Set on the edge of Georgian Bay, peppered with rugged barren islands which have put up a strong resistance to the invasion of man. A feeling of remoteness invokes the imagination of what the mainland once was hundreds of years ago. The region itself sits amongst the magnificent beauty of the Canadian Shield. It only makes sense that this area is home to some of the best cottage country in the world and attracts adventurous spirits to its natural wonders.
For the past five years this is where I have spent the most time. Working in between travels, living frugally and planning the next move. Parry Sound as a small city of scant 7000 itself, to be honest I’ve never thought it much to speak of, but I have always thought the region is a place of true beauty. The landscape, wilderness, lakes and rivers, but haven’t thought of it as much of a travel destination. Looking back now on the time spent here, there is adventure at your fingertips. Surrounded, at the city’s most outlying reaches. It just has to be found.
Trails abound through the thick forest, along the nearby lakes and Georgian Bay whether you’re on foot or two wheels. Once the snow flies and the lakes freeze, new paths form for snowmobile access. Countless miles to chase yourself down the rabbit hole. I tend to veer off consistently, traipsing through thorns and brush, over fallen trees and rock looking to pillage the forest’s bounty. Depending on the season some of the best local produce is free. Wild leeks, fiddle heads and morel mushrooms are the first to come in spring. By mid-summer until frost coats the ground dozens of other mushrooms pop up all over if your eyes can spot them in their camouflage. Black trumpets, chanterelles, hedgehog, porcini and chicken of the woods to name a handful. In August wild blackberries and raspberries line the intertwining bushes while chokecherries drape from trees. If the fresh air, viewpoints and meditative sounds of nature aren’t reasons enough, the land can also provide nourishment for those who know how to find it.
Finding a little corner of seclusion throughout the bush isn’t hard. Chances are higher stumbling upon a deer, moose or black bear than other people in most areas. For complete tranquility and solitude I find my sea legs and take to the countless lakes via canoe or kayak. Directly in the center, 360 degrees of placid waters, a canvas of blue skies and windswept trees reflecting in the mirror upon which you sit. Everything seemed to melt away as I dropped my line, put my feet up and waited for the fish. At the other end of the spectrum (and I only wish I owned a boat), grab the wakeboard, skis, tube or whatever you got and cruise. Some of my best days here have been on the water whether it be the lakes or between the islands in the bay.
Parry Sound being the home of hockey legend ‘Bobby Orr’, I understand that unless you are a huge hockey fan it may not be on many bucket lists out there. Renting a cottage in the surrounding area on the other hand should be. Spend a weekend or a week around campfires, in the bush or on the water. It’s a place that sticks with you once discovered. Not easily forgotten.