We welcome through the gateway
Old friends tried and true
This history is our effort
To keep in touch with you.
McCormick’s Point keeps changing
There’s always something new
There is also something basic
Its friendship calls to you.
I wish to gratefully acknowledge the splendid co-operation of the present cottage owners as well as the former owners, in supplying stories of their cottages for this book. I would especially like to mention the tremendous contribution Alma Hagan has made with the necessary work in planning and arranging the book as you see it here. Without her help it would have been impossible. The help from Maude Eltherington, my wife Marville, and Percy Hilborn, Tom Hagan and the work Tom West and Roy Brown gave with the drawing and printing of the map, is also very much appreciated. Mr. Gilmour searched through his early records for information about the farm and our property, and Mr. Guthrie was also very helpful in supplying us with all the registration dates for our different properties. We want to thank them, as well as Doug McKenna, for the information he supplied to us from the “Reporter” files, and Don Parks for his contribution of the Parks’ family history in the early eighteen hundreds.
OUR FIRST TRUSTEES ELECTED 1965
J. Cal Blachford
A. D. Cam McLagan M.D.
Don Parks, President
Bob Hiller, Vice President
Cal Blachford, Secretary & Treasurer
PROPERTY COMMITTEE 1965-66
McCormick’s Point Historical Society
At the annual meeting of the Lakeside Park Association, held at the cottage of the president, Mr. Don Parks, on Aug. 16, 1965, Mr. Lewis Hahn was elected chairman of the McCormick’s Point Historical Society. Mr. Hahn called a meeting, hosted by Mr. and Mrs. E. Eltherington, at their cottage, on Wed. Aug. 18, 1965.
Those present were;
Mr. & Mrs. E. Elthrington, Mr. & Mrs. L. Hahn, Mr. F. Freudeman, Mr. & Mrs. T. Hagan.
We tried, in an informal way, to formulate a few constructive ideas about gathering suitable material, and enjoyed reminiscing for a short time. It was decided to ask each cottager to contribute an article of interest that would be valuable material for our booklet.
It was thought that visits to the Registry Office, in Guelph, and to the Township Office in Aberfoyle, would yield data that would be necessary. Persons who had built cottages first could recall some interesting facts. The next meeting was arranged to be held at Mr. & Mrs. Hahn’s cottage, a week later, Aug. 25. Mrs. Elthrington served delicious refreshments.
Meeting at Mr. and Mrs. Hahn’s, Aug. 25, 1965.
At this meeting, we were joined by Mr. Wm. Conduit, who had built the Hahn cottage in 1924. Mr. Doug McKenna provided us with several clippings from the files of the Galt Reporter, which were read. There is very useful material here, and we will include excerpts from these sources, as our story takes form. Mr. Hahn arranged for a meeting with Mr. Gilmour at Aberfoyle, the following Wednesday. Again, our meeting was informal. We tried to chart the progress of Lakeside Park from its organization, roughly, and have some statistics on the following pages. At the end of our meeting, Mrs. Hahn served a light lunch, and we wished Mr. Conduit, “Happy Birthday” - his 77th.
The first cottagers met and held short meetings from time to time. The Lakeside Park Association was formed in 1924.
Lakeside Park Association
List of Presidents
Mr. A. Parks
Mr. A. Forbes
Mr. A. Parks
Mr. E. Elthrington
Mr. R. Dickson
Mr. C. E. Dunker
Mr. F. Hancock
Mr. H. Schultz
Mr. D. Parks
Mr. A. Forbes
Mr. A. M. Kerr
Mr. E. Elthrington
Mr. A. M. Kerr
Mr. F. Freudeman
Mr. C. Blachford
Property bought by Mr. Lyon in 1906.
Survey Oct. 16, 1916.
Municipal Assent June 1918.
Registered July 2, 1918.
Consists of Lots 3 & 4 (Parts of these) Front of Concession I, Plan 380. The area of McCormick’s Point is 13 acres. The lake shoreline is approximately 9 miles. The area of the lake is 640 acres.
Origin of the Name
Originally known as the “Church Lands”, Puslinch Township was named by the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, Sir John Colborne, after Puslinch, his wife’s birthplace in Devon, England. Extensive settlement followed the land surveys made by David Gibson between 1828 and 1832.
Edward Ellis, who had settled in Puslinch in 1839, donated one acre of land to the trustees of the Sterling Congregation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The Ellis Chapel was erected on this sight in 1861 through devoted community effort, and for many years church services and a non-denominational Sunday School were held there. A plaque for “The Settlement of Puslinch” was placed at the church on August 1963, by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Canada.
There was, and still is, the incorrect supposition that the name “Pushlinch” may have been an Indian name, or, perhaps a derivative of that tongue. Then, too, Puslinch seemed to have an Irish ring to it, because of the second syllable. The story, repeated on many occasions, is that one of the wagons became stuck in the mud, and among those heaving-to was a man by the name of Linch (or Lunch). While endeavouring to extricate the wagon, someone called out, Push! Linch, and that, supposedly, was how Puslinch got its name.
Puslinch Notes ------- Doug McKenna.
Jones Sees Lake First
To Augustus Jones, the surveyor, is given the credit of being the first white man to have seen Puslinch Lake. In 1771, he was commissioned to survey the Indian lands and he marked out a straight line from Chief Brant’s house at Brantford to the Speed River, at a point near Glen Christie. As this line passes within a few hundred yards of Puslinch Lake, it would be impossible for him not to see this lovely jewel in the forest. He was accompanied by his wife, an Ojibway Indian woman.
This Augustus Jones is the same man who carried out the first survey in Western Ontario and in whose honour a cairn was recently erected by the Wellington County Historical Society at Utoka on the Guelph-Toronto highway. He was a friend of Joseph Brant. The survey extended from what is now Burlington to Arthur. This line was run in 1734 to ascertain the source of the Grand River. It was afterwards used as a boundary line between the many counties and townships adjacent to it. It now forms the eastern boundary of Puslinch township.
Jones also surveyed the western boundary of Puslinch in 1791, as he was employed to mark the boundary of the Six Nation’s Indian Reserve, extending northward from Lake Erie along the Grand River. The east side of this reserve was surveyed north to a point near what is the Guelph and Puslinch town line, which now forms the west boundary of Puslinch.
Early in the 19th century, several cabins or shanties existed around Puslinch Lake, used by “drifters or foresters” who remained only a year or two. The first actual settlers on Puslinch Lake are believed to be Alexander Lamont and his wife and five children, in 1831.
A hotel and dance hall was built at Puslinch Lake by Alex Parks, who came to the area in 1843, and built a home on the northwest bank of the lake. He also had pleasure boats for rent, and for many years this place and the big island were the main pleasure grounds for people, young and old, of the district.
The land between the two lakes was owned by Thomas Frame who built a hotel at the east end, on the shore of the lake. About 1848, he built a sailboat carrying thirty passengers to and from the island, and in 1880, a steamer that would carry fifty passengers was put into service. Records show that the first owner of the big island in the lake was Father Sanderal, a German priest of the Parish of Guelph. About 1847, he instructed, and furnished money to a monk by the name of John Shoeman, to build a monastery on the island. Father Sanderal, on return from a prolonged pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land, found the building unsuitable for the purpose. The island was sold, and the building fell into ruins.
from the files of the Galt Reporter
Mr. A. McCormick was the owner of the farm, when Mr. Lyon bought McCormick’s Point, back in 1906. The original deed of Lot 3 was from Clergy Lands, bought in 1852, by Mr. Thomas Eskdale. He also purchased Lot 4 in 1856 from the Crown. The land changed hands several times before it was purchased by Mr. McCormick. Among these early owners were Wm. Ashton, Abram Pannabecker, Wm. Robertson, M. C. Lutz, and Benjamin and John Carter, and others.
Mr. A. McCormick and his brother, Ronald, acquired title to the farm on April 7th, 1879. The stone house on the farm was built by Mr. A. McCormick of stone found on the farm. He brought his bride to this house. Neil and Mary were their children,
Mrs. E. Elthrington recalls that our park property was the wheat field of the McCormick farm. Her father, Mr. Wm. Hortop, was the first to register his property in the park (1918). The next year the Jardine, Parks, Forbes, Conway, and Freudeman lots are recorded, followed closely by Ern Elthrington’s.
It is interesting to note that some of these early cottagers had already been familiar with the lake. We have a most interesting history of the Parks family recalling the fact that five generations now have enjoyed Puslinch Lake. Mr. P. R. Hilborn recalls that his father came out duck shooting, as did Mr. George Forbes. Messrs. Kerr, Foster, and Pattinson had camped on the big island, the Hortops also. Mr. E. Elthrington says boys from Hespeler came to swim on the east side of the Point. He recalls being there with them on one occasion.
At first, water and milk had to be brought from the farm. It was not unusual for the farm sheep to visit the Point. They were not above helping themselves to apples or what-have-you that a cottager left unguarded. Cows visited us from time to time, until traffic in the lane increased, and a gate was hung at the park entrance in 1934. The well was drilled in 1919.
In the centre of the field there were unique triplexes, and two or three individual buildings. These little buildings were typical of the times, and very necessary. Each cottager originally had a key to his or her compartment, but these do get lost. I recall a neighbour reporting a serious situation when she was “in residence”. To her extreme discomfort, she found she had company - a big garter snake!
We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. A. Forbes and Mr. E. Elthrington who built the original tennis court. Each paid $125 for the necessary clay. They prepared the court themselves. Ern made a marker out of a large can, and for many years saw to it that the court was properly marked. Mr. Parks improved the tennis court in 1935, and was paid by the association for the sand used.
In 1925 Mr. Parks suggested a fire-alarm. Ever since we have had a circular saw and hammer, hung on a post, centrally located, near the well. This was erected by Messrs. Parks, Kribs, and Jardine. The alarm sounded on one occasion when Mr. Forbes’ car took fire. To add to the din, the horn connection short-circuited. Two young chaps coming across the lake to find out what was wrong, got into difficulties, and had to be rescued by Mr. Parks.
Our first telephones were installed in 1925. At first, the poles carried the line up the lane. Later the company decided to use a cable underground under the middle of the lane. Lightning played havoc with this. Lineman spent hours trying to locate the trouble. Wires strung along the fence for 2 years were stolen. Since this arrangement proved so unsatisfactory, a cable has been brought to us from across the lake, under water.
Hydro at first wanted $500 to build a line in, but very shortly afterward brought it in free when there were enough subscribers.
Alma Hagan vividly remembers the day two Hydro linemen came to connect their cottage to the main line. She said, “I was just coming from the pump with a pail of water when I heard a strange cry ahead of me and the lineman who was up the pole slumped back into his safety-belt, unconscious. The other workman called to me to call a doctor, and also the superintendent in Kitchener. This I did. By the time I came out of the cottage again the second man had brought his friend to the ground using a block and tackle, and was already administering artificial respiration. It was nearly half an hour before Dr. Hutcheson arrived from Hespeler, followed, closely by the superintendent, and Dr. Reist, from Preston. The superintendent brought a relief team for the artificial respiration work. By this time the continuous first aid done by the lineman had caused his wrists to be quite grazed, and sore. At one point, when the man began to breath again, they wondered what the difficulty was, only to discover that he had a chew of tobacco that would choke a horse.”
Shuffle Boards (2) installed in 1942.
Letter Box at Roadway 1948.
Baseball Diamond improved in 1962.
In early days we had:
an Ice Man - Mr. Kreager, Hespeler
Coal Oil Man - Mr. Ekins, Hespeler
Fish Man - Mr. Despond, Galt.
Puslinch Lake Sanctuary. Guelph, Feb. 24, 1943.
Some years ago an Order-in-Council was passed by the government authorizing the establishment of a bird sanctuary at Puslinch Lake. It was proposed to make it illegal to do any shooting on that body of water or on land within a radius of 500 yards of the shore line. The order did not become effective at once, owing to opposition on the part of one or two of the residents, but later was put in force.
One of the opponents of the scheme, which originated with the cottagers at the lake and others interested in the protection of bird life, claimed the right to shoot game birds on his own property in season, and another expressed himself as against any such project, suggesting that in the event local gunners did not get the water-fowl which frequented the lake in migrating season, they would eventually fall prey to the guns of the hunters along Lake Erie later in the season.
But the cottagers did not fall in with this view of the situation, they were unanimously in favour of the establishment there of a sanctuary, not only for water-fowl but for every variety of birds. They believed that, with proper protection, a sanctuary, under the supervision of a game warden maintained by the government, would in time become a valuable contribution to the whole community, and more particularly to the citizens of Guelph, the largest land owners there. They were right. It has made an ideal preserve, and there is every reason that if continued protection is afforded the birds they will, in time, flock there by thousands.
DEATH OF MR. ALEXANDER PARKS
(From a correspondent) Recorded in Park’s Family Bible
It is our painful duty to record the death of another old Puslinch settler. Mr. Alexander Parks, of Puslinch Lake, died last Thursday morning, February 5th, being at the time of his decease nearly 62 years old. He was buried in Hespeler cemetery on Friday afternoon. He was borne to his last resting place, followed by a very large number of his old friends and neighbours. Many of those old neighbours and early settlers as they followed slowly their old friend to the grave, sadly reflected that they should see his face no more, and it reminded them that man’s last resting place was but a short distance before them.
About 400 people followed the body to the grave, and after they had seen it committed to the dust, they went to the Methodist Church in Hespeler, where the Rev. E. Holmes preached a funeral discourse, and endeavoured to cheer his sorrowed hearers by reminding them that their old friend and neighbour, whose body that day they had committed to the grave, had only gone a little before them, and safely reached Heaven first, and entered into that eternal and blissful rest that remains for the people of God.
Mr. Parks was born in the village of Preston, County of Waterloo, in the year 1819. His father, a native of Ireland, emigrated to America at a very early period, and died a few years ago at the age of 99 years, and then, met his death by accidentally falling into a creek. Mr. Parks left Preston when a young boy, and went to live in the township of Beverly, where he continued to reside till about the year 1843. In the fall of 1843, he removed to Puslinch Lake, where he has lived ever since, a period of 37 years. In his young days he followed the business of a carpenter. The writer has often heard him relate many interesting incidents connected with his early pioneer life in the far back woods. Puslinch Lake was then surrounded by almost unbroken forest; with here and there a settler struggling against great difficulties, and endeavouring with uplifted axe and hard continuous toil to obtain the necessities of life, and carve out a home in the wilderness.
In those days the woods were full of game, and the lake with fish. Bears and deer were numerous. The successful hunter was then an important member of society. The early settlers had often to depend on the rifle to supply them with meat. Mr. Parks was then a keen and successful hunter. And he has often, rifle in hand, wandered round the lake, over hills, through valleys, bush and swamp, following after the swift-footed deer till the sharp crack of the rifle proclaimed, ultimately, success. The deer would often, to escape the pursuing hunter take to the lake, and endeavour by swimming to get away from his enemies. But these endeavours were frequently unavailing for the hunter quickly gave chase with boat or canoe, and often overtook him and despatched the deer in the water.
At this period, packs of wolves were often heard in the stillness of the night, howling in dismal chorus on the banks of Puslinch Lake. All these things, then so common, are now unknown, and nearly forgotten. In a few short years, all the old settlers will be gone, all the living actors in the early history of Canada will have disappeared from the scene, and we shall be left with only a traditional knowledge of backwoods life and pioneer’s difficulties and hardships, which our fathers passed through in the early settlement of our country.
Mr. Parks leaves behind him a widow and six children, four of his children being married, and two remaining at home. Mr. Parks was justly respected by all his friends and neighbours for his great kindness of heart, and for his obliging disposition. He was generous almost to a fault, and no one ever applied to him for assistance or help in any shape, in vain. He was a kind indulgent parent, full of social virtues.
It is a matter of great consolation to his family and friends that Mr. Parks was fully prepared for death. He had no doubts respecting his eternal welfare beyond the grave. His confidence was founded on a sure foundation. He has but left us and gone home to Heaven.
DEATH OF MRS. ALEXANDER PARKS, SR.
Another of our oldest and most respected residents passed away to her reward in the person of Mary Ann Eagle, relict of the late Alexander Parks, in her 81st year. The deceased had been quite infirm for a few years, but was always able to be more or less about until some few weeks ago when she was taken seriously ill at the home of her esteemed daughter, Mrs. Wm. Hortop, at whose home she passed away at one o’clock this morning. The late Mrs. Parks was born in the county of Norfolk, England, and came to Canada when she was 11 years of age. Her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Eagle, settled in Beverly, but after a time removed to the head of Puslinch Lake, to the farm now occupied by Mr. Marvin Eagle. She was married to the late Alexander Parks on the 8th of December 1842, by the Rev. Wm. Meldrum. Her esteemed partner in life predeceased her by 27 years. Mr. J. W. Parks is the proud possessor of their marriage license, which is properly considered an heirloom of the family. Printing was out of the question. It was neatly written with pen and ink. They settled on the land now owned by Mr. J. Wayper but we doubt it will ever be called by any other name than the Parks property, so well and favourably known were these estimable people. Many were the reminiscences that the deceased would tell to her
children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was blessed with no less than 40 grandchildren and 20 great-grand-children. They were not considered squatters on the Puslinch Lake property for they paid the price. The actual price paid was a goose and a gander. Mrs. Park’s mother was one of the earliest school teachers in these parts. She taught school in her own home. Mr. Archie McAllister was one of her pupils. She remembered when Galt was so small that it could boast of nothing but a blacksmith shop, hotel and one store. After the grist mill was build at Galt, her husband would take the flour home on his back. Her nearest relatives live in Blenheim Township, and there she would sometimes visit, taking her children on horseback, following the blazed trail through the woods. Great excitement prevailed when the macademized road was being built, from Hamilton to Guelph. The next epoch of the kind was when the railroad was being built through Hespeler. The late A. J. J. Brewster while filling a contract for railway ties, lived at her home. Her father on one occasion was extra late in getting home and had to await moonlight to get home in safety for a pack of wolves were in the neighbourhood. Mother and daughter went in search of the father, and the wolves fortunately passed by them on the side that the wind protected them from being noticed by the ferocious animals. A wild panther was in the vicinity on one occasion. These are some of the thrilling tales that she was able to tell her grandchildren. The deceased was a member of the Methodist Church for upwards of 60 years. That she always inculcated righteous living in her family may be known by the Godly walk of those who are following in her footsteps. Mrs. Alfred Howitt, a much beloved member of the family, predeceased her by some sixteen years. She is survived by the following sons and daughters; Mrs. John Blatchford, Mrs. Hannah Brown, Wm. Parks, J. W. Parks, and Mrs. Wm. Hortop. The deceased had a presentiment that she would die about the anniversary of her late husband. That anniversary would be tomorrow. The funeral will take place on Thursday, Feb. 6th, at 2 p.m. from the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. Wm. Hortop, to the Hespeler cemetery.
Memories of the Lake
by Maude (Hortop) Eltherington
(granddaughter of the late Alexander and Mary Ann Parks)
As a child, how well do I remember the good times we had at the lake when we visited my Grandmother Park’s old home, called the Temperance House, now called Barber’s Beach.
For some years we camped in the orchard and Grandma would sleep in the house owned then by Mr. J. Wayper, as she was afraid of snakes. Many a time our parents would take us for a walk, and find a tamarack tree, where we would get tamarack gum to chew. Sometimes we would dig in the mud in the lake, and get clams in the shell, enough to make clam soup or chowder for supper. For our effort, we had sore legs because blood suckers would get on our legs, and draw blood. Occasionally we found an Indian arrow head.
In later years we camped on the big island. My parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Hortop, with seven children and Grandma Parks, would camp on the island all summer. We had a large tent, with five rooms. Dad would dig a trench around the tent, and put salt in it. The snakes and bugs wouldn’t cross over the salt.
We also took air Jersey cow along with us, but it stayed at Eagle’s Point, and was milked twice a day. My father worked in Forbes’ Mill. He rode a bicycle to Hespeler. Mother would row my father over in the boat. He would milk the cow and go on his way to work. On Mother’s return, the campers would share in the milk.
We also camped on the little island in an old log house that was brought over on the ice. It was the old house of Harry Pearce a pioneer of Puslinch. It had stood for many a year by the little lake. Mr. Barrie, a Galt lawyer, owned the island then. The old house was demolished when P. Harvey (present mayor of Hespeler) bought the island, and built his cottage.
In later years, Mr. Jack Jardine of Hespeler, bought the island near the hotel. He built a two-story house on it. Our family visited him on his island. He was a relative. It was he who took us over to see the lots of McCormick’s Pt. that were for sale. We immediately purchased a lot. Before the summer was over, we lived in the cottage. That was in 1918. How we did enjoy that summer! My father, with the aid of a carpenter, built the cottage in two weeks. We lived in it before it was finished.
We had an old stove top, built on stones, for cooking outside, and carried our drinking water from McCormick’s barn, in a covered pail. What a thrill the first time we drove up McCormick’s lane, just a narrow wagon trail in the field, and saw the cattle and sheep grazing there!
The lake had only two old power boats (Putt Putts) at that time owned by Mr. J. Baker and Mr. Fred Huether of Hespeler. The other boats on the lake then were canoes and row-boats. There were lots of water-lilies with which we decorated our canoes. At night, you could hear the old bull frogs croaking, and in the daytime, it was wise to watch your step for snakes, so many black snakes near the water, and garter snakes in the grass.
The Hortop cottage was sold to Mrs. E. Cooper of Hamilton. She occupied it until about eight years ago, when Mr. and Mrs. A. Bendus and son, Gary, of Kitchener, bought the property.
The land east of McCormick’s Point was owned by another pioneer of Puslinch, Sandy Wilkinson. An old log house stood there. My father, Mr. Wm. Hortop, bought this property. He cleared away the rushes and trees near the waterfront in the winter, and planted spruce trees on the hillside.
Mr. Hortop lent this house to a group of about thirty Boy Scouts from Toronto (at the request of the Anglican minister in Hespeler). They completely wrecked it. Then it was pulled down, and my father hoped to build a cottage but he passed away before it was started. My mother sold this property to Mr. Rhodes, the present owner.
OUR FIRST HOME
by Maude (Hortop) Eltherington
(granddaughter of the late Alexander and Mary Ann Parks)
Ern Elthrington built his cottage in 1919, and finished the interior in 1920. He built the cottage with his own two hands. In the winter, he would walk to the lake from Hespeler, with hammer and saw under his arm. This was our first home after Ern and I were married.
We had to do things the hard way; no electricity, burned coal oil lamps, cooked on an oil stove, and had an ice-box. We had a lovely old hanging lamp in our living-room. The lamps had to be cleaned each day.
Ern was a very handy man, on call at any time to people on the Point. One of the Blachford girls called him “Mr. Fixit”.
I must give credit to Mr. Freudeman and Ern for keeping Lakeside Park at such a high standard, also to Tom Hagan for acting as policeman and bouncer.
The Children of Lakeside Park
by Maude (Hortop) Eltherington
(granddaughter of the late Alexander and Mary Ann Parks)
How well do I remember two young girls visiting the Hortop cottage, Ruth Parks and Isabel Zryd, wearing white middies, and dark skirts. In those days, they were fully clothed.
Some of the families have had three generations at the lake. I remember the Parks children, Forbes twins, Kerr girls, Mary Cooper, the Freudemans and the Conway Driever and Dickson girls, Conduit and Derbyshire Boys. Then, we had Douglas Loblaw from a little fellow sitting on our porch in his three-cornered pants, just able to walk. He has been at our cottage most every summer since.
I must tell you about Margaret Dryden and Douglas Loblaw. They were at our cottage as usual this day, and took delight in locking the screen door whenever we went outside, This day I was in a hurry, and they locked me out. No coaxing or scolding would work. So, I said “I am going over to see your mother about this.” On the way over, our neighbour, Mrs. Cooper, had a big bear skin rug with a fierce head, hanging on the clothesline. I put it on over my head, crawled to the door, and pawed at the screen. That did the trick! Two very frightened children! After a long time Margaret called out, “I am under Uncle Ern’s bed.” Douglas had disappeared. Needless to say I was never locked out again.
Margaret Dryden’s father, after she told him about the bear skin said, “0h Auntie Maude! I would love to have seen you in your bear skin”. When McCormicks were working in the fields, the children would love to go and watch. They could hear the hired man yelling at the horses, using words unfit for children to hear. Sometimes they could see Mary McCormick raking the hay with a one-horse rake. This the children loved to watch or to go to the barn, and see the animals, especially the “village bridegroom”, Mrs. McCormick’s name for the bull.
Many happy memories we have had of McCormick’s Point and some, very sad, one especially so when little Timmy Templin was drowned, (1957). The same year, Herman Bell, the hired man at Mary McCormick’s, met the same fate.
Time marches on, and as the sun sets in the west with all its beauty over the lake,
The clock of time is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop,
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own;
Live, love, toil with a will
Take no thought for tomorrow,
For the clock may then be still.
by author unknown.
HOW WE FOUND OUR LOT & BUILT OUR COTTAGE
AT MCCORMICK’S POINT
by Doris and Alex McGhee
Some ten years ago, we were given the necessary directions on how to locate the McCormick Farm, then, to follow along the roadway between the house and barn and continue on back through the farm until we came to the tree line, turn left and soon again, right and continue on to the entrance of Lakeside Park, enter the park, and turn sharply to the right. There, on a vacant lot, in the shade of the maples, was the ideal place to leave the car. Following a pathway, through and under some very thick and low hanging cedars, and down a steep bank, we came out upon a very unsteady and protesting dock, which lay beside a rather large but very old and very weather-beaten boat house. There, from the creaking and groaning dock we signalled to my brother-in-law, who was watching for us from his island in the lake. He saw us quickly, and minutes later we were bundling into his boat - baskets, cameras, binoculars, bathing suits, etcetera. Very soon, the boat was backing out and turning, and we were enjoying a brisk and refreshing ride to the island.
A very pleasant day in the fresh air and sunshine passed all too quickly and we were soon again on our way back to the city, but not before we found that Mrs. Helen McCormick, of Galt, owned the vacant lot where we had left our car. We were impressed and delighted with its location, so near to home and yet so far away, in terms of clear, fresh air and quietness. The thought of this pleasant spot lay uppermost in our minds, through the week that followed. We asked ourselves all sorts of questions, but realized that Mrs. McCormick was the only one who could answer them. So on the next weekend we called around to see her. We told her of our happy outing of the previous week, and asked if she would be interested in selling her lot to us? She said “No, not at the present time, as I have two boys who might be interested in the property later on.” However, she said, that should she ever decide to sell the lot she would definitely give us the first chance to buy it. We thanked her kindly for seeing us, and with our spirits at a rather low ebb, we drove back around to see the lot again and it looked even better to us the second time, then on back home to the city to wait.
Each spring, for the next four years we gave her a call and asked her the same question, and always her answer was the same, “No, not yet, but I am keeping you in mind.” Then, spring of the fifth year arrived, and one very pleasant evening in early May, we called again. This time, we were both delighted and amazed when she said, “You may find this hard to believe, but at this very moment, I was looking for your telephone number to call and tell you, that only this afternoon I finally made up my mind to sell the lot.” Her two boys had been home over the weekend and they said, “Mother, there is no point in holding that lot at the lake for us, for we are definitely not going to want it.” And so her decision to sell was quickly made.
We bought lot #1 at McCormick’s Point, from Mrs. Helen E. McCormick, Galt, Ontario, in May 1961. We proceeded to measure the ground that was actually level enough to build on, for the lot dropped away steeply to south and to the east, and found that a cottage 20 feet by 30 feet was all that we could build at the present time. We found the cottage at Halliday’s, asked for delivery to the lake, let out the contracts for the foundation, carpenter work, plumbing and electric wiring, and by the middle of July 1961, we were ready to move and get busy with the painting and tiling. Before the snow came, we had the original sunroom in the north-east corner, closed in with aluminum screens and storms. The very old and very weather-beaten boat house was torn down, and summer was gone.
Spring of 1962 saw the partition between the sunroom and the main part of the cottage removed, the two windows in the south-east corner were lowered ten inches, so that we could look out over the lake while sitting at our corner table. The sunroom had to be tiled, and some inside painting was still to be done, and this, along with the planting of a few cedars, the making of a couple of flower beds, and a trip to Ottawa, seemed to round out a second summer that had come and gone.
During the summer of 1963, we had the stone walls and the stone steps built, along the lake front, and filled in behind the walls and back over the lot with over a hundred loads of earth, to level up the ground as best we could. This work was left unfinished over the winter to see what the frost and runoff in the spring would do to the fresh earth.
1964 saw us prepare and build our black-top driveway. We also had to add a few more loads of fill-in to level up some places where the loose earth had settled in the spring. A few loads of top soil and we were ready for the sodding. This completed, we started in to build an l8 feet by 20 feet addition to the cottage, which seemed to stretch out most of the summer. Last thing we did in the fall was build a small tool shed on the northeast corner of the lot. This about rounds out our activity at the cottage, with the exception of adding a pump and hose system to provide the necessary water for the hedge and lawn.
Two other projects which may face us in the future, are, the installation of electric heating for the cottage, a new dock and possibly, a small boathouse. But this is for the future, and in the meantime, we may just relax and enjoy a little more leisure in the sunshine and fresh air.
THE SIFTON-DUNKER COTTAGE
In July 1946, the Dunker Family set out for a picnic at Barber’s Beach and visited with friends. In conversation, “a cottage for sale at McCormick’s Point”, was mentioned. We had never heard of this place, and leaving our picnic ground, decided to “go around the lake area to look for McCormick's Point”. We travelled, we inquired, got lost and finally
ran onto the lane past McCormick’s Farm to find we were on “Private Property - No Trespassing”. Three men were chatting just at the roadside, so to be polite, we stopped and for lack of better conversation, inquired if there was a cottage for sale. One man answered, “That’s my cottage, would you like to look at it?” Oh! Well! Yes! So, in short, began our 15 years of a most enjoyable summer home.
In 1948, we remodelled our cottage and landscaped a bit. On the cement step we imprinted our cottage name CAR-MA-BIL-GEN for Carl, Mary, Bill and Gen. In 1952, we built the boathouse with an apartment above. This was especially for Mr. & Mrs. A. Koehler, parents of Gen Dunker, who visited with us from the U.S. for the summer months.
The residents around the point worked and planned together as one happy family, and every community effort was such fun. The annual picnic was held in the Park. Organized Shuffleboard Tournaments lasted for 2 or 3 weekends, until we “crowned” a champion. Mr. Wm. Mitchell was O. C. Shuffleboard. Water skiing, we like to think originated on Puslinch Lake at McCormick’s Point docks. Carl Dunker, Jack Moffat (father and boat-driver), boy and girl teenagers from all around the lake, and all their friends seemed to want to learn to water-ski, with all the rules and regulations plus artistic acts and stunts. A very enthusiastic audience and sunny weekends happily combined to make a very tired family.
Many evenings, right after dinner, Mr. & Mrs. Allan Kerr paddled around the Point in their canoe, with a friendly wave, greeting for a short chat with a friend or neighbour.
There were organized community work parties, grass cutting up and down the lane, clean-up in parks, paint party for tennis courts and shuffleboard. There were large beehives in the eaves of cottages that needed attention and were attacked by John Morrison. Dressed in suitable protective clothing, with gasoline soaked rags ignited on a long handled stick, burned and knocked down the hive, but sent all the rest of the rescue party running for shelter. Later on, John Morrison trapped a skunk and to finish it, he took it, in trap, via boat to the middle of the lake. When the trap hit the water, the door sprung open and the skunk just swam quickly and quietly back to Morrison’s boathouse. Oh! Oh! John finally had to shoot the little dear in self-defence.
Each year in August, at the Annual Meeting of the Lakeside Park Association, great and numerous business transactions took place under the shade of the large maple trees. In 1957-58, the Lakeside Park Association tried to purchase the laneway to the main road, the bush east of the lane, also the house and farm from Mary McCormick’s estate, administered by Mr. Norman Hancock, Galt. The purchase price was $5,000 and negotiations failed.
On the Point, with 19 cottages, there were owners, parents, children and grandchildren. In all we numbered about 40 adults, and 50 children from babes-in-arms to college students. We had so many good times, a great many laughs, a few sad incidents, but to those years, from 1946-1961, we, the Dunkers, CAR-MA-BIL-GEN look back so often, and we reminisce and think that they were “the Best Years of Our Lives”.
Note: The original cottage was built by Dr. Sifton of Galt.
The Sifton – Dunker - Wilson Cottage
by Alf and Gladys
My first fond memories of Puslinch Lake go back to Hespeler, at the end of the First World War, where I attended Public School.
It was just a nice Saturday hike with or without bicycles to the old hotel, with a lunch pack and fishing poles. We explored the north side of the lake. The lake as I recall abounded with water-fowl and other game. Very little water could be seen due to the reeds and rushes which were as tall as ourselves.
As the years went by development of a resort area by Mr. Ross Barber took place. Bill Butler’s sea fleas and other motor boats took over and the surface weeds gradually disappeared. Fisher’s Mill closed down and the auxiliary creek that used to supply the mill when water was low from Puslinch Lake was dammed up and helped conserve the water levels.
I had always been attracted to the south side of the lake and the islands due to high hills and timbered country, so much different than the low swampy north side, and often spoke to my old friend Fred Freudeman regarding a place on the Point should any become available.
One day in 1960, I met Fred, smiling, on the way to the bank, and he told me I could call Carl Dunker who was considering selling, as their family had grown up and were not using it as extensively as before. I did so and Mr. Dunker and myself were able to make a deal. Since then we have had many happy times, enjoyed making new friends, and keeping and meeting many old ones. I look forward to many more, God willing.
The Mitchell - Gowing Cottage
by the Gowing family
The history of the Gowing cottage will not be listed with “Old Timers”, nor yet with the “New Comers”, as we purchased the cottage occupying lots #4 and #5, on McCormick’s Point, on July 27th, 1953. We bought the cottage from Mr. Wm. Mitchell, (a button manufacturer from Kitchener) who in turn had purchased the lots from Mr. E. Eltherington, who was responsible for erecting this cottage. We understand that Mr. Mitchell enjoyed the cottage much, and spent many happy summers here. He related to us stories of happy times spent on the shuffleboard, with many of the original cottagers, such as Mr. Parks, Mr. Eltherington, etcetera.
Our Parents often spoke of happy occasions that they had enjoyed at Puslinch Lake, in their youthful days. Dad did considerable sailing, and often spoke of tenting on the island, and also of skating right around the lake during the winter. We also used to enjoy Puslinch Lake and one particular incident comes to mind, when we were canoeing, and looked in at this very cottage, and thought how nice it would be to go in and roam around the pleasant grounds. One hot July evening in 1953 while having a family picnic at Butler’s Resort, we heard that several cottages were for sale at McCormick’s Point. Our curiosity would not be satisfied until we had visited the point, and looked over the various sites.
To our amazement, the Mitchell cottage was for sale! Interest was quite high, and after a short time of negotiating, we found ourselves to be the owners of the Mitchell cottage.
After purchasing the cottage, we wondered if we had done the wise thing, as our son Robbie was 1½ years old at that time. The deep water at the end of the dock gave some concern at first, but needless to say, we have spent many happy hours at the lake, without accident.
To us, the Point has much to offer, and we find that this relaxing rendezvous provides many things equally as beautiful and attractive as the northern country. We enjoy family picnics, with all the water sports, and have had friends from every corner of the compass visit us at McCormick’s Point.
“Topper’s Hideaway” and “Schultz Ain’t Inn” are two affectionate names that have been attached to the summer abode of Ruth and Harold Schultz. But on the regional plan it is known simply as “Lot 6”, 50 feet of land bordering on a swale known as Puslinch Lake.
According to some reports, land rights extend 30 feet into the lake, although none of the owners have seen fit to erect any kind of barrier to prohibit seagulls, or boats from approaching the hallowed ground.
The property has passed through several hands since the time that it formed an insignificant portion of Alexander M. McCormick’s Farm. Following are the names of those who place some value on the ownership of “Lot 6”:
1906 - James W. Lyon.
1921 - Norman 0. Hipel - Preston industrialist, and Speaker of the Provincial House during the Mitchell Hepburn Liberal regime.
1923- Lillian Lewis
1925 - Nora M. Smith
1925 Annie M. Limpert
1926 - Wm. A. Smith
1931 Mary E. Cooper
1938 - Isabel Lochead Burr Loblaw, wife of Alex Loblaw, and eldest daughter of Alex Parks.
1953 -Harold Schultz, Preston pharmacist, & his wife Ruth (2nd daughter of Alex Parks).
Norman Hipel placed a garage on the property in 1922, and used it as a one-roomed cottage. In 1923, Mr. Rock, father of Lillian Lewis, expanded the structure. One of the interesting facts gleaned from old deeds was a restriction on lot 6, in effect from 1921-1938. It stated that any house erected thereon must have a value of at least $400. A boathouse and deck erected by the Schultz family in 1954 completed the present set-up.
HORTOP - COOPER - BENDUS COTTAGE
By Mr. A. Bendus
My father helped the Misses Pattinson take care of their cottage for many years. On many occasions, I accompanied him and became very fond of McCormick’s Point, and when we learned that Mrs. Cooper’s cottage was for sale, we bought it; this was nine years ago.
At that time, our son Gary was just a toddler. He and his dog Penny were great pals, and all through these years he has just loved being at the point. It has meant a great deal for him.
This is the original Hortop Cottage, sold to Mrs. E. Cooper of Hamilton when Maud and Ern Elthrington were married in 1929.
On one occasion our boat house became loose from the shore and Ern called me and helped bring it back, where we repaired it and rebuilt the dock. We have made a few minor changes to the inside of the cottage. Mary and I, with our son, spend all of our summer holidays here, as well as the weekends from early spring to late fall. We think it is the nicest place there is.
by Darby (Abigail Derbyshire) Conway
The Conway family of Hespeler, Ontario, was one of the first to buy land (1918), and build a cottage (1919) on Puslinch Lake at McCormick’s Point.
How the lots were surveyed I do not know, but our lot ran off to the right at a great angle, with the result that the Jardine family, on our left, built their boathouse right under our noses. Many the time that I have cussed him for this, lifting my eyes Heavenward saying, “I hope he hears me”. John Dumas and Mary Jane Conway had three children; Harry Roberts, Fred Dumas, and Bessie Doreen. They all had a great sense of humour. Grandpa Jack (as his grandchildren called him) would swim on his back, wearing a straw sailor hat, playing the flute. He could also play the mouth organ and the piano at the same time. During his life in Hespeler he taught school, ran a novelty store, and was ticket agent for the railway. He also sang in, and conducted the Methodist Church Choir. Mother Conway was a warm, friendly person, loved by all who knew her. She enjoyed reading, writing letters, and having friendly chats over cups of tea.
Harry and Fred both served in the First World War. The cottage was built when they came home. Harry became a dentist, and Fred, a mechanic. They both found wives and settled in Toronto. Fred married Mary Groh, a school teacher from Hespeler, and Harry hitched onto me, Abigail Derbyshire, of Westport, Ontario.
Bessie was a sweet person who had her A.T.C.M. from the Toronto Conservatory of Music. She did teach music, and later became Harry’s Dental Nurse. With such a musical background, it was amusing to find at the cottage, an organ in one bedroom, a bass fiddle in the other, a piano in the living-room, and a violin, piccolo, flute, and clarinet in the closet. The first time I met Harry was at Winchester School in Toronto. He was the school dentist, and I a nurse-in-training at Wellesley Hospital. He was scolding a child while trying to work on him, and I said, “You big bully! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
We had three fine daughters, Ruth, Jane and Patricia. We had great times coming to Puslinch Lake for holidays. Our first car didn’t have a trunk so our bedding went on the back seat, our luggage on the running board, and our food under our feet. With three children and our large Springer spaniel occupying most of the back seat, and sometimes a friend, we were well loaded. If it rained, the roof leaked. When it was repaired our eldest daughter said, “Oh heck! It was more fun when the roof leaked.”
Sometimes we would have enough people in our own cottage to have a tennis tournament.
The years passed, our girls got married, and we were blessed with twelve grandchildren which include four sets of twins. Ruth had twin girls and two boys. Jane had two girls, and a boy and a girl twins; and Pat has twin girls, and a boy and a girl twin.
We had hoped for a son to carry on the family name. However, Ruth called her last boy Robert Conway Daniel.
by Fred Dumas Conway
Castle Conway was erected in the summer of 1919, on lot #9, McCormick’s Point.
The material was ordered from Schultz Bros., Brantford. One young man came from Brantford, and managed the erection. The material came in two trucks, with all the needed supplies including nails and roofing. All the walls, flooring, and roof lumber came in sections three feet wide. I well remember the season, as my brother and I returned from overseas service that fall.
The walnut trees all grew from nuts that we planted, gathered at our Adam and Galt St. home in Hespeler. The red cedar was brought from Westport in 1923, when Harry and Darby were married.
In 1938, Mr. and Mrs. John Dumas Conway, parents of Harry, Fred and Bessie, had their Golden Wedding Anniversary at the cottage.
There have been four generations of our family under the Castle Conway roof.
My sister, Bessie, loved to walk down the lane in the evening with her friends, usually checking the mail-box. Often Maud joined her. A number of her friends were talented musicians and often they had an evening of music when they returned to the cottage.
There was a regular visitor, always welcomed at the cottage, Rover, a handsome collie dog from the Frosh farm on the 1st Concession of Puslinch. Rover would come over each night after his duties on the farm were done, and stay in the cedars by the lake till morning light. He was much loved by all, and am sure he loved us.
Time has wrought changes, but memories remain fresh.
by Alma Hagan
My father bought a cedar row boat. My brother bought a canoe. We enjoyed both. I look back rather aghast at the fact that we paddled all over the lake and I, for one, have never been able to swim more than ten feet. The lake was quiet then. In the evening, the sunsets called us out onto the water, followed sometimes by the path of the moon, which we would try to travel. On many quiet evenings I have heard the whippoorwill call away over in the east. The kingfisher made a final slap into the water for his fish. The wood thrushes seemed to whistle down a long metal pipe, and the frogs croaked.
A large blue heron many times graced the morning scene down beside the dock, standing immobile until he spotted his breakfast, then making a lightning stab for it.
We have always been interested in our bird population. Personally, I have identified forty varieties. On three occasions this season (1965), Tom and I have caught the flash of an indigo bunting in the lane. We have seen a bluebird there very rarely. This November we saw a pileated woodpecker.
The hummingbirds visit regularly. Some years ago a pair built their nest on a tree branch at Elthringtons’. What a tiny thimble it was! For many years wrens lived in the little bird house that Ern built for them in the gable of his garage.
It was about 1936 that a migration of thousands of birds rested on Puslinch Lake. People came from quite some distance to see them. There were thousands of Canada Geese, wild swans & ducks. I have forgotten the explanation for this unusual visitation but if my memory serves me right there had been some freakish weather that froze their usual resting place. They remained on the lake for a few days.
In 1946, another unusually large flock of migrating birds, mostly Canada Geese, settled on the lake. Mr. Meadows, of the Department of Lands & Forests says the reason for this stop-over was fog. Fog can prevent the flight of birds. A few years ago, he reports that Canada Geese landed in open field near Woodstock for this reason. Before authorities were able to patrol the fields to defend the birds, a number of trigger-happy hunters bagged quite a few of these wonderful game birds.
About 1927, Mr. A. Forbes raised wild ducks and pheasants. Mr. Wilson tried his luck with wild ducks a few years ago.
The Jardine - McKenna Cottage
by Doug & Rose McKenna
“Write me a story, I don’t want just statistics.”
“What’s the matter with you ... I expected more than that, particularly since you are a newspaperman.”
No editor has ever rejected one of my submissions as swiftly or as emphatically in 36 years of journalism as Lewis Hahn, the Association historian.
He barely glanced at the statistical facts on our cottage, compiled for posterity at his request, when it was back in my possession.
How do you write a story about a cottage which, while constructed in 1918, has only accommodated three families in the intervening years? The history of the cottage has been a happy one, faithfully serving the purpose for which it was conceived and brought to fruition.
No tragedies are associated with it ... there are no ghosts of yesteryear to haunt its stained, shellacked and varnished rafters .., no deeds of daring to record,...just a cottage, reflecting the pleasure and contentment of the people who occupy it.
How then does one write a story that is not just statistical data or a recitation of facts?
If, for example, Lief Erickson or some other equally renowned explorer had “found” McCormick’s Point, raising his colours to claim possession, it would not have been difficult to either factually report or mentally conjure up visions of primitive conditions which originally existed.
Such was not the case, however, as actually it was in 1918 that Jeame Jardine, a Hespeler manufacturer, initiated the construction of the cottage which he completed the following year. The only problem experienced was that of securing building materials due to a shortage created by the war.
The field stone exterior chimney for the “comfy” indoor fireplace is perhaps the only concession to the early era in workmanship.
If a family of meagre means had, of necessity, been obliged to employ the cottage for year round habitation back in the early days for themselves and children, a pathetic theme could have been played upon the heartstrings in recapitulation.
Privations of being obliged to fight their way through snowdrifts in the winter to make their way to and from the cottage, of trapping rabbits, shooting deer, fishing through the ice in sub-zero weather for food, huddling by the fireplace in frigid temperature for warmth as icy winds pounded on the unlined building, while wolves outside sought to outhowl the wind, could have easily been written.
But such was not the case.
In 1946, John Jardine, a nephew of the original owner, acquired the property and retained it until September 1959, when it was purchased by the present owners, Rose and Doug McKenna of Preston.
If a “lookout” were required on the lake, then the location of this particular property would be well suited to the purpose as a panoramic view is available to the lake in all directions.
Originally the cottage bore the name “The Shieling”, a distinctly Scottish name, meaning “The Shelter”, which has also been interpreted by some to mean “the wee house”. The original sign is being refurbished and will continue to identify the cottage.
Post note to “History Hahn”:
Whether you like it, or not, the facts are contained herein, and the remainder is merely superfluous verbiage.
THE ALEX FORBES STORY OF THE POINT
We really had very good times at McCormick’s Point. I have many happy memories of that place, and even now, at least twice a year, I dream that I am back in my own bed in the same bedroom that I always used when I was at the point.
The first people to camp at the point were the Andy Newland family of Galt (Harold’s father). I understand that he would give Mr. McCormick a few dollars and he would let them camp there for the summer. He was a great hunter and interested in wildlife.
In the early days, the point was farmed by Sandy McCormick and his son Neil. Before the turn of the century they did most of their harvesting of grain with a cradle by hand. There were very good crops grown on the property. Mrs. McCormick, Sandy’s wife, was quite a serious little lady, quite religious, and was the mother of Mary McCormick whom we knew and who lived on the farm in recent years, until her death a year ago. Mrs. McCormick enjoyed talking, and on the numerous occasions when I went to the farm house for milk, eggs and butter, it was difficult for me to get away. She had many interesting expressions. One she used a great deal, especially after a rain, was that it was “Growthy” weather.
I was always very interested in hunting and fishing, and McCormick’s Point was a good place for ducks, rabbits and foxes, and to fish. Strange as it may seem, there were no deer in the area at that time. There were always large mouth black bass in the lake, and in 1920, H. Jardine and Alex Parks and I planted 200,000 pickerel in the lake. We had a very good friend by the name of Lincoln Goldie, who at the time was provincial treasurer, and through his influence we were able to get a large quantity of small mouth bass for the lake from the Bay of Quinte Hatchery. Josh Wayper was an excellent duck hunter. He owned a hotel in Hespeler and also had a house at the lake. At that time, you could drive across from the mainland to the big island. He made a special boat that was used for duck hunting, and it was covered with reeds, and he had a suit and hat which was also covered with greens which would help to camouflage him. He filled his own 10 gauge shells, and was a champion wing shot in both England and Canada, and in one contest killed 199 live pigeons out of 200. The Humane Society later stopped that form of sport. The only place now that they shoot live pigeons is Monte Carlo. He also won the Governor General’s prize in rifle target shooting.
In the early days, there was a great deal of duck shooting by hunters from all over Western Ontario. As the number of hunters grew, they became careless and very reckless, and we tried to establish a “Game Preserve”, but the surrounding farmers and land owners were not particularly interested because they thought they would not be able to shoot on their own land. However, a lawyer, Harry Howitt, K.C. of Guelph, John Jardine and myself, circulated a petition, and were able to get 80% of the land owners to sign, and we were able to get the area designated as a “Game Preserve”, which still exists. No one is allowed to shoot animals five hundred feet from the water’s edge around the lake. Land owners are allowed to kill predators. During the hunting season they had great difficulty with people breaking into the cottages to get warm and they would also steal blankets and equipment.
There were seven hotels around Puslinch Lake. All of them sold liquor except one which was called the “Parks Temperance House”. This would be the grandfather of Don Parks and Ruth Schultz.
We bought our property in 1918, and along with Alex Parks we planted a lot of the pine and hardwood trees that have now grown up around the lake.
The original planning and developing was undertaken by J. W. Lyon, a very prominent citizen of Guelph. He became interested in the property at the time that they were considering running an electric railway from Toronto through this area. He purchased the land from Mr. McCormick. Mr. McCormick was apparently a very rough looking character, but co-operative and obliging. There was one stipulation in connection with the purchase of land, that if the right of way to McCormick’s Point in any way interfered with the animals or the operating of the farm, he reserved the right to transfer the right of way to some other part of the farm. We built our cottage in the year 1919, the same time that J. Jardine and Alex Parks built theirs. I drove back and forth to work in a Stutts car, and one evening while I was at the point, during or after an electrical storm, my car started to burn. It seems that the sides of the automobile were made from a type of gauze or fabric. During the fire a short much have developed and the horn started blowing, attracting people from all over the neighbourhood. People from across the lake heard the noise and started to swim over, and got into trouble in the water, and Mr. Parks had to go out in a boat to bring them in. We sounded an alarm which was to hammer on an old large circular saw, which I understand is still hanging in the tree to be used as a gong in case of an emergency. I understand that it has only been used a few times, when grass fires would get out of control.
During “Galt Old Boys Reunion”, Jim Gardiner of Galt built a frame house as part of his float, and after the reunion was over I purchased this for my then very young twin daughters as a play-house. This was later to become known as the “Doll House”.
There was always a lot of real good fun at the point, but the most of it was over weekends. There would always be a lot of guests coming and going at all times. Many times the Saturday night parties would still be going when the sun was coming up. We would then open the doors, move out the furniture and clean out the cottages and get ready for our Sunday afternoon picnics with our families.
My father never slept at the cottage but would come out occasionally to see what we were doing. At that time, Butlers across the lake were having named bands play in their dance hall, and I recall, one Saturday evening, a group of us were dancing there when the famous Luigi Romanellie’s dance orchestra from the King Edward Hotel at Toronto, under the direction of his brother, Leo, was playing. After the dance we invited the orchestra over to our cottage and Mr. Butler, who then had a boat that held about thirty, brought the orchestra over, and the bus that brought them up came around to the point by the road, and the orchestra played and we danced all night, and when the orchestra left by bus in the morning for Toronto, the sun was coming up.
Through the able help of Ernie Eltherington and others we built our tennis court, which we all enjoyed very much, and which I am sure you are still enjoying. We enjoyed our stay at McCormick’s Point, and would probably still be there but I became so fond of hunting and fishing that I went up into Northern Ontario, where there was lots of good fishing and hunting, and built a hunting lodge where my wife and I now spend most of our summers, and since I had no further use for our cottage at McCormick’s Point, we sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Jack Morrison.
Before closing, I would like to tell a very amusing story. At that time we used to catch some rather large catfish off the point dock, and for some reason or other, I had some balloons in my pocket, and on this particular evening I blew up one of these balloons, tied it to a string, and put it through the fish’s gills. We put the fish back into the water and it swam away. Just at that time, Bessie Conway was going by in a canoe and she tried to get the balloon, and each time she would grab for the balloon, it would move away, and she never was able to figure out why she couldn’t catch it.
The Forbes - Morrison Cottage
by Therese Morrison
After selling our cottage at Leith, near Owen Sound, Ontario in the spring of 1945, we purchased a cottage at McCormick’s Point, Puslinch, from Mr. G. Alex Forbes. It was a delightful place, and could be lived in from April until November, having a small wood or coal furnace, and an excellent fireplace.
We had three daughters married while at the Point; Frances in June 1948 to Bernal A. Jones of Kitchener, Joyce in June 1949 to Dr. Frederick L. Clement of Toledo, Ohio, and Elizabeth in June 1951, to Peter D. Templin of Fergus.
My husband J. B. Morrison suffered a fatal heart attack at the cottage in October 1948, and died two weeks later on October 31, after having been moved by ambulance to our home in Fergus.
A tragedy occurred at the Point on July 23, 1955 that saddened the whole community. My Little grandson, Timothy Templin, 3 years of age, was visiting me while his mother had been in hospital. While playing with some of his little pals three cottages away he fell into the water and was drowned.
The community narrowly escaped being wiped out by fire in the summer of 1953. Most of the cottages had an incinerator placed in the park across the road, and hidden by a line of walnut trees. Some live coals fell out of one of these incinerators into the dry grass, and fire soon spread. We were able to round up a sizable brigade armed with brooms and buckets, and a garden hose attached to an outside water tap. The community well helped to save the day, too. The fire was brought under control before it reached a small plantation of spruce and pine trees.
John, our only son loved all the activities of the lake, fishing, canoeing, tennis and swimming. He served in the 2nd world war with the R.C.A.F.
Sometimes when piloting a light plane after the war, he would fly over Puslinch. When we knew he was flying, we would watch for him.
Our son was married, just before we bought the cottage, to Shirley Mason of Kitchener.
We usually ended the season at the Point with a pot luck supper, held at one of the cottages with a good-sized lawn. The last one was set up on the shuffleboard courts. After the tables were all set with gorgeous food, a thunderstorm chased us into our cottage. The power went off so we ate by candle light. We managed beautifully and had fun.
FORBES - MORRISON - DIETRICH COTTAGE
The Dietrich family bought their cottage from Mrs. Morrison in 1957, the same year the Bendus and Blachford families became residents on McCormick’s Point. This roomy cottage is occupied by three generations of Dietrichs; Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich Sr., and their sons, Nick and Joe with their wives and children.
Mrs. Joe Dietrich says she loves the life at the lake and her husband, whose business responsibilities make it necessary for him to be occupied in Waterloo for long hours, finds the short ride to the country a pleasant break.
The Dietrichs, all of them, are keenly interested in water sports. Mr. Nick Dietrich and Mr. Bob Gowing soon mastered the art of water skiing, setting an enviable example for the children, and have been actively interested in the “Puslinch Lake Water Ski Club”.
As Mrs. Dietrich and I chatted on the comfortable lawn chairs in front of their cottage, the colourful red, white and blue water kite rose from the surface of the lake, manoeuvred by Gordon Armstrong, who is engaged to marry Carol Dietrich. At the present time, Carol holds the Ladies Open Championship for Ontario for the Slalom skiis. All the children participate in the Ski Shows.
The Dietrich family have a lot of gatherings at their cottage. Last October, a large stag party was held for the groom, just before the Johnson-Dietrich wedding, about forty guests attending. The young people also enjoy the tennis courts very much. They enjoy a happy family life at the cottage.
Unbelievable as it may seem now, McCormick’s Point was indeed nothing more than a name to us until our visit one July night of 1962 with the Browns at their cottage. In particular, we remember our inability to leave the patio and our first “Point” sunset to join the others inside. Fate reappeared a week later when the name “McCormick’s Point” struck our eye in the classified ad section of the Kitchener Record. Mr. and Mrs. Cadwell were selling their cottage. That Sunday afternoon we spent with these lovely people, and then left the following week for a three week vacation, not feeling it right to decide so quickly. On returning, we were told that the cottage had been sold that same day (a Monday).
Fate was with us again for the only person we saw was Ruth Schultz and she was good enough to tell us about Ray Hartlieb’s cottage possibly being for sale. Being the day of the Point picnic, Ray’s mother was there to tell us how to reach her son.
Tuesday he drove us out from town to see his cottage.
Wednesday the papers were signed.
Thursday his family moved out, and Friday we moved in for our first Labour Day weekend on the Point.
Astonishingly enough, it wasn’t until after this that we found out that our cottage would give us what from the time we first met has been our first love, fishing!
THE DOLL HOUSE
by Peggy Wilson
(daughter of G. Alex Forbes, twin sister of Bet Forbes)
If only walls could talk you would have the story of twin girls from the age of three to twenty-one, as this doll house shares all of their secrets and all their happy moments from the years of 1927 to 1945. However, as far as I know, walls remain silent, so I will have to try my best to tell you how the doll house came to McCormick’s Point. It all began when the Town of Hespeler had an Old Boys’ Reunion, and many of the factories and industries displayed decorated floats in a gala parade. The Gardiner Lumber Co. of Galt had a house on its float, and our father bought this sweet house for his little daughters from Mr. Jim Gardiner. It was placed at the back of our home in Hespeler, and there Bet and I played with our dolls, giving tea parties, playing house, playing school again after school hours, and hiding from Mother when it was time to go to the dentist.
Years went by and we grew away from dolls, after-school lessons, make-believe tea parties, and we lost our fear of the kindly dentist. The dollhouse stood empty and lonely for a few years. Then Dad had another splendid idea! (He’s been full of good ideas all his life.) He got a tremendous truck to move the doll house from Hespeler to McCormick’s Point. From that day it was know as “Holiday House”, and I remember that day so well, sunny and warm. Some branches of trees had to be removed in the lane to allow the truck to go through and not be damaged. The carpenters were called to raise the roof. (We took care of the same thing many times later, only in a different way!) A bedroom and flower boxes were added. Several years later a dressing-room was put on the back of it.
The maple furniture is being used to-day in my own cottage at Southampton, and, believe me, when I sit on the little chesterfield, or tuck my son, Ross, into the maple bed, or when I look into the mirror above the highboy, I look back into the past, and remember, oh so many wonderful times.
No, “Holiday House” is not just an ordinary doll’s house. It is a very special home to two girls who loved every moment that they spent inside of it. There we learned to dance to Glen Millar’s music. We would try to go to sleep with Nelson Eddy singing “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp along the Highway”, and “Rose Marie”. Or was it Don Parks on his way to draw water from that wonderful old pump? Just don’t recall Mr. Eddy ever being invited out to the point, so perhaps it was Don after all!
Yes, I can truthfully say that when I look back into the past, and recall my younger days, it is at McCormick’s Point and “Holiday House” that all my joys and happiness seem to be. My sincere hope is that whoever has inhabited our little Doll House from the moment that we left and forever more will be as happy and contented as Bet and I were for those memorable years.
THE HARTLIEB COTTAGE
by Ray Hartlieb
We are very glad that we are living at McCormick’s Point. You see, we had a cottage at Butler’s Beach which we bought in 1945 and sold in 1964, and unfortunately it burned down in 1965. Even in 1945 we liked McCormick’s Point, but because of our children and all the attractions at Butler’s we felt that they would be happier there. There was always a certain amount of turmoil and confusion at Butler’s Beach, and when we were approached to buy the Morrison Cottage we decided to make the move, as our family had grown up.
However, before we were able to make the final arrangements the Dietrichs had purchased it, and on learning that we were interested in property there, they offered us the land between their house and the Park’s cottage, which we divided into two lots. My son built a cottage next to the Dietrich home, which he later sold to Bob Hiller, and our cottage which at that time stood beside the big tree, right behind where Hillers’ cottage now stands.
All this took place in 1960. Our cottage had been a playhouse for the Forbes’ twins, and nothing had been done to it since the girls left, and therefore needed a great deal of repair. We moved it over to our lot and brought it forward to where it now stands. It was necessary to put in new joists and flooring and to give it a general overall repair job to give it a modern appearance. We put in partitions for bedrooms and added small verandas. We enjoy it and I am looking forward to getting out there as soon as the weather breaks. Our children have grown up and are all married. They come out and spend the weekends with us, and bring their food along to help their Mother. So you can see that we all enjoy it very much.
When I was at Barber’s Beach, I was President of Barber’s Beach Association. It used to be called Swastika Beach. One time when we were at Barber’s the water was so low in the lake that boating was impossible, so we assessed each cottager ten dollars and put in a new dam which raised the water level considerably. Cottagers at Butler’s don’t own their water rights. Mr. Barber had some lawyer from Guelph draw up the deeds so that no cottager owns any land within twenty feet from the water’s edge. We weren’t allowed to have a boat house or dock unless we had permission from Mr. Butler.
McCormick’s Point is so peaceful, so liveable, and I hope that it stays that way.
THE HISTORY OF THE PARK’S COTTAGE AT McCORMICK’S POINT
by Don Parks
The original property was a wheat field with a number of native trees along the waterfront. My father and his friends used the property as a camp site for several years commuting to their work via canoe and horse and buggy or by foot.
The Big Island was another favourite camp site at this time and the camp fires could be seen reflected in the water at these and other locations about the lake. Some time near the close of the first Great War, Mr. Alex Parks acquired the property from the farm owned by Mr. Lyons and proceeded to build a cottage, completing it in the year of 1919. He and Mr. George Forbes, the neighbouring cottager, and several others proceeded to plant trees about their properties and throughout the park which are the now existing adult trees. The construction of the wharf did not turn out to be such a hard task as was originally anticipated. My older sister, Isabel, had quite a number of young admirers at the time who thought cottage life was quite the thing. My father took advantage of their interest and put them to work felling trees, hauling large boulders, etcetera and the general construction of the wharf. Gordon Clager of Clager’s Island, was one of these and he never ceases to remind me of the excellent job they did, whenever he passes by.
Actually there must be some truth to their boasts because it did not require any reconstruction until last year, forty-five years later. Unfortunately, our daughter hasn’t reached that admirable age as yet, and I spent the summer reconstructing it alone.
There were a number of large submerged logs near the end of the wharf and although they were a most desirable attraction for fish, my father finally decided we should remove most of them and leave just a few. Our neighbour in Hespeler, Mr. Alan Thaler, was a tremendously strong and husky individual who also had the remarkable faculty of staying underwater for what seemed to me, at the impressionable age of five or so, to be at least a half an hour. He spent a fair amount of time at our place training for the ten mile swim at the exhibition. Again, Dad put his guests to work and I will never forget the site of this giant emerging from the depths, after what seemed an age, with huge water-logs up to three feet in diameter under his arms walking straight out of the lake and up the bank with ancient and not so ancient fishing lures hanging from the soggy logs.
We had quite an interesting water system which was always a source of humorous and often irritating incidents. The water was pumped from the lake to a forty-five gallon drum suspended twenty feet in the air on top of a log tower and then gravity fed through piping to the facilities in the cottage. Unfortunately, one never knew when the drum was about to be emptied and you could imagine the problems that arose especially in the middle of the night. The pump was a hand pump located at the shore end of the wharf. There was a long wooden handle attached to the pump about shoulder height, which had to be pushed back and forth with about a thirty-pound pressure approximately one hundred times until you heard the welcome sound of water over-flowing the forty-five gallon drum above. This again was a further test for my sister’s suitors and those who couldn’t fill the drum within the proper time were not favourably accepted by my father.
The few submerged logs left at the end of our wharf have always served as an attraction for fish and this pleasant pastime has always been a happy part of our cottage life.
Around the year of 1929, my Dad and a man by the name of Bill Cooper from Hespeler, put in one thousand fingerlings of yellow pickerel up at the point. These fish, it seems, never propagated, but a few apparently lived and ten years later Mr. Derbyshire’s brother-in-law from Peterborough way, caught a twenty-seven inch yellow pickerel out in front of the Forbes’ cottage. That same summer the Derbyshires caught another and my Dad and I both caught one. A few more were caught after this but never any small ones. Later on, more pickerel were introduced and these seem to be thriving. My son, Jeffrey, and I just caught two approximately nineteen inches in length at the same spot where we used to catch the big ones. Our source of drinking water was always the pump across the road and although we had the shortest distance to go I always vowed I would build our own well so I could just turn on the tap. I had carried water from the pump from the time I could just barely carry half a pail with two hands staggering between my legs ten feet at a time. In 1950, I put in a well-point system with great difficulty, having three well-points breaking off and abandoned eight feet down in the gravel. Finally I made it down with one, and we now can turn on the tap and have drinking water.
We have made several additions and alterations but basically the cottage is much the same as originally constructed forty-five years ago.
THE FREUDEMAN COTTAGE
The Freudeman property was registered in 1919. At this time, Bob Freudeman and some of his friends built the original cottage, which was later moved back, and has since served as a garage. The present “Aladdin” cottage was erected about ten years later. Mr. and Mrs. Freudeman were hosts regularly for various clubs and groups from Guelph - Rotary, Rotary-Anns, Y.W.C.A., Hospital Aid and Women’s Auxiliary from Chalmers Church, and to a host of friends.
Mr. Freudeman did many things to improve McCormick’s Point. As Secretary-Treasurer for many, many years he never missed a meeting. Sometimes a problem of special interest to Lakeside people came up for discussion. Among the members were also business and professional men whose suggestions were very interesting, and in many cases it was Mr. Freudeman who was able to give a prompt and official answer.
The benches around the tennis and shuffleboard courts were salvaged by Mr. Freudeman from the city hall in Guelph. Ern Elthrington repaired these and they have been, and still are, in constant use around this area. Mr. Freudeman joked that when these were last painted, Ern used “passionate pink paint”. Swings and the sand-box for the children were built and donated by Mr. Freudeman. Two, if not three generations of children have enjoyed these.
Mrs. Freudeman also loved the point very much, and was interested in all of the activities and everyone’s welfare. She always boiled the corn for our picnics and corn-roasts, and helped in every way she could to make life at the point enjoyable. These people did so much for McCormick’s Point that it is difficult to imagine what it would have been like without their interest and co-operation.
By Campbell and Alma McLagan
James Walter Lyon sold Lot #19 to H. W. Martin of Kitchener. Mr. Martin sold the lot to Thomas Fink of Preston who, in turn, sold it to Mrs. Christina Adam of Toronto. Mr. and Mrs. Adam built the present cottage, Mr. Adam doing some of the work of closing in the porches himself. After fifteen years they sold the cottage to Mr. W. N. Hancock of Galt, who sold it to Robert Hilborn.
In 1953, we, Campbell and Alma McLagan, bought the property thinking it would be a pleasant place to spend the summers with our children, giving them an opportunity to learn to swim and play in the sunshine. Many mornings were well spent giving the children swimming lessons in Preston at the Municipal pool, and many hours of watching them in Puslinch Lake until they mastered the art. Then came the lessons in boating and canoeing along with many pleasant hours spent at the shuffleboards and tennis court.
We find we have many visitors at our cottage. Parents are always delighted to come and bring their children as the time passes quickly while wee ones play in the lake trying to learn to swim and playing in the water. Many of the older folks enjoy the hours spent in the water too. Boat rides are always popular with this set of people, and it is a real treat for them, also for us, to see our friends and relatives so thoroughly enjoying themselves. This gives us a real sense of pleasure.
Then there are those groups from the church who look forward to the various meetings we arrange to have at the cottage. These are always such happy, inspirational occasions.
For busy people, McCormick’s Point is a delightful place to find relaxation and quiet. There always seems to be more opportunities to do the things that we do not find time for in our busy city life, more time to spend with our fast growing-up family, and more time to visit with other people.
Did you know that Puslinch Lake is a watershed? One outlet flowing north is between Barber’s Beach and Butler’s Hotel; the other at the south end of the west bay, flowing south. Between this southern exit and Mill Creek there is another very slight watershed just near the corner of the town line and the first concession of Puslinch. The lake is fed by springs and run off.
We know that the deepest part is at the dock by the Hagan property, approximately nineteen feet. A channel runs from here across the front of the Point, tapering off as it nears Mr. Harvey’s island to a depth of about twelve feet. Otherwise the lake is very shallow. It might surprise some of us to know that the average depth is only five feet, less than this in same places. It is a fact that, years ago, it was possible to drive from the Barber’s Beach area to the Big Island. For this reason Puslinch Lake does not lend itself to good fishing. Don Parks in his reference to fishing, reports that his father and a Mr. Cooper from Hespeler put 1,000 fingerlings of yellow pickerel in the lake about 1929. Mr. Meadows says the Department of Lands and Forests stocked the lake with Pickerel Fry and baby Maskinonge, also known as muskellunge or pike. Black Bass introductions were also made. The bass still provide the best fishing of all in Puslinch waters. The Department has stocked the lake on three occasions since 1946. Despite these efforts to improve the fishermen’s luck, the results are disappointing.
The only area suitable for the wintering fish is this deep channel. When ice from twelve to eighteen inches in depth forms, and a layer of snow tops this, both weeds and fish die from lack of light and oxygen. The rotting weeds give off carbon dioxide, and absorb oxygen, devastating to the fish population. They have no chance of survival in the shallow areas.
The habits of the pike - there are guesses about how they got into the lake - are interesting. In spawning season they become quite crazy-headed. This takes place just when the spring ice thaws around the edge of the lake, and the lake level rises. The pike flop around and go to the bush outlet to spawn where many of them lose their lives because the lake level recedes rapidly, leaving them high and dry. The loss of eggs is tremendous. On the right day you might be lucky enough to catch a pike in a puddle in the bush.
Until recent years no pike were ever caught in Mill Creek or Aberfoyle Creek. Now the odd pike is hooked in Mill Creek, and it is logical to suspect they flipped over the shallow watershed when the spring season was rainy enough to overflow the swamps, and that these fish came from Puslinch Lake.
from notes dictated by Mr. E. R. Meadows, Dept. of Lands and Forests.
The fry of pickerel are brought to the lake in a carrying box, about fourteen inches square and the same size in depth. Ten or twelve trays of fish eggs are in this box. The trays are framed with wood, but have fine screen bottoms. They stack on top of one another like layers in an egg crate, except that these trays are surrounded by ice. The temperature in the carrying-box is about 36 degrees. These eggs are right at the moment of hatching.
The process of transferring the “fry” to the lake takes about an hour and a half. All through this period the water temperature is critical. Any sudden change will kill the lot. Each tray contains 100,000 eggs.
The fry are taken from the carrying-box and submerged in a tub of iced water. Very gradually chunks of ice are removed from the tub, until the water temperature slowly rises to fifty degrees, the temperature of the lake water at the time of year when this method of transfer is done.
A shallow place near the shore is chosen. The tub is lowered, and very gently tipped, to allow these tiny babies (which have hatched during the process) to slip into the water of the lake.
0ur men stay on duty still longer. Sometimes they erect a barrier around this new family. It takes the new babies a little while to learn to hide under stones or weeds, away from predating Rock Bass, Blue Gills or other enemies.
from notes dictated by Mr. E. R. Meadows, the Dept. of Lands and Forests
THE DRIEVER-DERBYSHIRE COTTAGE
by Annie Derbyshire,
wife of Dr. Aubrey L. Derbyshire
Our interest in McCormick’s Point started when we were invited by the late Dr. Harry Conway to spend a week at his cottage. Dr. Derbyshire’s sister (Darby) married Dr. Conway. They put up with us for a week. We fell in love with the place, it was so nice and quiet; there were no speed boats and sea fleas at this time. Through the efforts of Mr. John Conway, affectionately known as “Grandpa Jack”, we were able to rent the Driever cottage the next year. The following year Mr. and Mrs. Driever wanted the cottage for themselves, but we rented for several summers following, and finally purchased it in 1932.
Dr. Derbyshire, better known as '”Derby”, planted many trees - blue and green spruce, the blue variety were planted when just 2½ feet high. There were many kinds of cedars, junipers, evergreens and shrubs, also a cedar hedge around the lot to protect the young trees.
With limited funds, we did our best to improve the cottage. We had a new field stone fireplace built. Allan Thaler helped to gather the stones from McCormick’s and Bartlett’s fields. A real stone mason did the work and for his labour, his pay, if I remember correctly, was around $50.00. At this particular time I think that bread was around 6 cents per loaf -- how times have changed!
How many remember the old “oil” sign on the side of the old boat house? One had to lie down to read the printing. Also the tower which supported a rusty, leaky 45 gallon drum which supplied the house with lake water. The old tower was removed and a new pressure system installed, and the old boat house and wharf were replaced with a new one.
I must tell you about one Sunday afternoon when we were sitting at the end of the wharf. I sat on a small stool, all dressed up in a yellow crepe dress: our boys, John, Bob and Ted had passed me and, when John Hilborn passed, I tried to move back a little so as to accommodate all of us on the end of the wharf, when one of the legs of the stool got chummy with one of the many holes in the old wharf and I fell backwards into the water. Freudemans were on their wharf too. When I came up from my dunking, I could see Mr. Freudeman trying to keep a straight face, so I called over to him to go ahead and laugh - we all had a good laugh. The material in the dress, being crepe, shrunk to the size of a twelve year old girl’s dress. The boys tried to help me get out of the dress - they pulled and tugged - just like skinning a cat. Operation completed, we fell in a heap, our sides aching with laughter.
Another incident on the old wharf (which was a fine place for water snakes, it being built on a big crib filled with rocks), was when we tried catching one on a fishing rod baited with a frog. We each took a turn with the rod but it didn’t show itself. I got tired of waiting and got up to move my chair back and here was our snake sunning itself back of my chair. One of Ted’s pastimes was outdoor cooking. He would make a tripod affair, a tin can with wires attached to the top of the tripod. Many things went into this tin can: result - crab or snake stew. Even at this early age, he may have had the idea of cookouts, barbeques and “gracious living'” as it is known in 1965.
Derby used to take Thursdays from his office and in the Fall there were many things to put in order for the winter. Bob was not school age and he would go along with his dad. Mrs. Freudeman took pity on them and invited them over for dinner many times. One particular time there were pork chops for dinner, and Bob says that to this day he can remember how good they were.
There was a Polio epidemic in Toronto in 1937 and our three boys attended Killean School. Our cottage was not winterized, our only means of heat was the fireplace which was inadequate. The water pipes from the lake were partly above ground and they froze; we had to go down in the morning with a kettle of hot water and thaw them out. One morning on our way to school, we had a flat tire right in the narrow part of the lane - no school that day. Too many things going wrong and we felt that we had had enough, so on October 23, we went home to Toronto. Our boys thought going to school in the country was fun. Killean School had a Halloween Party that fall. We were all invited and had a wonderful time. We also attended a school picnic the next summer.
When we spent the summers at the Point, it was hard to get the laundry done unless I took a trip to Toronto and there was not a very good place to put up a clothes line either - from one rose arbour to the other. My clothes prop was the handle of the dustless mop and it failed many times, letting sheets drag on the ground. Mr. Freudeman saw my plight and made a cedar prop for me, for which I was thankful. When we sold the cottage, I brought my cedar clothes prop with me - it had sentimental value, and I still use it when I use a single line. Bob borrows it sometimes to fasten a net to, so that he can dip goldfish out of our pond.
Some years before we became acquainted with the Point, we were told that it had been stocked with Pickerel fingerlings. Derby’s (Dr. Derbyshire’s) brother Sam and his small son, Jimmy, visited us and they went out fishing. They came in with a six pound Pickerel and it was said then that it was the first known Pickerel to be taken out of Puslinch Lake. John caught one after that and it weighed 7½ pounds - he was about nine years old then. Barbers took his picture and in the Galt Reporter it said “John thought he had caught a whale!” Many good fish were caught after that when people knew where to find the deep hole. Another time, Bob and I went out in the rain to fish, the water was a bit rough and we were not getting anything, so Bob said, “We’ll go down once more and that’s it.” On our way back we got a strike, and he played the fish until we got opposite Parks’ cottage where Peggy Forbes and Don Parks were standing on the breakwater watching. Bob landed the fish and it weighed 8½ pounds. What a Thrill! There were many good fishermen on the Point and Mr. Parks and Don were among them.
There came a time when the boys outgrew what Puslinch had to offer and they wanted something a little more rugged. Bob wanted to quit high school and farm. We had been looking around for another home in Toronto as the district was changing, so we sold our city home and bought a 170 acre farm in Albion Township in the County of Peel. Bob did well for a city boy but his father had been brought up on a farm and helped him a lot. This move nearly broke my heart. Keeping the lake property in shape for renting was too much, but we were very fortunate in having nice tenants like Mr. and Mrs. Nespel of Preston and Mr. and Mrs. “Dusty” Miller of Kitchener who looked after everything well.
There came a time when we found it hard to look after both places the way we should. Mr. and Mrs. Hancock wanted to rent our place for a summer to see if they liked it. It was sold that fall. This was another heartbreak for me but where we live now we have beautiful trees, shrubs and garden, the work of my late husband. Things would have to be nice if Derby had a hand in it.
It was very gratifying to sell to the Hancocks as they took such an interest in caring and preserving the trees. They invited us to visit them but we did not go back. I would not go back because I felt that if I saw it, I would fret. I need not have worried for after seven years we did call on Mr. and Mrs. Hancock and daughters. I did not see our little old yellow house with all the windows but a lovely new modern home in which they had retained the stone fireplace that we had built. Of course, it did not seem like home, only the trees and shrubs were familiar. After our little visit and a cup of tea, we made our way out of their driveway. The lovely branches of the blue spruce swayed in a gentle breeze off the lake as if to say “Good-bye Friends”.
by Helen V. Hancock,
wife of Ford Hancock
Ever been bitten by the “McCormick Point Bug”? Well, we were, back in 1953 and we’ve have never been able to get over the itch. Acting on a suggestion from friends who had summered here in 1952, we set our sights on the Derbyshire cottage, the most likely to be available for rental. So it was that we spent the 1953 season at Lakeside Park, McCormick’s Point, a most pleasant and happy summer. So much so, that we felt compelled to endeavour to buy the property.
By the spring of 1954, our mission was accomplished, and we were the proud owners of lots 20 and 21, and all benefits attached, thereto. It was then that we learned some of the previous history of this land.
In 1922, Lots 20 and 21 were purchased by Wm. L. Driever of Preston, who erected the original buildings.
In 1932, he sold to Aubrey L. Derbyshire, a Toronto dentist, and his wife. They, with their family, used it as a summer home for almost 22 years. They loved nature and the outdoors, and were particularly interested in trees and flowers. During the years, they planted over 60 trees of various kinds, including beautiful specimens of blue spruce and copper beech. Most of these trees are flourishing today, with the exception of five which we have had to cut down, victims of storm or blight.
When we took over in 1954, the buildings we acquired consisted of a very small boat house, a tiny cottage with a large stone fireplace, and a small garage which housed the bathroom facilities. All cottage windows opened from the outside like shutters and had to be propped up on poles. Needless to say, both the windows and the outdoor facilities were responsible for many a dash through the black of night in torrential rains, thunder and lightning. So a remodelling job was definitely warranted.
A few planned minor alterations mushroomed into the erection of an almost completely new cottage, enveloping the original stone fireplace.
Nearly ten years later, alterations and repairs were made to the inadequate boat house, and a sun deck added above it.
Many happy summers have been spent here by us - Bonnie now 15 years old, Elizabeth, 13 years, Michele (our poodle) and Ford and I. It is our hope that we may all spend many more good years here together with the wonderful people who have become a part of Lakeside Park.
THE KERR COTTAGE
by Mary, Hyla, and Nancy Lee Kerr
(daughters of Allan and Helen Kerr)
To Dad Kerr it was just “The Lake”, as if there was no other, and to him this was so. He had such affection for and pride in his property and his cottage.
Each year, almost as soon as the snow disappeared, we were bundled into the car and went for our first look at the lake for the season. Each year it was the same--the car got stuck securely in the mud as we neared the Point. With help or without, we always made it.
So it was at the end of the summer. We never moved back to town when school started. We waited till it was so cold and desolate that we didn’t feel so badly about leaving. We girls had to get up early to get to school in town, and if our clothes were a bit creased it was because we dressed right in the warm bed.
The living-room could be made cosy on chilly evenings by closing the glass doors to the veranda. The veranda went across the front and down one side of the cottage. Here, over a large, sturdy dining-room table, was suspended a beautiful chandelier, over 100 years old, which came from my great-grandmother’s farm home. A similar one hung over a table in the living-room. Attached to the walls throughout the cottage were various coal-oil lanterns, all shapes and styles. We had the chore of cleaning the lamp glasses each morning.
There were many things we learned to do during our summers. While very young, we learned to swim. That was a “must”. Our bathing-suits were unique. When new, they were close to our ankles! Then, they would last four years as we grew into them. Adding insult to injury, Dad and Helen would take our pictures in them.
When we were older, Dad and I swam over to Barber’s Beach, and Mary and Helen swam back. How fortunate we were to have a place to cool off many times a day, rather than being in town all summer!
Canoeing put in many an interesting hour, exploring the shores around the bays and poking around the islands.
Our family all loved fishing, and we would catch and clean sunfish, perch, and get a thrill with a bass now and then. Such fresh fish made a delicious meal. It was a contest always who could catch the biggest fish. I can still see my uncle running from the end of the wharf with a bass on the line. It got lost right at the shore, and he was so anxious he ran into the water (shoes, socks and all) after it. Needless to say, the fish was the faster.
Another amusing incident was learning to drive the car at the lake in our early teens. Hundreds of times we drove around the field in the old heavy car. Dad must have had patience! As we weren’t too big, we had to put all our weight into turning the steering wheel. Then it ended in an argument as to who would drive to Sunday School, and who would drive back. We picked our dessert while we could, wild strawberries in the field and black and red raspberries down the narrow, winding lane.
Once or twice a summer we would make sandwiches, peanut butter and banana, and walk in to Preston. Of course, we ate our lunch going down the lane and were mighty hungry by the time we got a ride home with Dad after work.
Hot as the days were, we had some good tennis games on the park court. The heat never bothered us when we were at the lake. At night, there was always a cool breeze.
When we were older we had to coax madly to paddle across the lake to dance. Dad put a strict curfew on us. We’d wait for the last possible moment to leave for home, and the three of us would have to paddle as fast as we could to make it. Occasionally we’d need the pail to counteract a leak.
All of those simple pleasures are fond memories we don’t forget. They were wonderful summers and I am very thankful to have had them. Every time I think of “The Lake” I can see my Dad, and it is a wonderful way to remember all the good times we had together.
THE KERR - BLACHFORD COTTAGE
by Cal and Isabelle Blachford
The Blachfords of Kitchener, Cal and Isabelle with their three children, Jack, Beverley and Corinne, bought the Allan Kerr cottage in May 1957.
For Isabelle, it was like coming home to familiar haunts. Having grown up in Hespeler, she had spent many pleasant hours of each summer at Puslinch Lake. Her aunt, Mrs. John Limpert, had property on the Hotel side, an easy access to McCormick’s Point, where she visited her school friend Ruth Parks, now Mrs. Harold Schultz.
Cal, who had never considered himself the cottage type, was happy with the prospect of a short 25 minute drive to and from his office and warehouse on Mill Street, Kitchener, and the ten degree drop from the city temperature during the hot summer days is always a welcome experience.
Since our first year at McCormick’s Point, we have gone through many interesting phases with the three young Blachfords. First we had “Pride”, a Welsh pony that we had purchased and had stabled at the McCormick farm. Pride had a will of his own and only Jack seemed to master him. For Bev., who was too soft-hearted, he would plant his four feet and not budge. His favourite trick was to step on her foot when she tried to mount. A near catastrophe occurred one day when Jack and Bev. decided Pride should earn his keep. They tied some fallen branches, slated for the brush-pile, on a long rope attached to his saddle. The noise of the branches being dragged, startled the pony and he bolted, galloping down the lane with branches, and Blachfords following. This happened to be the hour Ford Hancock arrived from Preston for lunch. Ford, the pony, and branches met in the narrow lane and Ford was forced to take to the ditch. Fortunately, no damage was done and fortunately, too, we have tolerant neighbours like the Hancocks whom we can still consider friends.
Among our friends at the Point are Maude and Ern Eltherington of Hespeler, whom Isabelle has known all her life. During our first years at the lake, Maude was always kind in allowing us to use her telephone, and Ern was Isabelle’s Good Samaritan on any number of occasions. Electrical equipment was always going on the hummer and Ern was never stumped. Such kindness is never forgotten.
We have progressed in boating equipment since that first year when we rented a five horse-power motor and boat from Weber Marine, and Jack built a surf-board on which he and the Schultz boys took turns flashing by, knee deep in water because of the slow moving boat. Now we have a higher powered boat and Jack, Bev, and Corinne have become excellent skiers both on two skis and slalom. They are now trying to master shoe skis.
The parties too have progressed from the grade school after-four picnics, through to high school mixed form parties, when parents were considered real squares for staying around, to the young adult parties of today.
This year, Jack, who was responsible for a bachelor stag party for his good friend Paul Heimpel, brought the groom-to-be and a few friends out for a very late swim. Tom Hagan, another good neighbour, being awakened from a sound sleep at 1 a.m. mistook the boys for rowdy outsiders and threatened to call the Provincials.
Cal and Isabelle still enjoy the change of pace the cottage offers, and have had many pleasant opportunities to entertain. Cal with his annual staff party and St. John’s Board of Management picnics, etcetera, Isabelle with St. John’s Altar Guild picnics, which on one occasion coincided with Ford’s Rotary picnic (our members still talk about the evening), church group suppers and September I.O.D.E meetings. The highlight of our entertaining, we believe, took place in 1963 during the Anglican World Conference which took place in Toronto.
At that time, Cal was a Warden of St. John’s Church and in that capacity we were privileged to entertain one of the great churchmen of the world, the Most Rev. H. L. J. de Mel, Archbishop of Calcutta and metropolitan of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. We were hosts to approximately 25 parishioners for lunch following the Sunday morning service at which the Archbishop spoke.
There were great preparations made and Bev and Isabelle undertook to scrub the circular hand-hooked rag rug from the living room. It looked beautiful when we finished, but alas, the weather wasn’t conducive to drying heavy objects and each night it had to be folded and put in the basement. By the end of three days it began to have a very unpleasant sour smell. About this time, we were due in Toronto for two days following which we were to be representatives at Bishopstowe, the London home of the Bishop of our diocese. We were to be among one thousand to meet all the dignitaries of the Anglican Church throughout the world, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York.
What to do about the rug? Tom and Alma Hagan, our good neighbours, came to the rescue. They promised to do their best with the rug for which we had almost abandoned hope. Arriving at the cottage three days later we found the rug laid in place and not a suggestion of the sour smell.
It seems, in our absence, Tom and Alma had taken the heavy rug (9½ feet in diameter) from our cottage basement and by step ladder had lifted it to their garage roof where Tom turned it several times a day to speed even drying.
Sunday the sun shone on a perfect day. The Archbishop proved to be a most charming guest and completely captivated the church members. The luncheon invitation developed into a day’s visit and our guest of honour left the Point at eleven p.m. We were delighted that Tom and Alma and Alma’s mother, Mrs. Gray, then 90, had an opportunity to meet His Grace. Ford and Helen Hancock also met our distinguished visitor, Helen being directly interested in his country where her sister Margaret and family were spending two years.
Basically, the charm of the Point is not only its beauty and accessibility to Town, but also the friends and fellowship we enjoy there during our summer stay.
THE HAGAN COTTAGE
by Alma Hagen
Bessie Hortop invited me out to their cottage about 1923. I fell in love with the Point at once, and decided to save my money to buy a lot here. This I did in 1926, and the cottage materialized, in 1928. My father, with a carpenter from Galt, did the actual building. I was very proud of the fact that I had bought all the necessary material.
In the interval between my first visit and the fact of the cottage, we rented the cottage now occupied by Harold & Ruth Schultz, for a month, in the summers of 1927 and 1928. This was quite a convenience in 1928 as my family stayed here quite a lot while our cottage was under construction.
Tom & I were married in 1929 and this became our first home. We found that there was a lot of unwanted traffic down in front of our place. People who had no right to come into the park had been coming here to swim. They would drive down, park, and picnic and even sometimes drive around our cottage to get out. This was, of course, before the Dickson cottage was built. On one occasion we came out and found a tent pitched on our lawn!
To say the least, this was annoying. We hated having to police the Point. After some time the idea came to us that it would be a great improvement to keep the grass in this area cut. The Kerrs had been provoked as well as we were. It was suggested at one of our meetings that this be done, and that the roadway be camouflaged a little by allowing Mr. Kerr to plant a few trees in the right-of-way, and to plant them in such a way as to allow anyone to drive down here when it is necessary. The members were very understanding for the most part. I do remember one or two dissenting voices who feared we were apt to limit the use of this right of way. Nothing was farther from our minds. We simply wanted relief from trespassers, and hope that the grass kept cut all these years has been a pleasant access to the dock for all Point people and their friends.
We still have a few trespassers. Today many come by boat. A few winters ago I painted a sign, “Private - Do not drive on this Lawn” or words to that effect, and Tom nailed it to a tree in the roadway. The only reason for doing this was to warn winter and early spring fisherman to keep off this area. We had come out to find a car down by Blachford’s cottage in deep ruts and evidence of others who had driven in with no regard at all for the Park Property. The following winter the gate was locked.
For several seasons our cottage was occupied by our good friend, Miss Adeline Beaven.
by Alma Hagen
A teacher's salary was not too lavish in the twenties. I had a number of little jobs left before the cottage was quite finished - the most urgent of these was - the cellar entrance.
I used the little cellar. The potatoes were in a basket hanging from the ceiling. Butter, milk, shortening and so forth were kept in a large covered crock on the floor. To enter the cellar, we jumped down into a fairly large hole in the ground, then, stepped through the doorway.
On this occasion I had picked a generous bowlful of wild strawberries. (These I gathered from a couple of patches where the Barrett and Hilborn lots are now.) The little berries were plentiful that year, and I had enough for a pie. I jumped into the cellar to get the berries and shortening for my pie, only to find myself facing a fairly big snake! Perhaps I froze in my tracks momentarily, but I made a jet-propelled exit.
Now I was frustrated! My lovely berries down there, and I afraid of a beastly snake. I did what I usually did with a problem - went to see Maud. Maud and her mother, Mrs. Hortop, were at the pump. Each one was as frightened of a snake as I but they were so sympathetic that they walked back to the “hole” with me.
We hadn’t the courage to solve our problem. Just as we were about to give up and wait for Tom to come home, along came a car, and two men walked over to us. “Were we ladies interested in buying a victrola or records?” “Oh, No! All we want is that you gentlemen jump down in there, and kill a snake!”
The stout one seemed afraid, but the tall one, armed with a hoe, went underground, chopped, chopped a few times indicating a few misses. We, up above, squealed nervously but up came our hero with the dead reptile dangling limply over the blade of the hoe.
Not only did he kill the snake, but both men agreed it to be a horrible-looking thing, black with a copper-coloured head. (I had not seen one like it before or since.) They decided to bury it promptly.
Mind you! I didn’t buy even a record! How ungrateful can you get! Perhaps this is why we have never since been bothered with peddlers of music - or anything else.
On another occasion my mother (Mrs. Gray), Mrs. Hortop, Maud, Gladys and I brought a picnic lunch to the cottage. The cellar-way had been built and finished long since. It was necessary to go to the cellar and use the Red-wing pump to fill the water storage tank. Gladys and I descended to take turns at the pump. Imagine our surprise and fright when two garter snakes came tumbling down the wall at the foot of the stairs! Two garter snakes, and two screaming women! It was bedlam!
This time we went to the pump for water. I think my mother killed the snakes. We had left baskets of wood at the end of the verandah. These had been sitting in the garage, and the unwelcome guests had been brought inside in a basket of wood.
The Adventures of Alma, Ruth and Kate
Lend me your ears and you will hear
A tale that I shall unfold
How three young maids without any fear
Rode off in a truck quite old.
T’was a model of 1914, they say
And that I can well understand.
It sure could travel all the way.
But it rattled to beat the band.
On the outside was “Cowan’s Maple Buds”
In lettering large and red.
And on the inside-a sewing machine
And springs for an iron bed.
A lone straight board at the side we placed
With a rag tied to the end.
Then off to Puslinch Lake we raced
And laughed till we scarce could bend.
Down Ball, Out Oak, and on, and on
With Alma at the wheel,
And cushions thick to sit upon
That the bumps we might not feel.
Ruth’s feet protruded out to the rear,
Alma’s and Kate’s to the front.
We waved to all who chanced to come near,
And how they laughed at our stunt!
Two young chaps turned about to watch
And nearly ran off the road.
They gazed so long, but what did we care?
We weren’t ashamed of our load.
Around the bends, and up the hills
“Lord Nelson” purred along.
We chatted and laughed right merrily,
And Whiles burst into song.
Till out around the curve we came
Where dangerous was the way
We sent Ruth on to signal us
Whether to go or stay.
Arrived at Alma’s with the freight,
We lifted it out in view,
And got some snap-shots taken,
They’ll prove that this is true.
All too soon we were homeward bound,
“Lord Nelson” travelling faster.
Arrived at 77 safe and sound
But we’d put on the blink the blaster!
Now you’ve lent me your ears, and you did hark
To this story that I did tell
How “Three Maple Buds” went out for a lark
And had it for sure. T’was swell!
written by Kate Carswell, June 30, 1928.
(The name of the man who owned the truck was Nelson.)
Father and his boat
by Alma Hagan
My father enjoyed his boat. He particularly enjoyed it when a good stiff wind blew and the lake was choppy. From time to time he wanted to add a sail to his craft, but the idea frightened us. We were very doubtful about his prowess as a sailor so he never did have a sail.
One evening, when he was nearly 80 years old, he took off in his boat, alone, for a quiet ride. He had been gone, perhaps an hour, when suddenly we heard the strangest sort of cry. Here was Dad waving his hands frantically, and making the most unusual noise. He was close in to the shore, and I started out, meaning to grab the boat, when he managed a couple of heaves on the oars which brought him in. He was being attacked by a swarm of wasps. We had not noticed a wasps’ nest on a cedar branch where we often brought
the boat in. He had ridden right in to it.
We had rubbing alcohol and lots of baking soda which we applied generously and promptly. To our extreme relief he was much improved by morning. He had a good story to tell, but not very much evidence left to prove it.
A DESERTED SHORE
by Alma Hagan
The January afternoon was cold and beautifully bright. Suddenly, the idea struck me! I would love to go out to the lake and skate! I had not skated for years, nor had we been able to reach our cottage in the dead of winter before, for usually our lane is blocked with snow, ice or mud.
I phoned Tom to tell him of my plan. He was at work and not too happy to have me go alone. He suggested that I stay near the shore where the water is not too deep. It was useless to call on friends to go along. Skates ware not standard equipment for people my age and the neighbours’ children were at school. I took my dog along, an almost blind, elderly, Cocker Spaniel named Prudence. I had no trouble reaching the cottage. Although the shutters were nailed down, I unlocked the door, turned on the hydro, and lit a smoky fire. The cottage was shivery cold. I hugged the fire while I donned my skates.
I hoped I would not break my neck between the cottage and the shore. The ground was so uneven! Once on the ice, I realized that I hadn’t skated for some time, but my shakiness soon passed.
At first, Prudie investigated all the quiet shore line. Evidently we startled a pair of jays from a spruce tree over by the Derbyshire cottage. I wonder if she recognized those trees? I feel sure that she did but she could find no smelly dead fish among the icy stones this time nor were there any other little dogs to play with, nor kids to chase.
My skating puzzled her, but since we were alone, she decided to go wherever I did. It was easy for her to follow the swish of my skates, even if she did slip and skid quite often. We skated back and forth in front of the line of deserted cottages. The jays, Prudie and I seemed to make the only sound, till a mile off, we heard the whistle of the train.
I sat down on the end of Kerr’s dock for a rest. Prudie caught up with me. Her pink tongue lolled. She was panting, but I knew she was laughing too. Her little tail wagged as I sat her up beside me, and we watched the sun set beyond the trees that rimmed the west shore. The sky was a blaze of glory.
The smoke feathered off from our own chimney. I made my way back across the frozen grass to the warmth of that fire to change back to shoes and galoshes, and the pleasure of a cup of tea from the thermos I had thought to bring. Prudie teased at least half
of my lunch from me but I gave it to her gladly. We had had fun, but the place was lonely!
I banked the fire and we went home with a firm determination to arrange a little skating party for the next day if the weatherman was kind.
THE DICKSON COTTAGE
When the R. H. Dickson family of Blair built their cottage, they decided that it should be a log cabin. In years as a mining engineer in N. Ontario and British Columbia, Mr. Dickson became fully acquainted with the construction of this type of building. For the neighbours at McCormick Point, there was great interest in watching this cottage take form.
All material for the cabin came from the Dickson home in Blair, “Cedar Brook”. Here the cedar trees were felled, brushed and peeled. Each log was measured accurately, and notched at about one foot from the end, in such a way that, at each corner of the cabin, the logs locked and settled into position. The logs were laid in pairs, one at the front of the cabin and another at the back, followed by two end logs. In this way the walls rose evenly. Door and window openings were framed. Beside these openings the logs were much shorter, and easily handled. When the last and highest logs were placed we felt like giving a great cheer, for these logs were long and heavy. Bob Dickson, then a teenager, was his father’s enthusiastic helper. Bob worked hard.
At first, Mr. Dickson chinked the walls with a fibrous material. This was replaced a few years later with white cement plaster, bonded between the logs by nails, driven in strategically, front and back. The reason for this change was that friends in the States had built a similar cabin, which took fire, and was consumed so rapidly there was no hope of saving the building or contents. This chinking material was very inflammable. In view of this hazard Mr. Dickson undertook the big task of replacing all of the original caulking.
Fireplace stones were brought from Cedar Brook, also. Before the work was undertaken indoors, the stones were laid in a large pile of sand outside where a pattern was worked out. The size of each stone was studied, so was the colour. Not until the stones were prearranged in pleasing balance was the fireplace built.
The living-room chandelier is a most unique and attractive feature of this rustic cabin. It is the root of a cedar tree on which Mr. Dickson spent many hours of work. Rootlets were smoothly cut away leaving the interesting main branches. These were peeled and polished. Holes were drilled through the length of the larger roots where electric wiring was threaded to little lantern-like fixtures near the tips. A rich stain was used to finish the chandelier. To tie in with this fixture, another small cedar tree was converted into a floor lamp. The roots were cut squarely to make a firm footing, and the wiring brought up through the trunk to the fixture. For this lamp, Mrs. Dickson designed and painted a beautiful shade.
Much of the furniture in this cabin is the product of Mr. Dickson’s skill. Tables, cabinets, and all sorts of fittings were made by him. This is a completely charming rustic cottage.
THE DICKSON - BROWN COTTAGE
by Roy Brown
What do a few Chinese characters have to do with McCormick’s Point, Lake Puslinch? Quite a lot really. In Chinese, they say "Good Luck”.
For the Browns it all started in Hong Kong during a trip to the Orient for the 1961 Rotary International Convention. We credit everything to that genial friend of all at McCormick’s Point, Ford Hancock, who is forever striving to make the Point a better place for all of us.
We were relaxing together, Helen, Ford, Marville, Lewis, Ruth and I, enjoying the hospitality of the East, when Ford asked what we had planned for a summer vacation. When I advised that our trip to the Orient was our vacation for the year he suggested that the Dickson cottage at McCormick’s Point might be available to rent for the month of July.
Our ears perked up for Ruth & I had spent two or three very pleasant visits at the Blachford Cottage at Puslinch, and I had attended two Rotary meetings at the Hancock Cottage. With such fond memories we were not only interested, but excited.
Upon our return to Kitchener, we immediately wrote to the Dicksons, and after some delay received a reply that was anything but encouraging. Mr. and Mrs. Dickson insisted that all of their family must first be contacted, and if they were not interested in the cottage we would be considered. Time dragged on and on. Repeated telephone calls and letters only advised that replies had not been received from the family.
Finally, out of desperation, Ruth and I called at the Dickson home in Toronto, where we were promised an answer would be forthcoming the following week.
Our patience paid off and finally we were successful in obtaining the “Log Cabin” for two weeks in July. It was a thoroughly wonderful experience. Our three daughters, Wendy, Vicki and Donna, all seasoned campers, fell in love with the place. Ruth who had always maintained cottage life was not for her soon became an ardent Puslinch fan. I enjoyed commuting to and from the office and seemed to begin relaxing as soon as I directed the car towards Puslinch.
McCormick’s Point became a very pleasant way of life for the Browns. The many friends we have found there have all added so much to our enjoyment of the beautiful natural scenery and the quaint log cabin we called our home.
But we were only tenants with two weeks’ experience to our credit. That made all the difference, because next year we had priority and we were promised the cabin, almost as soon as the spring season began.
Bob Dickson, who along with his father had built the cabin, was now in charge and made a few improvements, such as a hot water line to the kitchen sink, and some new screens.
While we were only able to rent the cabin for three weeks it was once again a happy occasion, but much too short a season. We, who for many years fought the traffic to the Ontario North Land, weekend after weekend, were so happy to be privileged to spend a few weeks at beautiful Lake Puslinch, which is so close to home with no traffic problems to consider.
Next spring, the Chinese “Good Luck” symbol was again working for us. The Dickson family decided to sell the cabin and we hastened to make an offer. There were however last minute complications and it appeared likely that Bob Dickson might buy the cottage from the family. These were anxious days for us. We had our hearts set on “the Cabin”. Once again Ford Hancock came to the rescue. Sensing our concern and disappointment, he advised that the Pattinson cottage next door to us was now for sale. Even though my offer for the Dickson cottage was still pending, I made a verbal offer to purchase the Pattinson cottage and it was accepted. Before I was able to make out an official offer of the Pattinson cottage I was advised that my offer to purchase the Dickson property had been accepted. There was great rejoicing in the Brown Home. Our long time hopes for a home of our own at Puslinch were realized but we now had two homes, or almost. That Chinese charm was working overtime for us because a single telephone conversation with Lewis Hahn resulted in our good friends the Hahns becoming our neighbours in the Pattinson cottage .... But that is another story.
We have now owned the Cabin for two years and our one complaint is that each passing summer is shorter than the preceding one. Gradually we are making a few changes to the Log Cabin, and the property, but are trying hard to preserve its charm and quaintness.
THE CONDUIT COTTAGE
by Kathleen Conduit Bell
Our cottage was built in 1924 by a carpenter from Galt, Mr. Wm. Lockston.
Our life there was probably a typical family one. We opened the cottage on the 24th of May and moved to the Point when school closed for the summer. Entertainment was self-made. We spent many afternoons picking berries, which my mother, on an oil stove, turned into fantastic pies. As youngsters we must have annoyed the Froschs and McCormicks but they were very gracious in allowing us to amuse ourselves in their barns. They were equally good in supplying us with fresh eggs, and milk every day.
We had a steady flow of family, friends, and relatives visiting us. A siren must have sounded at the end of each two weeks, because it seems to me they all stayed that length of time. It was during such an influx of population that a tent was erected at the side of the cottage for the sole purpose of keeping wet bathing suits off clean floors. And it was at that time Mr. Lyon, whom I understand originally subdivided the Point, called. He came complete with chauffeur and ear trumpet, and haughtily asked the purpose of the tent. I was the sole occupant at the time, and my state of undress must have reassured him that the tent was not living quarters.
Evenings usually found Marjorie and me waiting for my father to come home from the store. We waited on rather hard fence posts on each side of the entrance to the Point. Soon after, we went fishing. Perch, catfish, and sunfish were our best customers. It was, and still is my big ambition to catch a bass. Even the sunfish tasted wonderful at 10 o’clock at night.
Out in his boat on one occasion, my father thought he saw an unusual log so he took the oar and poked at the object, only to disturb the biggest turtle he had ever seen. It would have just fitted nicely into an old-fashioned wash tub.
He was thrilled on another occasion when he spotted two snowy egrets across the bay, the only occasion we know of when these birds have been seen locally. Father says the Galt newspaper made a note of this.
One of our hikes was over to the Haunted House. This was an empty stone farmhouse situated on the top of the hill overlooking the lake, and is now known as Pioneer Grove. Now, forty years later, this is where I spend happy summers in my cottage.
THE CONDUIT - PATTINSON COTTAGE
It was a happy thirty years or so. We had always gone to the lake prior to the first World War, but over on the other side, the north side. Both of my brothers camped on the islands with friends for years, and drove a horse in and out to work, crossing the lake in canoes. Often on Saturdays or Sundays we drove our friends out for supper, usually chicken stew. Allan Kerr and Foster camped with my brother Lynn summer after summer, and he and Helen and her sister, then the Howitt girls from Hespeler, grew fond of it. In 1933, Mr. Conduit decided to sell the cottage, and Mr. Lang suggested to Frank that either he or my sister and I buy it, and we were glad to have a place by the water so near home.
We, through my father, had known the Langs, Hilborns, Dicksons and Barretts since we were quite young. It was a pleasant prospect to go among friends, and they were all always so good to us. At that time, we had many relatives and friends visiting us all summer, and it was wonderful to be able to bring half of them home to Preston to sleep, and all spend our days together out there. It was convenient for our town friends too, and they were able to come cut easily.
Whether all cottage communities are so lucky I cannot say, but certainly the people at McCormick’s Point were as pleasant and friendly as could ever be imagined, and it was a happy, happy time.
As the mornings in August grew cooler, it was nice to breakfast on the flagstone or gravel at the back in the sunshine. Sleeping on the veranda was a highlight for me, and it was a very heavy storm that drove me in. The front lawn in the shade was the afternoon spot, and we often enjoyed both lunch and dinner on the wharf.
The sun set directly across the lake and we seldom missed that, and the lovely pink water washing up from the boat swells. Often our neighbours came over to watch the sunsets with us.
Ruth loved skating, and Percy and Gertrude Hilborn and their children were so kind about phoning her when the ice was good. We had some marvellous skates, once right around the lake. When there was a wind they brought sail-wings.
We finally found that we were both growing older and it was impossible to manage two homes any longer, though it was a terrible wrench to part with our little cottage.
THE CONDUIT, PATTINSON, HAHN COTTAGE
Oct. 21st, 1965.
by Lewis Hahn
I’m still not sure if Ruth and Roy Brown had ulterior motives or not when they invited Marville and me and our children out to their cottage for dinner in early June of last year (1964). After we had enjoyed one of Roy’s famous “Tom Collins” he casually mentioned that the cottage next door was for sale and that he had a key, and wondered if we would like to see it. Marville and I had never been interested in owning a cottage, but our children were along and they were so enthused that we just couldn’t say no.
So we now own a cottage. Of course, I knew I was going to retire in 1965 so it was more or less an experiment. In 1964, we were out only on weekends but in 1965 we moved out on June 15th and closed up on Thanksgiving Day. We’ve made a few changes, improved our water line by putting up a cement retaining wall, took out the partition between the living-room and veranda making one room, installed picture windows in place of the screens, and added electric heat, which is very enjoyable. For not being cottage people we are enjoying it very much, especially all of the fine people and new friends we have made who live at McCormick’s point during the summer. I really feel that at our point we have something very unique. Let’s keep it that way.
A picnic or corn roast often marked the close of the summer season at McCormick’s Point. For the past four or five years a date chosen early in August proved wise for at this time everyone is still enjoying cottage life and is not in the throes of moving back to town.
The committee of ladies in charge has worked out an order of the day whereby a record of necessary supplies is kept on file, and a pre-picnic time-table is followed. Just a few days before the picnic, usually two teenagers knock at each cottage door to find out how many from each cottage will attend. This count finalizes the grocery order and tells Tom Hagan how many corn cobs are required. Tom has farmer acquaintances who grow delicious table corn.
At about 2:30, Tom delivers the corn at Mrs. Freudeman’s back door where soon, all the children gather to husk it. Mrs. Freudeman insists that the boys and girls do a careful job of this, “Now, be sure to remove all the silk!” Mrs. Freudeman has a special knack of packing the cobs into an old copper boiler, and into another large pot, and to bring these large quantities to a boil at just the right moment. The corn is at its delectable best - at the same time that Cal, Doug, and Harold have hot dogs browned and sizzling on their barbeques, which have been hauled beside the shuffleboard court for the occasion. Helen & Ford have brought their big coffee urn, Mary Bendus, the Freshie dispenser, and slabs of delicious cakes top off the feast.
Bob Gowing has a special talent for directing the stunts and games. When everyone has eaten his fill, and one or two of us are sneaking a second helping of cake or cup of coffee, his voice comes over the loud speaker, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Teens and Children, Get ready now.”
I wonder who suggested to him that balloons be filled with water and tossed back and forth in ever lengthening distances between two players, until a final splash.
Who called for six good sports, who found themselves faced by six women armed with nippled bottles of pop? If I remember correctly, Rose & Ruth shook the pop a little and the nipples swelled alarmingly. And who would have thought Isabelle, with hammer in hand, the champion driver of spikes!
Contests follow in games of ball, tennis, and shuffle board. Prizes are awarded to the winners, and to the eldest and youngest participants. We have a grand time. It has been a delight when some who have been away are able to join us. The Barretts have found this date convenient for three or four years. Two years ago Helen & Paul Bridle, just home after many years in diplomatic posts abroad, were present. How nice to see them.
by Esther Saunders,
daughter of Louis L. Lang
Puslinch Lake brings back many delightful memories of picnics, house parties, swimming, sailing, and fishing.
In 1931, three families, the L. H. Barretts, the P. R. Hilborns and the L. L. Langs decided to purchase a strip of land on the shore of the west bay. Lots were numbered on paper and dropped into a hat, and division was made according to a draw in which the three wives took part.
In 1934, my Mother and Father, the Louis Langs, employed Mr. Roth of Preston to erect a simulated log cabin and a boat house. The latter was to include two dressings rooms which could be used as sleeping quarters when necessary.
As the buildings went up, no one was more interested in the progress than my grandmother, Mrs. J. C. Dietrich, who, at 84, was still very active. She was devoted to her family and friends and for a year after the cabin was finished, Granny spent many happy afternoons with us at the lake.
Often, she was included in the supper-picnics when the families Hilborn, Barrett, Dickson and Lang joined forces. These were very happy occasions and began increasing in size as the third generation arrived.
Many other parties were held at our cabin, memorable among which were the three annual events enjoyed by the Silver Star Society, The Shakespeare Club and the Girl Guides. The first two were luncheons were noteworthy for the many delicious dishes brought by the members, especially the strawberry shortcake which was always the final touch to the Shakespeare Club’s menu.
The Girl Guide picnics, which included swimming and games were among the highlights of the Guiding year. One summer our daughter, Barbara, a Guide and Gold-Corder, undertook to supervise such a picnic. After a long swim, new games were introduced, much to the delight of the children.
Although the swimming and parties were fun, Mother decided to add yet another attraction to McCormick’s Point, a small golf course, to improve our skill at putting and approaching. So to this end pipes were laid, and a water tank installed in the boat house, complete with pump. However, it was soon discovered that the up-keep of a golf course was both difficult and time-consuming, and the project was shortly abandoned.
No account of our cabin would be complete without mention of house parties. Many friends of my brother and of mine arrived from various points in Canada and the United States. Cabin and boat house were filled to overflowing, and twice, the Pattinson family very kindly lent us their cottage to help accommodate numerous guests.
On these occasions, the boats were much in demand, especially our small sailboat, which, with many other similar craft, made the lake most picturesque, especially at sunset when they glided gracefully over the rippling water.
Sailing was not always smooth, however, and sometimes there were mishaps, especially near the east shore of the bay where thick weeds often proved hazardous. I remember once capsizing and finding myself under the boat in a spaghetti melange of weeds and ropes which was a little frightening. Another time Mother was plunged unexpectedly into the lake. She had persuaded my brother, Howard, to take her sailing, rather against his better judgment. About mid-lake, suddenly, over went the boat! Fortunately, Mother remained calm, hung onto the boat and was shortly rescued. She said she thoroughly enjoyed the adventure.
And so the summers came and went, and the grandchildren grew and looked forward, with eagerness, to their swims and picnics at Puslinch.
The sailboats disappeared gradually, having been forced to give way to larger and noisier boats, and the lake became a rendezvous for water skiers. Even fishing, which at one time was an attractive pastime, was forgotten. My brother bought a summer home in Muskoka, and our children went to summer camps. Gradually, Mother and Father lost interest so that the cottage was sold in 1961 and our happy days at Puslinch were ended, but their memory will ever linger on.
LANG - CADWELL - MUNRO COTTAGE
Originally built in 1934 for the Louis Lang family of Galt, Ontario, the cottage was sold to Mr. Alex Cadwell of Guelph, Ontario in September 1961. This cottage was purchased by the Munro family of Kitchener, on August 22, 1962.
THE BARRETT COTTAGE
By Mr. R. Barrett
I think it was about 1930 when our family first started going out to Puslinch Lake, to the McCormick’s Point, for winter picnics, usually accompanied by our friends, the P. R. Hilborns and, or, the Robert Dicksons. I remember one occasion about that time, when the Dicksons and the Barretts walked across the ice on the west bay and cooked our lunch on a bonfire in the “bush” on the west shore. At that time, whenever the ice was smooth and an absence of snow permitted, many people came to the lake for skating and ice boating.
In 1931, Mr. P. R. Hilborn acquired from James Walter Lyon, a number of contiguous lots on the west bay. These were subdivided into three parcels, and the Hilborns, the L. L. Langs and the Barretts drew lots as to which parcel each would receive. Our deed from Mr. Hilborn is dated May 6, 1932.
At first, the Barretts used their lot, only for picnics, cooking on an outdoor stone fireplace. A tent was erected to give shelter. A long table, with benches on either side, was built about 1932 or 1933, around which our little group had many jolly picnics. This table, solidly built on cedar posts, withstood the ravages of time until 1964 when we dismantled it.
The tent proved satisfactory until my sister (Mrs. R. A. Eldridge of Montreal) started coming home with her first born, Michael. The flapping of the tent disturbed the youngster when he was put to bed for his afternoon sleeps, so my father decided to build a cottage, which he did in 1934. Arthur Roth was the contractor.
From these early times, people on our side of the McCormick’s Point swam at what we call the point, where the water was deep, and the bottom was gravelly at the shore. About 1933, our group built a raft, supported upon oil barrels, and topped with a diving stand, which was anchored off the point. The raft could not stand up to the abuse of a number of young people having fun by trying to rock it, and after a couple of years or so, it was replaced by a dock. I do not remember whether we all, on west bay, contributed to the cost of the dock, but I do know, that in later years, Mr. Hilborn was a generous benefactor in the rebuilding and maintenance of the dock.
Our annex or “Little Cottage” was built about 1936, the design and construction being done entirely by my father, L. A. Barrett. I inherited the Puslinch property in 1957 at the time of my mother’s death. Now that I’ve retired from my work I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time at the point, and I’m sure my wife and I are going to enjoy it.
THE HILBORN COTTAGE & HISTORICAL NOTES ON PUSLINCH LAKE
by Percy R. Hilborn
August 26, 1965.
My earliest recollections are picnics that I used to attend on the island, driving out with a carryall, and in the winter, dances at the hotel, going out by bobsleighs. In the summer, very often we would walk out, and back, if we could not get a ride.
In the early days, I recall my father shooting ducks, with Josh Wayper, who owned the hotel in Hespeler - a good sport, and he had a small house on one of the small islands. There was no wildlife control of any kind, at that time.
It was also reported that at one stage they had a gravel road, which could be used to drive from the mainland over to the island. This area now is a gravel sand bar, under two or three feet of water and weeds.
My next association with McCormick’s Point occurred when a friend of mine purchased for me from a Mr. Martin of Kitchener Ont., a lot, without my seeing it or knowing much about it. It was advertised in the paper. I then visited McCormick’s Point, found my lot, and decided we would use it for picnics. We had a canoe, put up a tent, and spent some days at the lake, at various times throughout the summer, with my young family. I owned a very good, chestnut-cedar canoe, made in New Brunswick. This was stolen, so I was interested in building a boat house. At that time, I found that lots on the South West Shore facing Mud Bay, were available for purchase.
Originally, Ontario Hydro, under the chairmanship of Sir Adam Beck, embarked on a policy of building a Radial Railway Line in southwestern Ontario through the main towns and cities. The first undertaking was from Toronto, east toward Oshawa, and west toward Guelph and Kitchener. Various business men and a lawyer in Guelph became interested in the Guelph development and anticipated a summer resort at Puslinch Lake. They planned to build a branch Radial Line from Guelph to the lake. Fortunately, the people of Ontario prevailed upon Sir James Whitney, then Premier, to hold up this Radial Line Programme, so that other than buying the right of way, doing some grading, putting in some bridge abutments, no further developments took place. You can still see the remains of this Railway’s initial work.
At that time, the promoters in Guelph realized that if they were not going to have the Radial Line, and automobiles had not gained the prominence they have now, that there would be no sale for their lots at the lake. They apparently had sold some to George Forbes, Alex Parks, and I think, Allen Kerr.
There was a group of lots from Lewis Hahn’s cottage down toward the South West Boundary, all facing on the lake, available. I purchased these at a very modest price from the Guelph people and divided them into three lots. We numbered these lots - #1 - #2 - and #3, and had the wives of Mr. L. L. Lang, Mr. L. A. Barrett, and my wife, draw numbers. The Langs drew the lot that they held until selling it a few years, ago. The Barretts did not like the lot that they had, and we did not like the lot that we had, so we exchanged for the properties that are now held by the Barrett family and my family.
The activities of quite a number of us in the earlier years, were sailing, some fishing, as well as boating and swimming, as well as ice boating and skate sailing in the winter. The Barretts and our family spent many days in the winter at the lake.
At one stage, the Langs, graded, put in water, and arranged for a small putting golf course, on the South West section of the vacant property, some of which I had purchased for the Association, and, is still held by them.
After buying our property, I built a boat house, having in mind the fact that my previous canoe had been stolen, which I used purely for that purpose for a few years. Later on, I purchased a log cabin, well over one hundred years old from an old settler in Algonquin Park, near Carney. I had them remove all of the timbers, number them and re-erect them all on the property, replacing only the base timbers that were rotted. These were large logs, many of them hewn, mostly white pine. This cabin was re-roofed with hand split shake shingles of B. C. Cedar. The Algonquin settler, told me that the building had been used for many different purposes in the Park. It had been a barn for logger horses, a school, and a Town Office, until the time that I purchased it.
The dock and portage point, originally was built by money subscribed by Mr. L. L. Lang, Mr. L. A. Barrett, and myself. Bert Dickson and I supervised the building, took soundings, and put the outermost pier on the shore of an old beach, where the water goes down to the deepest level of 8 to 10 feet. This we repaired at different times, and within recent years at the expense of the Association. It has been a valuable asset for the Point.
During the earlier years a clay tennis court was built and later covered with asphalt, and surrounded with wire fencing. About the same time a shuffleboard court was built. These have been very popular among all of the residences.
Throughout all of these years that I have been a property holder on the Point, I have never known of any unhappiness. There has always been harmony, good will and fellowship. I trust that this will continue for many years to come to the benefit of all of our families and friends.
We feel that our people have been too reticent about certain activities that they have carried out year after year, which are all efforts for good progress, locally and in a wider sense.
We owe a big “Thank You” to a great many Point people. May I name Ern Elthrington and Mr. Freudeman who have contributed in such unselfish ways to the improvements of McCormick’s Point. Mr. Freudeman was Secretary-Treasurer for 28 years. Ern held office as both President and as Secretary, but also as unofficial consultant and “Mr. Fixit” for all these years.
A number of cottagers have acted year after year as host or hostess for various social, church, and welfare groups. For many years Allan Kerr entertained the Preston Rotary Club, and Ford Hancock has followed in his steps, hosting this large group. Mr. & Mrs. Freudeman have had the Rotary, Rotary-Annes, Church and Hospital Aid groups at their cottage annually. Mrs. L. L. Lang entertained the Silver Star Society and the Girl Guides. Maud Elthrington has had an annual picnic for the Sunshine Bible Class United Church of Hespeler for 35 years, also Ladies Aid for as many years. Mr. & Mrs. Bob Gowing have entertained the C.B.M.A. for many years. One year, Isabelle entertained her Alter Guild on the same date Ford chose for the Rotary picnic. This list of good deeds is very incomplete.
There is one more fact that I would like to record. As far as we know, the one and only romance to lead to marriage between cottagers was that of Ern Elthrington & Maud Hortop.
A cluster of trees,
A little lake,
Our summer homes,
Pale evening moon,