149 Things We Love About The Great Canadian Wilderness

An Explorers’ Edge staff member takes a crack at the sesquicentennial list (in no particular order) in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday:

1. First Nations!
Putting this one right at the top of the list! When you visit this region of Ontario you are visiting the territory of many First Nations (including Algonquin Park). From Muskoka being named for a First Nations chief (Mesqua Ukee) to touring around Parry Island on Georgian Bay (Wausauksing First Nation) by boat, on and on and on you will be encountering First Nations culture, lands and many different clans. This year I’m putting it on my bucket list to learn about beading and quill box crafting at a workshop with the G’Zaagin Gallery in Parry Sound – such beautiful work (see photo). Miigwetch!

2. Bonfires
Primal. And awesome. (Just be sure to check for fire alerts from the municipality where you are.)

3. Loon Calls – the epitome of serenity

4. Wolf Howls / Guided Wolf Howls
Oh wow…when the park ranger gets them going in Algonquin Park I remember my place in the universe…

5. S’mores
Meh…not my thing but folks sure do love them…especially kids!

7. Stars!
80% or North Americans can’t see the stars due to urban expansion…this blows my MIND. Look up here at night and marvel at the brilliance above. (Photo by Sherwood Inn the other night)

8. Rocks
The Canadian Shield is STUNNING…and it’s ROCK…yes rock is STUNNING.

9. Trees
Wilderness = woods. Lots and lots of trees. Snow-frosted in the winter, brilliant shades in the fall, and lush green shade in the summer.

10. Canoeing
It’s kinda our thing in these parts…

11. Kayaking
Also our thing and some of the best sea kayaking in the nation is on Georgian Bay!

12. Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Getting to be our next big thing…

13. Swimming

14. Camping
Huge. You wanna camp? You come here.

15. Boating

16. The Boating Wave
Do this when you pass another boat…like you’ve known everybody on the lake for years…even though they’re strangers…make it look natural…not frantic…leisurely…you’ll get the hang of it…just do what the other person does…it’s all good.

17. The Peace & The Pace
You’ll feel the busyness of life drop off as soon as you arrive.

18. Cycling
Tour, train or trek – our rugged terrain, stunning wilderness and winding roads make this some of the best riding in the nation. Check it out: BikeCottageCountry.ca

19. Wood Boats

20.  Big Boats

21. Fishing

22. Docks

23. Parks
Over a dozen national and provincial parks – including world-famous Algonquin Park. Also home to the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.

24. Water Parks

25. Small Towns

26. Historic Buildings

27. Craft Breweries & A Winery
Five open breweries (with more coming soon) and one winery! Cheers! Take the self-guided mobile brewery tour!

28. Wildlife

29. Sunrise

30. Sunset
I know what you’re thinking – but sunrise and sunset are very different, especially depending on the season. Not everyone gets up early enough to witness a misty morn in the wilderness, but everyone will see a stunning sunset at some point when you visit – and the best are over the water.

31. Vistas
Amiright? Stormy Lake Lookout at Restoule Provincial Park for instance.

32. Hiking

33. Campfires
Fire’s burning, fire’s burning, draw nearer…

34. Snow

Changing gears… We are Canadian, so snow is a part of us. And we have lots of it. So come and experience an epic Canadian winter in these parts. Look at those smiles of joy for the snow…snow smiles.

35. Downhill Skiing

36. Nordic Skiing

37. Outdoor Skating

38. Snowmobiling – Brrrrrapppp.

39. Snowshoeing

40. ATVing

41. Tom Thomson
The most iconic of Canadian painters found his inspiration here. He died 100 years ago and we still marvel at his life and paintings.

42. The Group of Seven
They painted and resided here. Big time. ‘Nough said.

43. Hundreds of artists inspired today
So many incredible artists continue to be inspired by the amazing wilderness here. (Photo shows pieces by Miranda Britton)

44. The Pickerel River

42 kilometres of historic navigable waterway.

45. Georgian Bay
“The sixth Great Lake.”

46. Outdoor hot tubs

47. Cranberries & Blueberries
Fruits native to the region are made into delicious things at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery. Genius.

48. Local food scene

49. Maple syrup

50. Pampered wilderness
There’s no need to rough it in the great Canadian wilderness north of Toronto with so many great resort options to choose from.

51. Glamping
Upscale camping has come to Ontario’s cottage country. You’ll be roughing it on the soft side.

52. Ice Cream Shops

53. Golf
The best play in the nation through stunning natural landscape.

54. Park to Park Trail
230km multi-use trail that goes from the west side of our region to the east – and tons of history along the way.

55. Thousands more kilometres of trails to explore

56. Spas in the wild
Talk about serene.

57. Museums

58. Motorcycle touring

59. PWC touring

60. Patios on the water
Patios anywhere really – but the ones on the water: wow!

61. Black flies!
Part of our culture and what would we talk about in spring without them!?

67. Long weekends
Yes please. Turns relaxing in our region up to 11.

68. Pond hockey

69. Sleigh rides

70. Outfitters
So helpful!!

71. Moose viewing

72. Algonquin Park

73. Tents

74. Off The Grid
Hello Loring-Restoule!

75. Outdoor art installations in the woods
The Screaming Heads, the Tree Museum, the Artful Garden…the list goes on and on…

76.   Bird watching

77. Frogs (“peepers”) singing in spring

78. Tubing in summer & winter

79. Tracks in pristine snow

80. Resort life
(photo shows Blue Spruce Resort)

81. Charming Bed & Breakfasts

82. Fall colours
The best in Canada. Right here.

83. Water falls

84. Guided expeditions

85. Ice Trails
Arrowhead Ice Trail, the Winter Village in Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery…forested Ice Trails originated here.

86. Geetar around a campfire
Bonfire – yes. Campfire – yes. Guitar around the campfire – YES.

87. Portages
Badge of honour!

88. Polar bear dips
No thank you! Next!

89. Trestles
Okay one trestle. But it’s AMAZING. (Photo by Georgian Bay Airways)

90. Fresh air
You’ll notice a difference if you’re from an urban centre. And wow! Will you sleep at night!

91. Beach fun

92. Pets in the wilderness
They are so happy here!!

93. Sailing

94. Summer camps

95. Trail running

96. Towels hanging everywhere

97. PFDs whenever we’re on the water!
Doooooo it.

98. Festivals & Events
So many amazing festivals & events in all four seasons.

99. Lumberjack jackets

100. Crown land
Exploration to parts unknown and untamed.

101. Ice fishing

102. Loring Deer Yard
The largest gathering of deer in Ontario. Neat trails and a blind to watch the action.

103. Wilderness photography

104. Trail riding

105. Endurance events (over varied terrain)
(Photo shows Pedaling for Parkinsons in Parry Sound)

106. Live music

107. Yoga outdoors

108. Morning mist on a lake

109. Morning coffee at the lake
I live for this.

110. Buttertarts and scratch bakeries

111. Cottage chairs

112. Backcountry in Algonquin

113. Sound of water lapping against dock or shore (especially when you are in bed)

114. Stone skipping

115. Canadian flag hanging over sparkling blue waters

116. Summer regattas

117. Log cabins

118. Spring trilliums and buds on trees

119. Ice out

120. Full moon over the water

121. Northern lights

122. Fireside aperitif

123. Yurts

124. Jack pines

125. Windswept trees

126. Wood stoves

127. Skinny dippin’

128. Lakeside pools

129. Firecrackers over water

130. Fly boarding

131. Cabins and cottages

132. Outside and unplugged!

133. Skijoring

134. Four seasons

135. Winding country roads

136. Stories and bonding around a campfire (photo by Sherwood Inn)

137. Geocaching

138. Weddings in the woods
Ohmigosh these are sooooo cool. Love seeing pics from wilderness weddings. (Photo shows Sherwood Inn.)

139. The smell of rain on the landscape

140. Maps!

141. Aerial tours (Photo by Georgian Bay Airways)

142. Out houses (lol)

143. No sense of time

144. Fish & Chips 

145. Nature Deficit Disorder effective treatment

146. Unique shops and cool souvenirs

147. Happy kids

148. Relaxed adults

149. Memories to last a life time

149 reasons I love the great Canadian wilderness north of Toronto. Happy 150th birthday Canada!
~Kate from Explorers’ Edge 

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