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Friday, July 4, 2014

Gordon Bolduc recalls summers of swimming, camping, fishing and call of loons at Loon Lake

Gordon with big catch
Summer camping at Loon Lake (now called Borden Lake), brings back cherished memories for Gordon Bolduc of his growing up years in Chapleau.

Born and raised in Chapleau, Gordon is the son of the late Audrey (Robinson) and Gordon Bolduc. His grandmother Barbara (McWatch) and family travelled to the Chapleau area around the beginning of the 20th Century by canoe from James Bay to Missanabie, then moved to Chapleau, one of the first Cree families to locate in the community.

She married Joseph Telesfore Bolduc, who died while on active service in the Canadian armed forces serving in Egypt in World War I.

In 1932, the Chapleau Post reported that Gordon's great grandmother Mary McWatch commonly called "Grannie" celebrated her 101st birthday in Chapleau. Born in Moose Factory on April 1, 1831, moved to Chapleau about 1896. She and her husband Jacob had 10 children and seven still lived in Chapleau.  Mrs. McWatch died at age 104.

Gordon enjoyed camping at Loon Lake and in an email wrote: "It was a summer of swimming, fishing, open-pit fires, roasting wieners and marshmellows, beer for the adults, pop for the kids.  Sleeping in the cabin with open windows to feel the cool air off the lake and the eerie calls of the Loons."

He recalled that as a child he spent his summer holidays there.  "Highway 101 did not exist so my aunt Toots and uncle Clifford Corston would hire a taxi and load the freighter onto the taxi then go to Devon to a place called the JackLadder." His aunt  Toots (Myrtle) was married to Clifford and their daughter was Candi.

Clifford, Gordon, Candi
 "We  would load up the freighter with our supplies and head north up the lake with his 5 Hp engine.  We often met log booms or windy weather which would delay us for a few extra hours until we reached the log cabin my uncle had rented.  It usually took us 4-5 hrs. 

 "Candi was a little girl who would sleep in the bow of the canoe.  We sometimes stopped for a lunch of sandwiches, cookies, tea or pop.  My uncle Clifford dug a root cellar at the cabin to keep our meagre supply of perishables cool.  No more supplies because we were usually out there for 2-3 weeks.

"Once settled in we usually would go back onto the lake to fish or visit friends who went there as well.'

Toots and Clifford
Others who would spend time there included  George and Evelyn Corston; Tony and  Kitty Cachagee with their son Bill;  and Jimmy, Tom, Percy (Mutt) Cachagee. 

Gordon added that his mother, sister Linda, and father  would visit occasionally until they  built a camp in Warehouse Bay. 

Thanks Gordon for sharing these cherished memories from growing up in Chapleau. They will assuredly bring back memories of many who went "camping" before the highways arrived and camps became cottages. 

Boo and Gordon
The photo of Gordon playing table hockey with the late Harry 'Boo' Hong is from a collection sent to me by Gemma Ouellet. Again, this photo will evoke very fond memories of Boo and the Hong family, and playing at the Boston Café. Thanks Gemma. My email is mj.morris@live.ca 

1 comment:

Marianne Viau said...

Thank you for sharing this piece with us Mike and Gordy. I have very fond memories of visiting Chapleau when I was young . My Mum was Elsie Robinson and Audrey was my aunt. How I loved visiting the her and uncle Gordon, I remember the lake behind their house on Cherry St??? Chapleau brings back beautiful memories for me. Thank you again for sharing a piece of memory with us.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
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