Cottage on the Bay

What’s up with the weather gods in TO?


Tuesday and Wednesday we were dealing with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees (that’s about 100 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re still using that quaint means of measuring) when the humidity was factored in.

Today?  Chilly north wind.  Tomorrow?  CHILLIER north wind.

And I’m going to be on a rock in the middle of the Bay.  About 2 degrees Celsius overnight.  TWO DEGREES.

I’m not ready for summer to end, so, despite the less-than-ideal temperature, I will do the true Canadian thing and head north this afternoon for an annual pilgrimage with some of my best peeps.

We try to do this every year.  A couple of nights away, sans spouses/significant others, to just hang out and catch up a little.

We have known each other for decades (as I both date myself and make myself feel old) and have been hanging out through thick and thin- camp, school, higher education, marriages, divorces, kids, houses, jobs, great gains and huge losses and, generally, life.  As friends, roommates, brothers, sisters, confidant(e)s…

We’re family.

We are privileged to have access to a family cottage/compound on Georgian Bay that SCREAMS Canada.

A September Gale by Arthur Lismer
We will likely experience a gale or two over the next couple of days

Georgian Bay is filled with landscapes that are quintessentially Canadian.  It was a popular subject of the Group of Seven, and such images are, internationally and here at home, as Canadian as toques and two-fours, poutine and politesse.  There will be certainly be two-fours this weekend, and toques might be advisable- given the forecast.  Poutine isn’t as likely, but the politesse is ingrained and therefore a given.

Of a sort, anyway.  Good manners and polite discourse are relative when you’re on an island and there is beer and barbeque involved.

And then there’s the Bay Cup.  That annual Risk Tournament that I mentioned here.  As I said, I will not participate due to a past traumatic Risk-related occurrence- except to occasionally pop my head in to goad or slander or critique the strategy of one of the combatants.  Unfortunately the defender of the Championship Title (and current Keeper of the Cup) is not able to join us this year, so it remains to be seen whether or not the battle can legitimately be waged.  It will be up to the Rules Committee.


I have my cottage book lined up (sadly, not Ray Davies’ new one- but only because it isn’t yet available).  Jian Ghomeshi’s 1982 is solid CanCon and highly appropriate for a real Canadian cottage weekend.  Plus I passed him on the street the other day as he was on his way into the CBC studio.  Reminded me that I’ve been meaning to read the book.

There will be food and games and talking and general shenanigans.

And there will be music.

The cottage weekend has to be finely mediated in the musical department.  No one person gets to control the selection for more than 5 songs at a time (this is veryvery necessary.  No one needs to hear 48 straight hours of Phish.  No one).  This keeps the peace- which is certainly required after the full contact Risk Tourney.

Early on there is all kinds of variety as we all offer up some of the newer stuff we’ve been listening to recently.  A lot of attempting to persuade those of, shall we say, established tastes to just listen to this song- give it a chance.  We start off with choices that are generally chill and part of the background to whatever else is going on.

As the stars come out (and there is NOTHING like a clear night under the stars at the Bay) music is the focus, and the selections become more nostalgic- and predictable.  The comfort in the predictability is palpable.  Years fall away as the selections are chosen.

The fire will be stoked (‘Stoke the fire again’, a quote from Commander Worf, will be heard ad nauseum) and the singalong will begin.

These are some of the songs of the Bay.

Donovan.  I have only ever met a handful of people who have actually heard this song.  Everyone knows Mellow Yellow and Hurdy Gurdy Man, but you can really tell a lot about a person by what they think about Atlantis.  If you don’t like it, I’m really not sure we can be friends anymore.

Harsh, but there it is.

(I’ve actually used this song in classes in which we were discussing myths of Atlantis.  The reactions of undergraduate students to hearing it for the first time is always illuminating- and pretty accurate in gauging how ultimately invested in the course they would be.  It’s a pretty solid litmus test.)

Futurama used a version of the song- sung by Donovan himself- about the sinking of Atlanta.  Hilarious episode.  I’m going to miss that show. Again.

History, life and love under the waves.

Ultimate cottage song.


This song is mainly included as a source of remembered silliness.  Short version of connected back story: it involved someone wearing a woven basket-like plant holder as a hat.  There might have been alcohol involved.

It IS filled with good advice though.  SO important to ‘know when to walk away and know when to run.’  Great inspiration when one is feeling like one is ‘out of aces’.

Simple Minds’ 1982 tune is connected with this year’s reading material and recalls summers past while reminding us of the wonderful things yet to come.  Like their show at Massey Hall in October.  Looking back and forward all in one song.

I’ve already referenced this song this month, so I won’t talk about it again.  But it will be heard.  More than once.

The Last Resort, also previously discussed and best played as the sun is setting, is especially resonant when appreciated in the beauty and quiet and peace of the Lake.  Its cautionary message- ‘You call someplace paradise kiss it goodbye’– makes my heart hurt thinking that THAT particular paradise could ever be lost.

This one generally ends the night(s).

Appropriate since it’s the song that never ends.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can appreciate Phish and all, but this song is sooooo very long.

(I will totally understand if you don’t actually watch that one all the way through.)

And, if we let them, there are those among us who will try to play back-to-back various live versions of the song as their 5 selections.  Not on my watch.

It will be a weekend of relaxation and shoring up of resources- something I very much need right now- with people I love and respect- and who never cease to make me laugh and think about things differently than is my day-to-day wont.

A weekend to remind myself just how fortunate we are.  How fortunate I am.  To live in Canada and to have the friends and family I have.

Hope your weekend is as restful and restorative as mine is sure to be.

20 comments on “Cottage on the Bay

  1. bethbyrnes says:

    Southern Cross is one of my all time favourite songs – on my iPod. Love this blog.

  2. OMG, Cole — my friend & I count Atlantis as our favourite on our driving CD! We can recite the intro almost word for word & then both yell ‘Hail, Atlantis’ at the changing beat into the singing — then I play around with which part to sing after that, hee hee. 😉 Is this a Canadian thing? The answer lies way down below the ocean . . .

    The song I hadn’t heard before was the Eagles’ The Last Resort — who knew it was on Hotel California? And yes, as I enjoy my paradise here on Vancouver Isle, I feel your hurting head when they hit the ‘kiss it goodbye’ — we are certainly blessed here in Canada & I pray for my grandchildren & their grandchildren that our country retains its natural beauty.

    Thanks so much for a lovely group of enlightening videos — made my day. 😀

    • colemining says:

      Vanessa- How nice to make someone’s day! We have our rituals for listening to the song- and “Hail Atlantis” MUST be accompanied by a raised glass. It’s kinda spooky to see how ingrained that has become.
      The Last Resort is amazingly beautiful. We played a few Eagles tunes over the past couple of days. Somehow the harmonies and the poignant lyrics are made for the Bay.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    Barabajagal, the album from which Atlantis was released, was one of the first that I bought. It met with condemnation from my older sibling and cousins for not being Rock & Roll. 🙂
    Your cabin on the bay sounds fantastic. Have a wonderful time, though I think that’s pretty much assured. 🙂

  4. colemining says:

    Oh ChgoJohn, some day I may have to recount the tale of the manymanymany used record stores I hit over a period of ten or so years looking for a copy of the double album Barabajagal/Hurdy Gurdy Man to replace one that was stolen from my friend’s place during a house party wayway back in the day.
    Not that I don’t love the guy dearly, but I wasn’t about to give up my copy! Finally found one- and to this day it holds pride of place in a special case in his rec room.
    It was certainly a wonderful time. Once I get some work done I may just have to write about it.

  5. […] has dropped, even here in the city, so I’m sitting, wrapped in a blanked, thinking about the weekend, and wishing I was still on the […]

  6. We can be friends – I love, love Hail Atlantis…. and also his Universal Soldier, though I think Buffe St Marie has the edge there….
    Your weekend sounds wonderful… and the island heaven….

    • colemining says:

      So nice to find more Donovan fans- and friends! That island really is one of the most perfect places I’ve ever been (and the company is pretty perfect too). I feel very fortunate that I get to visit and decompress in some of the natural beauty that Canada has in abundance.
      Thanks for reading Valerie!

  7. […] I Travel, and Someone Somewhere in Summertime, one of my personal faves (referenced before here).  Other incredibly solid offerings followed, until one tuneblew all the wonder that had come […]

  8. […] You know I love Donovan. […]

  9. colemining says:

    Reblogged this on colemining and commented:

    Deja vu. All over again. Funny how much can change in a year- and how much stays the same. The weather gods are, once again, messing around up there. It was unseasonably warm for a stretch (after a colder-than-is-normal summer) and now, with the annual cottage weekend approaching, the temps are about to plummet. Again.

    Nevertheless, I will be heading north Friday morning for some good times on the Bay. The reading material is different this year (was hoping for Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam’s memoir- but it’s not out until next Tuesday, so I’ll pick out something in its stead), and the cast of characters will be slightly different- due to other commitments and that whole life thing.

    But there will be music, catch up chats, silliness and tranquility (and that Risk tourney- but I’m pretending that won’t be happening). And the lake. And the stars. And friendship. A chance to just relax and reflect and absorb the past 12 months- the good, the bad, and the life-altering.

    Oh- and extra firewood this year. LOTS of extra firewood. Have to avoid the hypothermia at all costs. Flying off on vacay next week…

    All things for which I am thankful. I’ll be holding onto that anticipatory feeling tonight as I watch the POTUS address an increasingly distressing international situation.

    One last summer weekend… bring it on!

  10. bethbyrnes says:

    I have to laugh at myself. Here I am a year later ready to say the exact same thing, Southern Cross is one of my all-time faves. Sheesh I am predictable.

    We are having the 40C weather here right now. No autumn for us yet through October, according to Accuweather forecasts. I know some people love heat, but I am not one of them.

    Wish I had a Canadian getaway, even for 24 hours! I am reading Vince Lombardi’s book this weekend, in hard copy, my favourite way to read a book, despite all the electronic versions I have downloaded on my KFHDX (or whatever that thing is called).

    You really exemplify high-level eclectic taste, Cole. I am now going to go listen to all this music again. Forgotten the Donovan Atlantis, if I ever remembered it, LOL.

    Enjoy your mini vacay. xo

    • colemining says:

      We are such creatures of habit! Not necessarily a bad thing… I’m listening to Airborne Toxic Event right now- something I haven’t done much since last year’s cottage trip.

      I do like the heat- but I’m okay with the autumnal temps, as well. Just wishing that we didn’t go straight into cold-as-hell right when it’s time to head to the Bay! Ah well- at least I’m not in Calgary (for many reasons, but mainly because they got SNOW this week!). And there’s supposed to be some wicked Northern Lights activity thanks to all the solar flares. Looking forward to that. I’ll be sure to bundle up!

      I got a Kobo (Canadian Kindle) for my bday- haven’t loaded anything on it as of yet (the list of must-reads needs narrowing)- but it will come in handy for the flight to the UK and train travel between stops. I’m thinking I will be ‘real book’ in hand at the cottage, though.

      My taste is definitely eclectic. Although there are patterns even in the eclecticism… It’s really all about the stories.

      Have a great weekend! Thanks for the visit and the thoughts! xo

  11. lennymaysay says:

    Atlantis. Off course I know it. And I was in a band of sorts in high school and performed Southern Cross to a very appreciative audience. Not sure how many people know that song these days.

  12. […] the first time in years, my annual September camp-buds cottage weekend did not require layer-upon-layer of winter-type clothing to prevent perishing from hypothermia- so […]

  13. I don’t recollect ever hearing Atlantis but I’m glad to say we can still be friends! I could listen to that voice and those words, on repeat, as I drift off to dreams.
    Those cottage breaks sound magical, Cole.x

    • colemining says:

      You astonish me, A-M! Donovan’s a good Maryhil lad, after all. Isn’t it just fab? How I love him- and that voice. Like a lullaby.

      Your comment drew me back to give that post a re-read. Coming off this year’s iteration of the cottage weekend, it was quite timely. Every song on that list had its airtime- at least once- over the weekend. We’ve actually now started taking wagers on how often Willy will insist upon playing the Phish tune- I won this year- he kept it to two.

      When you come for a visit we’ll make sure you get to experience the magic your own self. There’s nothing like the Ontario’s cottage country, IMHO. xo

      • I wasn’t even aware it was a ‘thing’ until I started reading your blog, Cole. It sounds amazing for recharging the batteries before heading back into the fray.x

      • colemining says:

        As much as we love this city, Torontonians sure do love the opportunity to head north to hang out in the trees on a lake. I think it’s a reactionary thing- we know what the winter is going to bring, so we spend as much time enjoying the temperate out-of-doors as we can. Love it.

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