Weekend on the island
My family spent the recent long weekend on Manitoulin Island. Both my parents are from the island, and I spent much of my childhood summers there, so I do try to get up there at least a couple of times a year, but this weekend was a bit different.
This time was our first at my brother's new place on Dominion Bay, a secluded spot on the south shore of Manitoulin. He sold his place in Guelph and moved to the island on a property that includes a house, three rental cottages, and a tennis court, all right on a beautiful sand beach.
My three other brothers and our families all went up to inaugurate the new place. The weather was great, the beach was great, and we had a great weekend. The kids had a wonderful time playing with all their cousins. The adults caught up on each other's lives. Then we topped the weekend off with a barbecue for all our extended family on the island.
It was really good experience for me and also for my kids. You could almost see them making the kinds of memories that they'll look back on as adults and say, “That was a highlight of my childhood.” The sort of memories that I also have of the island as a child.
The best part, of course, is that the cottages will be there for the foreseeable future. We'll have many opportunities to go back and spend time there, strengthen those memories, build those family connections.
I couldn't have planned for my brother to take the risk of giving up his southern Ontario life to start a whole new venture on Manitoulin, but for purely selfish reasons I'm glad he did. You can't buy the kinds of experiences that my kids had this past weekend. You just have to grab them when you find them.