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Arowhon Pines is fully booked for the rest of the 2021 season; we are taking bookings for 2022 at this time.
Autumn Guests with Reservations:
Algonquin Park is busy in the fall, especially during the weekends. If you arrive at either the West or East Gate and Algonquin Park has reached capacity, visitors will not be permitted to enter. This absolutely does not affect registered guests of Arowhon Pines. Drive through and do not stop to pay for a permit; we will provide you one upon arrival. Weekend guests should know that Park trails are busy, your favourites might be closed and parking lots full; traffic on Highway 60 is slow and (gasp) you might not make it back for lunch! Enjoy our trails instead that start from our property. If you do venture out, make sure that you bring your park permit and display it on your dashboard. Stay safe.
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
In 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 www.nativeplants.ca.
We will also be talking to Linda at DWIGHT GARDEN CENTRE who has always been a source of great information and support. www.dwightgardencentre.com
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 www.muskokaconservancy.org/events/native-plant-sale
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.
First 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.
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.
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 (http://www.oberonpress.ca/wheretoeat/) 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.”
FOR THE FULL REVIEW, CLICK HERE
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.
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. http://www.sbaa.ca/projects.asp?cn=316
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
FROM THE CHEF...
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
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
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
Posted by Arowhon Friends on September 30, 2018
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.
Posted by Arowhon Friends on August 7, 2018
Posted by Arowhon Friends on June 18, 2018
FlyGTA is providing passenger air service from the Toronto Island Billy Bishop Airport to Muskoka Airport - www.flygta.com
Discount Car Rentals is represented at the Muskoka Airport – 705 645 0372 is the local number.
There is also a limo service through Hammond Transport: www.hammondlimo.ca
The twin engine Piper Panther aircraft will comfortably accommodate up to eight passengers at a time with a one-way ticket price of $140.
The flights will run to and from Muskoka on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during peak travel times.
Posted by Arowhon Friends on June 3, 2018
Inside Algonquin Park
We’re Officially Open for the Season!
Now that the snow is gone, Algonquin Park becomes a landscape of sparkling, warm lakes, cascading streams & forests of every green imaginable.
Spend your holidays at Arowhon Pines canoeing & kayaking a chain of lakes, hiking trails to see moose & other wildlife, swimming in the lake, playing tennis, sailing, SUPing & relaxing. Rates include all meals - our food is made from scratch, from quality local ingredients and prepared with care by a team of chefs.
Choose to be off the beaten track, miles off the highway where peace and quiet reign. We look forward to welcoming you!
Theresa, David and Adam and All of us at Arowhon Pines
Posted by Arowhon Friends on June 2, 2018
Thank you Scott Martin Photography for the stunning photographs in and around
FOR MORE INFO:
Posted by admin on May 23, 2018
Arowhon Pines, Algonquin Park
Open June 1st 2018
Over the weekend we received a record number of new bookings – from Canada and the US, but also from Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Japan! How humbling (and lovely) to know that we’ve kept the Arowhon tradition of attracting people from around the world.
We have a lot in common. The quest for a peaceful, not pretentious, retreat from traffic and noise. The love of sharing a meal with our partner, friends and family. Good food made from quality ingredients, lovingly prepared by a team of chefs. The feel of the lake, water like silk, in the afternoon. The simple beauty of the ripple of the paddle dipped into the lake. Standing quiet and still, close to a moose, or a fox, or a beaver. We’re told time and time again by our well-travelled guests, that there are beautiful places all over the world, but nothing compares to the natural beauty of Arowhon Pines.
Have you made your booking yet for this year? The improvements and renovations continue, David’s got some new things on the go in the kitchen, and the lake will be warming up soon.
We can’t wait to see you again.
Love Theresa, David and Adam
AROWHON PINES RETRO!
Please note that a weekly rate was $ 95.00 per person with food!
Sure Signs of Spring
Seeing wildlife is a big part of every guest's experience at Arowhon. Due to our more isolated location on a chain of lakes and in the middle of the woods, encounters with wildlife are varied and frequent – and real.
Spring is the best time to see wildlife – it seems every creature is either “snowbirding” back home or waking up from months of hibernation - not unlike all of us...
The Friends of Algonquin Park website does a great job keeping us all in the loop – live web cams, up-to-date bird sightings, bear safety information and tips on how to plan for a spring trip. www.algonquinpark.on.ca
There’s plenty of research information as well - the common loon and audios of their calls, the Eastern wolf, moose, gray jays and brook trout. Since 1978 the University of Guelph has been conducting research on the painted turtle – closeby to Arowhon Pines and in the spring, you can talk to the students and check on what they are doing! For more detailed information on the Science Behind Algonquin’s Animals, visit: http://www.sbaa.ca/ - it’s fascinating!
Ellen (Helen) Joan Kates
1930 – 2017
It is with sadness that we announce that Ellen (Helen) Joan Kates died peacefully at her home in Toronto on Wednesday May 17, 2017. She was predeceased by the love of her life, Eugene Kates in 2007 and is survived by the families of her brother, Colin Day of the UK (recently deceased) and the Kates' families (Joanne Kates, Leon Musynski and the late Robert Kates) of Toronto.
Guests will fondly remember Helen as the charming and gracious host at Arowhon Pines. You might also remember her brisk walks around the grounds with her golden retrievers and daily backstroke swims in Little Joe Lake. The staff, in particular the chefs, will remember a strict, demanding boss with a sharp eye for detail but one with an extraordinarily generous heart.
With perfect timing, Helen died on the morning of Arowhon’s hectic moving day from our office in Toronto to Algonquin Park. In Algonquin, the day was breathtakingly beautiful - warm and sunny with a gentle wind. The dogs were in the lake all day. We’ll miss Helen, but we will feel her presence forever.
Loving friends will miss her, especially Theresa Pupulin, Mona Bernardi, Lucille MacDonald, Olive Pester, David Cooke, Edward Munsayac, Adam Falardeau and all the staff, past and present, at Arowhon Pines.
A special thank you is extended to her loyal caregivers, Felicitas and Elaine, the staff from Eldercare, James Mastin and his team at CCAC. With all their support, Helen was able to die at home, surrounded by people she loved and in accordance with her wishes.
To follow Helen’s wishes, cremation has taken place and there will be no public service. If you wish to honour her, please do so privately and in your own way, or donate to a charity of your choice or the Golden Retriever Rescue.
For all the regular guests this summer, we’ll have lots of champagne to share with you and toast our friend, Helen. She would like that! If you have a story or photo you would like to share, please email us at email@example.com.
Dear Theresa and Arowhon Staff,
We prefer the very real world of Arowhon Pines and look forward to a reprise of our wonderful experience same time next fall. Please make sure that Theresa sees the photos--particularly the hug to the Medicine Tree. Theresa inspired that and we are sending her our hugs to an equally lovely--albeit younger being:).
Cheers, Cindy (and Norm)
A Few Pictures
"I didn’t take a lot of pics this trip, will get more at Thanksgiving. Pic 2 and 3 are from across the bay at the beginning of the white trail.
Thanks for a lovely stay yet again. See you for dinner in a couple weeks." -- Sharon and Mike Arcaro
June Writer's Retreat
If you could manage to arrange a sort of teleportation device so I didn't have to contend with a 6-7 hour drive from London, that would be great. Otherwise, everything was pretty perfect. The facilities are awesome, the landscape is awesome, the staff is awesome...
I am attaching a photo I took back in June which I had been meaning to send along.
Thank you so much for helping to make the writer's retreat a success.
See you next June!" -- Helen E. Patterson
Arowhon, the Real World
By Esther White (who participated in Brian Henry’s fall 2017 Writing Workshop Weekend)
I gladly left the hot hustle of the 407 on a Friday afternoon and headed north to cottage country. It produced a happy giddiness that only cottagers know. The roads twisted past gray-blue lakes edged with forests of vermilion, canary yellow and crimson foliage. The fall colours had arrived early and I felt as if I were the first person in Canada to see them on these lonely paths into the wilderness.
Coming “home” into the familiar gravel driveway, I had a little over seven kilometers to ease into the Arowhon way, slowing my car to take in vistas of wildflowers and evergreens. It had been several months since my last visit and it was good to be back. An hour early for my conference, I took the time to shower and unpack. Skipping down the cottage steps, I headed over to the main dining hall for some friendly smiles and a cup of hot tea on the verandah. As I settled into the cushioned wicker chair, my shoes melted off my feet. I propped them up on the railing, closed my eyes and gratefully inhaled the pungent brew.
Across the lake, a loon called to its mate and a gaggle of canoes paddled to the distant shoreline. My growling stomach was gratified by the scent of roast lamb and lobster bisque effusing the air just outside the candlelit hall with such tempting aromas I was glad I had arrived on time. Right on time, the dinner bell rang and I needed no second invitation. That night, after a busy writing session with my group, I wriggled under my duvet and rested my travel-weary head on the plush pillows and I felt satisfied with the day’s accomplishments.
The next thing I knew, the sun was beckoning me out to explore the camp and it was morning. Quickly, I dressed and headed for the coffee pot in the dining room, laptop bag under my arm. The mists rose off the lake, echoed by the steamy tendrils that escaped my china cup into the morning air. Inspired, I opened my laptop and began writing, using some of the tips we had talked about in our first meeting the night before. Before I knew it, breakfast was ready and it was time to feast again. There were pancakes, kippers, steamed whitefish and heaping bowls of fresh fruit, alongside porridge, fresh fruit juices and much more.
The weekend passed in just that order and all too quickly; eating and resting, working, talking with the new friends I had made that weekend. I wrote more in those 3 days than I had in an entire week at home and I felt it was much higher in quality due to the inspiration I was surrounded by every day. In the evening, pinpoints of light punched through the velvet sky. Swathed in the Milky Way, they looked close enough to touch. Early morning brought with it a desire to explore the kitchen gardens and flowers as well as the book I had committed to writing. And then there was the canoe trip where I was dubbed the more experienced paddler, having survived the Kayak Incident of The First Conference, and required to sit in the stern of the boat to steer. We logged many oar strokes but never actually made it to the other side. I also discovered that laughing too hard can cause the boat to pitch precariously but it is unavoidable when paddling out with Victoria. We finally headed back to shore for tea and a fresh scone, consolation indeed.
All too soon, it was our last night at Arowhon, dear Arowhon. In the morning, I realized how much I had relaxed, learned and grown in this little piece of heaven tucked away in Algonquin. I also realized you don’t visit Arowhon, it visits with you and if you’re lucky, it lets you see some of its most precious treasures. Taking the time away from a busy city life, this place was just the re-set my spirit needed. I was welcomed as one of the family and free to explore her shores and pathways along with my own inner questions. Here, I have found a liberating sense of reconnecting with God and remembered that He has control of all things. I am in His care always. I am always loved and I would not have owned this reality as part of my heart without the quiet whisper of the evening leaves as they rustled in the twilight and seeing God in every detail of his creation and people. He was in the time alone, meditating in the calm quiet that pervaded this blissful place. Cherishing my last few moments here, I wandered around with my camera to capture some of the magic on film if that is possible. The high dive platform beckoned hot and dusty hikers, pots of geraniums were placed just so without ever appearing contrived. Campers lounged with books, a fresh cuppa alongside a slice of coffee cake, fresh from the oven. Even a sweet sailboat sandbox joined the fun, as it called little would be sailors to play.
Evergreens studied their reflection in the calm pools between the cottages, dipping their feet into the crisp water and feeling their roots down deep in the Canadian soil. This is home. This is where I love to be. Leaving camp was difficult and I am already certain I will return, God willing. I’ve said my goodbyes to the caring and attentive staff and each corner where I’ve picked up a new memory. It will be good to return here in a new season when the snow has melted to search out new truths and re-connect with the real world of Arowhon.
I drove slowly with no great need to rejoin the outside world and then I noticed, I have not looked in the rearview mirror once. Another lesson from Arowhon. Yesterday is a memory. Today is precious. Tomorrow, I will be back again.
Hope all is well, just like to say Ben and I had a wonderful time at Arowhon and it was so nice to meet you.
I was cleaning out my desk and came across your email address. Here are the receipts from when we were there in 1976 for our honeymoon, 2001 for our 25th wedding anniversary." -- Martha
Second and third generations Osborne/Roberts on the bridge in August 2009. Fourth generation to visit again in October 2016:
Robert and Christiane Osborne with their daughter and granddaughter in July 2001:
"These aren’t that old, but thought you’d enjoy them nonetheless. We just celebrated our four year wedding anniversary this past week (September 8th) and have fond memories of our wedding despite the rain… and the lack of hydro.
Hope you had a great summer. We enjoyed our time at the cottage next door on Canoe Lake and we can’t believe that another season is coming to a close. Next weekend will be our last trip north for 2016. The season is just far too short!
Until next year!" -- Lisa & Simon, Elliot & Thomas
"This picture was taken on 26th September 2004. As you figure out, this is the lake in front of your Arowhon Pines. Twelve years have passed since we stayed…. All the days our staying, we wrapped in the most perfect happiness. We would love to come back to see you all and our unforgettable splendid memories…."
Miki IMAI (Ms.) from Tokyo, JAPAN
Finn's First Stay at Arowhon Pines
"Thanks for making our first adventure with Finnegan so awesome! It was nice to have him so welcomed and well taken care of by everyone there." -- Tineke, Neville, and Finn
"It was meant to be a “one-off”- a child-free weekend escape from our busy city lives. The year was 1987 and it was our first venture into Algonquin Park where we were booked to stay at Arowhon Pines. We had been hearing about the renowned lodge for years and were looking forward to our stay. We loved every moment of that first visit: the park, the hiking, the food, the rustic luxury, the wilderness. Did I mention the food? After the first day, we were plotting our return and how we could become one of the numerous couples we met on that visit who had been coming for 18, 20, even 25 years.
When Eugene Kates introduced himself to us, he began talking about the camp. We mentioned our 9 year old son and he informed us, in no uncertain terms, that our son should have started camp 2 years ago. A lightbulb went on and we planned a hike to Camp Arowhon for the next day. Suitably impressed with the camp, we spent that Fall and Winter suggesting to our son that he might want to try camp the next summer. Much to our surprise he agreed and thus began our annual pilgrimage to the Pines. In those years, Visitors’ Day was mid-way through the 4 week camp session and it became our ritual to come up to the Pines for the Visitors’ Day weekend.
We have fond memories of large dinner gatherings year after year with the parents of children attending the same camp session as our children. As our son and daughter graduated from campers to staff, they would arrange their day-off to coincide with one of the days of our Arowhon week-end. More than once a parent of a camper would drop by our table to see if they could get some early information on their camper’s summer. Eventually, the 16 summers of our children’s camp life ended, but we couldn’t bear the thought of giving up our Pines “get-away”. So we continued our visits to the Pines, although not on Visitors’ Day week-end!
On one memorable occasion we watched a well-known Canadian dressed in a fringed buckskin jacket enjoy dinner with his 3 adorable little boys. As you have probably guessed, one of those boys grew up to be our current Prime Minister. We have just enjoyed our 30th season at the Pines and we love it just as much now as we did on our first visit. Helen Kates always told us that Arowhon is special because of her fabulous team. A huge shout-out to Theresa, Adam, Dave, Edward and the entire gang. They are successfully negotiating that difficult balance between maintaining the traditions while changing with the times. It’s certainly working for us, as we look forward to our 31st consecutive season in 2017.
Our very best wishes to everyone who makes the Pines such a magical place." -- Brian and Annalee Schnurr, Toronto, Canada
"Here are a few memories of many wonderful vacations at Arowhon. The early morning is the best time to see and be on the lake and many times we have navigated back in the mist by following the smell of breakfast!" -- Michael Cook
"This picture was taken on 26th September 2004. As you figure out, this is the lake in front of your Arowhon Pines. Twelve years have passed since we stayed…. All the days our staying, we wrapped in the most perfect happiness. We would love to come back to see you all and our unforgettable splendid memories…."
Miki IMAI (Ms.) from Tokyo, JAPAN
"I am a prior Camper and Counsellor at Camp Arowhon in the 70's. My brother Mike headed the sailing dock. Over the years my family will occasionally get together at Arowhon Pines. Here is a painting my sister Shari Orenstein made of one of these visits." -- Dr. Teddi Orenstein Lyall