About

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GREAT LAKESIt makes me smile when broadcasters across the Great Lakes add “. . . colder by the lake” to the end of a weather forecast. That phrase, a true one, has been part of daily living all my life. I’ve always lived close to one of the lakes, and spent summers on them too. There is no better feeling than the invigorating chill of the microclimates they create. (Click the map for a closer look)

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georgian-bay-icon I live now on Georgian Bay, an inland sea braced to the west by the Niagara Escarpment and to the east by rugged bedrock flattened out by glaciers. It is an island-studded paradise 190 km (120 mi) long by 80 km (50 mi) wide that I have yearned to live on all my life.  See more on Tumblr.

  • If you want to know more about Living by the Lake

photo-gallery-1I’ve done many circuits of the Great Lakes over time. My grandmother ran a fishing lodge at Red Bay on the Bruce Peninsula. Our family spent summers in the village of Bayfield on Lake Huron, and I went to camp on Lake Michigan near Traverse City. My parents’ life took them from Ontario to Ohio on Lake Erie and I went to grad school on Lake Michigan outside Chicago.

Time in Thunder Bay introduced me to the incredible beauty of Lake Superior’s north shore. I’ve crossed from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island on the Chi Cheemaun ferry countless times. I’ve lived in The Beach neighborhood of Toronto, in the historic lakefront town of Oakville and in recent years, tucked high up under the Niagara Escarpment with a long view of Lake Ontario from the top of my street.  But I’ve never lost my reverential love of Georgian Bay.

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80 replies »

  1. Love Lake Michigan especially! I was from the greater Chicago area and northern Indiana growing up so the “Big M,” as my father called it, was a big part of our lives.

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    • Lake Michigan is the one I know the least about, even though I’ve spent time on that lake and know its incredible beauty. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to let me meet you.

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  2. Beautiful photos. I visited Niagara for the first time last Sept. and drove by lake Erie as well. I am an ocean person and I was surprised how much the lakes reminded me of the ocean.

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    • Funny you should leave that comment tonight. We were just talking here about exactly the same thing, given that the lake looks like the ocean tonight, misty, tumultuous and unpredictable. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. Good morning! Thanks for your like on my “360 into spring” post, so glad you stopped by and led me to your blog. Love the photos, and exploring a new part of the Great Lakes. Grew-up in Cleveland and the words “lake effect” usually meant snow piled high! Looking forward to enjoying your writing and view on the world from the lakes. Patrice

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  4. I spent a lot of my childhood in Upstate NY and love the lakes there as well as those in NW New Jersey. Lake effect weather of all kinds is my favorite environment. I am looking forward to reading and immersing myself in your lake posts. Wonderful photographs, too.

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  5. If by chance or on purpose you find yourself on the section of the Bruce Trail north of Hope Bay on the Bruce Peninsula say hello when you come out of the woods onto Cathedral Drive, and into the Hope Ness area. I’m right there, I hear what you’re saying about Georgian Bay, and I’m happy to have found your great blog. From another journalist looking for a new, creative trail. By the way, there’s a wonderful lookout over the bay from those woods. They used to be called Cathedral Woods by Wilma Butchart who lived here before me, but the Ontario Parks people found it necessary to rename them, the Hope Bay Forest. The mature hardwood tree canopy reminded her of being in a cathedral. Works for me.
    Phil

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    • Great connection, one journo to another. We’ve only been in the area full time for half a year (from the GTA) but know the Bruce well. Love to come out of those woods and meet you at some point. Thank you.

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      • Great. I came to the peninsula, to Hope Ness, 37 years ago. Fell in love with the area, found many wonderful places. I think for example of the flowerpot formation just below the brow of the escarpment in the Cape Chin area. You can put your head against the rock on the way down to it and hear the water running; then further down, past the big rock, it comes out along a rock ledge, like a string of pearls. Magical.

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  6. I am glad you stopped by to see my blog and thank you for the like. Where I am from, the saying is once you get sand in your shoes you never want to leave. I spent 26 years in the Navy and quite a bit of the time I was surrounded by water. I especially like the nights on the water. At night the sky glittered like diamonds. Out at sea we didn’t have the atomosphere haze to filter the view. I still live near the water, close to the Chesapeake Bay. The water is so mysterious some times you can’t read its temperament. Storms on the water come quick and hit hard then leave as fast as they come. Sorry about this I didn’t mean for this to be a letter. Just couldn’t stop. LOL

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    • Glorious connection to the sea, you have. The experience is not completely different on a lake (except of course no tide), including how close and beautiful the sky becomes on water. Thank you so much for the comment, which is a reminder of how we all react when we get the opportunity to experience the water.

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  7. Hi, Tank you for liking a blog post I made for the daily prompt ‘price’ the other day. It was the first time I did the daily prompt and the first time I had ever posted any poetry online so I’m extra happy that anybody liked it :).

    I wish I lived where you live, it looks so beautiful. Unfortunately I live near a river right now (in the UK), but it’s very industrial and looks nothing like your stunning location.

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  8. One summer in my youth, my unit and I left Girl Scout camp in Michigan to hike a portion of the Bruce Peninsula – Tobermory to Owen Sound. One of my best memories is dipping my cup into the crystal clear, no-need-to-filter water and re-hydrating whilst gazing upon pristine beauty. I remember remarking to one of my fellow backpackers that I would be happy to sit there for the rest of my life, sun on my face, looking out over that sparkling water and drinking in the pure bliss.

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  9. Most of my life growing up, from age 6 to almost age 20, I lived by Lake Ontario….so I totally get why it is called colder by the lake. Now following your blog…I like your writing style and want to read more! =)

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  10. Hi there. I spent many days and nights in the area of Georgian Bay with my parent and siblings as a teen. We would drive up there from Southern Ontario for a holiday at Pine Tree Harbour on the Bruce Penninsula. I loved it! I am a new blogger and have enjoyed you post very much.

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  11. Though geographical, your article is fictional in beauty. It makes me want to travel there, write and make love to a woman in that nostalgic surroundings. It is Canada right! I have made kids mark all those great lakes in the map. Anand Bose from Kerala

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  12. If you live on Georgian Bay you’re likely familiar with Wiarton — and maybe even Purple Valley ON in Bruce Co. where my Watchorn ancestors settled when they came to Canada. The patriarch received a grant of land from the King for services rendered — and found it rock-strewn & bare. Thanks a lot, Your Highness! 🙂

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    • Yes indeed. Wiarton has the library where I spent hours as a child while my grandmother – who ran a fishing lodge across the Bruce on Red Bay, near Oliphant – shopped for provisions. I don’t know Purple Valley yet, though. So I shall have a look. Rock-strewn and bare is common here, you’re right. Thank you for the info! And for stopping by.

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      • Purple Valley isn’t much more than a signpost now, in south-central Bruce County. My husband and I drove through there once long ago. I can imagine what the ancestors thought when they got a look at the rich Canadian farmland they’d been given. Lots of stones for building stone fences, though. 🙂

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  13. I love your blog, sweetie, and thank you for sharing your love and the photos of the Great Lakes! I’m a life-long (60 years) Michigan resident so I most definitely share your Great Lakes love. I have played in and swam in all of the Great Lakes, except for Ontario, but that is on my bucket list. Thank you for following my blog and allowing me to enjoy yours in return! 🙂

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