I think it was last summer. We were at a friends' cottage on Lake Muskoka when the RMS Segwun chugged into sight.
"Oh, I don't like that thing," an acquaintance said. "It's dirty."
It was all I could do to not toss a drink in her face.
Okay, the Segwun is a steam ship. It sends out smoke.
We don't see it much, but last time I checked the cars we drive up to Muskoka emit a fair bit of pollution, too. Not to mention the boats and the jet skis we use. Of course a ship like the Segwun (see photo below) is going to send out smoke. It's an old-time steam ship.
And thank God for it.
Sitting at another friends' cottage on Sunday (we're lucky to have several friends in this happy situation), I was reading a book when someone said, "Look, the Segwun's so close."
It actually was the Wenonah II, which was built about 10 years ago and doesn't belch smoke. But it's very pretty and just as wonderful to see out on the lake.
Just hearing the whooshing "toot" of the horn when I'm on the dock or inside at the cottage is enough to make me smile.
If you've never taken a cruise on either the Segwun or the Wenonah II, you're missing something truly wonderful. The views of the lake and the cottages are lovely, and you get a sense of stepping back in time.
"This special anniversary will be celebrated on a grand scale Muskoka wide with live entertainment and performances planned throughout the summer," the website says.
There's a big beer, wine and cocktails festival planned for Aug. 25. Or you can hop a daytime or sunset cruise anytime.
Built in 1887, the R.M.S. Segwun stands tall as North America's oldest operating steamship. With a sailing season of just 145 days, present day Segwun welcomes passengers on board from around the world.
The Shangri-la, the latest in a string of top-end hotel properties in Toronto, is slated to open to the general public Sept. 17, a source tells me today.
The hotel, at the northwest corner of University and Adelaide, will open for the Toronto International Film Festival on Aug. 31 but that's for TIFF business and clients and partners, and not folks like you and me.
The hotel will have a much-awaited Momofuku restaurant, plus a sumptuous lobby with Asian touches and a first-rate Hammam spa. There are some 202 rooms.
More to come on this front later today or tomorrow.
The plan originally called for the hotel to open Aug. 7 but they ran into small delays.
The design look stunning, for sure. The Four Seasons new hotel in Yorkville is slated to open in October, and we already had the Trump open this year and the Ritz Carlton last year.
GOLF IN THE MALDIVES?
The Telegraph in London says the Maldives "has unveiled plans for a £320 million floating golf course, as part of a mission to transform the archipelago into a network of man-made floating islands, covering more than 80 million square feet of water.
Teaming up with the master developers of the project at Dutch Docklands, the Maldivian government launched The Five Lagoons project in an effort to save the sinking islands.
The lowest lying country in the world, the Maldives sits about five feet above sea level and is in danger of becoming uninhabitable due to elevated water levels and other effects of climate change.