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Did you know that Sir Sam Hughes had a cottage at Fenelon Falls?

April 29, 2024

Sir Sam Hughes

Early History of Grove Road

Sir Sam Hughes led Canada’s military into the First World War and is one of the most famous or infamous residents of the Kawarthas, depending on your point of view. Hailed by some as a hero and scorned by others as a madman, Sam was definitely an unforgettable character. He is remembered for mobilizing an army at incredible speed, founding bases at Gagetown, New Brunswick and Valcartier, Quebec. His fiascos, such as promoting the Ross Rifle and MacAdam Shield Shovel (yes, the spade with a hole in it so you could shoot through it!) were equally unforgettable. Sam is often associated with another of his summer residences, near West Guilford (now Sir Sam’s Ski/Ride). He also had a cottage on Hughes Point (off Grove Road, on the south shore of Cameron Lake), which is named in his honour. In 1913, as he was a prominent Canadian politician, his notoriety was used to promote the neighbourhood as Inverlochlin, a tourist destination, reflected in this article from the Lindsay Post.

One of the most secluded, yet charming nooks on the Kawartha Lakes is Inverlochlin, on the south shore of beautiful Cameron Lake, between Balsam and Sturgeon Lakes, next door to Fenelon Falls. Hardly anyone knows of this group of pretty cottages and bungalows, outside of fortunate owners, and those of their friends who may have been their guests.

Hidden among the oaks, pines, maples and birches, the cottages, only about ten in all, string along a pretty cove or bay, to the east of a peninsula, on which Colonel Sam Hughes, years ago, built a cozy summer home. Within a mile, by road or boat, of Fenelon Falls (the Cataract Village) and, with both lake and train accommodation, the residents can come and go without trouble, fatigue or delay. Toronto is within a few hours run, while the growing and prosperous town of Lindsay is only fourteen miles south. To the north, across the lake, opposite Inverlochlin, lies the water route from Balsam Lake by the Rosedale canal into Cameron, and both the Gull and picturesque Burnt rivers empty their waters into Cameron Lake about the same spot.

Being on the direct course of the Trent Valley Canal, all summer long from the cottage verandahs may be seen the steamers and launches plying up and down this beautiful stretch of water. Among the passenger craft can daily be seen the staunch steamer “Wacouta,” Captain Burgoyne, on his trips up to Coboconk, or down to Lindsay. Sir William Mackenzie’s graceful private steam yacht is a frequent passer by, while numerous motor boats are constantly on the go.

Inverlochlin is well supplied with boats and canoes, and the scene on a calm summer evening the lake dotted with boats, the evening sun setting behind Hughes’ Point, the glow in the sky, the shimmering water, and the sound of song and laughter, is beautiful beyond the writer’s gift of expression. The fishing is fairly good, the gamey bass (both varieties) and lunge, being in sufficient numbers to give good sport to the true fisherman.  One hears the cry of the loon, and at this time of the year, sees every evening, the black ducks skimming along against the sky line. The west wind blows a clean invigorating air all over one, like velvet in its softness, and sweet as new mown hay.

Colonel Hughes is the pioneer of this charming spot, next to him, as among the old settlers come Mr. Will Scott and Mr. Percy Roberts, of Toronto, both stationed like sentinels near the east entrance to the avenue, while the Colonel guards the western flank. Then comes Mr. J.H. Sootheran, Registrar of Victoria County, who has a very attractive and pretty cottage, next Judge MacGillvray, of Whitby, while further down is the pretty home of Mr. Black, manager of the Bank of Montreal, Lindsay. Mr. J.W. Barrington’s attractive bungalow is further along the avenue, while in between are other lovely cottage homes.

This season Inverlochlin has missed Col. Hughes’ family, as their cottage has not been opened up, for the first time in history, but we hope that next summer its hospitable doors will be open as of yore. The Colonel, with Mrs. Hughes and Miss Eileen are about leaving for Europe, and so beyond spending some weekends with friends on the lake, they have not been much there.

Lindsay visitors, however, have run down for short stays. Mrs. J. G. Edwards, Mrs. Hughes, Miss Hughes, Mrs. (Judge) Harding, Mrs. (Judge) McMillan, Miss Graham, Colonel Clarke of Guelph, Mr. James Bogue, Mr. John Carew, Mr. Frank Carew, Mr. Pat White, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes and children, and other Lindsay friends having added to the enjoyment of the place by short visits.

Inverlochlin is destined to be the nucleus of a much larger summer colony in the years to come, and already an addition farther along the shore has been opened up by Mr. Richard Byrnell, where Messrs. Tapscott and Hill of Toronto, and Mr. Cook of Fenelon Falls, have built substantial and pretty homes.

From the Lindsay Post, September 1, 1913

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