Being a Northern Ontario “kid” is very unique. And connecting with other adults (big kids, if you will) who grew up living the Northern Ontario life is always a meaningful experience. Meeting Mike Brazeau, owner of Horwood Lake Lodge, and having the chance to write this piece about him and his passion gave me a much-appreciated opportunity to revisit my roots.
The truth of the matter is this: many of us from Northern Ontario share the same outlook on life, and we love each other without judgement because we share the same needs and wants—and recreation! But as binding as that love for Northern Ontario is, the harsh reality is that we all know employment is a true key to success, and it’s a real struggle in the area. It’s inspiring to meet people who have made it work, and Mike Brazeau is a great example of one such person.
Northern Ontario is all about the geography
Let’s start at the beginning: getting to know the area. Northern Ontario is geographically huge at 802,000 square kilometres (310,000 square miles). It’s covered in extremely dense bush, with a large variety of tree, animal, and fish species. There are approximately 250,000 lakes in Ontario, most of which are in the North. And most importantly, it’s ruggedly covered in the largest formation of exposed Precambrian rock in the world, thanks to the glaciers getting stuck on our “mini-mountains” and deep lakes. Our elevations range from sea level to 2274 metres (7460 feet). So, Mountain Riders, our OFSC trails, like many of our roads, are crazy winding and have many treacherous dips and hills — far from flat!