We have spent more than 2 dozen years on the shores of this most
beautiful lake (Lac de l'Argile - Clay Lake) in Western Quebec
close to Ottawa. The original modest family cottage, on our current
African Dream Catcher and Sahara-Sahel site, was sadly destroyed
by fire on Remembrance Day 1986 (Lest We Forget).
The overwhelming exotic African grandness of these two sub-saharan-theme
getaways, as they appear our web site today, can only be explained
as the result of imagination and planning rooted from the "heart"
- not the brain :-) With a whole lot of ambition, determination,
and persistence through long days (many nights too), we transformed
the best years and memories of living abroad, including working
in developing countries, into everyday life in retirement at the
lake. Crossing the threshold of these two getaways is like stepping
right into the heart of Africa. You'll see South Africa. And,
Botswana, the Kalahari Desert, and Gaborone where we lived for
2 years which, by the way, is also the hometown of Mma Ramotswe
of The Number One Ladies Dectective Agency. You'll see and sense
the Serengheti, West Africa and the Sahara-Sahel (the outer fringe
areas/countries of the Sahara Desert). And, very special to us,
Zimbabwe - the art work from the hearts and souls of the very
friendliy and artistically creative people unfortunately embroiled
in a very troublesome political situation. In Swaziland, Malawi
and Zimbabwe, Monique managed developement projects and satellite
offices. Further back, there were employments in Madagascar, and
stories to be told about UN emergency food distribution immediately
following the tragic genocide in Rwanda. Namibia; ah yes, home
of the most beautiful sand dunes in the world.
Also internationally embedded into our African Dream Catcher Getaway
is an awesomely exotic shoreline tribute to the Maldive Islands;
beautiful Indonesian cane furniture hand-crafted in Sri Lanka
that we personally watched being made; a German bedroom reminiscent
of a 5 year military tour there and every window and doorway in
Sahara-Sahel & African Dream Catcher is fitted with German
roll-shutters - a rare sight in Canada! Another European representation
is Holland, the country of John's heritage where we still have
contact with cousins today.
And, we have century old furniture, family heirlooms, antiques,
and assorted personal family treasures passed down from our families.
Things old with character fit in just perfectly with the African
Our last mention of note makes reference to the beautiful "cottagey-practical"
stone floors which were chosen and installed prior to our extended
travels in India immediately following Monique's retirement at
end December 2007. Only a few hours on the road heading towards
magical Rajisthan, we came apon the village, maybe even the exact
same workplace, where our imported slate was cut and fabricated
for shipping. A very very small world, no?
HISTORY: In Summer 1995, with both children (Collin
& Christa) long grown up and living out of province, LakeSide(1)
(now Sahara-Sahel) was born as our first rental getaway.
In late 2000, just prior to returning overseas again, we bought
our neighbour's cottage (fully-furnished-and-ready-to-go) which
became LakeSide(2) (now Cozy Cottage). It's simply cozy and retains
the traditional and typical Canadian cottage character and feel.
In 2004-05, over 18 months of sometimes very hectic, but most
times gratifying, renovations, LakeSide(3) (now African Dream
Catcher) was born from a very basic unfinished structure of bare
plywood floors and uncovered blue-stryrofoam insulation on the
ceilings and walls.
As MS Windows says - "Ta da". Here we are today in a
fully finished cottage home and managing an interesting and growing
successful cottage rental business. Where will we be tomorrow?
In late April 2009, just before returning from our first winter
escape in Florida after retirement, we bought a very nice townhouse
in Delray Beach, located a couple towns south of West Palm Beach
and 45 minutes from Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Will
this become "LakeSide Florida"? - while we spend that
rented time on a cruise or traveling further south in the Americas
where Monique can practice her long ago learned Spanish?
OUR BUSINESS & CLIENTELE: We very much enjoy
our little "LakeSide Cottages" rental business and we
put a lot of effort into trying to do it well. We are very pleased
with the many interesting people we meet from: i.e. Ottawa, the
GTA, Montreal, London Ontario and England, France - the Indians
and Chinese, the blacks & whites, straights and gays - all
quality people. Especially pleasing is the fact many are returning
year after year after year which we think reflects volumes about
the quality of our getaways and our attention to detail. We invite
people for preview visits - it's our best advertising! If you're
interested in what we love - we love to show it and tell the stories
REFLECTIONS: Almost unbelievably, we have recognized
precious-few "big mistakes" over a gigantic renovation
project during which a lot of the details were thought out as
construction progressed. At least once a day, every day, we also
involuntarily recognize the uniqueness and specialness of our
creations and the breathtaking scenery we are so fortunate to
be situated in front of. We appreciate the beauty of our expansive
perennial gardens and the many varieties of birds that our flora
and feeders attract. We also thoroughly enjoy the company, including
hand-feeding peanuts, to our many chipmunks, red squirrels, and
even (our much nicer cousins of city) raccooons, all of which
are certainly not a problem here at the lake. These small pleasures
are a big part, of Cottage Life enjoyment!
THE FUTURE: While we are loving it and managing
OK today, what will tomorrow bring to a getting older couple of
retired codgers like ourselves? While Fridays are our only "official"
work days in between weekly high season rentals, it naturally
lends one to think that the rest of the week and summer is hammock
and reading time which, in reality, is very far from actuality.
Will we want to sell one or both properties eventually, and spend
our 6 months in Canada in a much more managable 3-bedroom bungalow
cottage with only a 1-car garage (because there will be no need
for a small truck too)? Or, will we want to let a younger retired
couple spend their summers rent free in Cozy Cottage in exchange
for 1/2 time maintenance and 1/2 time enjoyment? Maybe we'd sell
everything with the provision that we could live in Sahara-Sahel
- after all, we do know our LakeSide Cottages inside out :-).
Any other mutual accommodating ideas out there?
We welcome you to experience LakeSide Cottages.
No disappointments. We guarantee your enjoyment!
John Brown & Monique Goudreau
1 (819) 454-2264
Email is always best as we frequently travel
abroad for extended periods. Regretfully telephone
messages cannot always be checked in a timely manner.