GBF 2021 - Fall Newsletter

History. Timeless. Perfection. Paradise. Sanctuary. These are just a small smattering of words that people use to describe their beloved Georgian Bay. Words that are echoed and felt by John and Pinky McAllister. Water has always been an integral part of the lives of both John and Pinky. John grew up in a small town on the Welland Canal called Port Robinson. He swam in the canal each and every summer and would sit on the banks, watching the lake ships pass by, dreaming of sailing the Great Lakes one day. He made that dream come true in his teens by obtaining summer jobs working on the freighters. Pinky, who lived in Etobicoke growing up, attended McMaster University and then went on to teach Physical Education for 38 years at The Bishop Strachan School, where a good deal of her time was spent in the pool teaching children to swim. She also coached the senior swim team to many championships. Pinky’s mother’s parents used to own a cottage on Cache Lake, just north of Kenora. This cabin gave the entire family a love for “cottage-life”. Once Pinky was born, her parents decided they needed to purchase their very own cottage, one closer to home. After several years of searching, they found “Blink Bonnie” and purchased it in 1962. This cabin had the same feeling as Cache Lake; boat access only, isolated, with a beautiful log cabin which appealed to her parents. Blink Bonnie is a Gaelic term for a glimpse of beauty—an enchanting magnificent expanse. This Heavenly “Blink Bonnie” is on Derbyshire Island in the South Channel out of Parry Sound, and is rich in history. Built around 1940, it was the year-round home of Willy Moreau, his wife and sister-in-law who all immigrated from Scotland. The property consisted of a log cabin, an ice house, a stable and a two-slip boat house. Willy was a caretaker for the Eaton family. He farmed the island with a cow and a horse and had supplies flown in and dropped during the winter. Painted on the rocks, many moons ago, was the name they had given to their home, “Blink Bonnie”, Pinky’s parents kept the name as did John and Pinky when they purchased the island from Pinky’s family in 2000. John and Pinky met through mutual friends while vacationing in Daytona Beach on March Break in 1976 and have celebrated 42 years of being happily married. They have two children and five grandchildren, all of whom have grown up on the water, enjoying all that Georgian Bay has to offer. When their kids, Rebecca and Patrick, were growing up, they would come every year as soon as school was finished for summer vacation, obtaining jobs on the Bay and in the words of Patrick, were “living the dream”. Rebecca worked at Craganmor Resort for eight summers and also directed the Sans Souci Summer Day Camp one year. Patrick, along with friends, worked for Student Haulage for nine summers and Patrick’s now-wife Ana, who was his girlfriend at the time, also worked and directed the San Souci Day Camp for two summers. Today, John and Pinky are proud grandparents, sharing their love of the Bay with their five grandbabies, all under the age of 4. Rebecca and her husband Gareth Smith have two children, Audrey who is three and Griffith who is a year and a half old. Patrick and his wife Ana have three children, Ronan who is four and twin girls Maeve and Fiona, a year and a half old. Some of the favourite activities the family engages in during their summer adventures are to explore and hike the many inland trails and to picnic on the outer islands. Loving Georgian Bay so much, upon retirement the McAllisters moved to Wasaga Beach and now live on Georgian Bay all year. Whether they are skiing at Blue Mountain, hiking the Bruce Trail, cycling along Shore Lane or walking the sandy beaches of Wasaga, they never tire of looking out across the crystal blue waters of Georgian Bay and remarking how fortunate they are to live here and cottage here. According to them, “If you have to endure and survive a pandemic, there is certainly no better place to be than the shores of Georgian Bay.” We agree! The McAllisters have seen changes to Georgian Bay over the years and have become increasingly aware of the fragility of the Bay and the need to get involved to help create change before it is too late. They remain optimistic that, through the efforts of Georgian Bay Forever and other organizations, we will all save this piece of paradise for future generations to love and enjoy. John and Pinky hope that their children and grandchildren learn from their involvement, that this unique body of water needs to be protected. “From the rugged granite shoreline of the Canadian Shield in the north, to the sandy beaches of Wasaga, to the limestone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment along the Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay is one of a kind and it's our mission and responsibility to join with Georgian Bay Forever and others, to save it for the generations to follow.” JOHN & PINKY MCALLISTER GBF.ORG | FALL 2021 | 7