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Fenelon Falls’ Transfer Bus

January 15, 2022

Transfer Bus in Front of Jeremiah Twomey Mansion House

Did you know that Fenelon Falls used to have a bus?

In the days before automobiles, those who were fortunate to venture any distance from home would generally travel by either steamship or train. Both were popular for visitors to Fenelon Falls. With steamship lines like Crandell’s or the Trent Valley Navigation Company, the experience of travelling was as much a part of the vacation as the community’s other attractions. With red plush seats, birds-eye-maple woodwork and gourmet meals served on board (it took 4:15 to get from Lindsay to Coboconk) it was like going on a cruise today.

Arriving at Fenelon Falls, a visitor would typically either walk or engage a (horse) driver to take them to their destination. For a hotel operator, being located any distance from the canal (or rail station) would be detrimental. The Hotel Kawartha (now Cliffside Villa) was conspicuously perched on the cliffs above the gorge with stairs leading down to the wharf. The McArthur House (now Subway) was equally convenient, fronting the locks. The Mansion House (now Cow & Sow) predated the lock’s construction and was a little further away.

To entice potential visitors to by-pass the competition, the Mansion House operated a transfer bus. It picked up customers at the lower wharf and conveniently carried their trunks up the hill (now beside the Lil Wee Quilt Shop/Stokes on Trent) to the main street. Heaven forbid that a Victorian lady should have to carry her belongings up a hill like that! (There was little about Victorian women’s fashion that was comfortable or made it easy to move or do practically anything other than look pretty and socialize.)

For more information on the notorious George Crandell and his steamship line, check out:

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