a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Oct, 2014

A weekend away at Le Canotier: why it took so long to get there

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!|travel talk

The thing about getting older is that you get better at knowing yourself. It took me awhile to figure it all out but I now know that there are some things I need to do in order to keep myself happy and healthy. I need to eat well, I need to exercise, I need sunshine, I need to get a good night’s sleep, I need a really good coffee in the morning, and I need time to decompress. Mark and I also need some time away together doing these things.

And so, with that, we booked a restful weekend for two at Le Canotier.

Le Canotier is a couples-only cottage nestled between forest and water, a bit north of Wakefield. It’s owned by a former co-worker of Mark’s and we’d been meaning to check it out for ages.

The owners, Janet and Don, are exactly the kind of people from whom you’d want to rent a cottage. They’re incredibly thoughtful and considerate, responsible cottage owners. I had a good chat with Janet about our visit afterwards and she said something that has stayed with me. They see Le Canotier as their cottage, and they want other people to visit and love it as much as they do… which I thought was pretty awesome.

After weeks (months?) of waiting the time had finally come. So on the big day, it was with some degree of excitement that Mark and I loaded up the car, dropped off the kids, and set out on our merry way. It was a gorgeous sunny Friday morning and the car was packed full of treats. This was going to be awesome.

A couple of hours later we found ourselves bumping along a tiny, one lane road, peering into the woods for any sign of civilization. I’d call it a dirt road but it was incredibly rocky, with a significant amount of encroaching bush. I gripped the safety bar above the window as we bounced over every bump and gully, imagining the headlines…. because this is how all these news stories begin:


We passed a fellow on an ATV – twice – who gave us a curious look. (Understandably so. We were a married couple bumping along a trail in the middle of nowhere, in our Prius, loaded down with beer and coolers full of food.) Did we ask for help? Of course not.

We eventually reached a ditch that intersected the road and would have been too dangerous to cross, so Mark skillfully executed a 300-point turn and we went back to the main road. THAT’S when we decided to check Janet’s written directions (suffice it to say we barely had a signal). It didn’t take us long to figure out what had happened. There were two roads with the same name. The GPS picked the wrong one and we didn’t double check it against the directions that were provided to us. Lesson learned! I can’t believe I’m confessing it here either.

On the bright side, the drive to the correct destination took us though some really beautiful scenery, and included the crossing of a massive hydroelectric dam and lunch at one of those casse-croûtes that YOU KNOW makes some killer fries:

Chez Jo Jo

Well, the dramatic lead up was worth it. We finally got there, after turning on to a different kind of country road… one that was a lot more welcoming:

The road out front, Le Canotier

The sun shone, the trees rustled, and we pulled into the driveway with a light heart, knowing we’d found our home for the next two nights.

I’ll write more about our visit in my next post. :)

3 Responses to "A weekend away at Le Canotier: why it took so long to get there"

1 | Nora in Kanata

October 16th, 2014 at 10:50 pm


I was hoping to hear more about Le Canotier… Where’s the next post?

2 | Jen_nifer

November 3rd, 2014 at 3:48 pm


I am catching up on the blog and am also looking forward to part two of this one.

3 | andrea tomkins

November 3rd, 2014 at 6:17 pm


It’s coming soon Jen_nifer!

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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 offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). 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, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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