See You Next Summer: Postcard Memories of Sparrow Lake by Bruce McCraw

By Bruce McCraw

Bustling station structures, with old fashioned steamers close by, usually seem on early Sparrow Lake postcards. It used to be on the station that rail passengers have been met and brought through boat to at least one of the over 20 lodges that when flourished during this vacation zone. this sort of journey may well take approximately 3 hours in this approximately three-mile lake, bordering the southern Muskoka arm of the Canadian guard. Upon arrival, the outside beckoned to at least one and all. classic postcards illustrate the tales of an past time in "cottage country." Bruce McCraw's lifetime familiarity with the lake has been augmented through contributions from neighborhood citizens and site visitors of Sparrow Lake inns.

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Wildwood in the 19505 or early 19605 facing the bay with a neatly manicured front lawn. Wood boats like these are a rarity today. e. with the planking overlapped. Resorts of Port Stanton B A Y V I E W - W I L D WOOD A 1980$ postcard advertising the amalgamated BayviewWildwood as a year round resort only a short distance north of Toronto, The large building in view is a renovated Wildwood. W I L D ECHO A very early picture-postcard with two inserts; one of the launch Mustang which had an inboard engine and was owned by Charles Musson, a Port Stanton cottager25 and the other a cottage on Helens Island which was owned by the Butler family.

Since the program included girls by 1916 this postcard probably dates from between 1912 and 1916, The Langmuir s Point property was adjacent to Sparrow Lake Camp and was purchased by the Toronto Home Missions Council in 1926. This enlarged the Camp from 85 acres to about 130 acres, making it one of the largest of the United Church Camps. "At the sound of the dinner bell" is postmarked August 23, 1928. The scene, on the way to the present-day dining half, probably was taken shortly after it was built in 1926.

Hunnisett was a camp leader. The camp is now referred to as Sparrow Lake Campy and for a period prior to Church Union, the name Methodist Young People s Camp was also used on postcards. This site is also where Captain Tom Stanton built his first log house in the iS/os/5 From Port Stanton to Maple Grove ROEHI/S H O T E L ( T O R P I T T ) All the resorts on the northwest end of Sparrow Lake - RoehPs Hotel, Torpitt and Grandview, as well as Maple Grove, were established on what was originally RoehPs property* The RoehPs resorts, - RoehPs Hotel (later Torpitt) and Grandview had their beginnings because of the energy and initiative of Mr Otto Roehl (1862-1955)* His father, Otto Sr*, (18051874) had emigrated from northern Germany in 1860 to join his brother William who, some years earlier, had settled where Torpitt Lodge is today* Otto's father and uncle each purchased 100 acres from the Crown and together these two tracts stretched from Duck Bay to Deep Bay* As the first settlers on the northwest side of Sparrow Lake, the brothers established homes and began farming* Their joint land was eventually owned by Otto Roehl and to this day some of it remains in the family* On the Severn River as well as near the Lake, the RoehPs farm was also an ideal camp site* By the i88os fishermen, and no doubt some hunters, were requesting permission to stay on the RoehPs property* The first visitors were the Erhardt brothers, Fred and Leonard, from Pittsburgh who camped on RoehPs pasture where the Torpitt golf course was later developed* Fred first came in 1883 and Leonard joined him in 1886* During a personal conversation in 1990 with Abby Cox shortly before he died, Abby, a long time resident of Sparrow Lake and the original proprietor of nearby Maple Grove, said that at first Fred Erhardt fished from a small birchbark canoe which he had made by a local Indian* Up until the mid-19405 the Erhardt brothers came every year to Sparrow Lake.

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