Christie Lake – Memories Along the Shores

 

We found tranquility, along the shores of this clear blue beauty.  A sanctuary of peace and contentment, a place where pink sunsets slid into still waters, and the melodious call of the loon marked the end of another perfect day, at Christie Lake.

It was also a buzzing social hub –  a gathering place for familiar faces, and new friends as well. Who could forget the laughter of the youthful parties at nearby cottages, or on Big Island? On warm summer evenings the shores were dotted with bright campfires, sputtering, crackling, shooting flames into the starry night skies. The rock and roll of our time echoed across the lake, with its steady beat, and powerful lyrics. Our music celebrated sweet young love, with a dash of social commentary, unique to those unforgettable times – the 1960s and 70s.

Where is Christie Lake?  Ottawa, the closest large city, is about an hour east, and the pretty town of Perth, is a quick, 15 minute drive.  The Stafford house, where we spent the idyllic days of our youth, was just a mile away, a quick bike ride up the Third Line; although it felt a lot farther on those hazy humid dog-days of summer.  By the time my friends and I rounded the corner near Jordan’s, the lake was in sight, and moments later our bikes had been abandoned, and we’d jumped joyfully, off the bridge, into the cool, clear, water.

bridge at Jordan's

Bridge at Jordan’s – photo:  Kathy Irvine

Christie Lake is one of the three largest lakes on the Tay watershed, along with Bob’s Lake, and Otty Lake.  It’s been said that the original name for the lake was Myers Lake, and that was way before my time; but I do remember the old timers referring to it as ‘Christy’s Lake’, or ‘Christie’s Lake’, and that it was named for John Christy, native of Scotland, the first settler on the lake.

After John Christy’s arrival, the second family living on the lake were the Allan’s. The original spelling of the lake was “Christy’s Lake”, but it was changed by the Geographic Board of Canada, to “Christie” on April 10th, 1908.

John Christy, his wife Isabella (Wright), and daughter, sailed on the ship ‘Eliza’, from Scotland, on August 3, 1815 and arrived first, in Quebec City.  Like many families arriving late in the year, they spent the first winter near their port of arrival. By 1816, the Christy’s settled at concession 2, lot 2 in Bathurst Township.

John Christy census of 1871

1871 Census of Bathurst Township

 

John Christy Jane Allen gravestone

John Christy – 1824-1909 son of pioneer John M. Christy

 

 

Alexandrine Victoria (Christy) Whillans  1839-1924

youngest daughter of pioneer John Christy, first settlers at Christy’s Lake

Alexandrine Christy Whillans Feb 19 1924 p 7 Ottawa Cit.

Feb. 19, 1924 p. 7,  ‘Ottawa Citizen’

“Victoria Whillans, was the youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Christy, first settlers at Christy’s Lake, Ont., after whom the place is called.”

Lake banner # 2

 

Walter Christy 1870-1942

Grandson of pioneer, John Christy

Walter Christy Jan 22 1942 p. 12 Ott Cit.

Jan. 22, 1942, p.12 ‘The Ottawa Citizen

Christie Lake banner 6

George Christy – 1868-1949

Grandson of pioneer John Christy

George Christy Apr. 27 1949 p 2 Ott.Cit

George Christy gravestone

George Christy gravestone, Johnston’s Corners cemetery, south Ottawa, Ontario

 

 

The Canadian Barks Works

A small group of men from Perth:  Thomas Aspden, Alexander Morris, William Morris, Captain John Manion, and John Hart established the Canadian Barks Works at Lot 2, Concession 3 of Bathurst Township. It was located along the north shore of Christie Lake, on Gravely Bay, as it was thought there would be a good supply of hemlock trees to sustain the business. The purpose of the mill was to extract tannin from hemlock bark, to be used in leather tanning. The tannin was used locally at a tannery in Perth, and in the beginning of operations there was also enough to export to the U.S. The company closed in 1874, due to a shortage of hemlock in the area.

Canadian Barks at Christie Lake

The Canadian Barks Works at Christie Lake  (1868-1874) photo: ‘Perth Remembered’

 

Jordan's Cottages

 

Jordan Family

and the Descendants of pioneer George Jordan & Isabella Stewart

The Jordan family were among the early settlers to the area, having lived in the region continuously since the 1800s, when pioneer settler, George Jordan, arrived from Scotland, and settled at the foot of Christie Lake.

 

Christie Lake banner

 

Pioneer Settler, George Jordan,

born Yetholm, Roxburghshire, Scotland

 

George Jordan 1830-1908

George Jordan death certificate 1908
1908 death certificate of Scottish pioneer, George Jordan – early settler to Christie Lake

 

George Jordan (1830-1908) and his wife, Isabella Stewart, were parents to John Jordan (1865-1950), and it was John, who first established the business of vacation cottage rentals.

 

Christie Lake banner 2

 

John’s son, John Robert Jordan and his wife Martina Miller (1868-1940), continued the legacy, expanding the business and keeping with tradition.

Martena Miller Jordan 1940

1911 Census of Bathurst, Lanark County

John and Martena Jordan census 1911

2nd last column is year of birth, last column is age when the census was taken
Year: 1911; Census Place: 1 – Bathurst, Lanark South, Ontario; Page: 3; Family No: 19

 

Lake banner # 4

John Robert Jordan and Martena (Miller) Jordan

John Robert and Martena Jordan had a large family of four sons and three daughters:

(babies Donald and Martena, died in infancy)

George Edwin Jordan (1896-1977)

Arthur Miller Jordan (1897-1968)

Calvin Jordan (1899-1981)

Helen ‘Pink’ Muriel Jordan (1901-1987)

John Robert Jordan (1905-1965)

Sarah ‘Sadie’ Isabella Jordan (1910-1999)

 

baby angel

 

John Robert Jordan and Martena Jordan, sadly, lost two babies,  Baby Martena, born when her mother was age 41, and the second was Baby Donald, born when his mother was age 48:

Martena Jordan 1908 death cert.      Donald Easton Jordan 1916 death cert.

Death certificates for baby Martena Jordan, and baby Donald Easton Jordan

 

Lake banner # 5

George Edwin Jordan  1896-1977

George Edwin Jordan  & Charlotte (Keays) Jordan

Children of George Edwin Jordan and Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Jordan

Donald ‘Don’ Jordan  

Keith Jordan

William ‘Bill’ Jordan

Jean (Jordan) Bell

Evelyn (Jordan) Irvine

 

Jordans on Christie Lake in boat

Evelyn (Jordan) Irvine, with her daughters, and Jean (Jordan) Bell’s children – 1972 – photo: Kathy Irvine

 

 

Lottie Jean and Evelyn

Charlotte ‘Lottie’ (Keays) Jordan seated, at Christie Lake – her daughters Evelyn (Jordan) Irvine, and Jean (Jordan) Bell standing,  1973                  photo: Kathy Irvine

 

Lottie's obit

Dec. 8, 1977 p. 14, ‘The Perth Courier’

 

Lake banner # 1

 

George Edwin Jordan –   WWI military recruitment record:

George Jordan expeditionary papers

George Edwin Jordan – Canadian Expeditionary Forces record: Library and Archives Canada: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4968 – 47  Item Number: 493833

 

George Edwin Jordan obit 1977

“He received his education locally and served in the First World War”

Christie Lake banner 3

 

 

Arthur Miller Jordan 1897-1968

Arthur Jordan obit

 

“Pallbearers were four nephews, Donald, Keith, Bob and Alan Jordan; two neighbours, Wilbur Noonan and Gordon Stiller.”

 

Arthur Miller Jordan married Edna Ritchie in 1920

Children of Arthur Jordan and Edna (Ritchie) Jordan:

Phyllis (Jordan) Stewart

Shirley (Jordan) Weldon

Helen (Jordan) Rintoule

Joan (Jordan) McNaughton

 

muskoka chairs at the lake

Calvin Jordan 1899-1981

Calvin Jordan

married Marion Palmer in 1934

Marion Jordan

Calvin and Marion had three daughters:

Isobel (Jordan) Paul

Frances (Jordan) Dixon

Mavis (Jordan) Woolham

 

He was President of the Lanark County Federation of Agriculture, and for many years, a member of the Board of Calvin United Church

Calvin Jordan obit

March 25, 1981 p.2 ‘The Perth Courier’

 

 

pink marilyn bob sadie

Helen ‘Pink’ Jordan, Marilyn (Dixon) Jordan, Bob Jordan, and Sadie Jordan at the Jordan Homestead, Christie Lake, photo: Carolyn Jordan

Sadie Jordan, Librarian, Toronto Public Library

Sarah 'Sadie' Jordan

Sadie Jordan academic achievement

 

Sadie Jordan Toronto Library

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 19, 1930, pg.1

 

Sadie Jordan position at Tor Library

‘The Perth Courier’, Mar. 6, 1931, p.2

 

When Sadie graduated from the Perth High School in 1929 she was awarded the prestigious Carter Scholarship, for her academic excellence. Sadie enjoyed a successful career as a Librarian with the Toronto Public Library, and while she lived in Toronto, she attended  Bloor Street United Church,  300 Bloor Street W., Toronto, ON.

 

Helen Jordan  – 1901-1987

Helen Jordan

Helen Jordan had a distinguished career in the field of Nursing.  She trained at the North Bay Hospital, graduating in 1927.  She was promoted to Supervisor of Nursing in 1931.

In the spring of 1932, Helen Jordan was appointed to the position of Superintendent of the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, in North Bay.

Helen Jordan, Superintendent

Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, North Bay, Ontario

Helen Jordan appointed superintendent

‘The Perth Courier’, April 22, 1932, p.1

 

Christie Lake banner 4

 

Helen Jordan –  “Known to her friends, as ‘Pink’

 

Helen Jordan bio

‘The Perth Courier’, April 21, 1982, p.9

 

“….she joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps as a Nursing Sister.”

Helen part 1

Helen part 2

 

Helen Jordan roll of honour

War Veterans, who were members of Calvin United Church, Bathurst Township, Lanark County

Helen Jordan obit 1987

‘The Ottawa Citizen’, Jan. 21, 1987 p.46

 

 

Christie Lake c 1970

Bridge at Jordan’s Cottages – 1973 – photo:  Stafford family

 

John Robert Jordan

John Robert Jordan (1905-1965) married Mary Elizabeth Scharf (1909-1995) in 1933

John Robert and Mary Scharf Jordan

John Robert Jordan and Mary Jordan, at Christie Lake  – photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

John Robert Jordan and Mary Jordan had five children:

Robert ‘Bob’ Jordan

Alan Jordan

Lloyd Jordan

Harold Jordan

Betty (Jordan) Miller

 

Bob Jordan's family

Bob Jordan, his wife Marilyn (Dixon) Jordan and their three children, Carolyn, Darrell, and baby John in 1966, at the Jordan ancestral homestead –  photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

Christie Lake aerial view

Christie Lake, aerial view – photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

John Robert Jordan passed down the business to his son, Alan Jordan, and he and his wife Audrey (Conroy) Jordan have continued the tradition for many decades.  Their son, Paul Jordan, is now co-owner.

 

Jordan's Cottages 1971

Jordan’s Cottages

John Jordan established Jordan’s Cottages.

Cottage for rent John Jordan July 8 1943 p 4

Ad for Jordan’s Cottages – ‘The Perth Courier’  –  July 8, 1943 p.4

JR Jordan Jul 28 1948 p 24

Ad for Jordan’s Cottages – “The Ottawa Journal” – July 28, 1948 p. 24

 

John and Mary Jordan and family

John Jordan, his wife Mary Jordan, Robert ‘Bob’, Betty, Alan,  front:  Harold and Lloyd.    photo:  Carolyn Jordan

Mary Scharfe Jordan

 

Mary Jordan 1995

‘The Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 3, 1995 p.36

 

Betty and Alan.

Betty (Jordan) Miller and her brother Alan Jordan, at Christie Lake  – photo: Carolyn Jordan

Audrey Jordan from Carolyn

(Audrey (Conroy) Jordan, Alan’s wife, and George Jordan (Keith’s son) photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

Bev Miller's dock from Carolyn

Dock at Bev (Miller) Ferlatte’s home, Christie Lake      photo: Carolyn Jordan

 

 

Fire at Christie Lake bridge – 1940

John Jordan serious fire July 19 1940 p 4

July 19, 1940 ‘The Perth Courier’

fishing at sunset

 

“The Jordan home was ever a hospitable one, where the head of the household always found time to engage in friendly conversation and to perform some kindly act or unselfish deed.”

 

John Jordan –   1865 – 1950

John Jordan obit Sept. 1950

September 28, 1950 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

loons on lake

 

John Jordan & Martina Miller’s son – John Robert Jordan operated Jordan’s Cottages after his father passed away.

John Robert Jordan’s marriage to Mary Scharf in 1933:

John Robert marriage to Mary Scharf 1933

 

 

John Robert Jordan obit 1965

 

 

 

Jordan's Cottages 1956

postcard – 1956

 

 

Christie Lake sunset - Kathy Irvine

Sunset, at Christie Lake                              photo:  Kathy Irvine

 

 

Jean and Don Jordan

Jean  (White) Jordan and Donald ‘Don’ Jordan boating on Christie Lake
(Donald –  a grandson of John Robert Jordan) photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

John Jordan, President of the Christie Lake Fish and Game Club

seeks to restore Pickerel to the area

Christie Lake Ottawa Citizen Fishing Nov. 24 1962 p 12

 Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 24, 1962, p. 12

 

 

Bill Keith Don at Christie Lake
Bill, Keith and Don Jordan, brothers, along the shores of Christie Lake,     photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Evelyn and Don and Lottie at Christie Lake

front: Evelyn (Jordan), her mother Charlotte ‘Lottie’, (Keays) Jordan her brother Don Jordan, front of boat – Don’s daughter Janice, sitting beside Evelyn’s daughter Sandy.   1960s.   photo:  Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Jordan clan at Christie Lake from Kathy Irvine

April and Meagan Bell, Sandy Errett, Karen Ronald, Janice (Jordan) Gordon,Patti Jordan, Kathy Irvine, seated in the chair a friend –  2006,   photo:  Kathy Irvine

 

Janice and Patti 1963

Janice Jordan and Patti Jordan, at Christie Lake, 1963 – (daughters of Don Jordan & Jean (White) Jordan)

Christie Lake sitting on the boat

Seated on a boat at Christie Lake, Don Jordan with his daughter, Janice Jordan – photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Christie Lake friends on deck

William ‘Bill’ Jordan,  Jean (Jordan) Bell & her husband Robert ‘Bob’ Bell – photo Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Sadie at the lake

Sarah ‘Sadie’ Jordan (1910-1999)  at Christie Lake – photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon
(Sadie –  youngest daughter of John Robert Jordan)

 

Sadie Jordan obit

 

Christie Lake sun setting Kathy Irvine

Another perfect sunset on  Christie Lake                                                                                                        photo: Kathy Irvine

 

Christie Lake – Famous for Fishing!

Christie Lake fishing contest

Oct. 23, 1941 p.2 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

“Pickerel – 9 1/2 pounds, caught in Christie Lake by James Brady.”

“Northern Pike, 14 1/2 pounds, caught in Christie Lake by H.M. Gore”

 

Harold and Irma Knight at Christie Lake

Harold and Irma (Miller) Knight at Christie Lake,      photo:  Janet Knight

 

 

Christie Lake train 1959

CPR Train, Christie Lake, 1959

 

Jordan's Cottages view on the lake

Patti Jordan and Arlene Stafford-Wilson at Christie Lake

Patti Jordan and Arlene Stafford-Wilson boating at Christie Lake – 1976, photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon
(Patti –  Great-great-granddaughter of Scottish pioneer settler George Jordan (1830-1908)

 

Christie Lake island

Christie Lake – Island                          photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

Christie Lake by the willow tree

Christie Lake Summer Fun on a paddleboat                                     photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Christie Lake Reunions

 

Christy – Allen Reunion – 1954

Christy and Allan reunion 1954

First Christy-Allan Reunion

was held in 1954

Christy Allan reunion 1954 Jun 8 p. 3 Ottawa Journal

“Out of neighbourly fairness, the two original families drew lots to decide after whom the lake would be named.  It was Mr. Christy, of course, who drew the longest straw.”

Christie lake banner 5

 

Christie Lake reunion July 4 1955 p

Christie Lake reunion July 4 1955 part 2

‘Ottawa Citizen’, July 4, 1955, p.21

Jordan Family Reunion

Jordan reunion 2

photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

 

Jordan Family Reunion –  2009

Jordan reunion

photo: Janice (Jordan) Gordon

Cavanagh’s General Store

Cavanagh's store colour photo

Visitors to Christie Lake often picked up their food and supplies at Cavanagh’s store, in DeWitt’s Corners.  A full line of groceries, barbecue supplies, ice, was available.  It was a gathering spot, for meeting up with neighbours and friends, and catching up on the local news.  Cavanagh’s was also the local polling station, where neighbours could vote for their favourite political candidate.  This store was the heart of the ‘Corners’, and the place to go, before heading up to Christie Lake.

Bill Cavanagh # 2 at Christie Lake

left – Peter Mullins, center Earl Conboy, (Bill Cavanagh with his back to the camera) photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

 

Cavanagh's ad

Cavanagh’s Store – 1947-1985

The store opened on June 3, 1947 – carrying groceries, confectioneries, and tobacco products. Along with groceries and everyday sundries, Cavanagh’s store also sold gas supplied by Esso, a branch of Imperial Oil.

“In 1947 they moved to DeWitt’s Corners,

and re-opened her family’s general store,

under the name of  ‘Cavanagh’s Fine Foods'”

 

Locals and cottagers, along with campers at nearby Christie Lake, were all pleased to hear that there would be a general store in the area, and they would no longer have to drive to Perth, to pick up daily necessities.

 

Cavanagh’s store, DeWitt’s Corners      photo:  JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

Jim and Helen Cavanagh and Shep

Helen (DeWitt) Cavanagh, James ‘Jim Cavanagh, and their dog, Shep – photo:  JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

cavanaghs-store-black-and-white

Cavanagh’s General Store, DeWitt’s Corners     photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

 

Shep at Cavanagh's store

Familiar sights at Cavanagh’s store:  their dog Shep, and the Millstone  –  photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

 

Three DeWitt Sisters, at Ederney Cottage, Christie Lake

Cavanagh's cottage 1974

l to rt. Josephine (DeWitt) Lenahan,  Helen (DeWitt) Cavanagh,  Vera (DeWitt) Brady standing in front of the original family cottage on Station Bay, Christie Lake.          Photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler

James ‘Jim’ Cavanagh named the cottage “Ederney”, the place in Ireland where his family was from.

 

Jim and Helen (DeWitt) Cavanagh operated the popular neighbourhood store for nearly four decades, until they retired in 1985.

Jim Cavanagh retired April 3 1985 p 18

‘The Perth Courier’, April 3, 1985, p.18

 

The DeWitt family, Helen’s ancestors, lived in the area for generations, going back to pioneer Zephaniah DeWitt. The first DeWitt land record was Bathurst Con 2 Lot 11, on 1st January 1823.

 

JoAnne waterskiing

JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler, water skiing on Christie Lake, with Mary Dineen (McIntyre)             photo: JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

Bill Cavanagh at Christie Lake

lt to rt:  Bill Cavanagh, Michael Switzer, Peter Mullins   photo: JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler
(Peter Mullins family’s cottage was located exactly at the site of the former Christie Lake Bark Company.  According to Peter, “Growing up, there were many logs in the water. A few are still there.”)

Helen Cavanagh Aug 4 1982 p 22

‘The Perth Courier’, August 4, 1982, p.22

 

“Helen was dearly loved by all who knew her,

and was an asset to her community”

empty chair at athe lake

 

 

 

Fishing at Christie Lake banner

Fishing at Christie Lake # 1

Jan. 16, 1920, p. 6 ‘The Perth Courier’

 

“Monster-size Fish Caught At Christie Lake”

Christie Lake fishing 2

July 29, 1927 p.1 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

“12 pound Pickerel caught at Christie Lake”

 

Christie Lake fishing 3

Oct. 22, 1937, p.1 ‘The Perth Courier’

 

 

Christie Lake fishing contest

 

fishing image

 

 

The floods of 2017

Christie Lake:   The Floods of 2017

Heavy spring rains in the region, as well as a lack of good water management practices, are said by locals to have caused the flooding in 2017.  It was widely discussed at the time, that Parks Canada, governing body of  local lakes, was partly to blame in allowing its reservoir at Bobs Lake to become too high. It was said that logs were removed from a control dam at Bobs Lake, upstream, causing water levels to rise in Christie Lake. The flood was the worst that could be recalled in the past century.

Christie Lake flood of 2017

Alan Jordan wades through the waters that flooded Christie Lake in 2017

Christie Lake flood of 2017 part 2

Alan Jordan (left) and his son Paul Jordan, May 11, 2017 – owners of Jordan’s Cottages

Jordan's cottages flood 2017

High waters cause flooding in 2017 – Jordan’s Cottages

 

Christie Lake sundown Kathy Irvine

Sundown at Christie Lake                              photo: Kathy Irvine

 

 

Arliedale Inn banner

Arliedale Inn

The Marks family of Christie Lake were known for their vaudeville shows, and traveling theatrical entertainment.  Thomas Marks, one of the brothers, turned the family home into a hotel, and named it after his daughter ‘Arlie’.

Arliedale Inn Christie Lake

There were seven Marks brothers:  Robert, Tom, Alex, Jack, Joe, McIntyre and Ernie. Two of their sisters-in-law performed with them: Kitty, wife of Ernie, and May Bell, wife of Robert.  There were also two sisters Nell and Libby who did not perform on stage.

Marks family of Christie Lake

Seated:  L. to rt,  May A. Bell Marks, George Marks, R.W. Marks, Gracie Marks.

Standing; Joe Marks, Alex Marks

The Marks family presented melodramas for the most part, but also performed some comedy as well.

When their time for performing had come to an end, most of the family returned to the Christie Lake farm of their childhood. Robert continued to perform on stage until his late 70’s and then retired to the lake. He converted the barn where they had rehearsed into a summer hotel and was owner and operator until his death in 1936 at the age of 86.

Joe also retired to the farm where he died in 1944 at the age of 82.

Tom returned to Christie Lake when he retired, and converted the old house into a hotel and called it Arliedale, after his daughter Arlie. He passed away in 1935,  at the age of 81 years old.

Ella Tom and Arlie Marks

Ella Marks, her husband Tom, and daughter, Arlie Marks and dog, Buster.

 

Marks brothers

 

Tom Marks birthday Jan 18 1935 p 4

‘The Perth Courier’, Jan 18, 1935, p.4

 

 

Death of Mrs. Marguerite (Farrell) Marks –  mother of the Marks Brothers

Marguerite Farrell Marks obit
April 15, 1921, “The Perth Courier” p. 8

 

 

Arliedale lodge postcard

Arliedale Inn, Christie Lake

Arliedale beach

 

Dance at Arliedale Inn – July 1931

 

“…a lingering twilight, as though the sun had stood still just below the horizon.  It was just the sort of night that beckons youth and beauty.”

 

Christie Lake Dance July 10 1931 p 1

‘The Perth Courier’ – July 10, 1931, p.1

 

Arliedale # 2 snip

Arliedale ravine

Christie Lake dance Arliedale 1931

‘The Perth Courier’ – August 7, 1931, p.1

Arliedale July 20 1949 Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Citizen, July 20th, 1949 p. 31

 

Arliedale May 26 1968 p 137 Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, May 26, 1968, p.137

 

Norvic Lodge banner

 

Norvic Lodge

Victor Lemieux and his wife Noreen (McGlade) Lemieux were owners and operators of Norivc Lodge.  Like the other properties set along the shores of Christie Lake, they had a beautiful shoreline, framing their homey, rustic lodge.

Victor, son of Jeremie Lemieux, and Margaret Hannah James, was born and raised in the tiny village of Fournier, in the township of Prescott-Russell.  The village is situated near the communities of Vankleek Hill, St. Isidore, and Plantagenet, a largely French-Canadian settlement. Victor’s father was a Lumberman, and his mother cared for the large family.

Victor’s wife, Noreen, a girl who grew up in the town of Perth, Ontario, was the daughter of Arthur McGlade, a labourer. The McGlade family were early settlers from Perth, originally from County Armagh, Ireland.  Catherine McCarthy, Noreen’s mother was also from an Irish pioneer family, from County Cork.   Noreen’s parents were married in Toledo, Ontario, October 16, 1899.

Noreen McGlade Lemieux

Noreen  ‘Nina’ (McGlade) Lemieux

Memories of working at Norvic Lodge in 1960, as told by Judy (Stafford) Ryan:

“The Lodge was ‘Norvic” named after the owners – Noreen and Vic.  She was called Nina, and they had a daughter Judy,  – about my age at the time.  The Lodge was on Christie Lake.

 I was the only one who had the job there, but because I also had a two week job at the Optometrist in Perth, while his secretary was on vacation, at the beginning of the Summer (Dad got it for me), my sister Jackie (Stafford) Wharton, went up to the Lodge, and held my job for me for that two week period.  I think Dad was also the one who got me the job at the Lodge.  Mother did not want me to go as she figured I would get ‘into trouble’.

We were paid $10.00 a week which was given to us at the end of the Summer.  We made great tips from the Americans, who stayed in the cabins – I could make up to $100.00 a week, depending on whether or not the cabins were full that week.

Our cabin was at the top of a hill away from the vacationers.  Our day started at 7:00 a.m.  We had to be down the hill to the Lodge in uniform, to set up the dining room for breakfast, take breakfast orders, serve it, clear tables and help wash dishes, etc.  We then went back up the hill, changed into shorts and t-shirts and cleaned all the cabins – made beds, dusted, vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, changed towels, etc.  Then, back up the hill, back into uniform, to do the lunch thing. 

We were suppose to have a couple of hours off each afternoon, to do what we wanted.  However, part way through the summer, the lady who did the laundry left, and that was added to our jobs, without extra pay.  So after lunch, we would have to do the laundry – sheets, towels, etc. and hang them out on a line to dry.  Once a week, we would have to strip the beds, but changed the towels often. 

On days when we didn’t have to do the laundry, I would take the canoe, and a good book, and head for a small uninhabited island, and read for a couple of hours.  I knew that no-one could get to me there. 

Between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. we were back down the hill, in our uniforms, to set up for dinner, etc., etc. 

After everything was done, and cleaned up for the evening, we had time to ourselves, if we had any energy left.  I worked with a girl by the name of Claudette, and she was a real party girl, and as there was a party at some cottage every night, we went out most nights, along with the guy who worked at the Lodge store and gas bar, and he was allowed to use one of the motor boats, and that is how we got to the other cottages.

Just before I arrived to work at the Lodge that Summer there had been a bad boating accident, and I think one or two people had died.  The only way I found out about it was I saw a mangled boat with blood on it, stored in behind the lodge, when I was out walking one day, and asked the guy at the gas bar what happened.

That Summer was the first time I saw death!  There was a delightful family from Pennsylvania. there – three generations – Grandfather, parents, and two younger children.  I was serving breakfast this one morning, and the Grandfather, who was always so friendly and animated, told me about the different birds he had heard singing that morning, and during the conversation, he keeled over at the table.  I ran into the kitchen and got Vic (Lemieux) – told him the old man ‘fainted’.  Vic got the son to help him carry the Grandfather into the Lounge, behind the dining room, and they put him on the couch.  I remember going ahead and serving the other guests, and noticed people coming and going to the Lounge.   Nina told me later that the old guy had died, probably instantly, and I was really shocked and upset.  That is one of those memories that is permanently etched in your memory, especially when you are only 15.”

 – an excerpt from the book,  “Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen”, ISBN 978-0-9877026-0-9

 

 

Norvic Lodge ad Good food 1971

Norvic Lodge dining room

Norvic Lodge skin diving

Norvic Lodge boat show

May 10, 1962 – ‘The Perth Courier’

 

Norvic Lodge water show

 

Norvic Lodge – Christie Lake Surfers – summer of 1963

Norvic Lodge water show results

Victor Lemieux obit Mar 17 1998 Ottawa Citizen p 24

obituary of Victor Lemieux, ‘The Ottawa Citizen’, Mar. 17, p.24

Victor Lemieux gravestone

Grave of Victor and Nina Lemieux – St. John’s cemetery, Perth, Ontario

 

Red Cedar Inn banner

Red Cedar Inn

Red Cedar Inn was the official summer residence of the Marks family of entertainers.

“Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Marks are enjoying their beautiful cottage, Red Cedar Villa and will give an “at home” in the near future.”

‘The Perth Courier”, June 23, 1899

Christie Lake Red Cedar Inn

 

“The pickerel are biting fine

and large catches daily is the rule.”

 

Red Cedar Villa June 2 1899 p 1

 

Red Cedar Villa (also known as Red Cedar Inn)

Red Cedar Villa

Red Cedar Inn 1924

 “James is a great admirer of the lake and its beautiful scenery, and always calls on his friend Joe to have a chat and a drink of Mrs. Marks’ noted buttermilk.”

 

Christie Lake news – July 14, 1899

Christie Lake news July 14 1899 p 5 part 1

Christie Lake news July 14 1899 p 5 part 2

“The season at Christie’s Lake House opened much earlier this year than usual.”

 

Christie Lake news June 1, 1900 p 1

Christie Lake news – June 1, 1900, page 1

Red Cedar Inn July 3, 1924 p 6

‘The Ottawa Citizen’, July 3, 1924 p.6

Red Cedar Inn Jun 26 1941 p 24

‘The Ottawa Citizen’, June 26, 1941, p.24

Robert RW MarksRobert W. Marks  1855-1937

 

Red Cedar cottages Sept 23 1970 p 33

‘The Ottawa Citizen’ Sept. 23, 1970 p. 33

Christie Lake Camp

Christie Lake camp sign 2

 

Christie Lake Camp was established in 1922 by Judge John F. McKinley, of Ottawa.  The Judge believed that instead of punishing delinquent boys, he could offer them a chance to leave the temptations of the city, discover the great outdoors, and learn some new coping skills.

“………giving the boy responsibility, handling him with friendship, teaching him the general principles of good citizenship and doing so with the help of the open air.”

Judge John F. McKinley

Christie Lake boys # 5

 

Boys Enjoy Camp at Christy’s Lake

Christie Lake Boy's camp July 20 1923 page 5

July 20, 1923 – ‘The Perth Courier’

Christie Lake boys # 1

 

Splendid Results Attained

From Boys’ Camp at Christy’s

Christie Lake Boy's camp Nov 16 1923 part 1 page 2

Christie Lake Boy's camp Nov 16 1923 part 2 page 2

Christie Lake Boy's camp Nov 16 1923 part 3 page 2

November 16, 1923 – ‘The Perth Courier’

Christie Lake boys # 2

The boys arriving from Ottawa,  on Colonial Coach bus lines

Christie Lake boys # 3

The boys at their dock, below the main building

In 1958 Dr. Dan Offord became Camp Director. Christie Lake Kids programs were
under the guidance and direction of the late Dr. Offord, who was a well-known  child psychiatrist. Dr. ‘Dan’, as he was known, was a volunteer summer Camp Director for 47 years.

Dr. Dan Offord

Dr. Dan Offord, volunteered at Christie Lake for 47 years

 

Christie Lake boys # 6

Tremendous efforts went into fund-raising, over the past several decades, in order to maintain and repair the buildings and grounds at Christie Lake Camp.

In 2001, Dr. Dan’s work in research, at Christie Lake Camp, earned him the Order of Canada.

Dr. Dan Offord died at the age of 70, in 2004.

 

Christie Lake boys # 4

Heading up to the main building for lunch at the Christie Lake Boys’ Camp

Christie Lake kids camp

Learning to paddle a canoe at Christie Lake Camp

Christie Lake camp bonfire

Singing around the campfire, at Christie Lake Camp  – 2013

By the year 2000, approximately 400 boys and girls aged from 9 to 14 arrive every summer to learn outdoor skills and, build their self-esteem

Camp Opemikon – Scout Camp

Camp Opemikon

The land was purchased in 1937, and the camp opened in 1938.  Camp Opemikon has served the camping needs of the Scouting family for many years.

Camp Opemikon patch 1938

 

camp opemikon patch

camp opemikon map

 

camp opemikon cabins

Cabins at Camp Opemikon      – photo: Jason Chute

Canoes at Camp Opemikon

Canoes at Camp Opemikon – photo: Jason Chute

 

 

Christie Lake in colour

 

 

Special thanks to: Janice (Jordan) Gordon, Kathy Irvine, Carolyn Jordan, JoAnne (Cavanagh) Butler, and Judy (Stafford) Ryan, for sharing their photos and memories, of this very special place.

 

Discover more about Christie Lake, and learn about the parties and pastimes of the 1960s and 1970s, at this popular vacation spot, in the story, “Stranded on Christie Lake”, one of the stories in ‘Lanark County Chronicle: Double Back to the Third Line”

LC Chronicle from web

“Lanark County Chronicle” – ISBN-978-0-9877026-23

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

Homecoming

“Hearts glowed in friendship, forged over decades,

and the Spirit of Christmas entered the house, and walked among us.”

Christmas House Tour 2014 neighbourhood gals0001

For some people it’s the music of the season, the smell of the turkey, or the glittering gifts sitting under the tree; but for me it was a special visit to the house where I grew up, a homecoming, after a long absence of twenty-two years.

It doesn’t really seem that long ago since our father passed away in 1992, and our mother moved to town. I almost half expected to see him coming from the garage, carrying a tangled mess of Christmas lights, asking me if I’d hold the ladder steady, while he fastened the wire clamps onto the big spruce tree at the front of the house.

When I first heard from Wendy Parker, the current owner of our former home, that it was to be part of a Christmas House Tour, my thoughts turned back to days gone by, of the heavenly smells of Mother’s baking, bright cards in the mailbox at the end of the lane, and special concerts and plays at Calvin Church. There would be eight houses in total on the Christmas House Tour, and the event was sponsored by the Canadian Federation of University Women, and the money raised would help support education in the community.

Kevin and I arrived early that afternoon, with ample time to visit some of my old, familiar haunts. We drove first to Christie Lake, a place I knew well, the bridge at Jordan’s, where I’d jumped many times into the cool, clear waters. Hot days spent riding bikes with friends on the Third Line, and when that bridge was finally in sight it was like seeing an oasis in the middle of the desert. What a welcome sight it was! And even on this cold, December day, the lake appeared as serene and as lovely as it always did, calm and blue, waiting patiently for cottage season, and the laughter of little ones, the parties and music of the older ones, and a place of peace and serenity for the eldest ones.   We drove along the shore, and then headed back up the Third Line.

Jordan's Christie Lake0001

A visit home would not be complete without making a stop at the church where our Mother brought us every Sunday. This was where we celebrated baptisms, witnessed weddings, and met for comfort after funerals. This was the setting for the Strawberry Socials, Easter Sunday white gloves and hats, the lighting of the advent candles and Christmas Eve. The church stands proudly on Cameron Side Road, looking solid as ever, a place for meeting neighbours, friends, a place for worship, a place for solitude, and a shelter from the storms and turmoil of the outside world.

Calvin United Church December 20140001

We headed back to the Fourth Line and rounded the curve, up to the railroad tracks. There were many strolls along these tracks to the duck pond, watching the beavers at play, seeing the ducks return year after year, raise their babies, and leave at the end of the season.   Memories of sitting under the big tree along the tracks with my brother Roger as we patiently placed a penny each on the rails, sat back, waited for the train to go by, then retrieved our flattened pennies. Many hours in my youth were spent waiting for trains, listening to the sounds of the lonely whistles, and hearing the rumbling and chugging down the tracks as they headed for Perth.

Tracks back the side road0001

This way to the duck pond0001

Tree near the tracks0001

We continued up the side road to the little creek and as soon as I spotted it, I remembered scooping up the tadpoles in my sand pail, and then pouring them into a big glass pickle jar to set on the window ledge in my bedroom. Every spring it was a ritual to catch some of these quick, black tadpoles, or pollywogs, as we called them, and watch them for hours, swimming contentedly in the jar, until we dumped them back into the creek.

Creek behind the house0001

Lowlands behind the house0001

The lowlands, across from the creek were still flooded, and ice was already beginning to form. It was back on these lowlands that we all learned how to skate; not on a flat, pristine ice surface in an arena, but through the weeds, and over the bumps, and up and down the imperfections of a farmer’s field. The fact that our skates were old hand-me-downs was the least of our worries!

Field back the side road0001

We drove up the side road to the laneway and parked the car. As we walked up the lane, the slopes and curves of the land were as familiar to me as if I’d never left, and we made our way to the door and knocked.

Kevin at the Christmas House Tour0001

Christmas House Tour sign0001

Garage - Christmas House Tour0001

Stafford House 20001

Stafford House0001

When the door opened and we stepped inside, the home was beautifully decorated for the season. Wendy’s elaborate table was laid out with her mother’s china and cutlery with festive accents fit for a holiday gathering. The whole house in fact, was lovely and bright, adorned with reds and greens and touches of gold and shimmer. As we walked through the rooms, one by one, they were warm and inviting, and almost made me forget that something was missing – the smell of fresh baked bread, a permanent aroma in our house as Mother baked daily for a family of seven.

There was a lovely display arranged on a table in the den, an album of our Stafford family photos and copies of ‘Lanark County Kid’ and ‘Lanark County Chronicles’. I thought that they looked very much at home in this well cared-for house, so lovingly maintained and obviously cherished.

Perkins' house from window0001

Stafford family photos0001

Sunset from kitchen window0001

Perhaps what made the house seem so much like home, after so many years away, were the familiar faces, friends and neighbours, who came to share the memories, of the things that once were; and to celebrate a new Christmas season, content and happy in each other’s company. Though Wendy’s is the newest face among us, it’s as if she’d been with us all along. Wendy is a gracious hostess, and we all had a wonderful time chatting about the house, and catching up on the news in the neighbourhood.

I walked through the house, room by room, and the memories of the past lurked playfully around every corner.   The house seemed to remember me, and the walls and ceilings surrounded me with love, and kept me warm and safe once again.  It was a special day, and a rare treat to be back home.

………….

Heartfelt thanks to Wendy and to the members of the Canadian Federation of University Women, for making our visit possible, and many thanks also to old friends and neighbours Margery Conboy, Beverly Ferlatte, Betty Miller, Eleanor Paul and her lovely daughter Heather for joining us on our trip down memory lane!

As I continue to bask in the glow of our visit to the old house, I will leave you with this quote from Thomas Wolfe:

“But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth? He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like water, and that one day we come home again.”

……..

 

 

This story –   in memory of Betty Miller  (1934-2015) – “gone, but not forgotten”

betty-miller

……..

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Groundhog Blues in Lanark County

mr-groundhog

January always seemed like the longest month on the calendar. It was still cold and dark when February arrived, and there were so many months ahead before we could ride our bikes to DeWitt’s Corners, or Christie Lake.

Each year, we  waited patiently for Groundhog Day.  Would he see his shadow? Would there be an early spring, or would there be another two months at least of these cold, grey days?

Punxsutawney Phil had predicted the onset of spring since 1890 in Pennsylvania, and his Canadian counterpart Wiarton Willie began his annual forecast in the 1950s. At our house we listened closely to both forecasts, hoping that at least one of these rodents would offer some hope of an early spring.

So, we had two possible groundhog predictions, and two different radio stations. There was CJET in Smiths Falls, and Mother would often tune in and listen to Hal Botham after we’d left for school, while she did her ironing. CFRA was her usual early morning station and we’d often hear Ken ‘General’ Grant shouting, “Forward Ho!” as we ate our puffed wheat, before walking down the lane to wait for the school bus.

I could tell that Mother was also growing weary of the long, cold days of winter and if the ‘General’ didn’t report the prediction she wanted to hear then she’d likely turn the dial to CJET hoping that Hal Botham would have another version of the groundhog’s forecast. If it was cloudy, and the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, we’d have an early spring – just six more weeks of winter. By the first week of February we didn’t want to hear any other forecast. Six more weeks of winter would be enough to bear, without the possibility of the season being any longer!

When I came downstairs for breakfast that Groundhog Day morning so long ago, Mother had already set up the old ironing board and was busy ironing a linen tea-towel. I asked her if she’d heard the groundhog’s prediction yet, and she didn’t look up, but continued to iron. “It’s just a myth, just folklore”, she said, and she folded the tea towel neatly, and started on the next one.

ironing

“So, he saw his shadow?” I asked. “Yes they both did.” she responded somberly, still not looking up from her work, and folded the next tea-towel.

I sat quietly at the old kitchen table, ate my bowl of puffed wheat, drank my orange juice, and took my cod liver oil capsule without even being asked. Six more weeks would have spring starting sometime in the middle of March, but now it would be even longer.

I finished my breakfast, put my dishes in the old porcelain sink, pulled on my boots and coat, grabbed my wool hat, mitts and lunch pail, and headed out the door.

little-girl

As I trudged down the long, snowy lane-way to the Third Line, I felt defeated. It was sad how a couple of groundhogs that we didn’t even know could make Mother and I feel so depressed. I didn’t even understand how they could have seen their shadows that morning, because it wasn’t sunny outside at all. I couldn’t see my own shadow, and that meant that our local groundhogs wouldn’t be able to see theirs either.

school-bus

I didn’t really know where Wiarton was located in Ontario, and didn’t have a clue about Pennsylvania, but I was sure that none of the groundhogs in Lanark County saw their shadows on that cloudy, grey morning in February. Maybe the other groundhogs were wrong! Maybe there would be an early spring after all! Maybe the snow would be gone soon, and I could ride my bike up to Christie Lake again. I had to stay positive. I had to keep hoping. I had to………………

 

 

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

 

 

 

 

(an excerpt from ‘Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line
ISBN 978-0-9877026-3-0)

l-c-calendar

http://www.staffordwilson.com

New Book Coming in February 2013

LCC Cover 001

Following on the heels of “Lanark County Kid”, Stafford-Wilson beckons you back once again to the family farm on the Third Line of Bathurst Township in the 1960s and 1970s. She invites you to come along on her adventures in Perth, Almonte, Smiths Falls, and the Rideau Lakes to name a few. Spend the day with her at the Maberly Fair or come along for an evening in Newboro. Join the cattle drive through Ferguson Falls and stay up all night at the movies in Port Elmsley. Travel back with her to a simpler, more innocent time, observe life through the eyes of a rural kid and relive the days gone by in Eastern Ontario.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Stranded on Christie Lake

Chapter 2 Taffy on the Tay

Chapter 3 Seeing Double in Maberly

Chapter 4 Sweet Sensation in Smiths Falls

Chapter 5 Almonte: Milestones on the Mississippi

Chapter 6 The Cattle Drives of Ferguson Falls

Chapter 7 Rockin’ Night in Newboro

Chapter 8 Dusk ‘Til Dawn in Port Elmsley

Chapter 9 Revelry and Rogues on the Rideau

Chapter 10 Ghosts and Gastronomy in Perth

Late June in Lanark County and the First Cutting of the Hay

Korry's farm

By  late June each year, the hay was tall enough for the first cut of the season. When early summer is upon us, I’m reminded of the sweet, green scents of the fresh cut hay lying in the fields.

boy in hayfield

By this time in June, the delicate pale shades of spring had come into their full summer greens.

old fashioned tractor

The heat bugs, crickets, and bullfrogs sang their songs back in the lowlands, behind the old house.

kids at the creek

The hot sun warmed our bones, and the long, hazy days were rich with humidity.

country flowers

boy moving hay

Days were always busy this time of year, and local farmers hauled their wagons, and chugged up and down the Third Line, like a great hay parade passing by.

holsteins in field

We were often tempted to stop by the local general store for an icy cold bottle of pop, or maybe buy a popsicle and split it with a friend.  Owners, Jim and Helen Cavanagh were always there to greet us with a kind smile, and have a chat about the local news around DeWitt’s Corners.

Cavanaghs store for book

Sometimes it was so hot by late June that even Shep, Cavanagh’s dog, would curl up beside the millstone outside the store, and take a break from the heat.

Shep with the Millstone

The unmistakable fragrance of the newly-cut-hay was all around us.   For anyone who has ever lived in farm country, it’s a fresh, green scent that could be bottled-up as perfume, and called ‘Summer’.

farm tractor

It was always nice at the end of a long, hot day to cool off in the Tay River, at Carl Adams’ swimming hole.

Carl Adams

kids in the water

Just a quick ride on our bikes, and we’d be there in no time at all, jumping in, splashing each other, laughing, cooling off after a long, hot day in the Lanark County sunshine.

old bike 2

Or sometimes, we’d ride our bikes up the Third Line and jump off of Jordan’s bridge, into the cool waters of Christie Lake.

fred and ethel0001_4

Now that summer is officially here, it’s nice to remember the sights, smells and sounds of the farm country, and how the longest days of the year seemed to go on forever……………

country lane

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Photo:  Korry’s farm –  farmed by Andrew, Ethel Korry and  their son George and his wife Merle.
Photo: Cavanagh’s store and their dog Shep – JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com