Murphy’s Point – Soft Backcountry Camping

Murphy’s Point is a provincial park in Ontario that offers an opportunity for those who want to try back-country camping – but are not quite sure they are cut out for it. There are 4 campground areas that are designated ‘paddle-in’ with 2 to 4 campsites on each. I chose Feldspar for a 2 night stay. The first night I was totally alone, the second I was joined by 2 other female paddlers from BC.

Feldspar was a mere 5-7 minute paddle from the boat launch. If I left anything necessary behind, it would have been easy to go back for it. Let’s be honest, that hardly qualifies as backcountry. But it was a fun 2 days of paddling on Big Rideau Lake and 2 soft backcountry nights.

Murphy’s Point is home to the Gray Ratsnake – a constrictor (yes, it squeezes its dinner to death) – a species considered threatened in this region. Yes, it can swim. Yes, I saw one while bathing in the evening. Yes, I let out a little scream – I am not sure I am cut out for backcountry camping. Give me a break!

The Lock in the Middle of a Lake

The original Rideau Lake was one large body of water extending from Westport to Poonamalie. So why was a lock built in the middle of a lake – effectively creating two lakes (Big [or Lower] Rideau and Little [or Upper] Rideau)?

The answer lies in the hard granite further south at the Isthmus  – where the next lock was to be constructed to join Rideau Lake to Mud Lake (now Newboro Lake). Excavation at the Isthmus was proving difficult for Colonel By and the Royal Engineers. So to lessen the amount of excavation required there, they raised the water level of the Rideau lake by building Narrows Lock #35.

The lift is only 2.6 feet (0.8 m), but it is a unique lock featuring one of only four blockhouses on the canal (built to defend the lock) and a swing bridge. Like all locks along the Rideau, the gates are still hand-operated – as is the swing bridge.

Summer Fun

Scenes from the beach at the Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area on Upper Rideau Lake.

I did not grow up in Ontario, so the beaches along the Rideau lakes were not those of my childhood. Still they brought back good memories of being a kid and enjoying the last few days of summer.




Community Gardens – in all shapes and sizes

The Table, Community Food Centre, Perth Ontario (situated in a municipal picnic area and campground – the Last Duel- near the Tay River)

Lakefield Youth Unlimited Canoe Garden, Lakefield Ontario (situated smack dab in the middle of cottage country, profits from sales reduce rent in affordable housing units)

Centre 507 Community Garden, Ottawa Ontario (situated in the heart of the down-town core of our nation’s capital, the produce provides lunches for the needy)

  • Focus on Food for People
  • Value Food Providers
  • Localize Food Systems
  • Put Control Locally
  • Build Knowledge and Skills
  • Work with Nature
  • Recognize That Food Is Sacred
    Source: Toward Food Sovereignty For All, United Church of Canada report