Start your own family tradition in Canada


ABOVE: Columnist Mike Tontimonia’s grandson Ian Frame won fishing honors at the family’s annual “guys” trip, with a huge 12-pound walleye that he landed on our last evening on Lake Temagami.
TEMAGAMI, Ontario — Although a chubby bird and all the fixings have been our traditional Father’s Day meal, a menu change seemed appropriate this year since we are enjoying our males-only week in the north on this annual holiday.

Turkey dinners are popular enough, but a couple decades of same can get as stale as last week’s bread. Thus a giant mound of pasta and meatballs came to life only to be reduced to a spattering of stains in a few minutes of fellowship and planning for the evening’s fishing.

Some of the boys and their dads had been casting and trolling their way to a walleye or two during the afternoon while others napped, read, and engaged themselves in completing simple cabin chores, but the waning hours of daylight each day are always spent in serious walleye fishing.

Besides, the cabin faces east and the view of the western sky and wooded horizon is hidden by pine trees, the best sunsets are seen and remembered as we fish away the last minutes of twilight. It always impresses me just how awesome a sunset can be and how much it not only ends a day, but promises another. And too, a great sunset, one that glows in shades of changing colors as the earth swallows the sun draws the attention of persons of all ages and seems somehow to bring those who share the sight even closer.

Who’s with who?

So Father’s Day dinner followed the same timely pattern as every evening meal. Ten-year-old grandson Sid Holland seemed always to be the most anxious to know, and, as expected, he was the first to ask, “who are the teams?”

He was asking, of course, who would be fishing with who and in what boat, and according to tradition, the teams would be different each evening.

Family tradition

Our annual trip to Temagami is a treat each of us looks forward to each summer. This year, we missed Josh Miller who has started college and had to choose between the Temagami trip and a summer job, or as some might call it, reality. Josh, our oldest grandson, has been enjoying the island, cabin, and clean water of this pristine lake since he was 5 and will certainly be back with us soon.

But we did enjoy the company of grandsons Dan Miller, Ian Frame, and Sid.

Besides fishing, the boys climbed High Rock, the highest peak in the area and a “must do” every so often, a boat ride to the Bear Island Indian reservation, the nearest source of ice cream, and a longer excursion into the tiny town of Temagami for needed supplies.

Start your own

Indeed, a Canadian fishing trip has always been, is now, and will continue to be one of the best outdoor experiences available to a family or group of friends. We happen to have the use of relative’s remote cabin, but a rental on the lake would do just fine. We share the cost and chores, making the week very affordable and relaxing.

Travel tips

Avoid Toronto traffic by using 407 ETR, the electronic toll road that bypasses much of the metro sprawl — it is well worth the cost.

Use a credit card as much as possible to benefit from the appropriate exchange rate.

Fill up before crossing the border to save a few bucks at Ontario gas pumps. Gas in Ontario is even more expensive than here, about $1.20 per liter on average.

Be sure to have a current passport for everyone in the vehicle and notarized permission to have a youngster aboard and authorization to seek medical assistance if needed.

If you take a dog, it is recommended that it has a current health certificate. If you take worms, bed them in Buss bedding or paper.

Go online for fishing licenses, it saves time.

Read the fishing laws and follow them.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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