Algonquin Park Heritage – Capturing Voices From the Past
Welcome to Algonquin Park Heritage, a central repository for books that I have written and photographs that I have been collecting over the last 20 years about the human history of Algonquin Park.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, I first came to Canoe Lake as a 9-month old in the early 1950s spending that first summer sitting in a bushel basket under a giant pine tree watching my parents build our family summer cabin on a newly leased ridge high above the lake. Every nail, shingle, and piece of recycled lumber had been driven up from Toronto, carried across the lake in a small boat and then hauled up the hill following a narrow path cut through the forest. I heard my first telling of the Tom Thomson mystery sitting by a campfire on the lap of one of the locals, Jimmy Stringer, whose older brothers had been around during the time of Thomson's death and had watched the story take on a life of its own ever since.
Inspired in 1996 to learn more about my fellow leaseholders in the Park, I spent four years wandering about the lake, exploring its shores, visiting neighhours, talking to them about their settlement history and collecting their stories, anecdotes and old family photographs. The first results from this effort, was a short story about one resilient woman Gertrude Baskerville, who was known across North America in the 1970’s as the Lady of Algonquin Park. She lived alone for over 35 years on the shores of Tea Lake and earned her living hooking rugs of Tom Thomson paintings and renting out cabins to visitors in the summers.
The level of public interest in her story encouraged me to continue to my efforts in capturing the human voices of Algonquin. So whether you are:
- Interested in the history of Algonquin park leaseholders who are Treasuring Algonquin
- Want a padder's guide to Canoe Lake, which is chock full of historical and current landmark information
- Are curious about the history of Algonquin's Portage Store, or the camp ground at Rock Lake
- Intrigued as to the trials and tribulations of prior generations of Canoe Lake women, captured in Algonquin Voices or
- Fascinated about what it must have been like to canoe trip in the park in 1903
- this is the place to explore. Here you will find lots to interest you about Algonquin Park and the people who have lived here over the last 100 years. Enjoy!