Forgotten Regattas at Sturgeon Point

This article appeared in this week’s issue of “The Fenelon Falls Town Crier”  and on Fenelon Falls website.

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Regattas at Sturgeon Point (May 2014)

Fenelon Falls, Kawartha Lakes, Sturgeon Point

Regatta spectators and participants gather around Joseph Brown’s Boathouse located between 4th & 5th Street,  Sturgeon Point Circa 1908 – Source- Vintage Peterborough, Lindsay and Kawarthas

Article Source: THE STORY OF FORGOTTEN REGATTAS AT STURGEON POINT, by Watson Kirkconnell, M.A.

From the earliest times the hardwood groves at Sturgeon Point were a favorite rendezvous for picnics and excursions. The first regatta here was held in 1841, eighty years ago.

All pleasure on that occasion was marred by the drowning of a Mr. Wetherup, who upset from his canoe while in the act of taking off his coat. He was a powerful swimmer, but with his arms thus pinioned behind him he was lost at once.

Thirty-five years later, Captain George Crandell, of Lindsay, the chief promoter of navigation on local waters, realized the possibilities of Sturgeon Point as a summer village and spent some $25,000 in developing it towards that end. In 1876 he built a large summer hotel, the management of which was undertaken by W. H. Simpson. Crandell also purchased an extensive tract adjacent to the hotel and plotted out lots for summer cottages. These were quickly bought up and built upon: and thus began the summer colony at the Point.

The first regatta under the auspices of cottagers was held on September 18, 1878. The event of the day was a double canoe race in which two Rama Reserve Ojibwas named Yellowhead won by a narrow margin from Whetong and Toboco, two Mississagas from the Chemong Reserve. The winners paddled a birch bark canoe at seventy strokes to the minute. There were several white entrants in this open race, but all were left hopelessly behind by the two Indian crews.

About this time a black bear was found roaming about near the hotel and was disposed of by excited huntsmen. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1893, but the village about it had continued to flourish. It is a somewhat effete existence that these large community summer resorts offer to anyone possessed of youth and vigor: but they are a true paradise for little children and a healthful week-end refuge for urban workers who have no vacation in which to sally by canoe into the magnificent wildernesses of North Victoria and Haliburton.

To learn more about the history and happening at Sturgeon Point visit www.sturgeonpoint.com/

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