Upcoming Events

Posted by Arowhon Friends on February 7, 2020

Laura Traplin Spiritual Weekend Retreat

Laura Traplin Spiritual Weekend Retreat – June 5 - 7, 2020

Please join me for our 12th annual weekend retreat of insight, intuition, mediumship, guided meditations, relaxation and more!

Come connect with spirit and your own inner wisdom in the beautiful surroundings of Algonquin Park.

This retreat is open to anyone who feels a calling to attend. It is not limited to past clients or those who have completed my workshops. If you feel inspired or guided to be part of the weekend, or have a friend who would like to join you, this retreat may just be what you’re looking for!

There will be scheduled workshops as well as free time to go for a hike, enjoy a canoe ride, relax in the sauna or on the verandah by the lake, read your favourite book or just unwind while surrounded by nature.

Location: Arowhon Pines Resort, Algonquin Park

Dates: June 4 or 5 – 7, 2020

Please contact Arowhon Pines directly to book your accommodation.  A number of rooms are being held at a discounted price for the group. Room availability is on a first come, first served basis.

*Retreat Tickets can also be purchased by submitting an Application and payment of $350+HST to


Quick Brown Fox Writing Course

More information, click here

Quick Brown Fox Writing Course – June 5 – 8, 2020


Give yourself a long weekend of writing time – a weekend of instruction, inspiration and creativity. Award yourself with time away from distractions, with no dishes to do and wonderful food at every meal, as you sit with your feet up and write in the most beautiful wilderness setting in Ontario. This is where the Group of Seven got its inspiration (Tom Thompson is buried just a couple of lakes over); it’s a wonderful place for you to find your inspiration, too.

The retreat will feature both instruction and guided writing exercises, plus one-on-one critiquing and coaching from Brian. You’ll also have lots of time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with your creativity. All writing levels welcome. Whether you are just beginning or have a novel in progress, please join us.

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.


Painting The Group of Seven

with Martha Johnson

September 13 to 16, 2020

(Martha is staying one more night for those of you who can stay for an extra day of painting)

Four days of painting stunning Algonquin Park, while staying in extraordinary nature at the historic Arowhon Pines resort inside Algonquin Park. Located in the heart of Canadian Impressionist territory, this workshop includes expert guiding to locations along the shorelines of Algonquin, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Group Of Seven. We’ll paint evergreens, shorelines, wildlife, water, and the shifting weather, all in the exotic colour palette of Algonquin Park. We’ll also make time for a canoe paddle, a walk in the woods, a swim in the cool lake and some story-telling around the fire.

Martha has a personal connection to Tom Thomson and his mysterious death. Her uncle was Judge William Little who wrote The Tom Thomson Mystery published in 1970. As you might remember, Tom Thomson died in July 1917, drowning in nearby Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, and was buried there. Two days later, his family sent an undertaker to exhume the body and send it back for re-burial in Leith, Ontario. In October 1956, Judge Little and some friends decided to dig up Thomson's original burial place at Canoe Lake. The book tells the story of Thomson's life and the discovery made by Little and his friends. His book is one of several that raised the Tom Thomson mystery to public prominence during the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Highlights will include pontoon boat rides and little hikes to nearby campsights in and around gorgeous Arowhon Pines. Here we will set up for a day of painting with a shore lunch. A night or “nocturne” session under the September moon, and time with Judge Little’s son, John Little, who will dine with us then speak about his new book Who Killed Tom Thomson – a Toronto Star best seller and a must-read for fans of true crime and art.

All levels of experience and skill are welcome!  

About Martha Johnson:  Martha graduated Fine Art, University of Guelph and was later mentored by Tom Hodgson of Painters 11. She currently teaches Mastering Acrylic Techniques and topical workshops at ArteMbassy in Toronto as well as 20 years instructing drawing and acrylics at the Avenue Road Arts School in Toronto. As a landscape painter Martha is passionate about working out of doors, note-taking and leading workshops across Canada, France, Union Island and Saint Vincent The Grenadines. She is known for an environment subtext in her paintings and ephemeral wire sculptures that adorn private, public and corporate collections worldwide. Deeply interested in Canadian history, exhibition highlights include: Survey the Valley (2007), Kent Island and the Albatross (2013, Grand Manan Museum) and SHADOW RED 2017, acknowledging the hundredth anniversary of Tom Thomson’s death.

Emai: or (416)322-4894 or visit 

Evenings with Christine Luckasavitch

Learn much, much more about the history of Algonquin Park – and Arowhon Pines!

Spend an evening around the campfire (or in the Games Room) to hear a unique perspective of the history of Algonquin Park.

Explore over 12,000 years of Algonquin Park's natural and cultural heritage. Learn about the living history of the Madaoueskarini Algonquin people, the arrival of European explorers such as David Thompson, chronicle the Park's value as a great timber resource and the infamous J. R. Booth, the arrival of great artists and adventurers, as well as the recent histories of Algonquin Park. This is a very special story, rich in family history and told from the heart.

A result of her ancestral lineage, Christine has a very unique and personal history of the Algonquin Park region. She is an Omàmìwininì Madaoueskarini Anishinaabekwe (an Algonquin woman whose family is from the headwaters of the Madawaska River) and belongs to the Crane Clan. Christine is also a descendant of some of the earliest settlers of the Ottawa and Madawaska Valley. These families were amongst the earliest to clear farms on the rocky Canadian Shield in places like Wilno and Bonnechere. They eventually settled in Whitney, a town marking the eastern boundary of Algonquin Park along Highway 60, where their descendants continue to live today. Members of her family would construct the impressive dining room of Arowhon Pines, amongst many other structures, cabins and leaseholds in Algonquin Park.

2020 Dates to be determined.

christine.jpgChristine is the Owner of Waaseyaa Consulting, an Indigenous culture and heritage consulting company, and Waaseyaa Cultural Tours, an Indigenous-based tourism company operating in Algonquin Park and the surrounding area. Christine also works as the Coordinator and Indigenous Pedagogical Leader for the Algonquin Inòdewiziwin EarlyON Child & Family Centre in North Hastings. An archaeologist, orator and researcher, she is currently writing her first book, Ondjitigweyaa Madaoueskarini Omamiiwiinini Anishinaabeg (Algonquin People of the Madawaska River Headwaters). Christine is an avid explorer of both the Algonquin landscape and Algonquin history, spending as much time on the land as possible. She has been learning to speak Anishinaabemowin for the past number of years, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Acadia University with a focus in Canadian History and Canadian Historical Novel.

This gathering will be of interest to anyone with a love for Algonquin Park. We will explore its unique history from the time of glaciation to present-day, and beyond. Questions and discussion are welcome. 



The Friends of Algonquin Park offer special events for everyone throughout the season including Meet the Researcher, Family Fishing, Loggers Day with live music, etc. Check out their special events calendar here.




Season's Greetings 2019

Posted by Arowhon Friends on December 21, 2019




December 2019                                                        Arowhon Pines, Algonquin 

Greetings from Algonquin!

Hello All!

Last season, we posted our best occupancy in 20 years. 9,500 guests swam, canoed, hiked, dined and relaxed at Arowhon Pines, and another 3,000 came for a meal. Thank you to all our guests, new and returning, and to our 50 staff, 30 of whom returned from 2018, for a stellar Arowhon Pines year!

It is our food and staff that garner the most compliments at Arowhon, but more and more we hear praises about the room/cabin renovations and the subtle improvements around our grounds. We’re grateful to have working with us two lifelong artists, Tim Webb and Dave Campbell, owners of Gypsy Market Mews Design. Their ideas are imaginative, colourful and nostalgic. It all contributes to making Arowhon your “happy place”!

Looking Ahead to 2020:

We’ve begun tackling the delicate job of strengthening the dining room structure. This year we repaired the cribbing under the dining room in order to make the floor less bouncy and more secure. The verandah has new decking, railings and posts. In the future, we’ll be looking to replace the dramatic high windows on the cupula.


Mid-season, Theresa moved into her new Beachhouse cabin by the lake. In it, there’s a gorgeous open kitchen where David will be hosting cooking classes in 2020.

More screened porches, more new (old) reclaimed barn board flooring and new décor in more of the rooms and lounges.

Both new and renovated staff accommodations are on our to-do list, and there will be a large, new staff swim dock.

Christine Luckasavitch’s talks on the history of Indigenous peoples in and around Algonquin were very popular last season. Stay tuned for a list of speakers, including Christine, for this season.

We’re the first in Algonquin to offer our guests e-chargers for their electric cars.

Thank you for making Arowhon Pines a special part of your lives. Here’s hoping we have the pleasure of welcoming you back in 2020. If you haven’t booked already, please do so soon – those lake view rooms are booking up quickly!

Love Theresa


Lift up your spirits with a song!
Lift up your hearts with a smile,
Lift up your feet with a dance,
It’s family time!

As you come together for the holidays, keep us in mind for your next celebration.

Family reunions

Family groups can book a private cabin (3, 4, 8 & 12 bedrooms) with a central spacious lounge around a wood burning fireplace. Plan a canoe or hiking trip, swim in the lake, play tennis or arrange a pontoon boat ride of the lakes. We’ll serve appetizers in your cabin before dinner and set your champagne on ice. Eat, drink and be merry in our heritage lakeside log dining room then head to a bonfire under the stars. Enjoy peace and quiet in the wilderness.


Marriage celebrations continue to be popular at Arowhon. There are times during the season – spring, early July and early September - when you can book Arowhon exclusively for your event. Our couples come from around the world! There are a few weekends left for 2020.


Private Groups

Are you interested in bringing your special group to Arowhon? We host a number of workshops and small business groups – painters, writers, spiritual retreats, girl’s weekends and nature groups (birders, hikers). We can help plan some special Algonquin activities like nature lectures, day and overnight canoe trips, historical talks, starry-night parties and more.


Give us a call. Let me send you some dates and rates for 2020!
All the best! 


From the Kitchen


Although 2019 was busy in the kitchen, we always make time to try out some new things! We made our own charcuterie. We played a lot with our new digital smoker. We re-introduced a “pate en croute”, a dish that I made at Arowhon in the ‘80s - which just goes to show that if you hang around long enough, things do come back in fashion! A good growing season produced an abundance of vegetables and herbs, so we bottled our own hot sauce and dried paprika, which we’ll use to spice things up on the barbecue next summer.

After the season, we all attended the wedding of one of our key chefs, Lawrence Jordan, to Jillian Metcalfe in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was wonderful to see our team together and all dressed up. Thank you Rene, Jenna and John who chipped in to work dinner service when half of the staff got stranded in Port Aux Basques waiting for good weather to cross on the ferry! Many of us took the opportunity to stay longer and enjoy the Cape Breton scenery, hospitality and food. Congratulations to the new couple!


As for me, I’ve settled back at home in Ottawa and am teaching part-time at Algonquin College. I am very excited to be participating in the Canadian Culinary Championships this year. As “Chef Liaison”, our team will be responsible for all culinary logistics. It will be a great opportunity to see new techniques, meet chefs from all over Canada, experience the fun and stress of competition and expand our culinary community. What we learn is all bound to end up on our menu for 2020!

Happy holidays to everyone. As the weather gets colder, I’m already thinking of spring in Algonquin! David Cooke


A Few More Photos from the Season


Happy 13th Birthday, Keeda!








"Arowhon Pines truly was one of the highlights of our trip, we have very fond memories of our stay with you. We would like to thank the whole team for your outstanding service hospitality! Keep up the great work you do."

Read the full blog here: 

Blog excerpt:

"Arowhon takes guest experience to the next level, I experienced their hospitality as superb. All staff at Arowhon is super friendly and extremely helpful. The service they offer is world class, very personal and to perfection. I really like the personal touches, your name, country and flag of your country at your table in the restaurant. Fun and easy to see where all guests are visiting from."





Hotel Review: Arowhon Pines in Algonquin

Posted by Arowhon Friends on July 23, 2019


Un-rough it in Algonquin Park.

These were the words that encouraged us to book a stay at Arowhon Pines, the rustic but luxurious lodge and resort set deep within the Algonquin Provincial Park. We were warned ahead of time that despite being only a 3-hour drive from Toronto, there would be no cell service, WiFi, or television and we welcomed the chance to relax, unwind, and truly disconnect.

The all-inclusive seasonal resort is open from the end of May until mid-October. There is a selection of private rooms with ensuite bathrooms and shared common areas and also private cabins with private decks. During our stay, we were the only guests in our shared cabin, so we enjoyed the luxury of having the common room to ourselves and set up a fire as we worked on a puzzle and played some of the board games in the living room.

Our room was very charming, peaceful, and quiet, save for the sounds of wild animals in the evenings. The bathroom had Arowhon’s own eco-friendly body wash and soap, which smelled beautiful and was available for purchase at reception, while our private deck out back had comfortable lounge chairs that were perfect for catching some sun.

Posted July 23, 2019 by Ina Yulo



Spring 2019 at Arowhon Pines, Algonquin Park

Posted by Arowhon Friends on April 29, 2019




May 2019                                                               Arowhon Pines, Algonquin

Spring in Algonquin

Dear Friends of Arowhon Pines

Spring in Algonquin is very much worth celebrating! We are witness to the season of change – budding trees, a hundred shades of green, cool sparking lakes and fields of wildflowers. Spring also brings amazing moose viewing opportunities and outstanding birding. There are beavers and otters, fox and deer. It’s cooler and quieter – you might be the only ones on the lakes and trails. If that’s not enticing enough, rates from May 31 (opening day!) to June 20 are the least expensive of the season. We hope that you’ll join us!

Love Theresa, David, Adam and everyone from Arowhon

News to Share

Porter Airlines will be flying from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (downtown) to Muskoka Airport, on Thursdays and Mondays, June 27 to September 3rd, 2019. Flight time is about 20 minutes. There you can choose a shuttle bus either to/from the rental car location in Bracebridge (Route 1) or to Algonquin Park (Route 4).

Our Garden Blog is live on our website. With guidance from horticulturalist Judith Adam, we’re taking steps to weed out harmful invasives and reclaim our natural gardens. See what indigenous plants we’re using, along with how to use pine needles and leaf litter for successful planting, and much more. We invite you to learn along with us.

Like red wine? We encourage you to try TRIVENTO MALBEC wine from Argentina, available at the LCBO, then enter your name to win a TWO NIGHT STAY FOR TWO PEOPLE at Arowhon Pines! Visit for contest rules and enter the code ONPARKS. Good luck!

We will be installing 240 V chargers for electric cars in our parking lot – please let us know when booking if you will be using one.

Special Events at Arowhon / Algonquin

Painting Classes with Martha Johnson - September 11th – 14th, 2019

Four days and three nights of painting stunning Algonquin Park, this workshop includes expert guiding to locations and lore of The Tom Thomson Mystery. You’ll paint evergreens, shorelines, wildlife, water and the shifting weather, all in the exotic colour palette of Algonquin Park. We’ll make time for a canoe paddle, a walk in the woods and a swim in the cool lake. Highlights will include a nocturne session, taking advantage of the September full moonlight and a pontoon transport and walk to visit the remote Canoe Lake, thought to be Thomson’s burial place.

Tuesday Evenings with Christine Luckasavitch

Spend an evening around the campfire to hear a unique perspective of the history of Algonquin Park. Explore over 12,000 years of the Park’s natural and cultural heritage. Learn about the living history of the Madaoueskarini Algonquin people, the arrival of European explorers such as David Thomson, chronicle the Park’s value as a great timber resource and the infamous J.R. Booth, the arrival of great artists and adventurers, as well as the recent histories of Algonquin Park. This is a very special story, rich in family history and told from the heart.

christine.jpgChristine is an Omàmìwininì Madaoueskarini Anishinaabekwe (an Algonquin woman whose family is from the headwaters of the Madawaska River) and belongs to the Crane Clan.

She is also a descendant of some of the earliest settlers of the Ottawa and Madawaska Valley whose families cleared rocky farms on the Canadian Shield. Members of her family also built the impressive dining room at Arowhon Pines, amongst other structures, cabins and leaseholds in Algonquin Park.

The Friends of Algonquin Park offer special events for everyone throughout the season including Meet the Researcher, Family Fishing, Loggers Day with live music, etc. Check out their special events calendar here.

The Algonquin Art Centre’s 2019 themed exhibition is “Seasons of Algonquin”. This art show explores the distinctive beauty of Algonquin Park during each of its four seasons and features new landscape and wildlife paintings from some of Canada’s leading wilderness artists. Open June 1st – Oct. 20th.

From the Chef

As you know, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, Donna and I went on an extended trip to southeast Asia, spending three months in Vietnam and Thailand, with a stopover visit to Shanghai.

It’s difficult to find words to describe the warm hospitality and humor of the Vietnamese people. Vietnam is very much a land under rapid development, but is still a family based agricultural society away from the urban areas. We often saw 3 or 4 generations of a family going to the beach together, for a fresh seafood lunch straight from the boats and an afternoon of Karaoke! We could not walk past without being invited to lunch - no language skills required - just sing a song!

There was a tremendous variety of fresh regional cooking as we worked our way from south to north. Some of the recipes we have brought home are surprising, including one for a corn and river shrimp salad! On tasting it I thought, hmm, we have great corn, we can do this!

There is a French pastry connection as well, and I have promised our pastry chefs that I will find better baking butter this year! We have also begun collecting and growing our own wild yeast for sourdough breads this year, based on a pizza we enjoyed in Chaing Mai, Thailand.

Thailand and Shanghai were both culinary and cultural experiences too varied and complex to describe in a few words, but I hope to share a few stories when we meet this summer!

In the kitchen this year we welcome back Lawrence, Vanessa, Rene, Milo, David, and several others.

Looking forward to a season of wonderful cooking!

David Cooke


Garden Blog

Posted by Arowhon Friends on March 11, 2019


Back to Nature – the Transformation of our Grounds


Chapter One - Call to Action

We were flabbergasted last spring when we heard from the Ministry of Natural Resources, which runs Algonquin Park, that they wanted all the Park leaseholders to adhere to having only natural plants at our sites.


Arowhon Pines had spent thousands of dollars through the years in product and labour, growing perennials in our gardens, which provided flowers for our dining room tables, and tending to barrels full of cheery flowers that adorned our front foyer and cabins. Yes, we knew there were spots on the grounds full of invasive periwinkle and other creeping ground cover.

We started talking about it amongst ourselves then quickly realized that what was being asked was pretty darn reasonable. We looked again at the periwinkle spreading out into the forests. Perhaps we could turn this into a fun, education project for us and for our guests.

Around the same time, we became aware that one of our long time guests, Judith Adam, was a well-known, experienced horticulturalist. After a few emails back and forth with Judith, whose enthusiasm was immediately infectious, we were on our way to putting together our gardening project: to gradually get the Arowhon Pine’s grounds back to its natural state.

Chapter Two – Introducing Judith Adam

1.jpgIn her words…

At its best, landscape design recognizes the assets of a site and develops them to fuller expression. That’s a high-toned way of saying something simple – recognize what’s good about your garden and do something to build on that. At Arowhon, the naturalism and pristine beauty of the site are strong indicators of what direction development should follow. Indigenous perennial plants and conifers, stone and wood construction, and natural water features are the elements that are strong, true, and enduring in this northern garden.

I grew up in New York City, an inner city urban environment, with no access to green spaces. However summers were spent on Absecon Island, a barrier island off the coast of New Jersey; and that went a long way to emphasize the value and power of natural landscapes. (Briefly leaving the island by row boat during Hurricane Hazel was one sure way to understand my lowly place in the natural order of things.) My first garden was made in Toronto’s east-end Beach community, as well as on an allotment garden at the lake’s edge of the Leslie Street spit. That’s where I began hands-on training in making vegetables and flowers grow, and that continues to be my best method of learning.

Eventually I studied horticulture at University of Guelph, with my infant son, Arden, in a basket under the table. My area of specialization was woody plants, consequently I’m a great tree planter. I tried to grow every plant covered in my course material, resulting in several jungles that were culled to make room for subsequent course phases. This was excellent learning, but certainly the hard way to do things. My current garden is one third of an acre planted for pollinators. Don’t ask about my affection for docile bees, because I’ll provide way too much information. (But I will say one of my favourites is the leaf cutter bee, and I could go on about that!)

Sharing experience is the natural inclination of gardeners, so I taught some courses and wrote some books, and answered a horticulture hotline operated by the Toronto Master Gardeners. Now I’m helping my friends at Arowhon, finding ways to bring a fuller expression to the natural values of their site. I’ve been coming to Arowhon since 1975. Little has changed in those decades, and each year Arowhon seems more profound, more itself. That is the remarkable power of a timeless landscape. Our efforts at gardening here are hopefully embellishments to an already established beauty. We hope you’ll notice our work and learn along with us.


Chapter Three - The Plant List

Our first job was to find a copy of “Checklist of Vascular Plants of Algonquin Provincial Park” which lists all the plants natural to our region. It’s a tricky format and you have to read the lists and the legends as it lists everything that has been seen in the Park, not just native plants. The book is out of print but we found a few copies at the Algonquin Bound Outfitters outside the west gate.

Finding a supplier of indigenous plants is a key to the success of this project. Judith suggested Karen at

We will also be talking to Linda at DWIGHT GARDEN CENTRE who has always been a source of great information and support.

Please note that the Latin names of the plants is also key, as there are many variations of everything!

This will be our order for spring 2019:

  • Achillea millefolium, common yarrow
  • Asclepias incarnate, common milkweed
  • Aquilegia canadensis, red columbine
  • Chelone glabra, turtlehead
  • Cornus canadensis, bunchberry
  • Helianthus divaricatus, woodland sunflower
  • Eupatorium maculatum, Joe Pye weed
  • Eupatorium perfoliatum
  • Eurybia macrophylla (Large Leaved Aster)
  • Lobelia cardinalis, cardinal flower
  • Maianthemum racemosum, false Solomon’s seal
  • Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose)
  • Maidenhair fern
  • Berry Bladder fern
  • Wood fern
  • Lady fern
  • Christmas Fern
  • Rudbeckia hirta, Black - eyed Susan
  • Solidago caesia (Blue Stemmed Goldenrod )
  • Solidago rigida
  • Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
  • Thalictrum pubescens (Tall Meadow Rue)
  • Tiarella cordifolia, foamflower
  • Fragaria virginiana (Wild Strawberry)

We also found that the Muskoka Conservancy has an annual native plant sale on Saturday May 11, 2019. Please visit

Chapter Four - Planting at Arowhon

Our order of many dozens of plants native to the Algonquin region is soon to arrive, and we’re preparing for an intensive planting operation. Unlike the gallon-size containers of fancy hybrids in garden centres, our indigenous plants will be in smaller 4-inch pots, each with a perky seedling that’s going to be right at home in our climate and soil conditions.

Perennial plants are seedlings in their first year, when they develop a crown and root system to support the production of flowers and seeds. The second year is the beginning of their blooming life, when they produce a sampling of blooms. In their third growth season, perennials achieve mature size and begin full foliage and flower display. Purchasing blooming size plants in gallon containers is an effective way to get quick results in a cultivated home garden; but planting in the Algonquin forest conditions is quite a different scenario.

There are practical advantages to installing younger plants when working at the edge of a forest, or even deep in the interior. The Algonquin terrain is filled with tree roots that provide soil retention and rock debris that establishes efficient drainage, both helping to prevent erosion during the considerable snow melt off in spring. Any attempt at planting is likely to encounter roots, and it’s much easier to dig a smaller hole for a young plant than struggling to remove tree roots in holes for larger root balls.

Our first phase will be removing nursery bred ornamental plants that have established themselves in beds and borders. These are the relics of summers past that were planted here to provide a garden aesthetic similar to what we would expect in residential communities. These removals will open space for our new indigenous species, and we hope they will eventually spread into colonies. As in all planting ventures, we’ve made selections appropriate to the available light – at Arowhon we have some areas of full sunlight, lots of dappled light under trees, and areas of consistent shade.

Plants will be delivered to our site and held in shaded outdoor areas protected from wind as we work along. Each plant will receive a feeding of water soluble transplanting fertilizer directly into the pot. Providing this nourishment the day before planting will allow roots to absorb the nutrients and prevent fertilizer from leaching into the soil and nearby water. We can also provide some well composted animal manure (purchased in bags from a garden center) into the bottom of planting holes. It’s important to avoid any fertilizers manufactured from fish sources, such as liquid fish emulsion or fish meal; as well as blood and bone meals. These organic products are magnets for animal appetites, and foxes, raccoons and bears will efficiently rip out plants trying to find the treats.

Once our plants are installed, we’ll use pine needles and leaf litter as a mulch to help keep moisture in the soil. Regular irrigation will be our most important work through the growing season from spring to autumn freeze up. With sufficient water, we can expect our plants to make themselves comfortable at Arowhon and reward us with a timeless and permanent landscape.

Chapter Five - The Plants Have Arrived!


Garden Instructions from Judith to the Arowhon Planters:

Hello Arowhon Planters! Thanks for taking on this project to restore the grounds to their natural landscape.


image004-2.jpgFirst area is the bed on the right side of the office door, between the door and the steps up onto the deck (this area formerly had large hostas in it). And second, the long bed on the other side of the office door, leading under the kitchen (bakery room?) window and down the side of the building.

It may be possible to plant other areas, such as just across the foot path from the long bed, but that will depend on how many plants are available to fill the spaces where removals have been taken out. Use your judgement, and when you run out of plants, that’s where you have to stop.


Our purpose is to remove modern landscape plants, such as periwinkle. Don’t attempt to ‘weed’ out wild plants like dandelion, they have their purpose and place in the natural environment (providing nectar for bees, and breaking up compacted soil). You can remove any turf grass that has grown into beds, and fill the spaces with plants.


Sort out plants

There are some plants that have been selected for particular areas:

The smaller bed to the right side of the office door is meant to contain a collection of ferns. Theresa has the largest ferns, and in the plant delivery there are also many pots of smaller ferns. Find all these and separate them out. The tallest ferns (Theresa’s ferns) go at the back of the bed, and they will spread a bit each year, sending out new plants, so give them some space. the smaller ferns go in front of the larger ferns. If there are enough ferns, you can put some on the other side of the office door.




The pots are small, so you won’t need to be digging large or deep holes. Because of the number of mature trees, you’ll be encountering tree roots in the soil. Always let the tools do the work for you, never stress your hands. If there are roots in a space you want to make a hole, use pruners to cut them out. If roots are too substantial, don’t plant there, move to another location that’s easier to work.

The plants will look best when they are in small groups, like 3 or 5 in a cluster. For instance, 3 or 5 Cardinal flowers together. When planting the lower ground covering plants like Bunchberry and Wild Strawberry, these will form a carpet and can be planted in drifts of 7 to 10 together.

Plants should be spaced 6 to 8 inches apart. Use your judgement when placing plants. Do what is practical and looks best.



Chapter Six - What About Weeds?

Autumn is often a time for major cleaning operations in the garden, clearing up a summer’s worth of stems and spent blossoms. But with thoughts and plans shifting back to cold season activities, it’s expedient to make strategic choices – what gardening work is most rewarding in the remaining weeks before frost puts the garden to bed? Rest assured, summer’s stalks and leaves can be collected early next spring; but weeds relish the cool, moist soil of autumn and will continue to grow and spread for several more weeks. Weed removal is a good investment in next summer’s garden, and will put you ahead with the spring cleanup.

What will happen if you take a more casual, and less thorough approach to weeding? It helps to know that most plants defined as weeds are indigenous to a location: they’ve evolved, lived and flourished on the site for hundreds of years. (The soil ‘banks’ millions of weed seeds indefinitely, just waiting for exposure to moisture and light.) They are meant to cover the soil surface, preventing erosion and contributing organic fiber to the soil structure. Their fiber contribution, along with long roots that break up the clay fraction of soil, helps to establish good tilth – that is, a pore system in the soil distributing oxygen in the root zone, and allowing excessive water to drain efficiently. Consequently, weeds work on our behalf, aiding in soil conservation; and a well-maintained garden without weeds shifts all that work onto the gardener.

Casual weeding

One definition of a weed is, simply put, a plant in the wrong place.

A casual weeding philosophy allows us to select which weeds are worth the effort of removal. Effective permanent elimination of weeds is hard work -- the crown, tap root (if there is one) and underground rhizomes and runners must all be removed. (Beware broken sections of underground runners left in the soil, they are likely to regenerate.) Considering all that work, it might be allowable to select weeds that are most bothersome (like burdock and giant hogweed). If it’s big enough to trip over, then it’s worth the work of removal!

With our new planting beds at Arowhon, we have invested time and energy in acquiring decorative plants indigenous to the Algonquin region. In this early stage of establishment, our new plants are best served by preventing competition from weeds. Eliminating weeds as they appear will get our new gardens up and growing faster. But the work of weeding can also be casual and selective. There are many other spaces at Arowhon with weed colonies doing their best work on soil preservation, and we’ll let them carry on with it. In the newly planted beds, we’ll be more watchful to keep weed competition down to a minimum.

A useful casual weeding strategy is to prevent the spread of weeds. Removing the leaves will starve them of energy, and cause them to use stored carbohydrates to replace the missing foliage. That’s time (approximately 3 to 5 weeks) they might have been spreading into new territory, and can be easily and quickly repeated several times in a growing season. Familiar weeds that spread only by seed, like dandelion and plantain, can be prevented from spreading by picking off their blossoms before the seed stage. (They are fat and healthy in autumn, but won’t be spreading by underground shoots.). These are low risk weeds, and the largest mature specimens in view could be removed, leaving the smaller ones for another year.

With limited time in autumn, it’s smart to get control over the weeds that colonize new territory, sending out underground shoots until stopped by hard freeze up. Knowing your weeds will help to identify the ones that are beginning their underground expansion. Golden rod and dog-strangling vine (cynanchum rossicum) send shallow underground tillers to form new plants. You might choose to keep the pretty golden rod for bees to forage on next summer; but the insidious dog-strangling vine should be removed. (You can find their pictures through an Internet search.) Roots of both plants are about six inches deep and not difficult to dislodge with a garden spade.

Some weeds, like colt’s foot and the many kinds of thistles, have brittle roots with running tillers eight to ten inches below ground, and break very easily. Each broken piece left in the soil regenerates into a new plant. Attempting to dig them out is time consuming and ineffective. The easier way is to leave them until next spring and summer, when they can be starved of energy production by removing top growth.

But think before you completely eliminate weeds. Many, like dandelion, goldenrod and thistles, are important foods for foraging pollinators. Pollinating insects and birds are needed to fertilize up to 40% of our food, but can only do that if we leave them enough wild weed flowers to eat themselves. Casual weeding removes only the weeds that are really in the wrong place; and leave the rest for pollinators to forage on. That insures we all have something to eat.

More on pollinators in Spring 2020.



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Greetings from Algonquin

Posted by Arowhon Friends on December 16, 2018



December 2018                                                        Arowhon Pines, Algonquin 

Dear Friends of Arowhon Pines

Hello All! We’re fresh from a wonderful and busy 2018 season – thank you for your loyalty, patronage and friendship.

While everything is still fresh in our minds, here are some of the goings-on from the season past and what we’re looking forward to...

There is a beautiful sculpture of two trees in the old fountain bed among the flowers, in memory of the late Helen and Eugene Kates. It was commissioned to renowned metal sculptor Hilary Clark Cole. We’re happy to see that it has become a lovely, peaceful place to sit.


Renovations continue: A new look to Sherwood lounge and deck, and a screened porch on the LK cabin, “like-new” chairs and a different layout for the dining room, and new signage around the grounds. For 2019 the two private suites up the hill have undergone a major revamp including screened porches; it was time. Kudos to designers Tim Webb and Dave Campbell, owners of The Shipyards, Gravenhurst, our long-time friends.

Our 2018 staff was extraordinary. We’ve begun to rebuild and/or renovate our staff accommodation. Arowhon provides all staff with private rooms, something unheard of in the resort staff accommodation business.




A goal of the Algonquin Park management is to have only native plants in Algonquin Park. Plans are in place at Arowhon to meet the challenge of gradually removing all non-native species from our grounds, especially the invasives, replacing them with beautiful, indigenous wildflowers, trees and shrubs. We discovered that one of our favourite guests, Judith Adam, is a well-known landscape designer and horticulturalist, with many published garden books and manuals. This spring, she’ll be helping us with this important transformation.

You might also see Chris Brackley around the grounds this summer, with compass in hand. Chris is a cartographer, and the official map-maker for Canadian Geographic Magazine. He will be creating a new accurate map of the grounds, trails and lakes. Chris was drawn to his profession by the many summers he spent at Camp Pathfinder in Algonquin Park. He spends a lot of time at his nearby cottage on Canoe Lake.

Anne Hardy’s WHERE TO EAT IN CANADA ( is Canada’s only independent guidebook to restaurants across the country. Every restaurant in the guide is personally tested. There are no free meals for their reporters, no advertisements and no payment for listing.

“The cooking at Arowhon Pines this year has been some of the best we’ve ever experienced. Major investments have been made in the property—a new kitchen, a new dining-room entrance and a new front office—and they’ve richly paid off. The chefs may be working from established recipes—Eugene and Helen Kates put everything into the computer—but there’s a liveliness and variety to the meals that we haven’t seen before, and the dessert buffet is more elaborate than ever.”


Chef David Cooke, has been seriously talking to us about an Arowhon Pines cookbook. Do you have Arowhon favourites you want to see included in the book? Let us know, and stay tuned.

In January, we’ll be contacting you to say hello and ask that you confirm your booking for next year with a deposit. For those of you who have not yet picked some dates, we hope to hear from you soon. The suites and the rooms along the lakeshore are going fast, especially during the peak times of the season!

Season’s Greetings from the very merry team at Arowhon Pines.

Love Theresa



Spend some time exploring by canoe or trail some of the more obscure and/or historic elements of Algonquin Park…

The remains of the Gilmour Lumber Mill at Potters Creek. Opened in 1887, 500 workers lived here. The community sported a hospital, horse stables, warehouse, cookhouse, storehouses and offices, mill workers houses, boarding houses and cemetery. Turtle research continues each season along the old railway bed 3 km from Arowhon.

Baden Powell Lake is a good day trip from Arowhon. Named after the founder of boy scouts and girl guides, there is a log book and badge swap on the west shore of the lake.

Standing chimneys are all that is left of Camp Minnesing located on Burnt Island Lake. We suggest you canoe part way, then walk the white trail – or you can canoe all the way.

Tom Thomson cairn and totem is located on Canoe Lake, apparently at the site of one of his favourite campsites, accessible only by canoe.






Best Wishes – I’m here for the asking. Adam




A seasonal life style is a wonderful opportunity for staff to travel, learn new skills, meet people and enjoy the world. Although it might not be for everyone, for it involves more work sending out resumes, making travel plans, packing bags, saying goodbye (again) to family and friends, finding accommodation, etc. – I’ve always found it to be the right life for Donna and me.

Seasonal staff bonds last a lifetime. I am still in contact with chefs whom I met when I was in my twenties. As the old man now, I relish keeping up to date with all the travel plans of our young staff.

I usually spend the off season teaching culinary arts at Algonquin College in Ottawa. This winter, however, with all three of my boys flown the coop, Donna and I have decided to take a three month tour of Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand – a trip that we’ve been planning for decades. I am calling this a "food research" tour and plan to bring back lots of new recipes and tastes to incorporate into our menus next season. We leave soon after the holidays and we’re very excited!

No matter what I do though, by the time the snow starts to melt, I can feel Algonquin Park tugging on my soul, and can't wait to start a new season in the kitchen, and a new adventure!

Happy Holidays from Chef David Cooke


Holiday Gifts - 2018

Posted by Arowhon Friends on November 28, 2018

Holiday Gifts from the Arowhon Pines Tuck Shop

Always in good taste...Give the gift of a meal or an overnight stay at Arowhon Pines...Holiday gift certificates are available.

Please contact Adam or Theresa in the office at
(416) 483-4393
We’re here until Dec 20th!

From our 2018 collection, priced to sell. Please add HST, postage and handling:

Ladies Made in Canada bamboo t-shirts with grey or red peace signs $ 25


Arowhon Pines ball caps (limited availability) – red, tan and blue/grey $ 25


Arowhon Pines Note Cards from paintings by Kelly J Kaufman
$ 40.00 / package of 10


Local pottery by Karen Grey – yellow canoe, loons, trees, aurora, beaver, fish, daisies and more…
Small Bowls $ 40
Large Bowls $ 75


Wildlife Photographs - Michael Morgan

Posted by Arowhon Friends on September 30, 2018

Michael Morgan, a regular guest, has kindly shared some wildlife photographs from his years visiting Arowhon Pines.


Anne Hardy’s "Where to Eat in Canada" includes Arowhon

Posted by Arowhon Friends on August 12, 2018

Anne Hardy’s "Where to Eat in Canada" is Canada’s only independent guidebook to restaurants across the country.  Arowhon Pines is ecstatic to have received a 2 STAR rating. 

Note: Every restaurant in the guide has been personally tested. Their reporters are not allowed to identify themselves or to accept free meals. They accept no advertisements. They accept no payment for listings.

The cooking at Arowhon Pines this year has been some of the best we’ve ever experienced. Major investments have been made in the property—a new kitchen, a new dining-room entrance and a new front office—and they’ve richly paid off. The chefs may be working from established recipes—Eugene and Helen Kates put everything into the computer—but there’s a liveliness and variety to the meals that we haven’t seen before, and the dessert buffet is more elaborate than ever.

The menus are all planned a week in advance so no guest will get the same meal twice. As you enter the huge hexagonal dining-room you’re confronted by a big buffet table loaded with soups (perhaps lobster bisque with truffle cream), pâtés, salads and things like crispy duck in moo-shu pancake, shrimp dumplings and scallops with watercress.

You can eat as much of any or all of these as you like. When you sit down—first come, first served—you have the choice of four entrées, one of which will be fish (baked halibut, say, in a parmesan crust) and another vegetarian. If you’re hungry, ask for a second helping (they’re free). If you’re not, ask for a half-portion. You can even get a different second entrée—if you don’t want to choose between the fish and the lamb you can just have both. The dessert bar has too many choices to list, but among them should be maple mousse, fruit salad, blueberry tart, carrot cake and the resort’s famous butter tarts. And once again, you can help yourself to as much as you like.

The price in parentheses at top right is for a room for two with three meals a day, plus all the recreational facilities—like canoes—that are available.

Open daily 12.30 pm to 2 pm, 6.30 pm to 8 pm from 3 June until Thanksgiving. Bring your own bottle. Master Card, Visa. Book ahead. Wheelchair access.

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