Canoe Lake, ON - Stephen Wong

My Watermark is Canoe Lake, Ontario.

My experiences with water have shaped the person that I am now. Every summer for the past twelve years of my life, the sunny shores of Canoe Lake in Algonquin park have called me back. My home during these precious few months every year is known as Camp Ahmek. It’s a boys camp that focuses primarily on outdoors activities such as sailing, horseback riding, archery, and most of all, Canoeing.

This canoeing aspect of the camp calls back to the way the Voyageurs travelled and trapped across Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries; using large birchbark canoes and travelling by river and lake. Similarly to this Ahmek sends its campers out on lengthy canoe trips not only within its local Algonquin Park, but all throughout parks of Ontario and even into the States.

Over the course of this past decade that I have been going to Camp, I have spent more than 150 days of my life on canoe trip. The largest chunks of which are taken up by a 22, a 36, and a 50 day trip; which took me through some of the greatest waterways of Ontario. I was lucky enough to witness the winding rivers and creeks of Kipawa, the crystal clear waters of Temagami, the rugged beauty of Biscotasing, the incredible vastness of Lake Superior and so, so much more.

All of these experiences and memories that I have had in these places have instilled within me an overwhelming sense of attachment for Ontario’s bodies of water. To choose one in moment time that left a watermark upon me is incredibly difficult.

If I were to choose it would have to be on one of those unbelievably hot days where there isn't a cloud in the sky, when my friends and I had been paddling down a particularly long lake. All three of our canoes rafted up side by side in the middle of the lake, and we just relaxed soaking up the sun after our hard day. Eventually, when we got too tired of the heat we began to jump off the decks of our canoes into the cool water. That feeling is absolutely indescribable, nothing can compare to how refreshing and rejuvenating the feel of a quick dip in the lake on summer afternoon.

Moments of time such as that one have given me such appreciation for the water of Canada, and this is a feeling that I would love to see in the hearts of all people.

Canoe Lake, ON
Bonnie McElhinny
Stephen Wong

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