The first days of summer

The pink granite of the rock cut in the tiny town of Severn Bridge signals the beginning of Muskoka, Ontario’s finest playground since Timothy Eaton summered there in the nineteenth century. We spent this past weekend with family at Taboo, on Lake Muskoka, enjoying the best weather in weeks.

The resort, that includes the home course of 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir, took on a particular resonance as Weir led the Deutsche Bank Championship after three rounds, only to be overtaken today by Vijay Singh and had to settle for second.

Stories abound of McMansion cottages and noisy Sea-Doos ruining holidays, but that particular part of the lake near Gravenhurst was peaceful enough for a long canoe ride on calm waters this morning without ever being buzzed. The historic steamship, R.M.S. Segwun, still plies the lake as she has since 1887 and the setting sun remains as beautiful as I remember it as a boy. The goldfinches flit among the pines feeding on seeds while the ring-billed gulls await easier meals from children bearing bread on the dock. Even the campfires haven’t changed; they still put marshmallows on long sticks and toast them to a golden, gooey brown.

One aspect, however, is decidedly different. Many Taboo employees are from the Caribbean, brought north each year to work in Paradise. Time was when a job at a resort was the best place a student could possibly spend the summer, according to this former bellhop, anyway. Stuck in the city, they don’t know what they’re missing.

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