When Captain Andy boarded his first ship at age 17, he had no time for sightseeing—the young merchant marine was too busy hauling iron ore, road salt, and coal to factories along the banks of the Great Lakes. Maybe that's why Captain Andy now takes such delight in whizzing past idyllic islands at 45 mph in the newest addition to his fleet, a Wildcat catamaran. Though an adrenalin rush accounts for some of the Wildcat's appeal, Captain Andy is most pleased that the boat's speeds can help him expose passengers to even more island attractions during his informative and entertaining tours.
A native Ontarian, Captain Andy touts the Brockville waterfront as one of the most accessible and diverse in the world, and happily points out his favourite waterfront parks for picnicking and fishing during his trips. In the same vein, his cruising company offers seven diverse tours that incorporate adventure, theatre performances, and local sightseeing to help riders experience all the wonders of the area by water. The seasoned sailor also recognizes the advantage of helming his smaller ships; their compact size not only ensures more intimate tours and more time with passengers, but allows them to duck into the region's narrow channels where larger boats and determined icebergs can't follow.
For nearly 80 years, Gemmell's Garden Centre has fortified and ornamented lawns with plants, garden decor, and accessories. Undernourished noses can feast on the fruits of Gemmell's 24 lush greenhouses, where more than 48 combinations of colourful, fragrant Victorian hanging baskets ($39.95) originate. Customers can conceal a lawn’s bald spots with photosynthesizing toupees such as vegetable plants, including more than 30 varieties of plump tomatoes ($1.99–$4.29). Trees and shrubs ($10+), meanwhile, lavish lawns with a leafy canopy in the summer and shelter for hibernating garden gnomes in the winter. The nursery’s friendly, knowledgeable staff provides helpful advice on gardening and landscape design, gladly assisting customers in selecting plants for filling flower beds, pots, or piñatas.
The lush, 160-acre course at Lombard Glen offers a fun and challenging round of golf for novice greenspersons and experienced golfers alike. Nine different holes feature treacherous water hazards for the speckled spheres to avoid while soaring through the air, and large bent-grass greens offer a fun challenge for X-treme putting throwdowns between friends or enemies. Bone up on your driving skills on more than 6,000 yards of playing area, or meticulously perfect a putting technique to impress future romantic prospects that may be wandering the course’s bordering forest.
Harvesting 29 varieties of apples on its 80-acre orchard, Hall's Apple Market loads its bushels, baked goods, and ciders with handpicked or frozen fruits free of pasteurization and preservatives. Honeycrisp apples ($7 for two litres; $12 for 4 litres) conceal a juicy, slightly acidic taste beneath cream-coloured flesh and a distinctive crisp texture. Made weekly in small batches on a rack and cloth press, sweet apple cider ($3.50 for one litre; $4.50 for two litres) boasts a natural saccharinity without the assistance of added sugar or granulated love sonnets. Signature caramel-apple pecan pie ($15) is concocted from scratch with hand-rolled dough and an amalgamate of apple, caramel, butterscotch, and bits of pecan, and apples and almond paste cram into a flaky strudel ($6) adorned with slivered almonds. Chunks of walnuts and cranberries pile into oatmeal cookies ($4.50 for a package of eight) that treat witch-wary princesses to an apple alternative.
Big Rideau Lake Boat Rental's owner, Heather Heins, has boating in her blood. Hundreds of years ago, her ancestor William Davidson was the first European to settle in New Brunswick, where he built and launched the region's first sailing vessel—the Miramichi.
Today, Heather continues in her forefather's footsteps, managing a fleet of watercrafts alongside her husband, Robert. Their kayaks and canoes skim across the lake's crystal clear waters, and their motorized pontoons and Sea-Doos roar past shores lined with pine trees, cottages, and sunbathing cacti on vacation. The Heinses also oversee an armada of seven houseboats that are outfitted with sleeping quarters, barbecue grills, and air conditioning, ideal for day trips or voyages down the Rideau Canal that last weeks at a time. For Heather, the pride of the fleet is a simple 23-foot houseboat, which she named Miramichi in honour of her ancestor's historic vessel.
Feet clad in soft soles gingerly approach the line before a bowling ball thumps onto the lane and speeds toward a set of pins whose destiny remains in the balance. At Elgin Bowling Lanes, this pattern perpetuates thousands of times during operating hours, whether the hand releasing the ball belongs to a child, amateur adult, or league aficionado. Public bowling sessions open the lanes to guests who walk in or book ahead over the phone, and youth and adult leagues give players a taste of organized, professional sportsmanship. The center also serves pizza, chicken burgers, and fries, whether for eating or superstitiously stuffing into opponents' shoes for good luck.