a peek inside the fishbowl

09 Aug, 2013

Camping 2013: Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy

Wonderful afternoon at the beach!

I can’t say for sure where the lure of camping comes from for me. Growing up, the only child of immigrant parents, I remember occasional walks in the woods and camping once or twice, but I don’t remember much about those times. I certainly wouldn’t classify my family growing up as “outdoorsy.”

For all intents and purposes one could assume that I’d dislike camping. After all, I really like hot showers, my couch, and ample access to electricity.

While we are camping we don’t have those things (although I should let it be known that I try to keep as clean as possible at all times) but once a year I will sacrifice hot showers for other things that I like even more. I REALLY like fresh air and scenic views. I like nature. I like the down-tempo and deliberate pace of camping. I like the taste of food cooked on an open fire (as evidenced by the camping donut recipe I posted yesterday)! I like the sound of the wind rustling the branches while I’m lying snug in my sleeping bag. I like being woken up by the lonely call of a loon. I like watching the mist rise on the lake.

I will gladly accept some sand in my shorts and perpetual bed-head in exchange for all these things.

There’s no doubt that camping is work – let’s take meal prep for example – but it’s a different kind of work. You’re preparing dinner with limited tools and without many of the small luxuries we surround ourselves with at home. But while I’m camping, and waiting for the fire to get hot enough for cooking or for the water to boil, I can’t help but stop and notice things around me, like the family of ruffled grouse making their way stealthily through the underbrush, a moth camouflaged against the tree bark, and patterns in the clouds.

Camping forces you slow down and take a breath or two. This is another thing I like about it.

Going to Grundy Lake Provincial Park was Mark’s idea. We’ve had great success with many other provincial parks including Charleston Lake, Bon Echo, and Lake St. Peter, so I was happy to try out a new one. We ventured in this direction (a 6.5 hour drive towards Sudbury) because we’ve been quite taken with the landscape in these parts. It’s quintessentially Canadian. It’s where north meets south, and the meeting is commemorated with sparkling water and big sky, abundant rock and richly mixed forests.

The site we originally booked was in an area called Balsam. STAY AWAY from Balsam people! It looked great on paper (right on the water in a quieter area) but as soon as we descended we realized that we could see (and hear!) the relentless drone of the Trans-Canada highway. It was directly across the lake. We decided that tranquility was too important to give up so we drove back to the main gate to see if there were other spots available. A very nice lady checked her computer and marked down about a dozen unoccupied sites for us to look at.

You might assume that driving around the campground would be a nuisance but it was actually pretty exciting to shop our site around. We checked them all out and eventually settled on the best of the bunch: site #319 at the Poplar area. It was right on the water (a mere 24 steps to the beach!), a reasonable distance to the comfort station (read: hot showers and proper flush toilets), and close to a water station and a privy but not TOO close if you know what I mean. It was private and was large enough (and flat enough) to accommodate our monster tent.

And once you have the perfect spot, well, everything else just falls into place… right?

Coming up: a bit about the trails at Grundy Lake, a post about the amazing ride that was loaned to us for a week by Ford, and a couple more camping-type recipes. :)

2 Responses to "Camping 2013: Grundy Lake Provincial Park"

1 | Brenda A

August 11th, 2013 at 1:55 pm


Sounds great and I can’t wait to read more! Within the last few years we have discovered camping as a family and we love it. We hope to learn about more beautiful places to check out!

2 | Kajtek

May 8th, 2014 at 1:04 am


Grundy Lake is our newest addition to our favourite Ontario Parks for camping.

We used to just always pass by this area on our way to Killarney. Lately, we’re finding ourselves not driving farther to Killarney.


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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