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Miner’s Bay Lodge

March 6, 2024

H.R. Oakman aerial of Miner's Bay Lodge, circa 1960

By Guy Scott

David Galloway patented the lot that has since become Miner’s Bay Lodge in 1881. He ran a sawmill and a general store to serve the local farmers and lumbermen then clustering around the east side of Gull Lake. The natural beauty of the little bay and Gull Lake in general gave Galloway the idea of selling cottage lots about 1906. In 1911, he sold his operation to Hopkins & Marks from Kinmount, who seemed interested in starting a fledgling tourist resort. They rented the old farmhouse for $35 a season. In 1920, the Tracy family purchased the property, renamed it Bay View Hotel and seriously got into the resort business.

The Traceys added cottages and built up the resort over the next 18 years. After World War I, tourism began to grow as city dwellers fled the urban confines for the summer season. The lodge was expanded and cottages were built for more independent campers. But during the 1930s, decline set in to the point where the operation was in danger of collapsing. The Tracy family were desperate to sell, but during the Depression, buyers were scarce.

Meanwhile down in the United States, fate was dealing a hand to another family. The Wunker family of Ohio was searching for their niche in life when they met Rev. J. Windsor, a Baptist minister familiar with the fishing delights of Gull Lake. The Wunkers were mesmerized by tales told of life at Miner’s Bay and decided resort life in the Haliburton Highlands might be for them. To make a long story short, in 1938, the Wunkers purchased Bay View Hotel and the rest is history.

The boast the lodge could accommodate 100 guests aside; the Wunker family began a steady increase in the fortunes of the newly named Miner’s Bay Lodge. The first season, a week’s accommodation with meals was $12.50. All the grocery boxes were saved in case an exodus back to the US was necessary after the first season. Capitalizing on gorgeous scenery and a solid reputation for quality and service, the lodge grew and expanded until the claim for 100 guests per week was a reality.

One of the fascinating features of the Lodge is the repeat clientele. Over 80% of the yearly visitors are return customers. The Lodge honours those families who have attended for up to 50 years. Some have been vacationing on the shores of Gull Lake for 5 generations. There must be some magic on the shores of Gull Lake for such customer loyalty.

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