June 5, 2023
An Aerial View of Sturgeon Point from the West
By Guy Scott
Sturgeon Point is a famous community on a point between Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon and Lindsay. A regatta was held here as early as 1838. In 1876, George Crandell purchased the famous picnic site and built a huge hotel on site. The hotel was regularly serviced by steamboat. Many Lindsay residents vacationed all summer at the Point, taking advantage of the daily steamboat service. In the late 1800s, Sturgeon Point was the tourist excursion location for holiday excursions. Over 3,000 attended an Oddfellows excursion in 1881. To highlight the day, a performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance” was performed. Special trains often brought large crowds from as far away as Port Hope for a day excursion to Sturgeon Point.
Crandell laid out a village site for 40 individual cottages, which were soon completely filled with summer homes and cottages. The cottage/summer community early recognized that Sturgeon Point was different from the surrounding farm municipalities, so the cottagers incorporated Sturgeon Point as a separate municipality: Ontario’s first ‘cottage community.’ For years, it was Ontario’s smallest incorporated municipality with its own council. In 2001 it was amalgamated with the City of Kawartha Lakes. Sturgeon Point was famous for its summer regatta, sponsored by the cottagers association. The first regatta held in 1878, featured a 2-man canoe race between the Chippewas of Rama and the Mississaugas of Curve Lake. The natives far outpaced the local entries and the winner from Rama paddled at 70 strokes a minute.
A church was built on site in 1888 to save summer residents the trip to Sunday services elsewhere. The original church was destroyed by fire in 1915 and replaced by the present-day octagonal church donated by Lady Flavelle. It still holds regular services during the summer. The community also boats a 9-hole golf course and a sailing club. The grand hotel at Sturgeon Point was destroyed by fire and the steamboats stopped running. The community became a cottage community, no longer restricted to summer only. Despite no longer being an independent municipality, Sturgeon Point remains a vibrant community to this day, with the Sturgeon Point Association, a community trust that manages village lands.