Miscellaneous Notes, Suggested Equipment and Itinerary:
These comments are assuming you're coming from New Castle with the McConahy group, but most also applies to other groups. Travel up and back, while long, is easy and usually without problems (unless you have sitting issues).
Things You Will Want to Consider Prior to Your Departure:
Make sure you have your passport and it’s easily accessible in the car. You will need a current passport or NEXUS card (recommended if you go to Canada as often as some club members).
Comfortable clothes are strongly suggested. The trip is approximately 7 or 8 hours each way depending on traffic. On the trip north or the trip south, stopping is a personal thing; but almost guaranteed, you’ll make three stops.
Be sure to bring a book or other car activities that will not take up large amounts of room. Books/music on tape with headphones are cool (or make sure you have a lot of topics to discuss).
Most people leave early enough in the morning, or really late at night to avoid the Toronto traffic heading north for the weekend on Friday afternoon. If you are leaving from Pittsburgh or New Castle, it’s suggested hitting the road close to or before 8 am. This puts you at the Peace Bridge/Duty Free at noon and in the Mactier, Ontario area at some time around 3:00 or 3:30 p.m. If space is available, some members may actually try to go into camp on Friday (be sure to contact the camp captain first).
Most people stop in Barrie for the night since there are very few accommodations in the MacTier area. However, Bala a very cool little resort town not far from MacTier, is a very nice place to stay with great food at the Moon River Lookout Restaurant.
Prior to getting to the marina for the trip to Pennsylvania Island, you’ll probably stop in MacTier for food (Foodland), fishing licenses (Wayne’s Hardware), or your alcohol (LCBO). They are all right on the way to the marina and within a block of one another.
On Saturday morning (or when you arrive at the marina), you’ll catch a shuttle (or be in a boat) for a boat ride to the island, about 30 minutes.
There are three cottages (one large, two small) and a boat house. The large cottage has two bathrooms, a large living room, three bedrooms (2 beds, 3 beds and 4 beds). The little cottages each have one bathroom and three bedrooms (2 beds or a 3 bed). The cook's quarters are attached to the older small cottage and are off limits except by invitation.
The camp captain may opt to assign bedrooms based on the size and makeup of your group. Just remember two things about the bedrooms:
- You're sharing it equally with the other(s) in that room
- and what you mess up, you clean up on the following Friday or before you leave. The Club policy is leave the houses and grounds in better shape than when you arrived.
There are loads of pillows (one for everyone) and every bed has a good twin mattress. If you are partial to a pillow or need more than one, bring it (them) with you. Also, bring both top and bottom sheets, pillowcases and either one or two blankets or a sleeping bag. Remember, you are three hours north of Toronto and the temperature may be 10 to 20 degrees cooler at night than in Pittsburgh (but then again, maybe not). May, early June, and late September are totally unpredictable (can be anyway from snow to basking heat – prepare accordingly). From mid-June to early September, the temps will run between 70 and 90, but the evenings may be cool (50s).
Meals and the Camp Cook:
Cassie & Jess are wonderful and you will eat VERY well. You'll quickly learn the way things work with food, but basically, if you're up early enough (7:00 - 9:00 am), they will make you breakfast (coffee is usually ready by 6:30 am). They will also prepare lunch and dinner. The cooks do get one day off and then we usually cook our steaks that day. Lunch is served at 12 noon and dinner is (usually) served at 5 or 5:30 pm. Lunch and dinner are set times and if you snooze, you lose (well, not really). The hours for lunch and dinner are subject to change based on the camp group's desires.
Snacks and Beverages:
The food and beverages (lemonade and iced tea) we buy for meals does not include personal snack items or personal beverages. Most groups do have some "group snacks" as part of the grocery purchases. For evening munchies and cocktails or personal soft drinks, snacks or drinks in the boats, etc., please bring your own. And remember, others will probably help you eat the snacks, so either plan on sharing or hide them in your room. Beverages are usually left alone. Be sure to bring a cooler for your boat. Cool packs are a good idea too, although we typically have several free ones around, as well as an ice machine. Local regulations do not allow alcohol to be consumed on boats, so it's best to leave any alcoholic beverages back at camp or risk a substantial fine.
Evenings are usually spent relaxing, reading, playing cards, doing puzzles, playing darts etc. There are no TVs, tape players, computers, modems, or other such forms of entertainment provided (although some people do bring them). There are lots of places you can go to hang out, but the mosquitoes during the sunset hours are monstrous, so you'll want to be indoors for the most part (bring a good bug spray if you like). The most used is the large cottage living room. There is also the boathouse, the boathouse shelter or your bedroom. There are several decks of cards, a dart board, puzzles and some books already there. I'd suggest you bring a couple books or magazines and maybe games for the group; check with your camp captain.
The Typical Day:
The typical morning consists of getting up when you want, eating breakfast, going fishing, reading or lounging, exploring or futzing around the cottages etc. Lunch is usually served around 12 noon (depending on the group's desires) in the main dining room. You can make your own lunch if you are going to stay out and fish (bring sun block!).
Typical afternoons are spent swimming, playing “corn-hole”, jumping off the rock cliffs, sunbathing on the platform or dock, snoozing, snorkeling (you have to bring your own gear), reading, more futzing around the cottages, fishing off the docks, renting and riding jet skis, water skiing, exploring, etc. Some people fish, but generally it gets too hot for good afternoon fishing. Other things to do are: go to Sans Souci for ice cream or just to check things out, make a run to the garbage dump to deposit the garbage; or take a trek to Parry Sound.
Cocktail hour is usually an hour before dinner. Dinner is served around 5 or 5:30 p.m., which is a set time. Everyone in camp typically eats dinner together in the main dining room.
After dinner, many people will go fishing. Many will just hang out and appreciate the full feeling in their tummies.
The typical fishing is for bass (1 to 3 pounds, but it’s not unusual to catch 4 and 5 pounders). Many people do like to fish for musky and some for pike and the occasional walleye, catfish or drum is caught. There are usually worms in the fridge, but if you definitely want them, have the camp captain check; you may need to supply your own. You supply everything else.
Things to Definitely Bring (and things to think about bringing):
Bedding: top and bottom sheet, pillow case(s), pillow(s), blanket(s) or sleeping bag.
Bathroom: Towel and wash cloth, personal hygiene items (including a personal bar of soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), hair dryer (if you must), etc. Please take them ALL home with you or leave in the trash – nobody wants your left over bar of soap.
Swimming: Suit(s), second towel, if desired, flip flops.
Clothing: Loose comfortable clothing for the ride up and back, shorts and shirt (any kind - t, polo, whatever) for the daytime, long pants and perhaps a long sleeve shirt for the evening, sweatshirt and or light jacket, rain gear, socks, hat (for fishing and hanging out on the dock) and sunglasses. Personal stuff.
Fishing: Rods and tackle (10 - 12 pound line works), SUNSCREEN, snacks and personal beverages, cooler with ice packs, pocket knife, flashlight.
Car Ride: Book, CD, book on tape with earbuds, cards etc.
Evening: Snacks, personal beverages (you can get these in MacTier if desired), game(s) you think everyone might enjoy, activities you think everyone might enjoy.
Boats: The club does provide boats, but not motors - you'll have to bring your own. The following are Canadian safety equipment that you will need to have on board, applicable for boats under 6 meters (approx. 20 ft.):
- Watertight flashlight or three flares.
- 50 ft. buoyant heaving line.
- Sound signaling equipment (air horn, whistle or similar).
- Bailer or manual bilge pump.
- Manual propelling device (paddle/oar) or anchor.
- Life jackets (available in camp).
If you are going to use a Club boat, you WILL NEED a boater safety certification.