29 Oct

The History of the Old Stone Crypt

Driving around the back roads of Muskoka I recently found this old stone crypt near Torrance, Ontario.

I discovered this is the final resting place for William Odell Darling Pine Whiting and family. (Boy, they had long names back then) W.O. Whiting was from England and fell in love with Muskoka in 1885 when he was returning to Toronto while serving with the Northwest Grenadiers after the Riel rebellion.

He later returned in 1892 and bought a large piece of beachfront stretching from Sandy Point to Coulter’s Narrows on Lake Muskoka. William built a 210 room, 4-story hotel called the Brighton Beach Hotel which was a replica of a hotel back in Brighton Beach England. Unfortunately the hotel burned down before it ever opened. Later, William and his wife Clara Cronkhite built a second smaller hotel named the Brighton Beach II which operated for a short while until it burned down in 1917.

Here is a good article about the Whiting family called; Ninety-Three Muskoka Summers


Please click for a large photo

In: in and around muskoka ontario, tripin around towns

27 Responses
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  1. Jenn Jilks says:

    Where is this, Ed? Mom and dad are sitting on a shelf. I need to figure out where to put them! I think my brother wants them in Torrance, but I haven’t been able to find the cemetery he meant.

    Kewl photo!

  2. Heather says:

    Don’t see crypts much around here…


  3. sue and david whiting says:

    We visit Canada and include the Muskoka area every second year from England,we will look for crypt next time ( 2011 ) would love to have more information on cemetery location.My husbands family roots were in England around the area that William Whiting originated from.

  4. Bill Macfarlane says:

    it is located on Torrance Rd which turns into East Bay Road off HWY 169 North towards Bala

  5. Ellen says:

    Hi I have the family history on Ancestry and I an the custodian of the Family plots in the Torrance Cemetary. Would love to meet the Whitings from England.We are planning a family reunion in Aug

  6. ken bol says:

    I too am interested in the history of the .crypt and the influencial families affiliated with it.I offer dinner for Four compliments of The Moon River Lookout Restaurant to discuss. My name is Ken and my wife Tiffany. Hope to here from you

  7. Ryan Farley & Shannon Bond says:

    Hi Ken, we actually live just down the road from the Torrance Cemetery where the crypt is located. There is a lot of history to our town that we’d be happy to share with you. We’d love to join you for dinner, I’ve never been to the Moon River Lookout. Thank you for the invite.

  8. Ryan Farley & Shannon Bond says:

    Hi Ken, we actually live just down the road from the Torrance Cemetery where the crypt is located. There is a lot of history to our town that we’d be happy to share with you. We’d love to join you for dinner, I’ve never been to the Moon River Lookout. Thanks for the invite !

  9. Jeff G. says:

    I used to go to summer camp up the road from the cemetary. That was in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I believe it is called Camp Crossroads now. (If it still exists). The tomb was the subject of some great ghost stories that scared the daylights out of the campers. There were many dares to walk up to or even enter the tomb. Most declined. I know a few got pretty close to it then ran away. It was quite funny.

  10. Kathy Black says:

    We are having a Whiting family reunion, August 20th @ whiting beach.

  11. Kathy Black says:

    so sorry it is A.ugust 20, 2011

  12. I am the great granddaughter of William and my grandfather was George William. I spent a few of my summer holidays with my Grandparents on the lake and yes many many memories. We have a very proud heritage and I am very proud to be apart of it. As to the crypt, I can remember my cousins and I getting goose bumps when we would walk by it to go to the Torrence Store! Today it has so many of our family there, not inside but around including my father. It’s hard to believe that we have lost so many. Now our generation continues to keep the history going.

  13. Carole Liscombe says:

    I was born and raised in Torrance (close to the Torrance Union Cemetery) and I remember the Whiting tomb very well becasue as kids will, I played with my friends in the cemetery. Hiding when cars drove by on East Bay Rd, we often took refuge behind the old tomb. When I was still living in Torrance, there was talk of a break-in at the tomb~~ My parents didn’t mention too much about it but I remember being “troubled” when I heard about. It may have been in the 50’s

  14. Peggy Roberts says:

    Esther Packer married one of the Whitings (I think it was Charlie). I am the granddaughter of Frank Packer, her brother. I have been trying to put together some history on the Packers who also lived in Torrance, and are buried in that same cemetary. I know they owned a large piece of waterfront land (I was there as a child), and that the first floor of the family home burned down, and later seemed to disappear altogether. Lena, Tom, and Bill lived in the family home until their deaths. Esther was still alive at that point. I have no information on what happened to Louise, and little information on what their father did. I think he may have run one of the steamships, but not sure. Grandma Packer (also Selina) ran a boarding house for some time, but I don’t know if that was while she raised her family, or after they were grown. I would love to get some information about the family and if possible, copies of any photos anyone has.

  15. David Domanski says:

    I have a cottage just beside Paker Bay. It was built by the Packer family, as many in my area were. During renovations, I find pieces of lumber with the name “Packer” written on them. I am told that all cottages built by the family are totally mouse proof! I think that mice have since evolved and have found ways to break in.

  16. Peggy Roberts says:

    Thanks David. My grandfather (James Frank Packer) was a carpenter and I know he built several cottages in the Muskoka area. I have a feeling his brothers could have also been builders, but not sure. It would have been nice if someone in the family had kept some of the land, but grandpa felt life there had been too hard and he wanted no part of it. I like the fact that the cottages were built to be “mouse-proof”. I’m sure with time they can break into anything. Enjoy your time there. It is beautiful – except during blackfly season.

  17. David Domanski says:

    I bought property from the Zimeramans s family compound, who have been on the lake for 70 ++ years. They are just south of your family bay. If you really like history of the area and your family, look them up. You will see Zimermans, Taylors and Jaimisons. All the same family. I love thier stories of the bay.

  18. Peggy Roberts says:

    You have provided me with a wealth of information. My mom is still living, and has given me more to work with this year. There is only her and one other sister who is not doing all that well from a family of 6. They were Frank’s children. I did find a booklet titled Early History of Torrance, and am going to see if I can track down the authors of that. Thanks for your help.

  19. Heather (Whiting)Cummings says:

    This was built by my great Grandfather and we, his great grandchildren use to hate walking past it when we were walking into the Torrance store from the lake. We all thought it was spooky!!!! Of course now some 40 years later it is appreciated and valued to us with our family in and around it. The Whiting name has a lot of history in Muskoka and I am honored to carry the name and pass on to my children and grandchild.

  20. Paul Lawrence says:

    My Great Grandfather owned a sawmill in Torrance around 1905. He donated the land for the dock. Does anyone have any further details. His name was George Albert Thompson

  21. David T Warden says:

    In the mid to late 50’s, I was fortunate to be able to spend some vacations in Torrance at a general store my great aunt owned next to the train tracks on the road to the dock, Robinsons General Store. Two local girls worked there, Maureen and Marlene as well as a Bob Fowler as I remember.
    Also recall a Bill Jeffrey whose parents ran the post office at the time.
    Great memories, have to look up that ‘stone crypt’ if I get up there again!

  22. Cheryl (Oliver) Blyth says:

    Just visited this cemetery to find my great great grandmother’s resting place. Her name is Mary (Gray) Myers died 18 Dec. 1876. I read a book named Balla Boy written by my cousin David M. McKee who wrote that Mary was the first schòol teacher when they built the school. She used to row across the lake to school in the spring & fall & walk across Black Lake home on the ice in the winter but in Dec 1876 the ice was soft & she fell through & made it to shore & walked home around the lake frozen stiff but died a week later at age 30 yrs 3 mos. She is buried to the right of the Crypt.

  23. Heather says:

    I grew up just down the street from here. I always wondered who it belonged too. Thank you, I’m happy to learn something new .

  24. Sharron Cox (East) says:

    My parents built a cottage on Torrance Road in 1947 on property that had belonged to my mother’s grandmother. Their family name was Johnson. My mother’s uncle married one of the Strombergs (Gert) who were early pioneers in the area. Through their marriage many of us were related. My favourite thing as a child was going to the cemetery, reading the tombstones and visiting the Whiting Tomb. As Carole said in the late 50’s the tomb was broken into.

  25. David M. Mckee says:

    I went to Bala public school 1946 to 1951. We use to ride our bikes out to the cemetery and go down into the crypt because it was wide open. We were 8 to 10 years old and we were reading comics like ” Tales of the Crypt” and we were all excited to maybe really see a body. What a let down! The shelves were bare no ghosts or nothin’! I didn’t even know that Mary Myers was my Great great grandma then, ( 70 years ago ). Now I know she was the first school teacher in Woods township and have her pay records! Her father James Gray died 6 months later in May 1877 was the second burial in Torrance cemetery right beside his daughter Mary Myers but there is no stone. One month later Mrs. Torrance died in childbirth and became the third in the cemetery.
    Old James Gray’s death was certified by Henry Cully Guy from Bala. Mary Myers came to Torrance in 1871 with the Grays, Dimmas, and Myers family’s.
    Interesting facts:
    1) Mary Myers was thr first schoolteacher in Wood township and the First burial in the cemetery.
    2) William Jestin donated one acre of land, half for the cemetery and half for the school. Mary had the dubious distinction of being first teacher and first burial! The school plaque is just down the line from her grave.
    3) Mary’s husband, Friend Whitlock Myers fought in the 2nd Michigan cavalry from 1861 to 1864 and was reported WIA, MIA, and KIA. (Killed in action). Actually he was wounded and captured at Wolf Creek Mississippi but survived to wed Mary
    4) Friend lived into his 80’s and when he died he was buried in Torrance too. But in Pacific Pines cemetery Torrance California!!! 4000 miles away! You can’t make this shit up! And there’s a heck of a lot more weird things in Torrance Union cemetery than that. Ask me.

  26. Ed Boutilier says:

    David, That is fascinating history of Torrance and the stone crypt. Thank you for adding this.

  27. Ms c johnston, says:

    Good afternoon,I am the granddaughter of Gertrude johnston,,thankyou to Sharon cox,x,east for sharing that lovely memory,,of our family,,

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