27 May

Ferndale House in Muskoka

This is the point of land on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka where the Ferndale House once rested. It was later called the Canadian Keswick Conference Centre and it burned down in 1946.  There is now a very large mansion and boathouse on this property. (Photo coming soon) Check the cool little gazebo up on the point overlooking the lake. Click to see a large photo.

Please click on the photo for a 1280 pixel size

In: in and around muskoka ontario

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  1. leslie carr says:

    the gentleman that owns this place also owns Mattamy homes. I take care of a place across the bay . I believe it is the largest one standing cottage in muskoka. It houses several bedrooms and fireplaces. I miss seeing the old resort that use to stand there were the cottage now rests.

  2. Heather says:

    Gorgeous shot…don’t know anything about the point of land other than it makes for a great photo!!!

    Hope you and Cindy are well…

  3. Darrell says:

    Can you tell me if any of the original Canadian Keswick Conference buildings are still standing and is Mattamy Homes still planning on developing this site??

  4. Jennifer says:

    My family had a cottage right across the bay from here and the picture looks like it could have been taken from the dock. Leslie Carr, can you tell me which cottage you take care of? Is it by any chance the small white one on the water(used to be green when we had it)My parents sold it in about 1987(?) and I have deep regrets! I would be so interested to hear about the family who owns it now and if they would ever be open to my sister and I coming to see the place for a few minutes for a walk down memory lane. Also if it ever came up for sale would be very interested!

  5. Naomi Hawkins says:

    My husband & I are visiting Ontario for the very first time & decided to drive up to Port Carling today to check out some family history. My great-grandfather was Frederick Penson (younger brother of Seymour). Their father was Richard George Penson. We were in awe of the beauty of Port Carling & had a great time tracing some family roots there. They were the founders of Ferndale House which was one of the first hotels started in the Muskoka Lakes in the late 1800’s. We have found the people of Ontario very friendly & helpful. We definitely plan to come back & spend more time here! My grandfather was Jack Penson, son of Frederick. My mom, Norma was Jack’s(I think his real name was John) oldest daughter. Jack’s family(11 children) was raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta & Norma’s family(10 children) pretty much all live in Telkwa, B.C. So as with most families were basically spread across Canada now.

  6. Frank Bale says:

    This is the spot where I asked my wife to marry me!!

  7. John Goetze says:

    I know CKC very well. Spent 2 weeks of almost every summer there from 1961 – 1974. My father lead a youth week there every July for young people from German Baptist congregations in Ontario, Illinois,Michigan, New York and Wisconsin.
    When I saw it some years ago it was a derelict property with the old Conference hotel and chapel damaged by water and weather, and many other buildings already torn down. I was, to say the least, saddened by what I saw compared to what I had locked away in my memories. What a gorgeous place it once was! I do remember the green cottage across the bay from CKC, and that cottage’s dock. We used to row a conoe over to the dock to say hello.
    If the former CKC property is now private, then it belongs to Peter Gilgan, the CEO of Mattamy Homes. I believe Peter still lives in Oakville, ON. It’s not likely that it will ever be a CKC, but knowing the business man Peter is, it could end up being developed as a resort similar to The Rosseau in Minett, ON.

  8. karen hanna says:

    Naomi, I hope you see this. My great grand father was Seymour Penson. We are related!! I wish I knew how to get in contact with you.. I know mostly about Seymour but not enough about Richard. I don’t know if you know this, but they are buried in the Port Carling cemetery…

    If you come back to Ontario I hope we can get in touch!


    Karen – your long lost relative!! x

  9. Murray Whitehead says:

    Worked the summer at CKC ( 1957 ) Great memories, all good. Went back to take a look three or four years ago, could not even find the drive way. What a sad mess, for such a beautiful place in it’s day. Could write a book on all my experiences that summer. My pay for ther whole summer $100. Still went home happy.

  10. Wendy Jackson says:

    I worked at CKC in the summer of 74 and 75 as a housekkeeper. The best two summers of my entire life! I loved seeing some of the old pictures and the great memories I had there. We only made $1.65 an hour but it felt more like a vacation than anything. I had made good friends and we had so much fun. It was sad when I went back in the early 90s to see everything that had all grown in…I could hardly find the road to the girls dorm! Even the asphalt for the main driveway was all treed. So sad. Loved going into Howards for ice cream and the roller skating events. Water skiing with the Moller’s was a blast….Tim Gamble who was a Bus Boy is now CEO of Thunderbird Film Production out in BC….amazing. I will never forget such really great times. Remember last nite of the summer and how crazy it went with the girls dorm getting egged and the boys dorm getting floured….Oh those were the days!

  11. Lorna Picken says:

    Karen Hanna: I hope you come back to this site I am Naomi’s cousin – I beleive you are the grand daughter of Ruth. I am a bit of a family tree geek and would love to here from you…My email is lornapicken@yahoo.ca

  12. Jim Fraser says:

    I suggest God is raising up another type of Canadian Keswick Conference at Muskoka Bible Centre in Port Sydney.

    They have excellent speakers for example: Joe Boot:Ezra Institute, RZIM: Andy Bannister and Stuart McCallister, Charles Price:Peoples Church and my favourite Church Historian Michael Haykin from SBTS.

    Does any one remember George Bourbeau or G. B. Catering Service Ltd. working in the kitchen?

  13. Karen Peckham (nee Sawkins) says:

    I am the administrator for the Canadian Keswick Conference FB group (very grateful to have John Henderson’s help now)! For months, there was only one other member who joined and I thought how could that be that we were the only ones to want to share the fondest memories I knew I HAD of the summer of ’71 when I was a “hotel maid” at 17 years of age, and met the most wonderful people from around the globe I was STILL writing to? Now we are up to 38 members, and it’s GREAT hearing old stories of friendship, the blessings of fabulous speakers and music and bible discoveries, the best laughs and fun, and beautiful surroundings you could ever ask for ~ and missing it all. I can truly say it was the summer of my life, and I’m so grateful to God for leading me to apply there.

  14. Hello. What a great site. I spent over twenty summers at ckc my father is Arthur Hyderman he was the ckc clown. With out any doubt the most special place in my whole life.
    would love to see more photos. My parents had hundreds of the old slides that you would show with a projector but they got damaged in a basement flood we had. What a loss.

    keep the memories going…..I know every square inch of that resort

  15. Wilma West says:

    I have a postcard from Ferndale House in July 1942, with a 2 cent stamp on it. The picture indicates “Canadian Keswick Ferndale Muskoka Lakes Canada From the air”
    Is it of interest to a Historical Society in Muskoka?

  16. Wilma West says:

    Not sure what “awaiting moderation” means.

  17. Karen Peckham says:

    I would LOVE the postcard WILMA WEST!

  18. Ed Boutilier says:

    I think the Muskoka Lakes Museum would be interested in that postcard.

  19. Michael Stock says:

    I am interested in the CKC site as well. My great grandfather was Rowland Bingham and my dad spend many a summer there in the 1930 & 1940’s. One of my grandmothers friends Myra (Deb) Devitt was a cook there too. More recently we had a cottage on Lake Joseph and would take a ride over to Lake Rosseau and my Dad pointed out the pews built into the slope on the north side and said he used to put bibles and hymn books on the “seats”. What a great spot!

  20. Mary Frolen says:

    My great grandparents were Richard and Elizabeth Penson,
    my grandmother grew up on the property and married her first
    cousin who came to visit from England and proposed to her also out on Ferndale Point
    I have probably more family history than most,and have
    visited many times, the last time five years ago just before the last
    piece of land on the bay was sold. I had dreamed of buying the
    place, but it turned out to be just that. Have met many of the
    Alberta Pensons and been to two of their reunions. My grandmother
    was Emily Mary Penson, one of the ten children born to the family.
    I will always love the Ferndale property, and would be happy to
    chat with anyone interested.

  21. good day= i am researching wm HANNA family and =Penson- Fredrick W PENSON (Richard George PENSON/Elizabeth Mary HOLDAWAY= Richard Ebenezer PENSON1) wed Margaret BAILEY d/o Robert BAILEY- Mary Jane ELLIOTT would be nice to talk to you thank you

  22. marilyn yetter says:

    I was wondering if anyone remembers Glen Rocks Bible Conference on Lake Roseau. My aunt had a cottage there in the sixties and I spent a week or two along with my parents there. I have very fond memories of the lake and activities. Then it was sold and it included every ones cottages. I would like to know what the property was turned into. Thanks. I live in PA. Many a great Christian preacher spoke there.

  23. penson relative says:

    Jennifer: we also had two cottages that were in Ferndale Bay. They have been sold now. (with deep regrets) Know how you feel! Not a choice I would have made. But what can you do. We know we will never have a chance to get back in Muskoka. When we were kids we used to go into Port Carling and at times we were the only ones there. Sometimes we we would walk up the hill to that little burger joint and grab a bite to eat. We would also go to the arena and go roller skating. I have very fond memories and wish my kids and grand kids to be would have that chance to be in such a wonderful place. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. I would do anything to be there right now.
    Well enough of that eh!

  24. Jennifer says:

    Hi again! Just checked back on this site and noticed a comment to me from “penson relative” . I too think of my old cottage pretty much every day! Best memories of my childhood! We spent lots of time there during the summers of the 70’s and half of the 80’s. I am wracking my brain right now trying to remember the name of that burger shack up the hill. Was it Howies or something like that? Anyone know? I remember taking the boat to port carling to go grocery shopping at the IGA, and always a treat to go and get candy at the convenience store across the street at the top of the hill.
    I used to look across the bay and see guests of the hotel having fun in the water and sliding down a slide in the middle of the bay. My sisters and I would walk the property after it had been closed and abandoned.Not sure when that would have been? I have a few pictures of myself in that little gazebo on the point when I was about 10? We used to hear singing at the sunday services on the hillside my grandparents attended. I have early memories of going there for a sunday meal I think?
    My grandparents were Mabyn and Basil Topp and spent their summers up there in their retirement years.
    I know I am rambling but am just letting the memories flood back! We went to Clevelands House last year with our 2 boys and are planning on another trip there this summer. Drove to the old cottage and had a peek from the top of the hill where their parking is. Definite changes but still so familiar! I was an emotional wreck, my boys couldn’t understand why I was crying! What I wouldn’t give to give them what I had, amazing times at that cottage.
    Thanks for reading! 🙂

  25. Nancy says:

    I made a typo in my last comment. It was your Grandparents that I went to visit. I think I wrote Parents, sorry.

  26. David says:

    I was on staff at the Keswick Conference for several summers in the mid 1960’s. I often took a canoe and paddled alone around the bays and islands, and frequently stopped in to chat with Basil and Mabyn if I saw them sitting out on the dock (either on the island or on the mainland) just to sit and chat with them. A lovely quiet, sedate, and elegant couple. Mabyn would make tea for the three of us as we sat and chatted in the most idyllic surroundings. Mostly they were alone, and always welcoming. But once or twice when I paddled over, they had a granddaughter visiting. Their green cottages with white trim are a happy fixture in my memory.

  27. Campbell McPhee says:

    Summer of ’69:

    I almost drowned in the bay just North of the boathouse. Someone saw our canoe capsize and jumped in their boat and rushed over to save us.

    Never did get the guy’s name, but I owe him !!

  28. Hello everyone: My name is Sydney Murray my grand mother’s name was Mable sproule, whose father was fredrick penson, who would be my great grand father so I am related possibly to some of you here… ? thanks Sydney 🙂

  29. Sue (Davis) Mayhew says:

    Jim Fraser,

    Chef George Bourbeau’s daughter, Renée, worked with him in the kitchen and we got to know her, as well as his sous chefs, Richard Nadeau and Vince ?…can’t remember his last name. It was Richard and Vince who kept me from falling prey to Dave Mackey, who announced he was going to ‘color’ my (then) very long hair with a jar of honey on our last night of the summer.

    After four years at CKC there are so many wonderful memories. The last time I was at the property, it had been transferred to a 7th Day Adventist group and they had installed a meeting tent on what was our football field.

    I remember our dorm ‘Moms:’ Beth Reinhard, Jan Potts and Joanne Morrison. Jo accompanied me to my keyboard audition at U of T, her alma mater. Ultimately, I went to McMaster University to study (what else?) music. Two CKC friends at Mac also lived in my residence during freshman year. One of them was Glenda Foster…remember her?

  30. Bev Howarth Bruce says:

    We had a cottage right around the corner on Adam’s Bay. My sisters and I drove over to KCK everyday in our little rowboat with a 5hp motor. We played and explored and enjoyed ice cream cones and licorice from the tuck shop. These are my best summer memories!

  31. Frank Bale says:

    I used to be registered on this site but somehow my name was dropped a number of years ago, Karen…I remember you from CKC as well as our connection in Brantford. Spent MANY summers working at CKC as a waiter, headwaiter, and eventually managing the Tuck Shop along with my wife and 6 month old daughter…1958 – 1970. After 52 years had a great reunion on the weekend with 2 fellow waiters.

  32. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hi Frank,
    You used a different email address in the past therefore the site did not remember you. You are good now. Best regards

  33. The Brand says:

    So nice to hear about all of these memories. I hope you can all find each other.

    My families small business in Tottenham designed and installed the landscape for this cottage. An ever growing/ changing property. A beautiful site.


  34. Jennifer says:

    I just read across all the comments again after a few years! I am happy to report that my husband and I were able to purchase a “fixer upper” small cottage on Lake Muskoka back in 2015! My dream of being back in Muskoka became a reality. It truly is my happy place! Last summer my sister and I drove to the “landing” across from the Ferndale site where islanders park their cars and as fate would have it we ran into one of my cousins we had lost touch with! He was kind enough to take us across to Edith Island which my grandparents (Mabyn and Basil Topp) acquired back in the 50’s. I have such amazing childhood memories and am so lucky to experience the beauty of Muskoka 🙂

  35. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hi Jennifer, great to hear you are back in Muskoka. I too have visited Edith Island and met the family. I’m happy to hear you connected with them.

  36. jesse says:

    My grandparents used to be the care takers of the place once the new owner bought it they looked after all the abandoned buildings before they tore them down i used to go exploring in the old resort many of vandels trashed the place once they even shoot paintballs at my grandpa one time when he was trying to get them off the property…. so many memories

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