Northern Lakes Marine floats aquaphiles atop welcoming waters with adventure-inducing rentals and the convenient inclusion of all necessary safety equipment. The Sea-Doo smoothly launches one to three passengers on a 155-horsepower cruise that is swift enough to tow an upright water skier ($110/hr.). While quietly sailing along the lake's surface, riders may take turns wakeboarding, tubing, or piloting the watercraft. Intrepid wave runners receive a temporary license before their leisurely journey, as well as all required equipment, such as life jackets, a jerry can of gas, a fuel gauge, and a large jar of honey to deflect roving water bears.
Back Country Paintball sculpts more than 16 acres of rustic Muskoka landscape into safe and thrilling action terrain. Paint-slingers play survival of the cleanest while prowling playing fields modeled after urban warfare, a Wild West town, and a pit-course level from the game Call of Duty. Contenders enter the field with guns, unlimited air, and masks (a $20 value per person), plus overalls (a $5 value), and 100 total paintballs (a $12 value). From there, triggermen and women dodge pigment projectiles by ducking behind boulders and pines, diving into bunkers, or shamelessly standing behind a teammate.
Spanning a majestic 760 acres of waterfront wilderness, Deerhurst Resort entertains visitors with a dazzling array of amenities and activities just two hours north of Toronto. Guests relax in homey hotel rooms with feather duvets and pillows, with the main building a 10-minute walk from the lake. By the water, visitors can lounge on the beach, compete in volleyball matches, and learn to waterski, kayak, or canoe. Fishing boat rentals allow fishermen to venture to the center of the lake, casting lines in hopes of snagging sizeable northern pike and fabled lake trout made entirely of gold. Between May and October, golf enthusiasts rove the greens on two 18-hole courses, leisurely competing with friends or taking pointers from the golf academy's instructor, Dave Castellan. The warm weather months allow swimmers to frolic in three outdoor pools and tennis players to hit outdoor courts, including three lit courts so players can photosynthesize at all hours. Deerhurst also offers scenic pony rides for children and mountain bike rentals for cyclists looking to explore the surrounding countryside. Indoors, visitors can rev up their adrenaline on the rock-climbing wall or sink into a blissful trance with massages and pedicures at Shizen Spa. Because of a draconian government mandate demanding that people must eat food or perish, Deerhurst's chef Rory Golden sees that the resort's five restaurants offer a diverse selection of dishes for all palates. The staff demonstrates their commitment to creating seasonal fare with locally sourced ingredients by harvesting their own herbs, honey, maple syrup, and shiitake mushrooms on the premises.
When it opened in 1922, Cedarhurst Golf Club wasn't an 18-hole course. It wasn't even a nine-hole course, a driving range, or an early simulator made with a scrolling painted screen. It opened with just three holes, and remained that way for four years until renowned architect Stanley Thompson came along to bring it up to a nine-hole layout. Mr. Thompson himself would go on to a decorated career as a course architect, designing courses such as Banff Springs and Jasper Park and founding the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Cedarhurst, meanwhile, continued to expand, with a clubhouse built in 1935 and a back nine designed by Bert Turcotte that was added in 1964.
Today players pass through that original clubhouse en route to a round on the 18-hole course. They might notice a marked difference between the front and back nines, primarily between Thompson's narrow fairways and small greens on the front and Turcotte's extreme length and large greens on the back. Even so, the most difficult hole is the par 3 third, where players must crush a 243-yard tee shot while being careful to avoid the out-of-bounds area that runs down the right side.
Chirping birds and the wind in the trees are the only sounds that break the silence in Bruce's Mill Conservation Area. Until a human flies screaming through the canopy, that is. Treetop Trekking six aerial-rope courses wind through the forest canopies, challenging visitors with levels of difficulty increasing from beginner to advanced. Guides begin each adventure with a brief equipment-and-technique orientation, and gradually clear visitors for more difficult runs based on their performance.
Once they're cleared for climbing, participants scramble across bridges made of swinging, suspended logs. They crawl across webs of cargo netting, and swing through monkey cables. Treetop Trekking Stouffville also includes the giant 650' long Monarch zip line. Guides help adventure-seekers navigate these treetop courses during regular day tours.
Nature enthusiast Jeff Hathaway shares a passion for his country's indigenous animals—specifically amphibians and reptiles. At Scales Nature Park, staff and volunteers introduce visitors of all ages to more than 300 cold-blooded specimens from more than 60 species, most of which are native to Canada. The wildlife-conservation facility also houses exotic reptiles and amphibians donated by their owners or seized from private homes by protective agencies. All of these creatures coexist in a 21-hectare park, which represents natural habitats ranging from ponds and wetlands to hardwood forests and hemlock groves. An indoor nature centre showcases some animals in custom-built enclosures and serves as the venue for a range of programs, including hands-on animal demonstrations, guided walks, and guest lectures.