Falling for Ontario

Boat house on Lake Joseph, Ont., surrounded by fall colours. -- Photos by Jim Thomson, PiX2Go.CA

Boat house on Lake Joseph, Ont., surrounded by fall colours. -- Photos by Jim Thomson, PiX2Go.CA

JIM THOMSON -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:32 PM ET

Be-leaf it or not, there is more to discover in Ontario!

My wife, Tania, and I generally head out on our province's many highways and byways during fall to photograph the spectacular colours.

This year, thanks to John Hyslop and Discover Boating (an organization that promotes safe recreational boating in Canada) we were treated to an alternate view of fall's splendour in Ontario -- a view from the water.

Hyslop hooked us up with Bruce Hatherly, owner of Gordon Bay Marine -- north of MacTier on Lake Joseph -- for a bit of a Gilligan in the Muskokas. Our skipper was Patrick Martel, who took time off from his duties as a Gordon Bay sales rep to guide us.

Seeing fall colours is always a matter of timing -- and weather. The leaves had just started to change at the time of our outing which, unfortunately, was also overshadowed by looming rain clouds and a clinging haze on the water. Rain finally set in at about the three-hour mark.

We made the most of our time with the able Martel at the helm -- following our instructions in silent amusement as we asked him to turn the "pointy end" of the boat this way and that.

Getting from one outburst of colours to another was one of the smoothest rides we have ever experienced in a boat. The 6-metre Monterey bowrider, powered by a 265-hp motor, glided effortlessly over the waters of Lake Joseph.


Planning an outing to see Ontario's fall colours? Check out Ontario Tourism's website for the fall colours report, posted twice a week until the end of October. Key in ontariotravel.net and go to the bottom of the home page for the link to a downloadable report.


Discover Boating is a nationwide association dedicated to enhancing understanding of boating and getting us into the boating lifestyle.

Started in 1988 as "C'mon Aboard", it is a partnership of the Association Maritime du Quebec, Atlantic Marine Trades Association, B.C. Marine Trades Association, Canadian Marine Manufacturers Assocation, Mid-Canada Marine Dealers Association, NMMA Canada and the Ontario Marine Operators Association.

Its mandate is to raise awareness of recreational boating as a fun, safe and affordable family actitivity.

Discover Boating conducts regional events, appears at major boat shows and offers information to the public at these events and through its website at discoverboating.ca. The website also offers a downloadable guide packed with info on all things boating.


- Canada has an estimated 31,752 lakes.

- Almost 9%, or 891,163 square km, of Canada's total area is covered by fresh water.

- The Great Lakes contain 18% of the world's fresh lake water.

- Recreational boating is an $11.5 billion-a-year industry in Canada.

- Recreational boating creates 84,000 jobs in Canada. These jobs generate an estimated $2.6 billion of personal income for Canadians.

- In Ontario, recreational boating generated $3 billion to the economy in 2001, creating 31,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Source: discoverboating.ca