Our Country: Director Sergio Navarretta’s favourite place in Canada

The award-winning director of The Cuban on the restorative calm of Ontario’s Lake Simcoe

  • Published Sep 27, 2021
  • Updated Jan 15, 2023
  • 324 words
  • 2 minutes
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For 20 years we had a place on the corner of Innisfil Beach Park. I would sit on my balcony in the morning and have my phone meetings staring at Lake Simcoe. That, for me, is the spot. 

The water is turquoise and calm. In the mornings you see a few canoes. It’s beautiful and serene. There’s a view of Snake Island and Fox Island, two small islands that sit out in the middle of the lake. To the left there’s a small sandy beach, as well as the park, with trails where people walk and ride bikes.

I consider myself a water person. The feeling of going for a morning swim in that lake before I start my day puts me in an optimal state to work in creative spaces. There’s this fresh, sweet smell that comes off the lake that’s really apparent in the early morning when you’re swimming. 

Most post-production houses for film are located in the busiest areas of Toronto. I would go in to edit my latest film, The Cuban, and then come home, sit on the balcony and think about it. It was in those pauses that I would regain perspective. Having that contrast was so important. It recharged me.

I have so many fond memories of going out fishing with my dad and exploring the lake. One night, around midnight, we were swimming out in the lake under the stars. I had never seen meteor showers so clearly. I’d seen them in documentaries, but seeing it live — while swimming and looking up at the cosmos — was something magical that I’ll never forget. It was so peaceful and so rare. It took me a long time to appreciate how unique that is. I think the pandemic really helped clarify what it is that I’m so grateful about when it comes to Lake Simcoe.

— As told to Thomas Lundy

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