There a few physical places that are truly an escape from the everyday where you can associate such grand memories throughout your life. Banff and specifically Johnstone Canyon is a very special place for Paul and I- a place to rediscover our relationship and take a break from technology. The boys are becoming very attached to the river at home, but for me, it is ‘the Cabin’. The Cabin was built by my grandparents in the late 60’s, and the material was mostly provided by the deconstruction of a church in Athabasca. Growing up this is always where we would have our family vacations and was fortunate to only have it 45 minutes north of the farm, so on a hot summer day- Mom would pack us up for a bbq and a quick swim.
My Mom would often share with me growing up that Grandpa would always shut everything down mid afternoon on Sundays and they would come up to the lake- didn’t matter where they were at with farming it was his commitment. I obviously did not meet my Grandpa until many years later, but he’s always been a man that made time for his family and truly is such an inspiring individual.
Fast forwarding 45 years and while it has undergone a few improvements such as cold running water and a septic tank (but the interior is still as eclectic as originally intended) it is still a haven for our family. My Mom’s family is very close, and it is so evident watching everyone gather up at the Cabin on weekends alike- 4 generations made it this September long weekend, a situation that is quite the normal.
The Cabin is situated at Calling Lake, AB and while we may not have lakefront it’s maybe a minute walk to a beautiful powder beach and sand bottom lake. Many of my own childhood memories and now those of my boys are spent laughing, playing and splashing at that exact beach. We were fortunate that a late Uncle of mine was an avid fisherman and spent many hours allowing us kids to tag along and partake in the glorious fishing that the lake had to offer (and most especially baiting our hooks with the live leaches). A previous trip this summer, Max was able to relive this experience I so fondly remember growing up and even on the same pontoon boat that my cousin has beautifully restored.
As the children gain their independence and I so eloquently age (sure right!?), there are many times I catch myself lost in absorbing the innocence and wholesomeness of their play. Maybe it’s their inner child’s natural attraction with water, or just their fascination with anything that can dig and construct- but watching them at the cabin gives me a different escape now then it used you. Without the help of any modern day interference, it’s knowing that we are recreating those lifelong memories that perhaps they will one day (many, many days!) share with their families.