Imagine for a minute, that you have just driven through Friday afternoon traffic, away from wherever you live to just north of Parry Sound. You are tired from the drive and the work week that is slowly fading behind you as you move north. You take a winding and bumpy road for about 20 minutes until it ends at a Marina. You step out of the car and breathe in the smell of pine trees. You feel the cooling breeze off the lake. You are met by a boat that whisks you a short distance to an old cottage that sits high on a rock looking north-west up the boat channel toward the open waters of Georgian Bay. Very quickly, any belongings you may have brought with you are ferried up to the guest cabin by any one of the small children that roam the island. Immediately, cocktails are poured and you find yourself sitting in my favourite spot on earth – the screened in porch at my humble cottage on Georgian Bay.

Odds are, we are joined by friends from the area. Cocktails transition to dinner and then perhaps a bon fire by the lake. Stories are shared. There is laughter and nostalgia and a sense of timelessness. You notice that the fire pit is really just a natural depression in the rock. It’s easy to imagine that Anishinaabe people might have had fires here thousands of years ago. Stories would have been shared then, too.

Stories are a human constant. They are what connect us and define our shared experience. And so, I invite you to have a cocktail while I share a few stories. Through them, my goal is to share a sense of what makes Georgian Bay such a special place to me, and at the same time, to share some of the values and experiences that shape my role as Co-founder and Chief Juniper Picker at Georgian Bay Spirit Co.

Tim Keenleyside

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