20 Jul

Mary Lake at Port Sydney, Ontario

The welcome sign says “Home of 800 nice families and 1 old grouch” in Port Sydney, Ontario.
Located approximately 12 km’s south of Huntsville and just off highway #11. This is the area next years G8 Summit will be held.

Port Sydney is situated on Mary Lake and is also part of the North Muskoka River.  See Google Map

Please Click the image for a G8 sized photo

In: historic muskoka, tripin around towns

26 Responses
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  1. Jenn Jilks says:

    I bet, during the Summit, there will be a lot more grouches! Some are threatening to get out of town!

  2. Heather says:

    The welcome sign is cute…wonder what the story is behind it???

    Can you just imagine what the area will be like there during the G8…I agree with Jenn…there are sure to be many grouches during that time period!!!
    Peaceful shot though…

  3. Bren Stallard says:

    We are visiting the area in August 2010. Can anybody tell me please if the Beauideal Restaurant in Port Sydney is still open? We have enjoyed many enjoyable visits there in the past. Thanks

  4. Cheryl Wagg says:

    Port Sydney is where I spend my life until I was 13 years old and my parents moved
    us to Richmond Hill, Ontario where I still reside as of today June 23, 2011. I love
    Port Sydney and would love to move back someday. We had a great childhood memories from that location it is so peaceful and relaxing area to live.

  5. Terry Brown says:

    does any one have any info on what happened to nichols cottages that was near where this photo was? there was a house that sold some candys, a cottage with a water pump and a little stream and a beautiful lawn stretched to the water, i think there were three cottages in a row. mrs nichols lived in her new bungalow where we would pick up keys (in 1978 or so)

  6. George Yons says:

    While visiting friends on Lake Mary over several weekends, Kay, my wife came up with the idea that a festival of music, fun and boating would be a good idea. Some of the residents and summer people liked the idea and the result was Festival Under the Stars. That was in the late “70s” and we are wondering if the festival still exists. If so, we would like to visit the lake at festival time. We would greatly appreciate any news.

  7. Wendy Miller says:

    I spent summers there as a child. My grandparents lived up the road and we walked to the beach, fed charlie the racoon and spent my allowance at the store that delivered groceries to the house. Spent sundays at the little white wooden church. From 1960 to 1974 I have the best memories of learning to swim learning to sail going down the falls and wearing out my shorts…. I’m a california girl my grandparents moved to victoria island in 1974. Would love to visit. Maybe soon

  8. Dennis Cheel says:

    The origin for the sign about “one old grouch”? Mr & Mrs Venebles lived in the town. Mr Venebles was the mayor, the fire chief, the warden, the postmaster, ran the only general store (The only one for many years) — in other words he was everything in the town. Well respected, well loved, but he did have a grouchy personality at times. When they put up a new town sign with the population on it the townspeople, during a town meeting, decided to go with the slogan to honour (and poke a little fun) at Mr Venebles.
    How do I know this. Mrs Venebles told me one day when we were staying at their cottages down by the river and were at their general store — and Mr Venables was right behind her at the counter say “Don’t tell them that! Don’t tell them that!” and then laughing.

  9. Dennis Cheel says:

    Terribly sorry, everyone! I realized I made a terrible mistake. The gentleman and lady in question was named Watson. Mr & Mrs Venebles had the cottage beside ours for several years (yes, they were cottages belonging to the Watson’s) and I mixed the names up — must have been a senior moment!!
    All the other details are correct. It was Mrs Watson who explained to me how the “one old grouch” was placed on the Port Sydney sign, in honour of all the positions and duties Mr Watson did for the village of Port Sydney.

  10. Em Arde says:

    Small world! Mrs. Watson was apparently my wife’s grandmother’s cousin. She (my wife) remembers the area, the store, the Watson cottages, and the “slippery rocks” quite fondly.

  11. R Doyle says:

    Clearwater Lodge was located just outside Port Sydney and the lodge encompassed both Mary Lake and Clearwater Lake. The summer resort was owned and operated by the UE Union for families of their factory workers; as a result, many of the families travelled there from the Hamilton and Welland areas. For these families, going to Clearwater Lodge was an annual summer treat. Some of the facilities included a large recreation hall with tuck shop, a TV lounge, shuffleboard, two dining rooms (for kids and adults), both separated and joined cabins, plus plenty of water activities. The lodge closed for good in the early 1980s after operating for decades. I’m surprised nobody has remembered Clearwater Lodge with a website as hundreds of families enjoyed their time there.

  12. Julie Smith says:

    We live in Hamilton and our family use to travel to Clearwater Lodge for our annual trip every year, up until I was 18 years old. We just loved the place and have such wonderful memories of the lodge and all the wonderful people we met, year after year. There was a couple of families we got really close to and use to arrange our trips the same time as theirs. We especially liked the “costume dress-up” night, we would find things around the cottage or greenery from outside and dress my parents up to have a great night in the lodge.
    Is there anything in place of that lodge now? would love to go up in the area just to see what it is like.


  13. PAULINE LAWLER says:


  14. Ed Boutilier says:

    Pauline – I am not a real estate agent. Through your connections at Royal LePage you should be able to get the information you need.

  15. Dave (cricket)Billyard says:

    Ue lodge was the best. Went there from infancy till working there for 3 years as a teenager. Tons of good memories and it would have been nice had it stayed on to take my kids there.

  16. Dave (cricket)Billyard says:

    @ Julie. I’m sure you will remember Pioneer had a couple camps on clearwater and one on Divine. They purchased it and now run a camp out of there.

  17. Alan Muir says:

    I could have sworn the sign said “500 nice people and 1 old grouch” when I was growing up there in the 70s.

  18. Scott Bruinsma says:

    My wife and I just purchased a cottage on Mary Lake. It is on the East shore and includes Gall Island. We are very excited to here more stories and take part of creating our own. Beautiful lake.

  19. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hi Scott, Congratulations on your cottage purchase. I wish you and your family many years of happiness on Mary Lake. Watch out for the old grouch. LOL

  20. Wendy Miller says:

    Question- can any local tell me please the approximate dates of the black fly invasions? I remember it lasting 3 to 4 weeks, maybe? Childhood memory…. my sisters and i plan to visit summer 2020 and would love to avoid coming during that time. Looking so very much forward to visiting childhood stomping grounds again

  21. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hi Wendy, in most areas around Muskoka Black Fly season can vary a little. It all depends on the spring melt and when we get warm weather for them to hatch. Usually the month of May is blackfly season. Some years are bad and others not so bad. It also depends where you are located. I have no idea what it is like in the Mary Lake area. Usually if there is moving water conditions are better. I think if you were planning a visit the best time of year would be June to October.

  22. Robert Watson says:

    I worked at the U. E. for three summers in the 1960’s. It was a great place. Charlotte and Ruth who lived in Port Sydney were great cooks and welcomed me into their homes during the summer and in the winter. I ended up student teaching at the school on Highway 11 when I was training to be a teacher. Lots of great times in Port Sydney, on the lake, riding at the Crockford stable and sliding down the falls.

  23. Ourgoo says:

    My family would take our summer holidays at Clearwater Lodge each year. My Dad worked in Toronto in a UE company. It was so memorable as a kid, meeting families that you saw every year. I remember the dining room, rec hall with buffalo head, tuck shop and the famous playground that we knew as the pigpen. I was up in the area a few years ago and went by to walk around. I saw the old sauna by the lake and remnants of the old stone wall along the dirt road. Most of the buildings are still there today. I still have a tomahawk that my dad won playing ping pong from 1980!

  24. Ed Boutilier says:

    Fantastic memories. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Dave Billyard says:

    Wow , great read. I was lucky enough to work at ” The Lodge ” from76 to 79. It was such a blast. After reading Your post I will now head up to check it out. By the way I was known as Cricket back then so if You remember me please say HI or even if You don’t please say HI. Thanks for the post.

  26. So many fantastic memories at ” The Lodge”. I was lucky enough to work there for 3 summers , 76 to 78 , what a blast , ran the tuck shop 1 summer , counselor dishwasher and the last year maintenance. Back then I was known as Cricket so if You remember me say HI or even if You do t say hi. Thanks for the post. Very Kool.

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