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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Raising a Glass, a Year Apart

 Here's the difference a year can make!

Guido and Martina often come to stay with us at Easter.  Yesterday, in the Spring Sun, they were basking on the deck at Wheelhouse admiring the view of the ice on the bay and the calls of the returning birds. They were celebrating the day with a well-earned glass of wine.

Last year, same time of year, they were soaking up a suntan at Cedars cottage -- the snow was completely gone. So, come to that, was the ice. 2012 saw the ice leave the bay the earliest it ever has.

On the other hand, the first moose was seen along Hwy 60 in Algonquin yesterday.

And the sun was still sun-tan worthy...

And Taffy was still on duty schmoozing the guests...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Place your Bets

Last year was the outlier -- the earliest the ice left our Bay.This year looks much closer to the average!

there is a slight trend towards earlier ice out... The average is about April  22.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Kids do us Proud

At Water's Edge. Photo that won the Robert
Bateman Get to Know contest for Quinn.

We are privileged to meet a lot of awesome young people here at Bondi Village.  Over the years, we watch their careers shape up and take flight.

Quinn has been visiting us for a long time -- we remember him wading about in the reeds by the cook-out beach in search of frogs as a very small person. Since then, he has developed his love of Nature, the Outdoors and art and music.

Twice he has won the Robert Bateman Get to Know contest.

So we are thrilled to share this video, created as part of his application to the coveted Sheridan College Media Arts Program.  The assignment was to  describe this colour, 'ORANGE' in either words, photos or video.  If you watch closely, you will see one of our lovely Bondi Monarch Butterflies in a starring role.

And having his two equally awesome sisters Sydney and Hannah 'model' for this video doesn't hurt either!!!

Now, if only we can find a rhyming word (ha!)

And yes, he has been accepted into that program. You do us proud, Quinn. Congratulations. And congratulations to Sheridan College, for acquiring one of our amazing Bondi Kids!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ride for Heart

A good friend of  ours and a long time member of our Extended Bondi Family, Julian Swinkin,  suffered a stroke last year, in his first year of University no less...
Julian has blessedly made an excellent recovery with no lasting symptoms, and this year he is participating in the Becel "Ride for Heart" on June 2nd.
He will be riding 75 km and ahoping to raise as much money as possible to make sure that more people have stories that end up happy.  My Mom suffered a devastating stroke in 1998... I truly know why it is called a stroke -- it comes out of the silence and that is it...
For a great many people it is forever Life altering.  It is wonderful that Julian has made such a full recovery.

If you would consider helping sponsor Julian Swinkin, the link to his donation page is:

Diamonds in Ice

 Crown Jewels have nothing on us.

This picture is actually reversed, but it was too perfect a crown not to visualize it on top of Royal Head.    Although the head that wears THIS crown would be uneasy... and cold and wet. 

I found this collection of ice jewellry under the Main Dock here at Bondi today.  As the lake levels continue to dip down in preparation for the melt water that will soon be filling the lakes back up, there are wonderful pockets of ice that mix with the melting snow on the dock to form stalactites and stalagmites and creations of breath-taking loveliness.

I even found one small ice-berg that looked like one of the photos Col. Chris Hadfield has been sending home from the Space Station. While his are more exotic locales, this one, with the finely etched ice around it and the patterns on the lake bottom behind it, is rather Blake... to see the world in a grain of sand, and eternity in an hour

I nearly fell in getting these pictures, so I hope you appreciate what I do for you.

With the shades of colour in the water, the reflections, the curiously sculpted shapes, these truly are works of art.

You can see in this picture how low the Lake of Bays is just now. 

That fragile ledge of ice marks where the surface of the bay was several weeks back.

The dripping ice as the snow on the dock itself melts and trickles down forms on the cribbing below.

And here is the Crown we began with. This time, right way up.

Strange Matters

 One of these things is not like the others...

One of these things really doesn't belong...

The raccoons are awake, and hunting along the shoreline.  They do belong...  Although oddly enough they are not a native species up here. They followed the settlers back in the early 1900's. Toronto is the Raccoon Capital of the known universe.  If you check out Col. Chris Hadfield's photos from the ISS closely, you can just make out the shine of their eyes in the posts he's done of the Southern Ontario cities.  (kidding...)

 These tracks, along the edge of the ice, were placed there, like a book in which we can read strange matters.  They look like they may well have been printed by our mourning doves.

But then there is this...   someone has been running the open water at the Main Dock.  That can be fun -- and admittedly here the water is so shallow you could simply stand up and walk out, but it is a caution. Ice-aways operating on docks keep these pockets of water open. Much to the glee of the geese arriving back from the South and all the other animals who take advantage of the open water-fountain, the water never freezes.  If a sled is going fast enough, it will skim across.  In Dorset, it's not uncommon for the Puddle Jumpers to fly across almost half a mile of open water through the Narrows.   But really... it doesn't belong here...

And it tells its own story...

Good Morning, Dove

 Here's a look at one of my three vistiing mourning doves. She is waiting patiently for her turn at the feeder.

They returned last week -- although last winter they stayed around almost all season.  These are exquisitely lovely little birds, with such a mournful haunting call.

But with a face like this, I forgive them anything...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Meandering with no real Purpose

 Spring has pried loose Winter's lock grip on this little pond near Springside cottage. It is acting as a perfect reflecting pool... not to mention serving as a drinking fountain for the flock of wild turkeys.

Speaking of turkeys -- they left a message in the snow by the hangar.  Taffy wandered along beside it, trying to decipher it, but had to admit defeat... it was just 'chicken scratch' to her.

The turkeys are currently spending their time down in the swamp, where there is excellent cover and plenty of food to be found under the light snow cover.

Out on the lake, the walking (and running) were perfect.  In the distance, that small dot is a deer. At this time of year the wildlife is on the move and it is common to see the deer wandering between the Points of the Bay.

Where did all the colour go? This is our Island, the focus of our Marathon Island Swim every week in the summer. In the late afternoon light, everything went to black and white and all the shades in between.

Over by Chateau, at the far corner of the bay, I found this Sea Serpent basking on the shore...

And right outside my door at the house was this cheeky little chap...

So that was our daily wander...  We are keeping an ear and an eye out for Signs of Spring. We'll keep you posted, here at Bondi Bay!

Teaching Birds to Sing and Stars to Shine

You never know what will happen next.
I was invited to attend a function being
hosted in Dwight Saturday evening.  It was a live performance of the semi-finalists in the Long and McQuade Musical Instruments Amateur Singing Contest, with host John Santos.

The host venue was Bristlecone Lodge -- some of you will remember it as Nor'Loch Lodge. It has recently changed hands, and the new manager, Scott Martin, and his wife, have been hard at work to renew and recharge the facility.
It is wonderful to see the Resort back up and operating -- it is an asset to Dwight and all of North Muskoka.

A chance encounter resulted in them offering to host this event. Brilliant, really, as it is a perfect fit for the area and the time of the season.

John Santos, and Zack Werner opening the show
The ten performers rolled into Dwight in the longest stretch limo probably ever to grace that parking lot.

Truth is, I didn't really know what it was about.  While this is the 7th Year for this contest, it has not been on my radar.  Bringing it to Dwight certainly changed that!

Ten year old Adrianna Sarah sang in both English and
Portuguese, with confidence and lovely vocals.
I have to confess that I did not recognize show manager and vocal coach Zack Werner. I should have -- had I been a big follower of Canadian Idol, I would have...  But now I do know. Amazing man.

"It's an incentive for the performers to get out of Toronto. They've been practising for eight weeks, and it's a chance to get out," said Martin, "and a lot of them will never have been to Muskoka so it's something entirely new for them."

Victoria, another of the ten year olds... Wow!
So it was. One of the young performers commented that "It's really lovely up here. But COLD!" She should have been here a month ago...

Bella, 10, belted out some Broadway and simply
The show celebrates diversity and the contestants may sing in any language. In fact, along with the huge prizes up for grabs for the winners, there is an additional prize -- a trip for six people for a week anywhere in the world! -- for the winner singing in a language other than English.

The show is also about youth. The youngest performers were just ten years old, and wow, did they sparkle!  The 'oldest' this year was a whopping twenty years of age, but the show is open to all ages,

Marilee, originally from Ecuador...
It was great good fun. And it was refreshing to have the young singers perform without benefit of glitz and special effects.

No make-up... casual clothing... (the uniting fashion statement seemed to be mukluks and high winter boots -- see comment above about "it's COLD!")

The kids were real, down to earth, and just great.

J.R. (I apologize if I have her name wrong) took
on Beyonce's style and worked it well
The talent calibre was very high throughout the evening.  There is no 'set' style -- contestants sang everything from gospel, through pop, to Broadway.  And a whack of songs in Portuguese and Spanish for extra flavour.

The show was perhaps not so well advertised up here, and there could have been more of the 'locals' out to enjoy it. Hopefully they'll be back next year, and the word will have spread.  

Michael, one of the young adults, captivated the crowd

The winter weather this weekend conspired to mean that a lot of people were out on the snowmobile trails, enjoying the last big bash at the ski hill, or taking in Bowfire at the Algonquin -- so granted there was some competition for activities -- which just goes to show how much goes on in North Muskoka in late March. 
Stephanie, who rocked a version of Black Velvet

So, there it was. For a $5 donation which Bristlecone is donating back to the Dwight Community, we had the most fun evening. We met some great people, were treated to some wonderful music, and were inspired by these kids.  It was a real treat to see the poise and confidence exhibited by these young people. 

Alyssa, who's parents are from Trinidad and
Italy has a powerful, controlled voice. Bravo

I think for me that was the most notable part of this competition.  As well as providing a venue for people of all ages and all nationalities, it provides the contestants with training and a support system that will serve them all well in whatever career they eventually embrace.

Peter, 20, had never sung before he stepped onto
the audition stage. Good thing he did, because
he has a fabulous voice, and got my friend
Jackie's vote for best of the night.

Monica, another young singer enjoying the chance
to shine in a second language
What came to mind as I watched and listened and clapped and cheered last night was an old proverb...

It is better to teach one bird how to sing, than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.

While this contest might be new to me, it is certainly not new to the media. The Portuguese Press was there, a journalist who has been following the show since it's beginnings.

And OMNI television was out in force. In fact, the show will air on OMNI in about two to three weeks, on a program called "Culture Avenue"

So here's to John and Lisa Santos, and Zack Werner, and Stephanie the vocal coach and everyone involved in this contest.  Well done all of you.

John Santos and 2012 Juvenile Category winner
Alessandra Longshaw
And here's to the ten finalists. Run with this. Enjoy this. Learn from this.  While this performance was not judged, and was rather an opportunity to gain stage experience for the singers in a relaxed setting, when they go to the finals next month, it will be all about the red carpet and the glamour. Last year over 1000 people came out for the finals.

At the end of the evening, last year's winner, 16 year old Alessandra Longshaw sang. She is poised and confident, natural and talented.  This is just a tiny snip of her music -- you can go buy her CD when it is completed (it is currently in production, as part of her prize from last year)

thanks for the evening...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Small Beautiful World -- close the lights

A frozen gyre in the ice at Newfoundland,
 photo by Col Chris Hadfield
Over here, we say Turn the Lights On. Turn the Lights Off.

My friends in Europe say Open the Lights! Close the Lights.

We don't care how you say it, we just want to remind you that tomorrow, Sat. March 26, at 8.30 p.m. you can and should join the 1 billion people around the world who turn their lights off for EARTH HOUR.

Get a book, get a candle, and shut 'er down... Take a walk outside -- it's going to be a lovely night, complete with stars.

Remind your friends. Lots of folk say,"oh I just forgot" -- trust me, there's nothing that good on TV... so make a sign, stick it on the fridge. Remember.

If you've been living on the dark side of the moon, and haven't heard about Earth Hour, it started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

Why not go one better? Go beyond the hour. Make some serious changes in the way you use, and no doubt waste electricity. After all, it's a small blue planet, but it's all we've got. And honestly, is there anywhere you'd rather be? Take care of it...
Check out the fantastic photos of our planet that Col. Chris Hadfield is posting from his vantage point in command of the International Space Station    They highlight how magnificent, how diverse, and how very fragile this planet is, floating out there in space.  I wonder if Earth Hour will make it onto his photo stream -- I wonder if it will be possible to see, for even a brief span of time, the electric lights shut down.

Let's give it a go.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

More Fuel, More Fun -- Call Now!

Folks who book a 2-night (minimum) consecutive stay by April 19th for a visit to the region between April 20th and May 31st can register to get 1 of 500 packages ($50 gas card and $50 in cash vouchers for redeeming at participating attractions, restaurants, etc.)

Have some Fun on us!  Full details can be found at this Explorer's Edge link.

April and May are the best times to go Moose Spotting in Algonquin Park!  Well before the fly season gets going, the hiking in the Park is superb through April and early May. The birds are coming back daily, making this a perfect time of year for birdwatchers, too!

Give us a call -- book to saty, and register for one of these great Fuel and Fun packages!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring is in the Air

 Not to mention geese... who made their return today.

 Taffy has already read them the Riot Act about staying Off the Dock.  It remains to be seen if they were paying attention.

They were certainly delighted to find a small patch of open water at the main dock.

 And snowflakes, because what would March be without one really good blizzard?  Today certainly brought us that! There were moments when you couldn't see to the Point, 500 metres away across the Bay.

In fact, this coming weekend looks set to provide some of the best conditions possible for Spring skiing and snowshoeing. Even the snowmobile trails up here are going to be good to go!    Right now it is perfect (and I use the word as intended) for snowshoeing, with enough crust on the snow that the travelling is effortless and one can truly trek anywhere.

So don't hang up your gear just yet.  And don't despair...  Even with the snow, there was blue sky and sunshine. It is what we call a Passing Storm.

This isn't out of the ordinary. Spring truly is just around the corner.  You can almost see it if you just get up on a good vantage point and look closely.

So there is no need to hibernate. Out the door with you -- enjoy this fabulous little extension of the time when all is white and clean, before the mud arrives. Every Month has its own beauty and its own character. March is no exception. A changeable month always in the weather department, this snow won't last much longer.

Best to just get out there and meet it head on...

We have vacancies over the Easter Weekend. Hidden Valley Ski Hill will be open to the end of the month.  The toboggan hill is superb, and it's not so cold that you can't stay out long.

So Cheers to You March! Bring whatever... we're up for it!!!