The Spirit of a Frozen Lake

As Allan Casey writes in his Governor General’s Award winning book, Lakeland, lakes hold a special place in the lives and emotions of Canadians. Often when we reflect on our experiences on and around lakes, we conjure up a mental image of a crystal clear blue lake amongst a rocky shoreline or tall pine forest. And most certainly it is usually warm and the subject is either swimming or canoeing, or participating in another Canadian past-time.

But these same lakes often contribute to a similar sense of Canadian identity during the frozen months. And I would argue, that right now for my community, Invermere, British Columbia, our Lake Windermere may just be bursting at the seams with possibilities. For us, our frozen lake means endless recreation opportunities – skating, cross-country skiing, walking, bicycling, fishing and even curling. These are opportunities that everyone can participate in, regardless of economic status.

On a sunny winter day there are often hundreds of people on the lake, enjoying the sense of place that is created by these oh-so typically Canadian past-times. When you are on the lake you are part of a different kind of community. There is a familiarity and camaraderie similar to that of ‘The Way of Saint James’ pilgrimage – only on a smaller scale. The lake becomes alive in a whole new way, and it’s hard to believe it is the same place where $80,000+ motorboats tow water-skiers and wake-boarders during the hot summer months.

So, next time you’re out playing pond hockey or gliding along on your skates on your favourite frozen gem – keep your head up, enjoy the views and remember to say hello to passersby.


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