Thursday, 13 October 2011

Tenting at Sturgeon Point

In the beginning... before the cottages were built... people used to come to The Point to camp and for picnics.

In A Gentlewoman in Upper Canada, Anne Langton wrote:

Wednesday, September 2, 1840:  ... a little picnic has been resolved upon for the tenth of of this month to take place at Sturgeon point, and a couple of boat races are to provide the excuse for a meeting. ... There will be no company invited, no preparations made, excepting alone the pitching of the marquee, where we shall each take our little basket of provisions." [pg 296]

The earliest picture of Sturgeon Point dates to 1880.  In it, Joseph Rutherford Dundas and his family are shown having a picnic.  The tent is clearly visible behind them.

J.R. Dundas lived at 25 Mill Street in Lindsay.  He went into business with his nephews William McElroy Flavelle and John Dundas Flavelle.  All three men would purchase the Lake Avenue lots between 1st and 2nd Streets and build cottages there.  W.M. Flavelle's cottage was taken down, and in the early 1970s, J.D. Flavelle's house was rebuilt with its original pediment and columns surviving.  The Dundas cottage, at the bottom of 2nd Street, passed to his daughter Ada Dundas Rundle (also in the picture above) and although no longer in the family it still survives intact.

In 1884, the young Lindsay lawyer, Robert J. McLoughlin wrote in his diary:

Saturday 13 September:  Fine cool day.  Boss gone to Sturgeon Pt. today.  Howard also went with Mr. McSweyn. In evening I went down in the Eva and camped with him all night.

Sunday 14 September:  Camping at Sturgeon Pt.  Sunday we went for a walk in the forenoon and for a boat ride in afternoon.  We had a good tent and are putting in a pleasant time.

Monday 15 September:  Came back to Lindsay this morning and spent day in office.

R.J. McLoughlin's diary shows that during the summer months there was almost a trip a week to The Point for a picnic.  He would later purchase a lot at the junction of Lake and Henry Streets and build The Brown House, the first property at Rose Hill.  His love of the Point and of the law would be passed to the current generation.

Through the 1890s, as the cottages began to be built there was still enough space for people to camp at The Point...

And the Native peoples from Curve Lake would come and camp at the Point too.  They would bring baskets and small items to sell and would fix items around the community.  This picture from the McLaughlin family album dates to August 1907.

But as more and more of the lots were purchased the availability of land on which to freely camp disappeared and tenting became the activity of young children in search of adventures like this 1947 image of Miss Fee and her pup Paddy in their 3rd Street yard.

Have you got any pictures of camping at The Point?  If so we'd love to see them!

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