Michael Budman, co-founder of Roots, first experienced Algonquin Park’s natural beauty in 1956 as a teenager attending Camp Tamakwa. For more than 13 years, the Detroit native would spend his summers at the camp as a counselor, a canoeing instructor and a camp director. Algonquin Park was also where the idea for Roots, a lifestyle shop devoted to athletic apparel, began to take shape. The first Roots store opened in 1973; more than 30 years later the company boasts nearly 200 stores in Canada, the United States and Asia.
Here, Budman and his wife, Diane Bald—who also serves as the company’s design director—share their Algonquin Park pastimes and memories.What are some of your favourite activitiesto do in Algonquin Park?
Budman & Bald: During summer, it’s all about spending as much time on the water as possible. Kayaking, canoeing, and swimming in the lake top the list. In the winter, just being outdoors is best. Cross-country skiing, ice skating on the lake and snowshoeing.
How would you spend a perfect day in Algonquin Park?
Budman: The best days are those spent outdoors. My motto is: “Get in the lake. Then get in the lake. Then end every day with a campfire.”
The best time of day in Algonquin Park is …
Budman: Sunset on my little dock.
What is your happiest memory of Algonquin Park?
Budman: I have countless fond memories that will be with me always, but nothing beats the years spent raising our kids in Algonquin Park with no electricity, no phones or computers.
What is your favourite summertime activity?
Budman: Kayaking through the lake in the early morning with nothing but my thoughts.
Do you have a favourite wintertime activity?
Budman & Bald: Cross-country skiing and skating on the lake when it’s freshly frozen.
What do you consider to be Muskoka’s hidden gem?
Budman: Algonquin Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth. And Camp Tamakwa, the camp where I first met Roots’ co-founder, Don Green.
What activity or annual event do you most look forward to each year at Algonquin Park with your family and friends?
Budman: There are too many to choose from but one activity I always look forward to is a 40-kilometre paddle through the many lakes that make up Algonquin Park with our friend and Roots-sponsored Olympic athlete Adam van Koeverden.
What are some of your favourite traditions?
Budman & Bald: Every visit to Algonquin involves a canoe trip and dinners around the campfire.
What is one activity you would recommend everyone should try or experience at least once in the Muskoka region?
Budman: Simplify life and take a canoe trip.
Do you have a favourite restaurant in the Muskoka region for dining out?