Cottaging on Kushog Lake

Some of the lands were already surveyed into summer resort parcels for private summer cottage use. On unsurveyed land, the applicant had to designate on a plan or sketch the area desired, have it surveyed and put up a $10.00 deposit towards the survey. The applicant could have the Department make the survey at a cost of $80.00. Mainland parcels were sold at 30¢ per foot of shoreline, minimum charge $30.00.

So in 1947 you could purchase 300’ of frontage on Kushog Lake for $170.00! Islands were sold at $45.00 per acre, minimum charge $45.00. Each parcel of Crown land had to have a minimum frontage of 100’ and maximum of 300’, and buildings of $500.00 value had to be erected within eighteen months of the date of purchase of each parcel. All trees and minerals were reserved to the Crown and 10% of the area was reserved for roads. This is how many of the first cottagers were able to afford their land. 

In 1947 the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests published a brochure titled “Summer Resort Lands in Ontario”. Opening remark: “The Province of Ontario has many attractive summer resort sites for sale or lease which are still Crown lands”. Click here to download a copy of the brochure.

In the early days, cottagers left the luxury of their homes to live happily in simple, open stud shacks with outhouses, no electricity, no separate rooms, and where washing was often done on scrub boards or in the lake. The drive from Toronto took 4-5 hours to get to the lake.

Getting from the highway to your cottage was another matter. Cottage roads were mere trails through the bush, full of potholes and rocks. You carried a hand saw (no chain saws then), an axe and a shovel because you never knew what hazard might present itself on the drive in. And if it rained, you might have had to pack up and leave quickly before the road turned to swamp.

Kushog Lake Road, which runs up the west side of Kushog Lake, was put through in the late 1950s to connect water access cottages. Kushog cottager Cam Newlands worked on the road in 1958-59. Cam remembers air drilling the holes and loading them with dynamite (dangerous work for a greenhorn with no license).