I awoke on Sunday morning to the sunlight twinkling through my blinds and the birds chirping softly through my window. My alarm clock read 7 am and started blasting away from somewhere across the room. This isn’t how I want to start a Sunday morning. Then my brain awoke, the fog cleared, and I remembered that we were heading up to my parents' place in McKellar for a day of Sea-Dooing, kayaking and lounging on the beach. I’m awake!
McKellar is a small community on the northern shores of Lake Manitouwabing. Manitouwabing covers a whopping 3,088 acres with a shoreline of 58.6 miles (94 km). Located just 2.5 hours north of the GTA, the McKellar and Parry Sound area is the perfect destination for day trips! Going on single-day adventures is a great way to avoid traffic and gives you ability to pick the best days for weather.
After leaving Barrie at 9 am, my roommate Brittany, myself, and our two dogs Perry and Sambuca made it safely up the 400 Highway to my parents' place on the southern finger of Lake Manitouwabing. The dogs were beyond excited to escape the city and spend the day in the water, especially with temperatures due to reach 38ºC that day. Sambuca and Perry made a beeline for my Mom, said quick hellos, then bolted for the beach!
After our own hugs and hellos, we changed into our swimsuits and caught up with the dogs at the beach. Swimming, playing fetch, wrestling in the sand and napping under the picnic table are all in a dog's day at the beach.
With the dogs tuckered out and ready for a nap we headed out on the Sea-Doos to enjoy our own form of play. Lake Manitouwabing is known for its almost 100 km of shoreline that creates a vast network of fingers, bays and wide river sections.
When it’s choppy in the large main bay or other sections of the lake, it’s easy enough to find a calm bay for skiing, wakeboarding and other watersports. For a hot sunny summer day, the lake was definitely alive with action. Speedboats, pontoons, wakeboard boats, fishing boats and Sea-Doos spotted the waters of the lake. Cruising around the lake, Brittany and I were rolling the Go Pro constantly! I couldn’t wait to relive the day’s events when I got home!
With the sun high in the sky, it was time to think about lunch! While there is a wealth of marinas and boat services on Manitouwabing, there are only a few options on the lake so we headed to McKellar to enjoy some delicious french fries and poutine at Jimmy’s Fry Shack. You can dock at the boat launch, turn left at the road and walk up the hill to the chip truck, convenience store and LCBO. Even better, Minerva Park sits to the left of the boat launch with a few docks and picnic tables where you can relax in the shade. Just take a right at the road and follow it to the convenience store.
Once full of delicious deep fried goodness, we headed back on the water. My parents headed home to check on the dogs and Britt and I went on a search for waves! With the winds whipping up the chop and lots of boats creating wake, there were tons of options for Sea-Doo play. When out on the water always remember to keep an eye out for wakeboarders, tubers and skiers. Don’t get caught up in jumping their wakes and get too close!
After spotting a wakeboard boat loaded up for wakesurfing we played around in the waves, all the while capturing our fun on the Go Pro! You might be wondering, “Where is the video footage? Where are all the photos?” Well sadly, the Go Pro fell overboard and now rests somewhere at the bottom of Lake Manitouwabing! The Floaty attachment wasn’t enough, so I highly suggest duct-taping or zip-tying a hunk of pool noodle to your setup. After spending over an hour scanning the waves in hopes of spotting a floating Go Pro we finally gave up, tucked our tails between our legs and headed home. Sadly the footage was lost, but the memories will never be forgotten.
As we pulled onto the dock, we were greeted with wagging tails and barks of excitement. The best part about happy dogs is that you get greeted by them even when you aren’t so happy. With smiles back on our faces we said our good-byes and headed back on the road, hoping to miss the southbound Sunday afternoon cottage traffic. Growing up in cottage country, I never understood how people could sit in traffic for hours heading north and then again heading south. Yet now, years later, I find myself living in the city and sitting in that same traffic with a smile on my face, because now I finally understand.