|Lake Manitou, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada- view from our cabin|
My childhood summer memories are spread across two hemispheres and much travel. I was born during a summer thunderstorm in January and my Christmas break from school was also our summer holiday. I remember trips from Durban to northern, higher, cooler altitudes during the hottest season as well as weekends at the beach on the Indian Ocean. I had no sense of seasons in South Africa.
In Canada, I enjoy the marked change of seasons but prefer the transitional ones, fall and spring. My perfect calendar would include two months of May and two of September, sacrificing November, December or even July. Some of our best holidays have been in September and October.
|Lake Huron at Goderich, Ontario|
I love the months we can sleep with the bedroom window open and when going outdoors is comfortable and convenient. Canadian winters are beautiful, treacherous, long and unpredictable. In our area of Ontario, summers are hot and humid and mosquitoes and other biting insects keep me away from my favourite trails. We have stayed in summer cottages in central Ontario where mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies have left us with scores of welts and sleepless nights as whining insects buzz in our ears.
|Common Loon on Manitoulin Island|
In my opinion, the only place to spend an Ontario summer vacation is on a LARGE body of water where insects are kept away by lake breezes. I love the beaches on Lake Huron and we vacationed at Southampton for several years when our children were small. Now, we usually spend a week on Manitoulin Island, the world's largest freshwater island in Lake Huron. The sound of waves, the call of the loon, the full moon on the water at night all speak the best of summer to me. A Muskoka chair, a good book and a cup of tea at the water's edge is a picture I keep in my mind on stressful days at work.
|Inukshuk on the shoreline of Lake Huron at Goderich, Ontario|
One thing I would advise my 20-something year old self would be to settle and work in a community on one of the Great Lakes. We are within 1 to 2 hours driving distance of Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron but I would love to experience their moods every day, not just in the summer. Perhaps that will still happen.