Gaye Clemson

Nominigan and Other Smoke Lake Jewels

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Located off of Highway 60 at the 14-kilometer signpost Smoke Lake is one of the largest and deepest in Algonquin Park. Measuring about seven kilometres long, with a depth of a little less than 190 feet (56.5m) in spots, it lies close to the height of land that divides the Ottawa Valley from Georgian Bay. This is a fact that is very well known to anyone who has hiked to nearby Kootchie Lake. But to see a Smoke Lake panorama at its best, is to stand atop the high point of land on the nearby Hardwood Lookout hiking trail. From here, the view is spectacular and on a bright sunny day, the blue of the water surrounded on both slides with the deep hardwood forest, makes the lake looks like a brilliant sapphire imbedded in a setting of green. One of the few lakes open to private leases in the first half of the 20th Century, today Smoke Lake is the summer home to about 80 families, some of whom have been coming for four generations. Arriving soon after the ice goes out in late April many spend their summers there and do not return to their winter haunts till well into fall. Some have made great contributions to Algonquin Park and its history and it is important that their stories not get lost. Three important voices, that are reflected in this narrative are the Northways who purchased Camp Nominigan from the Grand Trunk Railway in 1931, Manley Sessions and his family, who tried valiantly to resurrect Minnesing Lodge on Burnt Island Lake in the 1950s and J. R. Dymond the father of the Park's Naturalist Interpretive Programs. So join me in learning 'MORE ABOUT' Nominigan and Other Smoke Lake Jewels, the fourth in the 'MORE ABOUT SERIES' and seventh in collection of books about the human history of Algonquin Park.

Since 1996, Gaye I. Clemson, a summer resident of Canoe Lake has been collecting stories and recollections from fellow Algonquin Park residents in an effort to capture the voices and history of this vibrant community. Little did she know when she began this adventure, that her exploration with her twin boys, in the family vintage cedar-strip canoe, would take her into so many corners of the Park’s history. In summer she resides on the shores of Canoe Lake and in winter in Capitola, California. All of her books can also be found at
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184 printed pages
Original publication


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