A Cottage Weekend

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.

L'ile LeBlanc

The Harris family cottage.

L'ile LeBlanc

Pond behind the Big Beach.

L'ile LeBlanc

Cottage neighbours.

L'ile LeBlanc

Frisbee on the Big Beach. The waters are quite shallow here.

L'ile LeBlanc

Campfire and chillin’ on the sand.

L'ile LeBlanc

Dusk near the cottage at Little Beach.

L'ile LeBlanc

Looking across Ottawa River – Pembroke in the distance.

L'ile LeBlanc

Lighthouse on the other side of the island.

 Fort William

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.

Fort William

Hotel Pontiac.

Fort William

The bar and local watering hole.

Fort William

Fort William beach.

Fort William

An abandoned shed behind the hotel.

 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 🙂

WestmeathRoute

The trail through Westmeath Park.

Westmeath Provincial Park

Through thick woods and swampland – lots of mosquitoes!

Westmeath Provincial Park

Small lake on the trail.

Westmeath Provincial Park

The shores of Ottawa River at the end of the trail.

Westmeath Provincial Park

Worth 30 bug bites? Probably not…

 

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