Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Giving Thanks for the Colour

The autumn colours are late this year, and are only now starting to come into their own.

I was in Dorset this week, and was enchanted with this scarlet vine, nicely setting off the white church behind!

the Lake is LOW

Ducks created quite the work of art on the sand at the beach this week.

The water level is very very low.  So low in fact that our ski boat is virtually beached in the boathouse (with the engine tilted fully in the UP position!)

It provides us with a great beach!

The Bees Knees

 It might be getting colder, but the bees are still busy stockpiling pollen for the coming Winter.

We found these industrious chaps in the garden this week -- two of them cosying up in a hollyhock.

And this one, in solitary Sunflower splendour.

Of geese and Sunsets

 It is that time of year -- the Canada geese are sreaming south, in huge orderly V's, pulling summer in their wake.

These are not to be confused with the larger, non-migrating sub-species of Great Canadas... who are still hanging about, a bit like some out-of-work relative...

But no matter, they will be leaving the Lake soon enough, as the weather chills and the ice comes. You'll probably be able to find them along the lakeshore in Toronto (lucky you!)

In the meantime, there was a wonderful sunset two nights ago, that featured this rather special 'Sunset Goose' in the sky.

Go with the Flow, and the Heart of the Art

 Ilona and Adam took their canoe for a little float this week, along the Oxtongue River.

Starting at Marsh's Falls, they paddled leisurely down river to Dwight Bay.

Then they turned around, and paddled (a little less leisurely, although with the water so low, there is not a lot of current just now) back up to the Falls.

We can't think of a better time of year to be on this beautiful stretch of water.  Protected as a heritage zone by the Township, a large chunk of the shoreline is in even deeper protection thanks to the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation, who recently increased their conservation area to  a total of almost 300 acres along the river.

On a calm day, the river turns into a mirror, barely registering the soft drift of a canoe.  This region is home to mink,  muskrat, otters, beaver, herons and more. Deer come tiptoeing to the edge to drink, fish laze in the deeper current carved pools, songbirds make their homes in that narrow bit where water meets land... that magical, delicate part of the eco-system that is so easily damaged by cutting trees, landscaping, even creating deep wakes with boats.   Loons, geese and ducks all have their favourite hide-aways along here.

Thanks so much for sharing these photos from your adventure.  This truly is a time of year, and a place, to restore the soul.

Many people don't know, but this river, and its headwaters in Algonquin Park and Oxtongue Lake, provided the impetus to the Canadian Group of Seven.   This is the river where Tom Thompson came, along with friends A.J. Casson, Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston and Arthur Lismer came to paint their vision of the Canadian wild.

 From this beginning, they fanned out across the country, deeper into the Park, up to the North, out to the West, but it was here that the movement began.

The Cultural group at Oxtongue Lake has been mapping where exactly along the lake and river the artists stood (or sat) when they painted some of our most iconic images, and they are in the process of installing plaques so we can all follow along, stand in the same place, and see the same landscapes.

So, no real need to haunt the McMichael Gallery (although that is also a great place to linger).  You can follow along on the River that carried the Group of Seven into our art history. Right here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Lunch With History

It was my lucky week -- I not only got to cruise on the S.S. Bigwin, but I was invited for lunch on the Island....

The general manager, Jonathan Gee was very kind and took the time to escort my friend Norma and me around the island by golf cart after our lunch.

Which was fabulous.

The old tea room has been fully restored, and it is a beautiful space. It is now being used for yoga, massage therapy and as the kitchen when there are tented events on the site of the old rotunda. So wonderful that this bit of history has been preserved and not just torn down and replaced by square box construction!

Fireplaces from the old Rotunda have also been preserved -- Norma is quite dwarfed by this one, which served two floors of the old building.

And yes, Jonathan tells us that they still work, and on occasion do have fires burning...

The views from the course are fabulous. This is the signature 6th Fairway... dropping down what seems like forever to the green, and with a wonderful view of the lake beyond.
 The old Water Tower was also restored -- and now houses and hides the tower equipment that provides for high speed internet on the Island.  Smart.    This tower was built out of cement that was hauled up from a barge on the lake on a pulley that brought up 5 gallon pails of cement on at a time -- the labourers would unhook the pail, dump the cement, and hook it back on for the return trip.  It was a constant stream of buckets... and the sand that mixed with the mortar came from our farm at Bondi. So this tower is part of our connection to this Island!

 We are told this is Chief Bigwin's Stone -- can you see the profile???

Legend says that if the stone is removed, the Island will fail, so they are careful to keep it nice and safe, just in case.

The 18th hole drops down from behind the cottages where Queen Juliana of the Netherlands lived during WWII.  There is a lot more history here than you might think!

Stepping Back to Step Ahead

 I had a great day in late September, cruising on the S.S. Bigwin all the way to Bigwin Island.

We were on board with 22 of the elders and Band Council of the First Nations Chippewas of Rama -- this is where Chief Bigwin's band moved when they left Lake of Bays, so it was rather magical to welcome them "home" to the Lake.

The lake wasn't busy -- but Dorset channel was! Two float planes arrived, to shop at Robinsons, no less!   We saw them again later, with golfers at Bigwin Golf Club!

Ruth Ross, who is co-chair of the Lake of Bays Heritage Advisory Committee, gave a great commentary on the history in Little and Big Trading Bays.    Did you know that Robinson's General Store is the site of the first Hudsons Bay Trading Post on this lake?

 The Dorset Tower began life as a Fire Watch Tower -- someone had to live up there, and keep an eye out for forest fires.  The original 'top' is now at the Visitor Centre in Algonquin Park, and you can find out more about the fire ranger system  there.  Now it makes for an outstanding viewing platform, a great place any time of the year, but particularly during the autumn colours!

Brian took this shot of Bigwin Island a few years ago. The Golf Course is now ranked among the top 10 in all of Canada.  For a good reason.  You can go there if you are not a member during May, June, September and October. During the summer, it is private to the members only.