Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Squeegee Appreciation Day

He's a good hearted little soul, Squeegee the pony. He is patient with small fingers poking him, combing his mane and tail. He is quiet with small children climbing on his back. He is appreciative of the occasional carrot or apple slice offered on tiny palms.

So it was nice that today Squeegee was front and centre at the Squeegee Appreciation Day, which occured quite spontaneously. What with Layla, Geza, Michaela, Hanna, Laurel and assorted adults, you could hardly see the pony for the Fan Club!

Layla and Geza had a very busy weekend, not just riding the pony, but riding the dog sleds at the Dwight Winter Carnival, and the sleigh ride behind the big Belgians, riding down hills with Dad and Mom on toboggans, throwing snowballs, gathering eggs from the chickens and playing in the igloo that was built at Christmas!

Cheer That, CANADA!

Hasn't it been awesome for the past two weeks to be able to proudly wave our flag, sing our anthem, and cheer our athletes? If you have not found something, someone, some reason to stand up and cheer through these Games, you should report immediately to your physician...

Hasn't it been wonderful to cheer for the Canadian coaches who are working hard to bring other nations up to be the best in the world? Brian Orser coaching the Korean figure skater who just leaves you breathless... Canadian coaches working with the Chinese bronze medal Curling Team, the Swiss bronze medal Curling Team, the Australian gold medal women's arials... and so many more. This IS what sport is all about -- constantly improving the game, pushing the competition, leveling the field, and how very Canadian that we do that as well! Every country, every athlete, dreams of the gold medal. There is huge pride in coming second, or third, or fifth, or wherever against the very best the world can provide, in sports that are measured in 1/100 of a second. Medal performance, or best ever personal best, or the courage to fight through the tough times when it doesn't all go well... this is the Olympic spirit and the reason the Games endure.

All the wonderful athletes, from whatever country, in whatever sport, you brought us two weeks of wonder and heart-lifting moments, you ALL made us proud. GO WORLD!

And GO CANADA! Our athletes have been nothing less than inspiring. You are, each and every one of you, our Olympic Champions.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Pet a Porcupine

The Muskoka Wildlife Centre was in attendance at the Dwight Winter Carnival. These fine folks devote their time to rescuing and rehabilitating animals, and to housing for life those creatures that for various reasons can never be returned to the wild. They will be the first to tell you that wild animals are wild, should be wild, and don't make great pets, so quickly please cross that bobcat off your list of potential pets.

All the same, some of their 'forever' residents have wonderful careers as ambassadors and educators, and the Centre does a great job introducing people to some of our wild neighbours.

At the Dwight Carnival, they had Clover, the 'whistle pig' (ground hog). We rely on Clover every Feb. 2nd to let us know how much winter remains...

There was Luna, a tiny saw-whet owl: these delightful birds get their name because the sound they make is akin to whetting a saw blade. It's perhaps a little short on tune, but absolutely distinctive.

Yeti the lynx was along, strikingly beautiful, with enormous paws. The lynx has the largest feet in proportion to it's body of any cat in the world. When they are full grown their feet can be the same size as a full grown mountain lion (cougar).
Woodrow the Beaver was there, too. You may have seen him recently, in Vancouver or Whistler, helping to promote the 2010 Olympics. Despite his fame, Woody was quite happy to let small fingers feel his thick soft waterproof fur!
And, of course, Quillber, the Porcupine came out to say hello. He's big, and has about 30,000 quills... and no, he cannot "shoot" them at you, anymore than you can shoot your own hair out of his head. And yes, you CAN pet a porcupine... but you must do so very carefully! The quills feel quite silky and rather surprisingly soft.
You can meet all these animals for yourself at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre -- admission is free for children (with an adult along!) during March, and the Centre is easily located right along Hwy. 11, on your way north to Dwight, and Bondi Village, so you should think about adding this to your 'bucket' list, along with coming north for March Break!
"Here at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre, we believe people protect only what they love and can love only what they understand"

Happy Birthday, Dave!

Today is David's birthday, so there had to be cake, and presents, and we had to tease the lad unmercifully...
After all, these are the moments that glue families together. And any excuse for chocolate cake has to be a good one!
Happy Birthday David! Happy 21!

Carnival Capers

There's so much going on at Winter Carnivals, it can be impossible to take it all in. The 40th Annual Dwight Winter Carnival was certainly no exception -- starting with the Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for the Pee-Wee Rep Team sponsored by Thermoseal, who were madly raising money for their upcoming trip to Lake Placid. Awards were presented to Community Volunteers, winners of the Big Fish contest, the Pageant Princesses...

Vendors had booths set up around the entire room, everything from antiques, local food products, jewellry and hand-made clothing and hats. Although, speaking of hats, nothing could compare with the skunk fur creation sported by Clint!

While the dog sleds and horse drawn sleigh got organized outside, folks could snap up Hot Moose Tongues, or candy apples...

You could bid on the Silent Auction -- luckily I was strongly outbid for the chainsaw carving of the bear and cub that went for $1000!

The Ben Show held the children spellbound with his tricks, juggling and great good humour. Watch him juggle on his unicycle in this video clip! Good fun!

Muskoka Wildlife Centre came with a collection of critters -- including Woodrow (Woody), the famous beaver who has been recently appearing at Vancouver and Whistler promoting the 2010 Olympics. He wasn't wearing a medal here, but we're pretty sure he deserves one!

There was a huge crowd there -- and huge thanks must go to the community volunteers and sponsors who make this event happen.
Several of our guests were there, too -- after all, the Dwight Winter Carnival is just a wonderful place to take the kids for the day, and just one more excellent reason why you should be in Dwight this weekend every winter!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


This weekend is the 40th Annual Dwight Winter Carnival. Think about that... 40 years of celebrating the best fun you can have outdoors!

It kicks off tonight, with the Princess Pageant, then on Friday at 5.30 the Kids Kapers get going, along with shinny on the outdoor rink.

Saturday's the big day, starting with a Pancake breakfast and involving so many events we can't possibly list them. But you can check the schedule and see for yourself!

There's something for everyone: from chainsaw carving and dog sled rides, to minnow races and hockey games, tea making and wildlife shows, the Ben show, Big Fish competition winners and some lucky person figured out the clues to win the lost Carnival Bear!

Kick up your heels at the Saturday night dance, or just watch the guys sweat in the log sawing contest. It's all good fun, and a great reason to come to the Dwight Community Centre.

All you need is a button for admission... The good memories you get for Free!

Winter carnivals such as this truly are the heart of the winter communities, and you should really be there, celebrating winter and friends and the good times!

90% of the Fish, 10% of the Lake

Lake of Bays is a big lake. A deep lake. It's got plenty of fish in it, at all seasons. The trick, as everyone knows, is to be fishing in the right place at the right time.

Fishermen will tell you that 90% of the fish are in 10% of the lake, and 90% of the fishermen are in the other 90%...
This is why they call it "Fishing", and not "Catching."

Vic and John (seen here with his fish collection) join us regularly to seek out the trout. They know the lake. They have their secret places, carefully guarded.

So does Peter Wasag, who not only knows his fish, he knows Lake of Bays. So fishermen should take note of what he has to say.

Summer's Coming!

We've still got the best Winter in the province, and March is one of the very best months to come out and play with the snow.

But folks thoughts are now starting to turn towards their summer vacations. We still have vacancies, scattered throughout the summer months, in our three and four bedroom cottages, and we'd love to add you to our Bondi Family.

Summer in Muskoka, Summer at Bondi... there's nowhere better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wolf Watching in Algonquin Park

I have to thank my friend Jenn, who found these videos and posted them on her My Muskoka blog.

We hear the wolves often here... and so far this year we've located two deer kill sites: one on the lake, not far from my own house. (that's the second time the wolf pack has borrowed my 'front lawn' for a picnic over the years. Although, to give them credit, they restrict this to the times of year when there are very few people around.) One was found by guests skiing one of our trails. They were quite interested in exploring the myriad of tracks around the kill-site, doing a little forensic investigation.

It's alright -- you can still cheer for the wolves. Last night almost 14 deer rambled across the road and dropped by while I was bringing the horses in for the night. There is no shortage of deer.

All the same, seeing tracks, finding kills, and hearing wolves is not seeing wolves. That's much more rare. Guests last month did spot a pair of wolves chasing a deer across the bay while they were snowshoeing on the Lookout.

This video was taken this past week in Algonquin Park -- from the deck of the Visitor's Centre. It is a very rare look at the interaction of a pack of wolves feeding on a deer carcass, and how exciting for those folks who were at the Centre at the time and got this chance!

Wolf dynamics are not all amicable -- there is a definite heirarchy, often only challenged by the ravens who are the best tattle-tales when you are out in the bush looking for a kill-site. In this video, you can see the rest of the pack restlessly waiting for their chance to eat. Wolves aren't the only ones who benefit from a downed deer -- ravens, crows, foxes all come to find a meal, and later, porcupines and mice dispose of the remaining bones to get calcium. Nothing is wasted in Nature.

And sometimes, the 'alpha wolf' finds a pack member ready to challenge that position -- particularly when deer is on the menu.

Our guests have seen a lot of animals while they've been on that viewing deck at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre. (That's why we include a Day Pass into the Park with all our cottage rentals.) That these videos were shot right from the deck of the Visitor Centre just goes to show that Algonquin Park is fantastic at every season of the year, and there is just no excuse for hanging around the city when you could be bringing the family out into Canada's Great Outdoors.

Where do Ducks Go?

Where do the ducks go when the lake freezes over?
Lucky for these ducks, hanging out near the Swing Bridge in Huntsville, that part of the river never completely freezes, because these ducks no longer migrate south come winter.
Why that is, along with the question of why the Canada geese now winter in Toronto, remains unanswered, and a touch disquieting. We can remember the great flocks of geese heading north in spring, everyone coming outside to cheer them on. Those huge honking V's in the sky were truly the proof that winter was over, spring was here. If a goose stopped on the bay, or on the lawn, it was probably exhausted, and just resting up before heading after the rest of the flock. We'd move quietly, grab cameras, maybe even toss out a handful of cracked corn.
Now, the geese leisurely flap to Toronto, and come summer, they touch down on our lake to stay. While it is undoubtedly a lovely sight to see a pair of Canada geese sail majestically past with their goslings, it's not the norm. Or at least it didn't used to be... And now we struggle to discourage those geese from stopping on the property, on the docks or beaches, along with just about everyone else. Toronto copes (or fails to cope) with a huge 'goose problem' at the public beaches and parks. We miss the good old days when seeing the geese in Spring and Fall was a cause for celebration! Fly north, young goose, Fly North!!!
The ducks, well, they leave us in the fall because our lake does freeze, but the Huntsville river does not. Handouts of food seem to regularly drop from the bridge above, often from the willing hands of people who like to see the ducks. And we all like to see the ducks. Still... while the question children used to ask us, Where do the ducks go when the lake freezes over? The question we ask ourselves nowadays is, Why don't the birds migrate any more?

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Dorset hosts one of the best Winter Carnivals in the Province. All you need for admission is a button!

The main street of the town shuts down to traffic, opens up to people, and the party gets underway and lasts all day.
And what a spectacular day. Bright, sunny, warm, it was perfect for getting the kids (and adults!) outside to celebrate winter.

Never a shortage of things to do, the Snowball provides sleigh rides, hot air balloon rides, food booths, minnow races, stone carving classes, chainsaw carving demonstrations and old time woodworking demonstrations, snow snakes, stiltwalkers, family skating, and more. Much more.

Jane shows up with her llama and her day old baby -- a huge hit with the kids! The rest of the year, you can find them at the Nordic Inn.

Brad brought out his broadaxe, double saw, drill press and other tools to get folks involved in some old time construction techniques.

Andy (he of the Perfect Winter Hat!) Ruth and Penny roll in with the magical little Kitty Kat snowmobiles, set up a track, and supervise the tiny
set as they roar about.

Down at the other end of the town, the 'big dogs' are out with their sleds, running the open water. They're called Puddlejumpers, and if you click here you can watch them! (there are other names for them, too... anyone who runs an expensive snowmobile over such a long distance of open water must expect to get a few adjectives hung on them.) And they do run a long distance of open water.
Still, they make a great show for the sleds gathered on the lake to watch, and for the spectators up on the bridge, or those enjoying the sleigh ride with the Anderson's team of Percherons, who cross the bridge over the 'jumpers...
Next weekend, it's Dwight turn, when the 40th Annual Dwight Winter Carnival kicks into gear!
Hats off to all the folks who pull together to make these Community carnivals so wonderful for so many!


Oh, Canada!

We've got a group here this weekend, mainly sporting the Welsh dragon
(Y Ddraig Goch) on their cars and license plates, but all proudly Canadian in honour of the Vancouver Olympics.

Diving headlong into the spirit of the Games, they hosted their own events. There was the three legged snowshoe race (with 2 snowshoes only).
There was the biathlong, screeching down the hill on skis or snowboards to halt and fire foam darts at targets...
and down at the lake, proving that rinks are for more than just skating, there was the Chicken Toss. Sort of like Curling with a Fluffy stuffed toy chicken in a large baggie...

This was all serious stuff, with both Olympic and Canadian flags proudly waving, much cheering from the spectators, some discussion surrounding the venues and the rules, and hotly contested competition.

Several of this group are members of the Burlington Welsh Male Chorus , and with everyone gathered at the rink, there was a spontaneous outpouring of song and spirit, a wondrous rendition of Oh Canada, complete with flourishes. You need to listen to this, heartfelt music on the Lake of Bays!

And after the Morning's tournament, it was off to Dorset for the Snowball Winter Carnival and -- yet another Olympic sport -- shopping!
Now that's how the Games should be celebrated!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Skiing under the Lights

The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce AGM was last night, generously hosted at Hidden Valley Highlands These folk don't just host a great meeting for the Chamber, they open up their ski hill for the evening, and a lot of members took full advantage.

And why not? This is just an excellent ski hill. There are hills for all levels, quick quad lifts that ensure very short wait times in line-ups, and a great atmosphere. If you're considering bringing the kids out of the city for the March Break you could do a lot worse than this!

Brian and David met up with some friends on the hill, but there was little time to chat before everyone zoomed off down the hill again.

And we spotted Tyler, who's perfecting his technique on a paralympic style sit-ski. Nancy's involvement with the Paralympics, (she was National coach for the Paralympic Equestrian Team for 5 years) combined with the fact that a few years back the Ontario Paralympic Winter Games were hosted in this area (with the skiing at Hidden Valley, curling in Baysville, Nordic at Arrowhead, and on and on...) soon had her on her way over to say Hello!
He demonstrated his form for us over one of the box jumps, but although i tried to get a video of that, Tyler caught so much air he literally jumped out of my picture frame...
The Paralympic Games start two weeks after the Main Games in Vancouver, the same flame will burn for these talented and very undersung athletes. They deserve as much coverage as the athletes currently out there doing the World proud, so be sure to keep an eye on the TV coverage for glimpses of what the Para-athletes can do! Or check out some of the videos on the CPC site!

A Little More Flag Waving on Lake of Bays

Fraser , who lives nearby and had a grandstand seat for the festivities at Norway Point Park, sent along these photos of Matt Weidinger's World Record run on his Yamaha around Bigwin Island.

It takes a lot of people to make something like this happen. Matt had a solid crew there, counting laps for him in the small hours of the morning, keeping him fed, the sled fueled, the course clear and a host of other details that need attention before you get your name in the Guinness Book of Records. (And it all takes time to verify, so it's still a little Unofficial, but we know what he did!

Fraser, our man on the scene, reports that Matt completed 282 laps ofthe track, at an average speed of 121 KM/hour. Speeds of 160+ km/hr werethe norm on the straight sections, and 100+ on the corners. His fastest lap averaged 146.6 km/hr. Matt was driving a 2011 Yamaha Apex, with the new Electric PowerSteering.The only maintenance was to replace the aftermarket carbides which bent and broke due to the cornering pressure of always travelling in a counter-clockwise direction around the corners, and tighten the chain tension and change the belt.
Many (about 100) sledders visited during the mid-week event, and registered with Guinness for verification. Many came back several times during the event to check on Matt's progress.
Representatives of the Township, Yamaha, the media, local residents and other supporters were present at the conclusion of the event. All in all- a great coup for the Lake of Bays area and Canada! The team expects to have formal notication from Guinness World Recordsin about 60 days.

They were partying at the Finish, and Matt told Ben he could have kept on riding... so well done all, but especially well done Matt!