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Read the following article written by Gary about Life by the Water!
Memories of Summers Past ~ Water
Life By the Water!
By: Gary McWilliams
Whenever I think of the summer, I think of water. I know that that might sound strange, but summer and water have always seemed to play a big part of my life.
My first serious encounter with water came when I was a baby (about 1 year old). It happened in Southampton where my parents had their cottage. My mother charged my older sister and brother to look after me. They took me to the beach where they met their friends. To keep me occupied and quiet, they put me in the water. I guess that I must have traveled a little too far and then fell. My brother and sister were too busy with their friends to notice that I was in trouble! Fortunately a neighbour saw my plight and rescued me from my first “swimming lesson”! I don’t think that my mother was very amused!
A few years later, we moved to Thorncrest Village in Etobicoke (now in the western part of Toronto). A new pool and club house were available to Villagers, so my parents signed me up for “real” swimming lessons. This is where I learned how to swim. During those first summers, I became “water baby” as I spent most of my time at or in the pool. At the end of each summer, the Village held an “end of the summer” water sports meet. All of the kids in the Village participated in different water sports. My favourite was water polo but my best events were the swim races. Over the years I was able to win a number of trophies.
I think that my parents tired of driving the long distance (back them) and decided to take the family to a month long vacation at the Matabanick Inn located on Boshkung Lake (Algonquin Highlands). We ended up vacationing there for the next 8 years. During that time I swam like a fish and learned to operate a motor boat. I can remember taking long lone boat rides around Lake Boshkung, exploring the shore and inlets and singing at the top of my voice. I felt the freedom that only happiness can bring!
Eventually my mother and father decided that they wanted to own their own cottage. After much searching, they decided to buy a wonderful cottage on the Lake of Bays. The cottage was located on a beautiful bay near the Village of Baysville (Muskoka). My mother and I would stay there for the whole summer. Once again I was able to boat and swim to my heart’s content. In addition to boating and swimming, I learned how to waterski. Back then I was fearless and loved to slalom ski (made by me). A neighbour had set up a "Slalom Course" and I loved to a weave my way through the series of buoys. I even tried trick “Banana Skis”, but wasn't great at it!
As the year’s passed, Judi and I moved to the Peterborough (Kawarthas) area and purchased a house on the shores of Upper Chemong Lake. Living by the lake, Judi and bought a “speed” boat. Even though I hadn’t slalom skied in years, I decided to try skiing behind my new boat. I even had my old skis. You remember, the ones that I had made when we had our cottage on the Lake of Bays. My friend, Tom McTaggart, was visiting us and offered to drive the boat. After a couple of attempts, I managed to “get up” on one ski. What a feeling of triumph! In time I started to feel “comfortable” on the one ski and started to weave back and forth across the wake of the boat. I was starting to tire, so I decided that I would give Tom and Judi a show! I swung away to the left of the boat and then “dug-in” and swung back across the wake at full speed. I hit the outside wave and flew through the air! Unfortunately I started to lose my balance and ended up “flying” sideways! When I hit the water, I bounced and skipped across the water like a flat stone! Fortunately I was wearing a life belt and Tom and Judi were able to come back to me and haul me out of the water. You would think that they would be quite concerned, but the only thing I heard was a great amount of laughter. To make a long story short, the only thing that I suffered was a few broken ribs and a loss of dignity!
Since then we have always lived near water ~ Port Perry (Lake Scugog), Cobourg (Lake Ontario and Rice Lake) and now, Thornbury (Lake Huron – Georgian Bay). At one time we even stayed own our boat for 7 months. I don’t think that I will ever lose my love for Ontario lakes. Fortunately we have an abundance of them, so our search to experience more will never end!
One my favourite water adventures was our cruise of Lake Muskoka on the Peerless II. Captain Randy Potts, owner of Sunset Cruises, knows the Muskoka Lakes as well as anyone. Taking a cruise with him is like taking a trip through time. Several years ago, when Randy was re-building the Peerless II, I published a Special Ontario Festivals Visited Newsletter ~ “The River Rat – Captain Randy Potts” Click HERE to read this Special Newsletter.
Judy and Gary (seen in photo below with some of our Artfest Team) are currently on tour and we thank them for all that they do!