Being born and raised in the North York neighbourhood of Toronto, I did not spend much time near the city’s lakeshore. The main opportunities that I got to go swimming in a lake or at the beach were if I travelled outside of the city.
For most of my childhood, my family and I would go camping every summer, as we did not have a cottage of our own to go to. On these camping trips, I would get the chance to do what I couldn't in North York; I would play in the sand with my two older brothers, and swim in the cold lake water.
One of my fondest memories of these camping trips was from 2005, when my family and I went to Bon Echo Provincial Park in Southern Ontario, which lies on Mazinaw Lake. A large escarpment dominating about half the perimeter of the lake, known as Mazinaw Rock, towers the lake, adding to its beauty.
On one day of this trip, my family and I went paddle boating to take in this breathtaking view and to simply appreciate what an urban metropolitan-like Toronto lacked. While my brothers took their own boat around the lake’s edge, my parents and I followed at a slower speed since I wanted to play and relax in the cool, refreshing water. To this day, I still remember the cooling feeling of letting my feet dangle off the boat and into the water as my parents paddled behind my brothers. The water rushed over my feet, and I watched the small waves we created fade as we paddled further and further. It was so calming.
Not only was the water beautiful, but the rocks were as well. While letting my feet bathe in the natural lake water, I noticed paintings on the escarpment painted on by the Natives, called pictographs. At the time, being at such a young age, I could not appreciate this amazing art work. Thinking back to it now, I can truly say they were not only amazing, but added to my experience.
My family’s trip to Bon Echo and Mazinaw Lake that summer is something I will never forget. For me, this lake symbolizes family bonding, and relaxation. This experience truly deepened my appreciation for water, and the natural beauties that are found with it in nature.