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Florence's story - summer 2023

Sanctuary North Experience - “Connecting Express”


“Good afternoon Florence”, he said, “Good afternoon”, I responded. “This is Ricardo calling to let you know you made it to the list of the people going to the Sanctuary North on 4th to 6thAugust 2023”.


I was filled with joy beyond words and immediately started packing my bag ready for the weekend.


The long awaited day was finally here and we all assembled (8 members) at MCC Toronto. At 1 p.m. we had a brief introduction and thereafter entered our assigned vehicles. Our 4 hour trip to Sanctuary North situated on the outskirts of Toronto began on a high note, as we listened and danced to good music all the way.


We finally got to the beautiful Sanctuary North Cottage, where we were greeted by breathtaking fresh air and a beautiful view of the Lake from the Balcony. We settled down and enjoyed a sumptuous hot lunch from Darband as we continued with introductions and enjoying background music. After the good feed Basir gave us a tour around the cottage. The sun was slowly setting and the Lake was still. Back to the cottage we had a disco night and everybody got an opportunity to showcase their moves as the group cheered on. We then switched to indoor games which everybody participated in as we continued to enjoy our music in the background.


Saturday morning we all got up in time to watch mist rise off of the Lake as our new day in paradise began. We then indulged in a King’s breakfast prepared by all members on board. 


Next up, we headed outdoors for a Yoga Session while enjoying fresh air, sounds of birds singing and wind blowing through the trees. What a blissful moment it was. Basir then paired us up and gave us instructions on how to canoe and off we went to have our own experience. Some were very scared, others were nervous but calm, while the rest had mixed feelings. However, once in the water we all figured out how to canoe once we got the hang of it.


What we learned from the Canoeing experience was:

- You can rely on someone else’s calmness and enjoy the moment

- Team work and coordination can only happen if you communicate

- You can do anything you want to do if you believe in yourself

- If at first you fail, try again

- The power of new beginnings

- It’s good to slow down and enjoy the ride

- To be flexible


Everybody rowed back to the shore with happiness written all over our faces, after which we all enjoyed a good swim in the Lake.

After lunch we drove to Eagles Nest Park to explore and we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the town surrounded by small lakes. Back to our humble abode we split into two groups. One prepared dinner while the other get the bonfire going.  The party mood checked in and it was more dancing, story telling, stargazing and eating around the bonfire as we bonded some more.


As with every beginning, there is an end. Soon, it was time to pack our bags and get ready to return to the city living, this time carrying lovely memories, many lessons learned, lots of bonding and above all new friends made. 


Many thanks go to MCC Toronto and Sanctuary North for a wonderful weekend gateway. It was truly an amazing time well spent and we are forever grateful.

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The Martinez Family - an essential part of the Sanctuary North community from the early days

Sanctuary North became part of our family in 2008, the moment we got there we fell in love with the place, the colours, the scenery and of course with the hosts!.  We slept in the Bunkie (the small cabin) which has become our little place, our little sanctuary itself.  For us this place is truly a sanctuary (hence the name…no wonder it’s called like that) in that small cabin, it feels like there is nothing to worry about. It’s a safe place, a place where we realize how small we are in this universe and how lucky and blessed we are to be there. 


If Sanctuary North had not come into our lives, we truly believe a totally different story would have been;- hardships, troubles, worries, maybe worst. The girls say that Sanctuary North has let them experienced and discovered all the beauty and peace that nature has to offer.  They feel that when they are at Sanctuary North time goes slower, family gets closer and everything in between disappears”.


Sanctuary North is a beautiful place with wonderful people that has changed our lives in so many ways. Through Sanctuary North we have made new friends, we are creating new and better memories and have been inspired for the compassion, sympathy, empathy and willingness this community offers to families and individuals like us. Sanctuary North has become a place of hope and trust for a better tomorrow.

The Martinez family from their early days at Sanctuary North

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