York, travelled for a month around Italy, spent time in London bidding farewell to friends and family and indeed my UK life in general, re-located to Toronto, Canada, where I have experienced my first Canadian getaway already, have had to find a place to live in the city and I continue in the slightly soul-destroying hunt for a job. All the while some pretty full-on changes are taking place back in the motherland in my family (that's New Zealand, if you’re new to the blog. If you are, I desperately apologise. I don’t usually use it as a therapy platform, promise) so you might say it’s been a full-on few months.
While I have thoughts and feelings aplenty about all of the above, I am going to choose to focus on just one element of it all for the sake of A) time and B) the sanity of both author and reader. Let’s pick something fun, shall we? Let’s talk Canadian cabin country.
In the lead-up to my relocation to Canada, upon telling people of my decision to move to Toronto, I got a lot of questions about the choice, with many insisting on Vancouver as the more attractive option. While I have no doubt I would hugely enjoy the famously gorgeous west coast city, everything that sells it aligns with the kind of lifestyle I not only know is waiting for me in New Zealand, but which I plan to seek out when I return. Toronto is a big North American city, about as far from anything as what is on offer in my home country. And you know one of the best, most quintessentially Canadian things about being based here? The cabin escapes.
Ontario is a province known for its cabin country lifestyle – think chairs perched at the end of docks jutting into calm water, lakeside wooden cottages, rough rocky outcrops, leafy green as far as the eye can see, fishing boats on the water, wildlife aplenty, star-strewn stars at night, roasting marshmallows for S'mores on the bonfire as you pass hours chatting about everything and nothing, sipping beer and wine. There are somewhere around a quarter of a million lakes in the Ontario region, so instead of naming the destination of cabins which most Toronto professionals seem to escape to in summer weekends, one simply hears the frequent “we’re off to the cabin.” This is a phrase met with no questions, simply an understanding nod.
While you can get everything from the most basic, tiny wooden homes right up to the mega-mansions referred to as “the cottage” by Hollywood’s elite, for my first experience of this Ontario rite of passage, some friends and Jesse and I rented a relatively simple but lovely (just check out that living room in the pics below!) wooden house on a property that had an ideally-situated outcrop overlooking Lake Manitouwabing which we fondly nicknamed Pride Rock for the stance one felt called to adopt when standing on its edge.
I’ve been assured this is an absolutely essential part of life in Toronto, and in fact have two more cabin getaways booked for upcoming long weekends in September and October. Lake swims and fall colours, come at me. I’m desperate to experience cabin country in the midst of winter too, as I have incredibly romantic notions of a fire blazing in the hearth with a mug in my hand and nothing but an empty notebook to entertain me as the snow falls heavily outside. As you might be able to tell, I definitely plan on making this dream a reality! In the meantime, I can consider myself well and truly inducted into Canadian life. I could get used to this.
Let it be known I saw my first chipmunk, and I think we all know what my new official favourite animal is. I thought these little guys were the size of a squirrel, and found myself overwhelmed with how cute they are when I witnessed their tiny size.