By Heather Trusler
I seem to have lived a charmed life, lucky to be able to spend most of my years at a cottage on Georgian Bay.
I am not exactly sure, but approximately 2500 acres of islands and mainland was purchased in the spring of 1898 by several University of Toronto professors, who brought their families up to this bit of paradise to commune with nature. After much deliberation, The Madawaska Club of Go Home Bay was founded and, until 1985, one had to be a U of T graduate to own property there.
The Madclub, as it is affectionately known, is a busy summer community, with many families the direct descendants of those very professors and occupying the original cottages.
That first summer in 1953, we travelled from Honey Harbour by water taxi up the shore before swinging through a narrow opening and up to our dock. It was thrilling to walk up the steps and into a beautiful red-roofed cottage. There were old rugs on the pine floors in the large living room, wrought iron beds in 4 bedrooms, a long narrow kitchen with a vast wood cookstove and a beautiful airy screened in verandah with a large dining room table and an icebox.
My parents had rented it sight unseen after friends had persuaded them to spend a month there rather than our cottage in Port Elgin. Little was I to know that, within three years, they would sell the Port Elgin property and purchase an old, rundown cottage nearby, restoring it to its original beauty.
The second day there, I donned my life jacket and went down to the boathouse, where I discovered a fishing rod and reel with a hook, but no bait. I lifted it out and walked out to the end of the dock, clumsily plunking the line into the water. Immediately, the line grew taut — I hollered for help, instinctively hanging onto the rod. My parents rushed over the rocks and onto the dock to rescue me. Dad skillfully hauled in the line and up came a 4 lb. pike, my very first catch of many more to come!!
That night we dined on baked pike with bread and butter and apple crisp for dessert. To this day, each summer I love a good meal of freshly caught bass, pickerel ,or lake trout, but sweet, flaky Northern Pike is still my favourite!