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.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Picture possibly Perfect?

Sunset, November 20
I have been asked to submit some pictures for a local Yearbook...

"You have some fabulous pictures on your Blog," said this wonderfully encouraging reader. "You should submit them."

He has told me a few of his favourites, and I'm gathering them up in a file.

Did we post a photo this year that really caught your eye? If so, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fog to Sun to Sunset, What a Thankful Day

It started with thick fog.

That condensed into little sparkling drops on the wings of our Brenda Wainman-Goulet sculpture of a red tail hawk, who soars across our lawn in memory of our Dad, Paul Tapley. His passion was flying.

The colours change by the minute as the sun tries to burn through the fog. Somewhere out there, beyond Anchor cottage, lies the Point we love to swim to in the summer.  And beyond that... invisible, the island.

After the sun won out, the middle part of the day was spent bedding down the last of the gardens.  This pansy was putting on a brave face going into winter.  It was almost a t-shirt day today, just lovely weather to be out and about.   There were several deer on the lawn enjoying the grass buffet and the mild weather.  Days like this are a bonus to help us finish up the outside jobs that need to be crossed off the list before the snow comes in to stay.

There are always chores to do in the barn. Achmed kept a close eye on the proceedings today.

The deer were not our only visitors. A mink had been scurrying along the beach.  So, too, raccoons who are not yet hibernating.  Over at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, their resident Momma Bear has already tucked herself into her den for the winter. She's missing out on some glorious sunshine...

Nobody does artwork like Mother Nature. Right where the water meets the land She has created an intricate collage.

And not content with that, She painted the sky into a lovely sunset.  We are constantly left awestruck by the delicate shades and reflections that come with late autumn sunsets.  Who could resist wandering down to the water's edge to soak up this scene?

Certainly not Taffy, who herself seems to change colour to blend with the reflections in the still waters.

This is American Thanksgiving. We have guests here, refugees from the hectic pace of Black Friday.   There is no shortage of gifts in this Life for which we give thanks.

This place is definitely well up there on the List.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Here's a tiny slice of history, coming to beautiful life!

The S. S. Bigwin, sailing on the waters of the Lake of Bays this past week, is a welcome sight.

In 1910, James Kuhn launched a steamship on Lake Muskoka, named for his wife, Ella Marie.   They summered at Belle Isle, but when the Kuhns very sadly fell off their own Financial Cliff about 15 years later, the boat was sold to C.O. Shaw. 
She was relocated to the Lake of Bays to serve as a ferry for Bigwin Inn.

Her next 45 years were spent carrying guests such as Clark Gable, Louis Armstrong, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo and other 'glitterati' of the age to the world-class Bigwin Inn.  As the other, bigger, steamships left the lake, the S.S. Bigwin became the only ship servicing the resort, running across to the mainland at Norway Point.  Gradually, with the ascent of the automobile, the fortunes of the Island resort waned, and the legendary Bigwin Inn herself tumbled into financial hard times.  Around 1970 the doors closed for good. The ship was abandoned in the boathouse slip, where she sank.  In 1991 a group of local enthusiasts spearheaded by the Dwight Fire Department and Ross Boothby conspired to raise her, and float her to a property in Port Cunnington where restoration started on her in 2002.

66 feet in length, and registered at 25 tons, she is a small lake steamer, but very elegant and conjures memories of times past that are worth both saving and savouring.  Jeff Gabura formed the Lake of Bays Marine Museum as a registered charity to fund raise for the restoration. Through countless hours of hard work, and we hate to think how much money raised, she was re-launched on the Lake in 2010, on her 100th birthday, and was on static display at Dorset.  Fundraising continued to equip her with an engine.

One of only four steamships remaining from that era, the S.S. Bigwin joins the Wanda III (on static display only) and the operational RMS Segwun and RMS Wenonah -- who's cruises from their base in Gravenhurst are rated as one of Canada's top attractions.

We're thrilled this autumn to welcome the S.S. Bigwin back onto the lake, away from the dock, and sailing. What a wonderful sight! She headed out for her 'shakedown cruise'  this week through Trading Bay.

She is now out of the water for the winter, while restoration continues. If you'd like to contribute to her journey and help her sail the Lake of Bays again next summer, the Marine Museum would welcome any contributions.  But beware - you may have to line up to get on board...  there's lots of people who've waited a long long time to join her sailing!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cheers to you

This has to be one of my all time favourite 'captures' of a moose!  Look at this splendid bull, his rack still ragged with velvet, doing his impersonation of a waterfall!

I'd love to give the photo credit, but sadly it showed up on my Facebook page,  from a site called Save our Green with no attribution for the photographer. Who's gosh darned excellent, we'd like to add.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gardens to Bed, Chickens to Play

The hens love it when we mulch the gardens for winter. Almost as fast as we get the straw or leaf mulch down, they hop in and start re-arranging it.

November Light

 It gets dark earlier, true...

But you cannot beat the quality of light that comes with the late afternoon November sun.  Or the sunsets.

These were taken this afternoon, about 4 p.m., as the sun dropped through some low cloud and lit up the lake through the tree branches.

Just wanted to share the beauty, and remind everyone, get outside!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Walk to Welcome Winter

This time of year brings conditions that change with the minute. Mornings are cold. Days can be mild -- or freezing. The nights, when clear, bring Northern Lights.

And Frost starts to make an appearance.

There is nothing that paints like Frost.

Look at the patterns in this puddle, the way the leaf is trapped, the colours beneath. Wow.

At the pond, a thin film of ice traps ice bubbles, and reflects back trees and sky.

Water stills, and that stillness brings its own patterns.
It's good to take a moment to be still oneself, just to look.

Not that Taffy can be still for long. She adores romps in the woods, sniffing along the edges of the pond, checking for frogs,squirrels, the invisible trails of deer.

Weather always looks worse through a window. This is a great time to put on the appropriate gear and get outdoors!

Lighting our Lives

 The trick to getting the Christmas season lights up is to get it done before the snow falls and the weather is so cold your fingers stick to the light strings.

Brian and Carol tackled the job last weekend.  We are unclear on just what role Taffy was filling, but she was most attentive.

It is hunting season -- our deer have  it figured, however.  Snuggled down for a little rest by the Play Cabin is the safest place to be.

This doe enjoyed the entertainment of Carol clambering in the branches.

Brian kept her supplied with light strands, acted as engineering and electrical support, figured out the timers and helped lift the strands with the long pike pole.  Between them, the job is done.   We'll be ready to light up the night!

This is the same tree, by the way, that Carol climbed a few years back, shaking down the apples so that the bear would stop climbing up and breaking the branches.  The plan was sound, until the mother bear and her two cubs arrived, plunked themselves down underneath the tree and waited for the apples to fall, trapping Carol, up in the branches, frantically shaking down the fruit and calling for back-up on her phone...


I was honoured to be asked to speak at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Dwight this past weekend, representing the Township of Lake of Bays.

This memorial was built by members of the community. The service is run jointly by the Lion's Club and the Legion. This year it was good to see the Cadets present as well. 

I had a few people ask me, afterwards at the tea, for a copy of my words. It's nice to be asked.  So, for those who may want to see the copy, here it is.  Never forget.  We got here, to this place and this time, riding on the shoulders of the giants who fought the wars for us, bless them all.

Thank you. Thank you for coming here, on this day, at this place, to join in thanking those that made our country, our freedoms, our lives possible.  We gather on this date, marking the end of the War to End War.  Sadly, that was not so.  It seems now so distant, that almost a century past, at 11 a.m. on November 11th, the guns fell silent.

Almost a century.  And since then, the tide of events has been so dramatic, so vast and all – consuming, a world has been created beyond the reach of imagination. But this world we live in, well, we got here on the shoulders of giants. We got here on the courage and sacrifice of all those who came before, all those who marched to war, all those who stayed behind, all who returned.

Almost a century. The memories fade, dim at the edges like old photos, and yet they are not forgotten. Generals refer to campaigns as “theatres of operations.” It's easy to think of wars as a different kind of “theatre”, something  watched on big screens. The truth is that war is terribly real, and terribly close. Freedom is Never Free, and nobody ever goes to war alone. Like a stone thrown into still water, the ripples expand until everything is encompassed. Nothing remains untouched.   In war, it is said, there are no unwounded soldiers.

When it comes to holding memories, however, theatre has a place. An older war has suddenly come back into our focus this year, the War of 1812, two centuries past, stood up off the pages of history in a series of dramatic re-enactments and documentaries. For most this was a war barely remembered beyond the boxes of chocolates bearing Laura Secord's name. It remains the only war fought on Canadian soil, for which we should all still be grateful. It was pivotal in forging the country we live in, and gave us the nation's first 'anthem', The Maple Leaf Forever.’  

So this year, that distant War of 1812 has been commemorated -- to be honest, more north of the border than to the south.

This has not been the only long past War that flashed into the spotlight this year. World War One, that great war, the war to end all wars, the war that brought us to this day, this hour, this moment of Remembrance, has faded from most minds like old photographs. There are no veterans left alive to tell of that war.  But there are stories still to be told, and lessons still to be learned. This year, marching onto cinema screens and theatre stages came WAR HORSE.  We often overlook that we took these patient companions with us in our wars. Since Alexander the Great armies have marched with cavalry.

 Over 8 million horses died in war service during WWI.

Cavalry didn’t disappear with the advent of the machine gun.  One of my friends was a
Polish general who rode in the last cavalry charge of WWII -- in Poland. They charged a division of German Panzer tanks. In desperate times, one fights with what one has.

During the battle of Nevada Cities in Korea, a little mare named Reckless made, in just one day, 51 trips to the front lines of the battle -- carrying ammunition to the troops, and carrying
injured soldiers back to the field hospital. She made those trips with no handler at her head, during some of the worst shelling of that war. (as an aside, during the course of that battle she carried over 40 tonnes of ammunition to the front lines)  It is inconceivable to us now, but they are still there, active cavalry serves to this day in some of the conflicts in the Middle East in
regions that are inaccessible to vehicles.

We took dogs to war with us as well. During WWII, in Germany alone there were over 80,000 Working Military Dogs. This year, the USA gave a Medal of Honour to Cairo, a Military Dog that was instrumental in locating Osama Bin Laden. In the face of the horror of the human toll War exacts, it is easy to overlook the animals that served, but they deserve a place in memory, as a reminder that war reaches everything, changes everything, leaves nothing untouched. It is easy to forget that the ripples of the War flood over everything, washing away generations.

The faces of those who were there during the Great Wars get older. Young faces come forward from more current conflicts.  It is important to collect the memories, that they never be forgotten.   The veterans have lessons we still need to learn.

When Peril is Past, Shall Gratitude Sleep?   “Freedom is never free.” Every day is a gift...

So thank you, all. Thank you to those who fought, and those who let them go. To the community that came together to build this cenotaph, to those that keep the memories. These moments, this hour, this day, we dedicate to those who were lost to gain us this gift. We come to honour those who never returned, and to those who did, those heroes among us today.  We stand in silence to commemorate the eerie silence that fell over their battlefields on this day, and the silence that fell in homes to which they never returned.  And in this place where to be immortal is to be remembered, we declare of all our fallen – “they are not missing. They are here.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Leaf Off

 Last flight for the season.  Time to tuck the plane up for the winter

The leaves are down, and what a different look it gives the land!

A Hunting They Will Go

Hunting season is upon us.

Now, I get it.  I get that the current deer population of deer around here is abnormally high. Riding my horse, I have often seen more than twenty deer in a one hour wander.  Too many deer puts too much pressure on the woodsand that's not a good thing. Too many deer browsing out the understory results in forests that aren't as healthy as they should be.   It is not all that unusual  find a young deer, in late March, starved to death at winter's end, and that is terribly sad.  We have an active wolf pack -- deer are one of the mainstays of their diet here.  And we get that some folk really like the flavour of venison.

I have no issue with those who are hunting ethically. Those hunters have a huge respect for the environment, for the animals they hunt, and for the preservation of the wilderness.   Do not get me started on those who merely Trophy Hunt, or poachers.

Last year both Dave and Mike took the Hunter Safety course. They learned correct gun handling, hunting etiquette, the right way to be safe (and be sure everyone else is also safe) in the woods with weapons.   This fall they went for a day with Herman, one of our long time friends, for a day's hunting.  That was a learning experience as well. They spent time on the stand, watching the woods and becoming more educated in the ways of the deer.  That was excellent. Herman is an experienced hunter, so they were mentored by one of the best.

Mike was the one who spotted the big buck, following a doe along one of the runs.  Herman took the very clean shot.    Then the BMD got to learn all about what happens next, and Herman was quite relieved that he didn't have to carry this 250 pound, 9 point buck, out of the woods by himself.

And, give the lads their due, they are already looking up recipes for venison.

Meanwhile, back at the resort, there are deer snuggled down on the lawn daily, perfectly safe from hunters while they stay on the property -- and they seem to know that.

So, while on a personal level I do not hunt, I respect those who, correctly, do. And I support the education of the next generation of hunters.

Monday, November 5, 2012

You Know I Can't Hear You When the River is Running

Look who I found today!

Swimming in the rapids of the Oxtongue River, this pair of beavers entertained Jacquie and I for quite some time.  Taffy had to go on leash so she wasn't tempted to jump in and join them -- very dangerous, that, with the river running fast and cold.

The pair were busy putting the finishing touches on their winter lodge and food supply.  It is carefully located in the middle of the river, where it is well protected.  It amazed me that they had been able to fix their food supply securely near this lodge, in the midst of the river flow, but they had...

A trail of snipped off trees along the shoreline, all neatly sharpened to pencil points, tattle-tales their presence.

This was one big beaver -- we know, because he swam very close to us along the shore, hanging in the current for his 'close-up'

He had a careful eye on us all the time, however, and frequently punctuated the river with a big tail slap.   I was able to capture one of these on this video-- it is a little shaky in spots, where I was trying to keep Beav in the viewfinder while not finding myself in the river next to him! Enjoy!

Just Crepes, Just Great

Brian and I were in Port Carling this week, joining a seminar on tourism.  A topic where we've got some mileage on the clock.

Port Carling in November is pretty quiet. The town mostly closes after the Cranberry Festival, taking a deep breath before winter arrives in earnest.

We were pleased to find a restaurant open. One I've never been to, as it happens.  Just Crepes was quite the find. Brandy, our server, was a joy. The decor was fun, the place was clean, and -- cut to the chase -- the food was great.

They have opened a small pub on one side of the restaurant.  It's good to see new places opening, and established places expanding. It's good to find places we can recommend to our guests when they are driving through the region -- which, did we mention, was twice selected as the Destination of the Year by National Geographic Travel editors.