Our Heritage

Here on Belmont Lake, we are very fortunate to be surrounded by not only vibrant wildlife, spectacular scenery and a gorgeous lake but, also, a truly rich and meaningful history. We are also gifted with our ability to be able to share some of the stories and memories from those with deep roots in the community to our members and anyone else who may come upon our website. We hope to encourage a sense of inclusiveness and provide a broad understanding of the important role played by our lake, local communities and, most importantly, the people who have lived, vacationed or visited our wonderful area.

One such person is Donna Peeling. She and her family (Sayers) have had a cottage on Belmont Lake for over 70 years! For the past few years, she has been interviewing descendants of original cottagers on the lake about how their families first came to establish cottages here, along with early memories. She is recording this fascinating history and her work is now available on our blog! Please find below her first entry to our highly anticipated: Belmont Lake History blog.

 

BELMONT LAKE HISTORY  

Few people know or realize the gem of the Belmont Lake area; the history of logging and the forestry industry; the game fishing and the mining richness of the land encompassed with rare and exceptional rock formations.

Belmont Lake was literally scraped out, as a result of the most southerly arm of the Cambrian Shield; thus the relationship to the many different volcanic rocks which remain evident around this lake, not to have ever been otherwise expected in this area.

Belmont has hosted many internationally known geologists associated with the Bethlehem Steele Company & mining industry, vacationing or residing on Belmont Lake,.

We have families still travelling from far and wide for their summer vacation; be it from New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Florida, California, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Mexico and all the Provinces of Canada.

The Belmont region is full of amazing history, such as: the first Ontario gold mine to be discovered in Cordova, the massive open iron-ore mine in Marmora plus flint, talc and other mineral mines.

I have been very fortunate to have interviewed families who still live or vacation near the lake.

I met with Kent & Connie Young, noting their extensive family history dating back to his parent’s purchase of land in 1886 when logging was the mainstay…his father, Roger Young, built and operated the Sylvan Lodge and Cabins, which drew many Americans for fishing and sports; as well as their family relationship to the design of the Campion Boat Industry, which still exists in BC.

I met several times with Beverley Meyers (Hood), who provided me with hundreds of photos, documented maps, surveys and books which house the history about Belmont Lake; where her family originally owned & sold many acres of lake-front land.

I met with Lucy Olsen Fisher (from California); her father, a mining engineer in Arizona, was transferred in the mid fifties as Executive Director of the Bethlehem Steele Company in Marmora. The Olsen family were one of the first residents in the exclusive homes built for mining engineers, on the rise of land just above the Crowe River in Marmora, a town where Lucy was schooled; her stories of the family hunting camps north of Belmont and their original water-front built cottage in the 50’s, which is still in amazing condition just north of Crowe River, housing many original artifacts and pictures associated with that era. Her south-west rock wall was totally built by her & her family from stones pulled from the bottom of Belmont Lake. As a teenager, Lucy worked during the summer for the Cumming’s family lodges. Her stories are unending and absolutely hilarious.

I met with Richard Heisey, a Funeral Director from Lititz, Pennsylvania: he travels every summer to his cottage located near to the Olson’s. He spoke about his father being the Senior Medical Director for the Bethlehem Steele Company, having resided in Cornwall as a young man and vacationed on Belmont.  He noted the proximity of the railway lines in Havelock as transport for lumber as well as iron-ore to the tankers in the St Lawrence, to be processed & distributed in the United States from the Marmora pit.

I met with Roger Glassco and his wife; speaking of the history about Birch Island with its walking trails, inland pond and log cottage built by Jim Rogers, father-in-law of  Irene Rogers; who owned and operated the local gas and supply store.

The Glassco cottage has one of the original stone fireplaces identical to many on the lake formed from local unique rocks. The beautiful log cottage has been kept original; with no electricity or running water but showers of true love and enjoyment.

I met with Bruce Rogers and his mother Irene Rogers, prior to her death, at the age of 98. More notes will be documented at a later date.

The hundreds of photos, documents, books and history of the area that I have been provided with are so truly unbelievable and fascinating, especially the lives of geologists and settlers who were instituted into this era and associated to the mining and forest industries.

I will be searching for ideal locations to preserve, protect and to present in writing the extensive history and stories that are being told to me about our so valuable region.

I welcome more contacts, to meet and speak to each and every one of you about your stories and heritage/ relationship to this area.

I may be reached at 705-778-2874 Belmont Lake 46 FR 32 RR# 1, Havelock Ontario

Donna Peeling

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