Having one of the world's biggest backyards means that nature and Canada go hand in hand. Every season in this massive country trumpets a new outdoor adventure, due to the ever changing climates in various regions. The glorious days of summer are no different as many Canadians (and thousands of travelers) take advantage of the hot weather by entering the wilderness and enjoying rugged or upscale styles of getting back to the simple things.
In Ontario, there are a variety of small lakes where picturesque cottages, hotels, children’s camps and the great outdoors live together. We stayed at the first ever J.W. Marriott Resort in Canada, located on Lake Rosseau in the Muskoka region about 2.5 hours outside of the city of Toronto.
The resort balances the wild outdoors and amazing comforts. Each day a complete schedule of activities is available; many of these are complimentary. Between the power walks in the early morning and the guided wilderness hikes and boat cruises, one has to remember to slow down, take in the fresh air and enjoy the natural beauty. Remember to bring some bug spray for the mosquitoes, which are always higher in numbers around lakes.
One popular activity is bird-watching. Throngs of people can be seen throughout back trails and forests armed with several types of binoculars and cameras, looking for the many species that call Canada home during the warmer months.
For those who want to see unique birds in action without the effort of forest travel, the resort offers a show called ‘Birds Of Prey’ where a Naturalist brings various species of our winged friends. Our show had three incredible owls and one hawk and we watched as each of them took turns flying around, squawking and entertaining the kids. The owls each ate a mouse whole and flew to the outstretched arm of any audience member wearing a thick protective glove provided by the Naturalist.
Lake Rosseau is one of hundreds of bodies of water in the Muskoka region, but it has garnered a lot of attention in particular due to the preservation of the area. Over-development is an issue currently affecting many of Ontario's natural getaways but this lake has managed to find a balance between nature and its visiting population. It is also home to many upscale cottages owned by wealthy people which makes 'cottage gazing' on the water a regular activity. NHL hockey players and film actors such as Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell and Martin Short can be seen on a regular basis at the various restaurants around the area or even waterskiing on the lake itself.
If you want to kayak, learn how to water-ski, rent a sea-doo, or take part in other types of water activities, you don't need to have celebrity status: there are various vendors and docks to visit. The JW Marriott, for example, offers guided boat cruises and personal watercraft rentals of almost every kind. From the water you can see people sitting beside camp fires, cooking up food and generally having a great time.