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travel at home

home on the Water

Houseboating through Ontario’s stunning Kawartha Lakes


story by

Tim Johnson | photography by Jenn Smith Nelson

didn’t know what the Waterway, a canal system and linear helm was, exactly—that National Historic Site of Canada is, until I was in it. A that cuts through 386 kilometres seasoned expedition of prime Ontario cottage country cruiser—I’ve been on that includes 45 locks—36 convenboard ships bound for tional, two flight locks, two lift locks Antarctica, the Galapagos and a marine railway—connecting and plenty of other Georgian Bay with the Bay of Quinte. remote lands and islands—but I was here to tour my old backyard, never on the bridge or behind the on board a boat. wheel. But before I knew it, I was As evening closed in, I piloted us piloting a 50-foot monster, 40,000 across picturesque Pigeon Lake to floating pounds of pleasure craft, the north side of Big Island, cruising a tri-level floating home, complete in tandem with another group of with kitchen, lounge and multiple friends on a separate, identical boat bedrooms. I have been appointed (the SS Happy Too). We tied up the official captain of the SS Happy to some trees, then rolled out the One—and that terrifies me. gangplank and went on shore for a Still close to shore, in a small campfire. Then we bedded down for marina owned by Happy Days the night in our compact but comHouseboats, owner Frank Quast fortable cabins—the massive boat keeps a watchful eye over my included four bedrooms, a barbecue, shoulder, giving instruction in short, a fully equipped kitchen (complete staccato bursts as I seek to prove with stainless steel appliances) and a my proficiency behind the wheel by huge rooftop deck for stretching out docking her amongst many similar and watching the stars. vessels. “Stay on the high side of In the morning, we set sail for the wind!” he tells me. “Now feather the two busiest locks on the entire your way—just shimmy up there!” waterway, soon coasting through Furiously cranking the wheel to the the narrows—called Big Bob left and right, my eyes dart around Channel—past the waterside homes . . .before I knew it, I was like a madman, watching my rear and cottages in the charming village through the back door (just past Bobcaygeon. Its name a derivapiloting a 50­-foot monster, of the microwave), the port side via a tive for a First Nations word meaning 40,000 floating pounds of closed-circuit camera and the star“shallow rapids,” this was the locaboard through an open window, as tion of the first lock on the system, pleasure craft. . . my trusty deckhands—two friends, one poorly built by lumberjacks in also with no prior experience 1833 to float logs bound for nearby I was in the Kawarthas, a chain of whatsoever—prepared the ropes. Feeling railway. Handing over the wheel and trying picturesque lakes strung about 90 minutes’ like a 747 on final approach to the runway, I my hand at being a deckie, I hummed a few drive northeast of Toronto. A native son angled the hulk toward the flat edge of the lines of the famous Tragically Hip song of the of Peterborough—the largest city in the dock, carefully gearing back my power as same name while looping a rope around a region—I grew up watching houseboats the behemoth closed the last final inches, mooring cable at the side of Lock 32. Driving pass by from the shore. They were makfriends at front and back hopping out and a houseboat can be stressful—it literally ing their way through the Trent-Severn tying the vessel off. Perfect landing. feels like you’re driving an entire house, often July/August 2015 Just For Canadian dentists


Profile for Just For Canadian Dentists

Just For Canadian Dentists July 2015  

Just For Canadian Dentists July 2015 -On the water in the Kawarthas -From Paris to Provence

Just For Canadian Dentists July 2015  

Just For Canadian Dentists July 2015 -On the water in the Kawarthas -From Paris to Provence