In celebration of Greg’s 25th anniversary with the Edge we share the story of how Greg came to be here with us at Kawawaymog Lake as a keystone bringing our co-created vision to life. While guests may know Chef Gregor by his role in delicious organic regional food creations to nourish their bellies Greg has and continues to leave his foundational fingerprints on the wood, the stone, and in the dirt and trails here at the Edge. This story is lovingly written by Martha. We are so grateful for your friendship and all that you are, Greg.
Greg and I met while attending the University of Windsor, as teaching assistants. I went off to attend the Faculty of Education, while Greg went on to pursue his Masters and PH.D at Queen’s University in Kingston.
My teaching career in the school system didn’t last long, ending when I became pregnant with my son, which marked the beginning of my spiritual journey and quest, as I followed a yearning within my heart. I knew going into teaching I would not become a classroom teacher, but was drawn to exploring and deepening my own connection with nature, and developing my skills as an outdoor educator.
According to Greg, Queen’s University is surrounded and embedded in rock. Each night, he would dream of walking up a pathway in a forest carrying stone. Greg is a very creative being, and although he was very capable of achieving success in his studies, he yearned to work with his hands, as well as his mind. He dreamed of creating with stone, and left his university studies behind.
In 1993, we came into stewardship of a small 3 bedroom cottage, on Lake Kawawaymog located on the north eastern edge of Algonquin Park; the traditional hunting and fishing grounds of the Algonquin peoples. This was the beginning of a life change and turning point in our lives, as we dreamed of creating an outdoor education retreat center.
Each summer we came to the cottage as a family, tending the land and building the foundation of what is now the Edge. We hosted a few student groups, as Todd, my husband was still teaching high school. We also hosted the University of Windsor, Outdoor Recreation program, that I had been involved with throughout my university years. The professor of the program, Vicky Paraschak was the same professor Greg and I were teacher’s assistants for.
In 1995, Northern Edge Algonquin became incorporated as a business (read “The Story of the Edge”). Each summer we had a big project to work on, and in the summer of 1996, we spent the whole summer creating the main trail, through the heart and centre of the property, like an artery running through the forest to the upper parking area. Todd’s youngest brother and another friend from University stayed with us all summer, to help us. We would have wheel barrow races, bringing the gravel down the steep path to build up the trail. The steps of the trail were made from old railroad ties left in the lake from the days rail service transported the logs from the forest industry. My brother in law Jack, a firefighter from Windsor, carried the creosote railway ties up the path to their resting place.
Greg had moved back to Windsor, and was living at the home of our mutual friends from University and the Outdoor Recreation program. Towards the end of that summer, we hosted the University of Windsor Outdoor Recreation program, and invited Greg to cook for the group. Shortly after he arrived, he looked at the path we had been creating all summer, and he said that chills went up and down his spine – this was the path of his dreams, while he was attending Queen’s University.
Back in Windsor, Greg was now working with stone. He borrowed our trailer to haul stone for a job, and to thank us invited us to dinner he prepared. We brought with us the new plans for a building we were dreaming of, which eventually became Points North. That night, over ‘risotto’, we shared the design plans for the new building. Greg asked us what we had planned to do with the floor. We had not made any plans as of yet, and he asked if we would like him to lay a stone floor, which felt like a perfect solution.
The following March of 1997, Greg and Todd came with a trailer full of stone. There was 4 feet of snow, they had to dig through to get to the building. There was no running water, or electricity yet, and only a wood stove for heat. Greg melted the snow in a pot, to mix the mortar and lay the stone. He spent 3 weeks laying the stone floor, and when he was finished, said ‘I’m set in stone here’. He asked if there might be a few other things he could lend a hand with… That was 25 years ago.
We are deeply blessed and grateful for the years of dedication, passion, creativity and love that Greg has shared with us and so many who have visited the Edge over the years. Thank you Greg for being an example of stewardship, cultivating and deepening our relationship with ourselves and one another, leaving an imprint of love and beauty in all that we touch.
Love notes from guests…
“The food was incredible. Chef was so creative and accommodating. All of the meals were made with local produce and products. We eagerly listened as Chef colourfully described each of the dishes he prepared.”
“Chef Greg was my favourite addition, his food was wonderfully prepared, locally & organically sourced, and SO delicious! You could really tell he loved what he does.”
“Gregor is amazing. The food he makes is creative and what real farm to table was meant to be. He describes every dish with the care of someone who knows when and where each item was picked.”