• Yannick Bisson illustration by Micaela Blondin

I’ve been asked about my favourite place in Canada a bunch of times over the years, and for a long time I told people I loved going to British Columbia — it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth, never mind in Canada. But something happened in the summer of 2017 that was completely unexpected. We went to visit some friends at their cottage on Chandos Lake, in Ontario’s Kawartha area, and discovered they were selling the lot next to theirs. We had the most magical weekend, and at the end of it we said, “How much do you want for the lot?”

Last summer was our first summer in our cottage, and we’ve completely fallen in love with the place. It has totally changed me. There was a shift in my work schedule, so I had two or three 10-day breaks, and I was up there quite a bit, chopping wood, fixing things up. I just felt this huge weight lift off my shoulders when I was there. I’d wake up and take my dog down to the water, and we’d go fishing before dawn. I watched the sun set every night. I cooked outside. I even bought a boat. It was funny: my dog had started abandoning me, jumping onto my friend Mark’s boat and hanging out with them all day long, so I had to get a boat or else I wouldn’t have a dog! Now we’re all having fun wakeboarding, exploring different corners
of the lake.

Even the drive in, on Highway 504, is special. We take bets on what wildlife we’re going to see, because there are families of wild turkeys, deer, moose and bears. We see beavers crossing the road sometimes with big branches in their mouths. It doesn’t get any more Canadian than that.

—As told to Alexandra Pope