For countless Canadian city dwellers, a few days in cottage country is the quintessential summer pasttime. Every weekend from May to September, there is a mass exodus from city to country where everyone enjoys the great outdoors. The Labour Day long weekend marks the unofficial end of summer (with kids heading back to school immediately after), so this holiday is particularly busy.
My friend Justin graciously invited a group of friends to spend the long weekend at his family cottage near Pembroke, about an hour from Ottawa and a good 5 hours drive from Toronto. Here are a few photos from the three days of relaxing, taking in the local sights, and generally doing nothing but having a good time.
The Harris Cottage
Justin’s cottage is located on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River (Rivieres des Outaouais) just across the city of Pembroke. There are a few other cottages on the island, as well as access to a sandy beach right on the river. We put up a few tents and camped on the grounds. For the most part, the weather was good despite the occasional rain showers.
We had a great breakfast at the Hotel Pontiac bar and restaurant in Fort William (the hotel portion seems to be permanently closed, though they do have cottage rentals). The Fort is a popular summertime destination with boaters for family activities on the beach, as well as nightly entertainment.
Westmeath Provincial Park
We managed to squeeze in a short hike over the weekend. Westmeath Provincial Park is about 30 minutes drive from Pembroke, and this small park has a single 3-km trail that leads to a beach on the south shore of the Ottawa River. Winding through ponds and wetlands, the trail was infested with mosquitoes so this wasn’t exactly an enjoyable hike… We basically got through it as quickly as possible! Not many pictures taken since I was eaten alive if stopped 🙂