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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sparkles and Shadows. Spring wants you to come Outside

Spring is definitely in the air. Taffy (even with her Spring hair-do) didn't want to stop to put on a sweater!  She was having so much fun playing with her shadow.

I grabbed the shot of her barreling down the trail towards me in the bush, and it wasn't until I saw it on the screen that I saw the trail of sparkles in her wake.  It was rather a magical day out there, but who knew that Taffy was fueled by Fairy Dust?

Ice Huts at Home

All ice huts are required to be off the ice by March 31st here.

Ours are safe and snug in their 'summer digs'.  Now the boats start to get ready to come out. There are still big fish out there, whispering to our fishermen.

A thistle in winter

 Just this. A thistle, in winter, against the snow.

It makes a lovely picture.

Easter rabbit makes tracks

 Easter already?  The rabbit went that-a-way...

We have bunny tracks all over the place right now.

And deer, too.  These tracks winding along the waterfront were crossing the rabbit tracks.

Hope all the animals looked both ways!

Crossing the pond, and stopping for a drink, I
hope they're being careful to check the ice, as well!

Monday, March 30, 2015

'All the Best, Vati'

We recently said "good-bye and God Bless" to one of our very long time and beloved Bondi Family members, Christian Jaekl.   Today, his daughter-in-law shared with us her words from the funeral.

We were so deeply moved to hear that some of the best family moments and memories in his completely beloved grandchildren's minds included the cottage, here at Bondi.

We would like to share this eulogy with you, as we remember our friend.  And many thanks to Mary for sharing these beautiful words.

The first time I met Brendan's dad I was in high school. I'd rung the bell and he came to open the door for me. I only caught a glimpse of him in his nightgown fleeing up the stairs as he hollered for Brendan to come. That might have been the start of the friendly competition Brendan and I had for years over whose dad was weirdest. Eventually we declared a tie, though the kids did dub Christian "Silly Grandpa" so it's possible he had the edge.
He might have been silly sometimes but what I remember most is how thoughtful he was. When our household wasn’t feeling well there were often special deliveries of what he called vitamin B (bananas) and vitamin C (grapefruit) delivered despite protests that we would manage. In later years this was joined by C-Boost juice, which he swore was a cure-all. If there was any hint of a chill Christian always had to make sure we were properly covered in sweaters and blankets, especially around the middle. Some might think the spiders hidden under cups in the basement were a diabolical plot but really it was because he preferred to let them out gently into the garden instead of killing them.
Christian was a fantastic teacher too and was always ready to share his extensive knowledge, especially about the stock market. He and Brendan could talk back and forth for hours. Despite his obvious abilities, he sometimes flattered me by assigning a little research project for facts he could use for a news article or to convince the condo board to come around to his way of thinking. He was a persuasive man. I love it that his sons look and act a bit more like him every day.
I asked the kids what they wanted to tell people about their Grandpa. Matthew isn’t verbal enough to tell us much yet, but Margaret tells me that Grandpa could and frequently did do a great Matthew impression. I gather Matthew is quite reminiscent of Christian as a child. I know Matthew enjoyed visiting with Grandpa very much as we had many requests for “Ding dong Grampy. Play play. Me Me. Read Read. Now. Now.”
Erika told me: “Grandpa did lots of nice things for people like when we went to the Nutcracker one of the people dropped their money and he picked it up and gave it to them. My favourite memory of Grandpa is going to the Nutcracker with him. There were lots of people there and when I was little I was scared. He helped me not to be scared. I liked to read stories and play games with Grandpa. He would make a sound - they were really funny noises - and I would have to guess what animals they were. If I got it right he wouldn't tickle me but if I was wrong he would tickle me and I would laugh. Once we did a really hard puzzle together. I kept trying to put them in the wrong places but Grandpa told me where to put them and he was always right. When he came over to our house when I was really little like four or five we used to build things out of blocks. At the cottage we used to sit together and watch the birds and canoes on the lake. At the bonfire we went out to feed the ducks and watched them go yonk yonk yonk. It was really funny.”
Maria said: “He went with me at the cottage and at the dragon boat place. He liked to play with me. At the dragon boat place we watched Grandma and Daddy paddling and we cheered. My favourite memory of Grandpa is building a sand castle with him at the cottage. Also I was inviting him to my birthday and he also invited me to his house to play with the tinker toys with him. He let me put the last piece on the tinker toys.”
When I asked Elizabeth what she would tell people about her Grandpa, she told me “Grandpa was my grandpa and he died because he had a broken heart. Daddy is his children and so is Chris and Mark. He was a boy and he had short grey hair. He was really really nice. I went to his house lots. Grandpa let me play with his tinker toys and sometimes he played too. He likes teasing me lots. He's called silly Grandpa because he doesn't want to go to the swimming pool except to take pictures and he says the next time he will swim and I will take the pictures. My favourite memory of Grandpa is his birthday because he let me sit on his lap and blow out the candles and take them out of the cake and even open his presents. Grandpa likes to sleep at the cottage. He takes his sweater off and ties it around his middle without the arms. He really liked the cottage because there are a lot of deer and wolves around there. Sometimes we would go out and listen to the wolves.”
There are certainly many Grandpa stories that form our family lore – too many to share here and I’m sure there are still some I haven’t heard yet.

He always used to wrap up conversations with me by saying “All the best”. Today it’s my turn.
All the best, Vati. We miss you.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Thank you for the years shared and light of your presence

It is with sadness that we report the loss of one of our dear Bondi family members.  Christian Jaekl has been a valued part of our summers for well over 30 years. We watched his children grow up (and up. And up -- well past the six foot mark)  And we have watched his grandchildren arrive.
His gracious nature, and fierce dry sense of humour will be greatly missed.  We have such lovely memories of him here with his family, in the paddleboat, walking our trails and lawns, at the beach with the children...   We will miss you Christian Jaekl, more than you might know.  We extend condolences to his wife Margaret, sons Chris, Brendan and Mark, to his beloved 'daughters' Mary and Yukiko, and of course to the grandchildren, Erika, Maria, Elizabeth and Matthew.
It has been a blessing to know this wonderful man, and a great honour to call him our friend.

Christian Jaekl (Adi), born December 8, 1939 in Mahrisch-Chrostau (formerly Austria, now Czech Republic), died March 19, 2015 in Ottawa. Beloved husband for 43 years of Margaret (Clark), loving father of Christian (Yukiko Iwasaki), and Brendan (Mary) of Ottawa, and Mark of Taipei. Doting grandpa of Erika, Elizabeth, Maria, and Matthew. Brother of Josef (Rosalie) of Collingwood, Johann (Herta) of Frankfurt, and Elfriede Sarafidis of Himberg, Austria. After receiving his doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Vienna, Christian worked as a speechwriter in the Prime Minister’s office before coming to Ottawa in 1967 as Press Attaché (later Counsellor) at the Austrian Embassy. Originally scheduled to spend 6 months in Canada, he ended up staying for 13 years before returning to Vienna as Director of the Documentation Division of the Foreign Office. In 1982 he returned to Ottawa and spent many years as the Canadian political correspondent for the Neue Zűrcher Zeitung, as well as teaching Law at Carleton University and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. Friends are invited to visit at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street (at O’Connor) on Tuesday, March 24th from 6-8 p.m. A celebration of Christian’s life will be held in the Chapel on Wednesday, March 25th at 10:30 a.m., followed by a reception. If desired, donations may be made to the Parkinson’s Society or Breast Cancer Action.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tomorrow, Everest!

Taffy loves to climb.  Being up on top of things is one of her favourite things -- snowbanks are no exception!  

This week she found company in her mountaineering, when Lily, 3 and a bit, joined in!

Big dreams start with small steps.  And it's good to have a friend along, always.

Dinner is served in the Park

Who's coming to dinner, indeed!

The staff in Algonquin Park re-located a moose that had been killed on the road.  They took the carcass up near the Visitor Centre, where people had the opportunity to watch from the observation deck and see who benefits from the death of one of these huge creatures.  Wolves, yes.  And fox. Ravens. Eagles.  

The staff set up a webcamera to keep an eye on the site.  You can check in here, with the Live Cam, to see who has come to dine...

Slide into Spring

The warm weather causes the snow to start to shift from the metal roofs. It starts with often no warning -- there is a sudden roar, and an avalanche, and the snow comes tumbling down. 

We are keeping an eye on the garage snow-load, which is gradually working its way towards terra firma.  The big Rec Barn shed its snow with a roar on last Friday.  The garage is just hanging on.

Sometimes, the snow slides more gently.  Or in this instance, it gently slides to one side and languishes gently against the side of the shed... Either way, it's a sure sign that Spring is here!

Wonderful Whimsy and a Hint of History

The Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a Business at Lunch gathering at the Signal North Gallery, located in the old Train Station in Huntsville. 

Too many people don't know about this gem -- which makes perfect space of the old Station. 

It also houses a small museum -- where you can sometimes luck in and find Russ Nicholls working the old telegraph (incidentally, for all you who like to text, a telegraph will beat you hands down for speed and efficiency of messaging!)

 The current exhibit with artists Susan Bothelo, Catherine Luce and Patricia Astley is absolutely delightful, with a perfect mix of whimsy and function. I need more wall space... This is on until the end of the Month, so go check it out!

Go Fish

 Ice huts have to be off the lake by the end of this month, but in the meantime our ice fishermen are squeezing in any spare time they have to be out there on the lake.

John was rewarded with this beauty, taken off Norway Point, last week.  It weighed over 9 lb and measured over 23"!


Monday, March 9, 2015

Clean up on Aisle Four

On Feb. 28 we put up a post (with rather graphic photos) of a deer that had been killed by the wolf pack at the edge of our property. There is really no way to make a partially eaten deer look good.

It has been a week, and we're adding to that post, to show just how swiftly, and how completely, the wild ones clean up after themselves.

That deer fed not only the pack of wolves, but the local fox, a pair of bald eagles, untold numbers of ravens. This at a time when there isn't much to eat out there, with the land still locked down in snow and ice. At a time when the animals are as tired of the cold as we are, and even more tired of the struggle to find food.

So yes, we are sad for the deer, who didn't get to see Spring come this year.  But we have to be okay with it, because it is Nature's way, and the means by which the other animals survive.

Today, when we walked over to check up on the clean-up efforts, there was nothing left. Nothing. Seriously.   Just packed down snow, and some stain. Not even a single scrap of fur remains.  

Nothing went to waste.   We should be so lucky when we describe our own lifestyles.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tying a Knot in North Muskoka

There is always a warm welcome to be found at the Resorts of North Muskoka if you're planning a wedding.

Several of the resorts cater big-time to these special occasions -- Lumina Resort, Port Cunnington Lodge, Tally Ho Inn all come at once to mind. They have big gathering places, excellent chefs and spacious dining rooms to handle the biggest of crowds.

Here at Bondi Village, we are much smaller, and can only handle small groups, but what we do have is plenty of open space and cottages to accommodate guests who are attending the wedding from far afield.

There are people who like to hold their wedding at their family cottage, for example, with a reception at one of the very many places around that can host that -- there are Community Centres that can provide the ideal backdrop. Or Camp Dorset -- which can become so very lovely with a bit of personalized decorating.   For these, we offer the accommodation you may need for friends and family.

And you will not be able to match the scenery up here for providing fabulous photos to remind you of that magical day.

Some weddings "go big" -- the Indian Head Dining room at Bigwin Island Golf Course is one such spectacular venue. Guests arrive by boat, and what could be prettier than steaming in on the S.S. Bigwin in all your wedding finery?

Some prefer the more intimate location provided by one of the small local churches, chock full of history.  This one is in Dorset...

So here, to help get your creative juices on the go, we offer some of our favourite photos from weddings hosted here in North Muskoka.

  Megan, for example, who was featured on Say Yes to the Dress, Canada, walking down Main Street Huntsville in the middle of the antique car show -- we could hear her approaching the church by listening to the tootling of the car horns that saluted her!

David and Megan, early autumn
There are as many venues as there are wedding ideas, so you are sure to find the one that is the perfect fit.  How is this for a backdrop?

Port Cunnington. Go beat that for a sunset!
Every season offers its own special charms for weddings.  And every wedding is as unique as the bride and groom at the heart of them.

 Spring, when all the trees are in blossom... Summer, well, summer. what more need we say?  Autumn is one of our favourites, as the colours in the trees complement the colours in the wedding party.

Amy and Stephen, mid-winter wedding, on the covered bridge at
Paint Lake, in Dorset.

Winter -- that white background can be absolutely stunning. I've seen brides arrive by dog-sled, beautifully wrapped in white robes (the bride, not the dogs, although that too might be an option)

So go ahead and have a wonderful time planning your wedding day. And keep us in mind.

Kristin and Jeff at Lumina Resort.
At Bondi, while we can only handle very small intimate wedding groups, but we can certainly help you out if you need accommodation!

And, of course, we'd love to welcome you home for your anniversary...

Our friends and neighbours at the resorts up here will be more than able to cater to your particular wedding plans.

Kristin and Jeff, Lumina Resort. It doesn't
matter if the vows are indoors or outdoors --
it's all lovely.
And everyone here will work hard to ensure you get your 'happy ever after'.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Be an Angel

It's March!!!   Spring is coming.  So is March Break.

It's a great month to Take Back Winter, and get the kids off the electronic toys and into the real world.

So good for everyone!  We have 10% discount coupons for Hidden Valley, Algonquin Park is open wide, Arrowhead's skate trail is good to go. We've got cross country ski trails, places to snowshoe, toboggan runs to zioom down...

and lots of snow for the little angels in your lives.  Head to North Muskoka for the March Break.

Here's Looking at You

I just had to share this photograph, taken by our cousin Robin Tapley, of Robin Tapley Nature Trails.  He's spending a lot of time in Algonquin just now, conducting nature programs at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station.  And he always has a camera. Always.

His comment on this picture?   "Gotcha. Finally."

If you go out with Robin on his Nature Trails programs, you get the chance to see wildlife of all sorts. It's about knowing where to go, how to go there, and how to look.

Owl Be Back

Carolyn's photo. No tracks leading in or out... but look how
deeply the talons drove down into the snow.
Some of our friends had 'visits' today from the owls -- how do we know? Because they found these fabulous tracks in the snow today while they were out in the sunshine.

Jacqueline's photo.  I love the fact that the
owl has left an almost perfect 'face plant' in the snow
Owls are incredible hunters.  In winter, their prey -- often mice -- are underneath the snow. Often fairly deep underneath the snow, hurrying here and there through little tunnels, insulated from the wind and the worst of the weather. Invisible.

The owl's face is designed to catch sound and channel it to the slightly offset ears -- which lets the owl identify with scary accuracy the origin of the sound.  The acute vision isn't much help when dinner is hidden under the tablecloth, so to speak, but those ears...   well... they'll do quite nicely, thank you very much.

On absolutely silent wings (the feathers are fringed and make no noise coming through the air) the owls swoop in, and strike talon-first into the snow.  They'll drive in hard, because they have to get all the way down to where the mouse is unsuspectingly roaming along.

you should visit this website -- there are amazing
photographs there!
The result is often these remarkable impressions, an entire story of tragedy for the mouse and triumph for the owl, written on the snow.   That is one of the wonderful things about winter -- you can get such a good look at the wildlife, by learning about their tracks. How they live, where they go, how they hunt...

It's another great reason to Take Back Winter.  Especially during March, as Spring creeps ever closer and the temperatures get mild, being outdoors is an absolute joy.