Travel Canadiana: Sudbury and Fairbanks Lake


If you really want to see Canada in all it’s glory, I would suggest visiting in September. It is truly spectacular – the fireworks of maple leaves and the crisp, sun-warmed air give you a sense of everything the country has to offer. If you really want to enjoy your stay, I would suggest leaving the toddler at home.

Just kidding. We had the most amazing time on our Canadian adventure, and X was awesome almost all of the time, especially taking into account the fact that we just uproot him and drag him around the world on a whim, and he has no clue what’s going on. Things started off a little bit touchy, when he only slept a half hour of the eight hour flight from Geneva to Montreal. The rest of the time was spent screaming, as though we were torturing him. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, a little, but not by much. All he wanted to do was run up and down the aisle of the plane. As long as he was doing that, everything was right in his little world. If not, well. Back to the torture. Even the Air Canada staff, not exactly known for their caring ways, were stumbling over themselves trying to get him to be quiet, giving us more and more food and milk. Little did they know our little guy cares nothing for food, only for moving around. Not many people slept well on that flight, let me tell you. I’m not that sympathetic – they at least slept better than I did.

After a long day of flying, there was another really long day of driving. Ontario is huge. And once you’re north of, I’m not sure, however far Toronto’s megasprawl reaches nowadays, there’s really not a lot there. Rocks. Trees. Lakes. So many lakes. It’s gorgeous, but it goes on and on. Not to worry, though, X decided to be awesome on the eight hour drive. He didn’t sleep much but was totally content to just watch the world pass him by outside his window. Go figure. And it was all worth it because then we arrived here.


In a word, paradise. This is, as I refer to it, “my lake,” Fairbanks Lake, the place where I came to vacation as a kid at my family’s little cottage, which we call Camp. I think that’s a Northern Ontario thing. It is spectacularly beautiful. The air is so clean, the water is so pure we drink direct from the lake. I could spend ages up here. Since the summer vacationers were gone at this point, everything was quiet. You could hear the loons calling across the stillness of the water. Whenever I see the world like this, I can imagine how everything was hundreds of years ago. It helps that I had zero access to phone or internet. It’s nice to quiet out the rest of the world sometimes.


Of course, all that stillness was going to get on the nerves of the men in my life, both of whom are very active and not prone to taking it easy. So we got busy doing camp-type things, like having bonfires. This is actually X’s first bonfire. He was pretty excited, but cautious around it, thank goodness. He knows what chaud means and is good to keep away from things that burn. It didn’t stop him from helping Papa out with the poking, though.


Or enjoying his very first s’more! I have been craving s’mores for ages, but they have to be authentic, cooked over embers surrounded by rocks outside. X wasn’t too sure about them – he liked how they tasted (obviously, there was chocolate involved) but was not too happy about the stickiness left on his fingers. For a rough and tumble little guy, he sure does not like to get messy.


Well, not too messy, anyway. If it involved sawdust, there was no end to the fun to be had. I love the look of pure joy as he threw the stuff everywhere until we were all covered. Maybe it was okay to him because it wasn’t sticky? At least it smelled nice. We spent the week smelling like the outdoors, smoke and wood. It was glorious.

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Trying to keep a toddler amused for a week while cooped up in a cottage can be challenging. The one thing about my lake is that it is cold, like, all the time. But staying inside everyday isn’t an option when the baby is about to run up the walls. You have to make your own fun, whether bundled up for the outdoors or curled up in front of the fire. You’ll see that X is dressed as though ready for a snowstorm. It was nippy out there. There was also the occasional trek into the metropolis of Sudbury, but we decided that was not our favourite location of all time. Better to spend time with the wilds.


All too soon, our time in the wilderness was over. I think most of the crew was itching to get back to civilization. Me, I think I could have lasted a few more months out there. Just give me a pile of books and I’m good to go! But we had to move on to other exciting things – family to see and wedding taking place. So our Canadian adventure is to be continued …


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