1960's Summer Trip to Fenelon Falls

Submitted by Sandra L. Silva, Written by Linda Gorrie

The Sulpician Namesake: Bliss, Your Name is Summer

The Sulpician Namesake: Bliss, Your Name is Summer

The good Abbe Fenelon gave his name to the town that three hundred years later came to be synonymous, to our family, with summer.


Several summers before, during and after the summer of love, our family of four packed up our gear and piled into any one of a number of North American-made four door sedans for our annual trek to the cottage. We’d drive the well worn path between home and the super highways of Toronto soon bypassing the great City. Soon we’d be meandering along roads that snaked past pastoral, green fields much gentler than the sharp edges of the Canadian Shield, which was the backdrop scenery of our other family trips. 

Like salmon returning to their spawning grounds, our family headed inexorably toward the Kawarthas until we were at our destination; Fenelon Falls. We’d pass the mechanic’s garage, drive over the bridge spanning the locks, continue past the Dairy and ice cream parlour on the left, the bakery just up the road, and we’d leave the main drag travelling onto a bumpier narrow dirt road.  We’d stop at the water tap by the side of the road where we would fill up water jugs. This was always the last part of the trip. We would be unbearably, wonderfully happy when in just a few long, short minutes we would see the sign that said “England” and would turn down the tree covered lane which led to the cottage.   

The air smelled like the lake: cool and damp. By the time we arrived it was early evening with the edge just off of the brightness of the summery, sunshine-y day; a hint of meat smoke on the BBQ and the sounds of ice dropping into glasses full of cocktails and soft shimmery grown up laughter. The day still bright enough, we would tumble out of the car and run along the well worn path to explore the haunts of the previous summer: the familiar never changing cottage next-store and the one next to that and so on – all the way down the beach until we couldn’t go any further. Docks fanning out from the water’s edge like the teeth of a comb, wanting us to run to the end, run back. Laying on our stomachs and watching minnows, fry, frogs and crayfish. The water creatures venturing out from their shady hiding as the sun began to fade and day turned into night: magic time, twilight time. Swishing finger tips into the water that was still warm on top, cooler down below.

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We would be called back for dinner then bed in the room thick with the musty smell of sheets too long on the shelf and wool blankets still smelling like lanolin and the empty closed up winter cottage which never quite dried out. Tucked in and waiting for sleep to come. bringing with it the promise of morning, and with each morning day after endless summer day and memories that would last and last.

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