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Minaki Memories Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 04 December 2012 00:00

[Editor's note: the following reminiscences of Minaki from Bill Mitchell, were originally posted in the Minaki News last June.  Bill Mitchell passed away December 3, 2012]

Bill Mitchell, age 93, is a resident of Bloomington, Minnesota.  He has had a long affiliation with Minaki, as these notes show.   He first came to the Lodge at age 15.  He and his brothers Bud and Don served in the US military in the Pacific in World War II.  Bill and Bud returned to Minaki as cottagers at the entrance to Little Sand Lake, starting in 1949.  These memories were recorded by Bill in about 2004, so they do not reflect Minaki’s present conditions.

Chapter 1:  Introduction to Minaki Lodge

My earliest memories of Minaki country date from the summer of either 1934 or 1935.  My parents and brother Bud had driven to Winnipeg, but took the Canadian National train from Winnipeg because there were no roads to Minaki.  We left Winnipeg about 7:00 PM and watched people (campers, as they were called) get off at places like Malachi and Wade before arriving well after dark at the bustling Minaki Station.  This was before Daylight Savings time had spread westward, so we were still on Central Standard time, which explains the darkness at our arrival time.  All the stations along the way vied with each other over rock gardens, window boxes, etc., and Minaki looked the best to us.  Baggage carts with steel tires were hurried to the baggage car to unload that which was destined for Minaki.  Bellboys in tan uniforms picked out that which should go to the Lodge and put it on a truck.  We guests were led down a long steep stairway to a lighted dock, where we boarded a launch which took us through dark waters until we came under the railroad bridge and saw the lights of the Lodge’s powerhouse and the lights of the Lodge itself.

We disembarked at a lighted dock in front of the Lodge and walked in to the grand Lodge itself, with a vaulted ceiling supported by huge log beams.  Huge mounted heads of moose, deer and bear covered the walls, and on one side was a great stone fireplace.  We checked in at the front desk, and met Mr. J.R. Bevan, the manager.  Our luggage had preceded us and a bellboy showed us to our cabin.  The cabins had four bedrooms which were accessed through a central foyer.   Bud and I shared one bedroom, and Mother and Dad another.  I don’t think we knew the people in the other two bedrooms.

Off the grand living room of the Lodge radiated four wings:  the dining room, a ball room, a writing room or library, and a wing of sleeping rooms.   Bud and I did not spend much time in the writing room or the sleeping room wing.

Life at the Lodge opened a new world for Bud and me.  The dining room was presided over by a tuxedoed maitre d’hotel, and white tablecloths covered the tables for every meal.  Freshly cut flowers from a cutting garden adorned every table.  Bud and I were allowed to eat breakfast and lunch at times different from our parents, but we always had dinner together.  Our waiter was from the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, and he knew manners when he saw them.  We asked him if it was proper to tip the soup bowl away from you or toward you, and he replied that people should not tip their soup bowls.

We enjoyed tennis and swimming both morning and afternoon, and sometimes in the evening.  There was a swimming special swimming dock which faced Orde Island and featured a diving board.  Sometimes we swam to the little rocks just to the right of the swimming dock.

In addition to the elegance of the dining room, our cabins were very well looked after.  Our beds were made for us, and turned down in the evening, and a bedside light turned on.  What a welcome sight at the end of a very active day!

The Lodge had a nine hole, neatly manicured golf course built on dirt hauled in by rail to cover the underlying rock.  None of us Mitchells played golf, but we were impressed by the way the course and grounds were kept.  There were rock gardens all around the Lodge, and a separate garden just for cutting flowers for the dining room tables.

Evenings were surprises to us.  The late sunsets and long twilights were things we were not used to.  On Wednesday nights they had a staff dance in the top floor of the boathouse.  Many of the staff were college kids, but were enough older so we didn’t join them the first year.  On Saturday nights an orchestra came out from Winnipeg to play for dancing in the ball room.  Not only did Lodge guests participate, but “campers” arrived in their mahogany Chris Crafts.  A boy named Mal Brodie brought Barbara Sellers to the dance, two people who were about our ages, and we were impressed by their dress and transportation, a small Chris Craft runabout.  All the ladies wore formal dresses, and many of the men wore scarlet blazers and white flannel trousers.  Some of the men wore Scottish kilts.  Promptly at 12:00 the orchestra struck up “God Save the King”, and all stood at attention facing the orchestra.  That ended the dance.

Across the river from the Lodge was a boathouse containing the Crack o’ Dawn, perhaps the largest Chris Craft on the river, and certainly the loudest.  Everybody knew when that boat was going somewhere!  I think Leonard (“Skipper”) Holst, who owned Holst Point Lodge, had a Gar Wood runabout.

We were impressed that so many people knew about Minaki Lodge—especially those from the United States.  One family, the Kerns from Kansas City, had come so regularly that they kept their own cedar strip boat in the Lodge’s boathouse.

I mentioned seeing the lights from the Lodge’s powerhouse when we came in on the launch.  The Lodge had its own coal fired steam generators that provided power for the whole Lodge complex.  The exhaust steam was used to heat water for the laundry, which did the sheets and towels etc. for the Lodge, and also personal laundry for the guests.  There was no Ontario Hydro connection at that time, and I wonder if that power station did not provide power for the town, as well.

Mr. Weir ran the marina operations for the Lodge.  He kept the boats clean and their outboard engines operating.  He rented out boats and guides for fishing, and at that time few, if any, guests took out boats to go out of sight of the Lodge without a guide.

One of the activities we enjoyed was walking over to the train station on Friday evenings.  There was much excitement when the “Campers’ Special” came around the bend from Winnipeg with its steam whistle sounding.  Do diesel trains arouse the same excitement?   The men whose families stayed at their camps all week got great welcomes.  There was a YMCA camp down the river from the Lodge, and there was a sign on the station platform saying, “PALA CAMPERS HERE”.  Those destined for the camp would gather there with their packsacks to be taken by the Pala camp launch to their camp.  Other people would come to get freight, but most came just to see who came, to shop at the Hudson Bay Store, or just catch the excitement.  I think it was the town’s social event of the week.

The night before we were to leave after our second year at the Lodge, we were walking over to the station to just such an assembly, and in the gathering darkness Bud reached down to pet what he thought was a small dog.  It was a skunk, and it hit him squarely with its perfume.  Fortunately it didn’t get into his eyes, but his clothes were ruined.   However, he enlarged his reputation for comedy by parading through the Hudson Bay Store and having people make way for him wherever he went.  He was not the best company for a ride home the next day.

Chapter 2:  We Become Campers

After a couple of years at the Lodge, our parents thought it would be nice to stay longer than two weeks in such lovely country, so they and their friends the Erdalls rented a cabin on an island in the river upstream from the Lodge.  I think it was owned at that time by Mr. McKellar, whom we had met at the Lodge.  With the cabin came a boat with an Elto outboard engine.  The engine had a knob on the flywheel, and one was supposed to start the engine by pulling the knob back sharply against the compression and letting it bounce back in the right direction.  We learned by experience why it was called a knuckle skinner.  As I remember, it had a rudder that was controlled by a rope loop.  The thrust of the propeller was fixed along the keel line.

Washing and drinking water were problems we had not considered at the Lodge.  This camp had a water pump with a double-acting cylinder, and we boys would push a four-foot lever bar back and forth pumping water in each direction.  We pumped to a storage tank high enough to furnish water to the faucets in the house.  We boiled that water before drinking it.

We went to town in the boat to get most of our food from the Hudson Bay Trading Post, docking at the Government Dock and climbing the long stairway we had come down that first night we ever saw Minaki.   We had to carry all our food down, except when our loads were too heavy.  Then we used the railroad’s baggage dolly on the ramp that ran parallel to the stairway.  The ramp had one-inch boards running across the ramp to prevent feet from slipping, and wooden curbs along the sides so that one could angle the wheeled dollies into the curb to prevent their running away.  The dollies were heavy, and we had to haul them back up after loading our boat.

The Hudson Bay Post was still an active trading post when we arrived at Minaki, and remained so for many years, I believe.  I remember Mother was taken aback when one of the doors to the back room was left open, and she saw a pile of raw animal pelts on the floor with no separation from the food supplies.   Yes, they did trade pelts for money or goods.  Refrigeration was not too good, and it was a problem not only to keep milk, but to get if from the store in good condition.  I don’t think there was effective refrigeration in either the railroad cars serving Minaki or at the Bay Store at that time.  Mother tried not to think of how close large pieces of meat may have lain to the pelt pile.  We cooked our meat thoroughly!

There were two other grocery stores in Minaki, and one of them was the Holst Point store on the bay side of the point.  We sometimes bought food there, especially meats, and there were no nearby pelts that we knew of.  They had an especially good butcher there.  As I remember, his lower front teeth were missing, and his lower lip drew in across the space.

The other store was much farther away than the Bay store, so we didn’t go there often.  It was Kowbel’s, and it had some things the Bay didn’t: namely, the beautiful Kowbel daughters.   I don’t know how many daughters the Kowbels had, but they all had a reputation for beauty.

Some food came another way.  Some mornings Mr. Charlesworth called at our dock with vegetables he had grown in his garden, and he left a list of what he might have available on his next trip.  We always remembered one item on his list:  “Boiling fowls—a few.”  We figured that meant tough chicken, not grouse.  Once in a while an Indian would paddle his canoe quietly up to our dock to offer a cut of venison.  Indians were allowed to hunt all year long for food, but the sale of venison was illegal.  Such meat was called “Minaki mutton.”  In the summer it would be hard for a single Indian family to use all the meat on a deer before it would start to spoil.  Since venison was not available in quantities smaller than a whole deer, the excess over what they could eat was sometimes offered for sale, rather than to let it spoil.  Food should not go to waste, should it?

A Chinese gentleman operated a laundry for Holst Point, and he also did laundry for campers.  He didn’t speak English at all, and he lived alone in his laundry.  I suspect he was a very lonely man, but he always had a smile for his customers, and finished laundry beautifully.   The laundry came back wrapped in brown paper.  That was a wonderful service for campers, and we were sorry when he didn’t come back.

One evening while Bud and Joan Erdall and I were dancing at the Lodge, a storm came up with very heavy rain.  We had only the open boat, and between the rain and the rough water under the bridge we arrived home soaked in a boat with enough water in it to affect its maneuverability.  It must have scared me, for here I am remembering it some 70 years later.

We made an aquaplane to tow behind our boat.  Since the engine didn’t have much power, the board was quite wide.  It was towed by the boat, and the rider stayed on by holding a bridle attached to the front of the board.  We thought we were pretty good at riding it in bathing suits so we began riding fully dressed except for shoes and socks.  The boat driver would tow the board close to the dock, and one of us would step on, ride around and come back and step off.  We then added a chair, and sat on that as we rode around.  One fine day brother Don, fully clothed, was going to show his stuff, and started out very well.  Then the engine quit for lack of gas, and Don slowly sank much as a maple leaf falls in still air.

Another year at that cabin I invited Betty Tillman, an employee of the Lodge, to come to our place for dinner.  Another storm came up, and taking her back to the Lodge was not easy.  The wind opposed the current under the bridge, and it was dark and the waves were huge.  She was sitting in the bow, and I thought at one time our boat was going to turn end-over-end.  Betty was high above me, and hanging on tight.  I learned a lot of respect for the river during those summers.  I wonder what ever happened to Betty.

The summer of 1939 we rented Orde Island from the Lodge, and that summer is memorable tome on three counts.  This was the summer between my junior and senior years at the University.  First, I was lucky enough to get Jean Loper to spend a few weeks there with us before I had my summer school course.   We were the same ages as the Lodge employees, and we became friends with them and enjoyed the staff dances as well as the Saturday night dances at the Lodge.  There are lots of things I remember about those weeks, some of which don’t have much to do with Minaki, except that we could paddle away and in a few minutes we would be out of sight of any of the trappings of civilization or other human beings.

Second, my brother Don was with us, and he quickly made friends with some girls who were guests of the Lodge and schoolmates at Northrop School in Minneapolis.  One night he invited them over for a wiener or marshmallow roast, and Mother assigned Jean and me to be the chaperones.  These girls were sophisticated!  Before long one of them said, “Don, I’m cold, and you’re not doing a thing about it!”  What seemed a long time later no move was made toward returning the girls to their Lodge, but Jean and I were tired and went home to a skeptical mother.  Long after Jean and I had gone to bed, Mother canoed across to the Lodge in search of her son, and found a watchman who told her that they were out on the golf course.  She brought him home in the canoe about 3 AM, and when he came to breakfast the next morning his face was covered with lipstick.  He got time at hard labor!  Some of us called him “chief” because of his war paint.

Third, September, 1939, was the start of World War II.  England declared war on Germany, and most of the boys on the staff enlisted right away to serve king and country.  It was hard to think of how quickly our friends were put in harm’s way.  Bert Weir, the son of the man who ran the Lodge’s marina, was among those killed in the war.  That was the last year we rented a cabin at Minaki.

Chapter 3:  We Become Canadian Landowners

A couple of years after the war, Bud and I both returned to work in Minneapolis.   Mother figured that with two of her boys close enough to help her enjoy it, she could invest in a place at Minaki, and she found the Ormond property available.   She bought it in the fall of 1949.  It had not been used for several years.  The yard was overgrown, the house needed a lot of repair, and a new dock was essential.  Mother arranged for all these things to be done during the following winter.  Being forehanded as she was, she also ordered the ice house to be filled with river ice, and I think John Friedoff, Merv Reid, and perhaps Les Muncer and Elmer Reid were among those who harvested the ice and put it in saw dust in the ice house.  Mother had bronze screens put on the porch, and they are still in use today.

The boats that came with the place were unusable, so Mother bought a Peterborough Lakeside cedar strip boat, and Dad bought a Johnson Model QD 10 horsepower outboard engine.  It had a gearshift, and you steered it with a tiller.  It made that Lakeside get up and go.  I don’t think there was an interlock preventing starting the motor in gear, and I think I remember needing to be careful about that.

One morning we were burning trash in our woodlot, when a boat with three or four men in it came up to the beach.  One of them was Mr. Cleaveley, the head of the Lands and Forests station in Minaki.  He very politely told us that fires during that part of the day were prohibited because watch towers might spot the smoke and send in people in boats or expensive airplanes to investigate.  He and his men were sent by a watchtower to investigate our fire.  We were learning how to behave in the woods.

At that time the Lands and Forests station in Minaki had small houses for the several men attached to the station.   Lands and Forests—isn’t that a wonderful title?  To me it denoted the vastness of the Canadian expanse.  I’m sorry they changed it.  Anyway, the station was a busy place back then.  Forest fires were sometimes spotted by airplanes, but they were fought by men on the ground who had to get to the fires in boats.  Every spring the men had to reopen portages so they could get to distant fires if necessary, hauling boats, pumps, hoses and other firefighting equipment with them.  In addition, I think at that time travel permits were required if one went off the river, and Lands and Forests issued them.  They needed to know who was in the woods, and about where they were, just in case they didn’t come back at the expected time and the Lands and Forests people had to go to find them.  I don’t remember the names of any of the residents of the station except Mr. Cleaveley, but Messrs Robb, Burns, and Freidoff were among the town residents who helped out at the station.  After a fire or drill, one could see the white hoses stretched out to dry on a long ramp on the front lawn.  When some airplanes could take men and equipment to the site of a fire, and other planes could help fight the fire, the Minaki station was closed, and now nobody keeps those portages open.  I’m glad we took a canoe trip across the portage trail at the northeast end of Big Sand Lake when we did, because the portage was fairly well overgrown even then, and I imagine it would be pretty hard to find now.

Minaki was an important point n the Canadian National Railway.  The bridge there over the Winnipeg River was, and still is, the bottleneck for all transcontinental shipments for that railroad.  It is significant that when the war started, soldiers were placed at each end of the bridge.  When we came to town from MacKellar’s island we saw the Lands and Forests station on the right, Dick Giroux’s marina and contracting business straight ahead, and the left bank full of small houses where the railroad men stayed.  The railroad not only brought us to Minaki; it was our contact with the outside world.  The station had a telegraph office, and the station master would accept telegrams (sent by Canadian National Telegraph) for campers, and he would put them in envelopes on a chicken wire mesh in his window so we could see who had a message, and he would allow us to take messages to neighbors, if we wanted to do so.  As railroad maintenance became more mechanized and less labor-intensive, the need for a maintenance contingent in Minaki dwindled, and now even the station master is gone, and I believe no scheduled stops are made, but VIA stops to pick up or discharge passengers, and CNR trains will stop for freight.  The grass around the station is still kept up, and the gardens to some extent, but not the way it used to be.  Perhaps this is because other little stations along the way have closed, too, so there is no more competition.  One baggage cart stands on the platform, more for ambiance than anything else.  The last stationmaster, Mr. Phil Mosher, had a big black dog, a Newfoundland, I think.  He and the dog would walk over to the post office every morning to pick up the papers and mail.  As I remember, the dog would carry the paper home.  Mr. Mosher was a very friendly man, and I miss him and the era that ended with his departure.

During our first years on the island, Mother hired Indians to make trails around the island and cut firewood for our wood range in the kitchen.  They were good workers, and very courteous and helpful.   Johnny Burns and John Friedoff helped a lot in those first years.  One year when Jean and four of our children, and two friends of Jean’s, each with two children, were at our cabin by themselves, a pretty good storm came up.  The next day Johnny Burns showed up early just to see if they were all right.   People of Minaki showed concern for campers from our earliest experiences there.

John Friedoff became a guide for us, and he and his wife Rose became good friends of ours.  John always referred to our son Stuart as “Yunyer.”  John never learned to swim, and yet he spent time on barges while working on building the White Dog dam.   He guided fishing and hunting parties when the water was open, and one year he and Rose spent the winter trapping on Sidney Lake, and came back with a canoe full of animal pelts as soon as the ice went out.  Imagine coming down some of those rapids of ice water in a loaded canoe, and not being able to swim!  Was he brave or foolish, or both?

One winter there was a break-in at our cabin, and Mother wanted to go up to see what was missing.  It was January, and John and Rose invited her to spend the night with them, and go out to the cabin the next day.  Shortly after daybreak a small plane on skis came to Friedoff’s and picked up Mother and John, and made the sort hop to our island.   They landed on the Parker side of the island because the ice was not safe on our side—because of the current.   Mother had to follow John’s long strides through the deep snow, only to find that not much had been stolen, but the vandalism was considerable.  The plane took John back to his house, and Mother continued on to Kenora, and thence home.   It was quite an adventure for her, and made all of us thankful for friends like John and Rose.  Another year the Friedoffs hosted my daughter Martha over New Years Eve in Minaki, and that was lots of fun for her.

I wish I knew more about the character of the Minaki residents who helped us.   Jack Cornelius, who owned “Wildedge” , thought so much of Johnny Burns as a hunting and fishing guide that he wrote an article extolling him in Field and Stream—a widely circulated magazine in the United States.  Cathy Robb used to issue burning permits in the years when they were required, and she remembered me even though we probably saw each other only that once a year.  Con Warren was an interesting man.  He came as a new manager of the Hudson Bay Store after we became land owners.  He managed that for a few years, and considerable upgrading took place under his management.  I think refrigeration was improved, but also something happened to make fresh milk easier to obtain.  When the Hudson Bay Company closed the post at Minaki, he stayed and became postmaster, succeeding Marge Reid, I believe.  He ran the Post Office from a building behind his house, and it was to that place that Phil Mosher and his dog went for mail and papers.  Con Warren bought a light airplane and enjoyed flying around on calm evenings.  He may have used the plane for other purposes, too.   Marge Barr, who lived across the street from the Hudson Bay Store, was postmistress at one time, and always remembered us even though we had very little mail.

When the Hudson Bay Post was closed, the store was bought by a consortium headed by Don and Florence McLean.  Sometime later, the McLeans took over the Post Office and gave it space in the store.  That made it a lot more convenient for campers who came to town by boat.  Don is an excellent butcher and we got wonderful meats from him.

The only marina we knew about when we first needed gasoline and encouragement for that old Elto engine was Giroux’s, which was where the Minaki Marina now stands. Mr. Giroux was also a building contractor. Some of the lumber in our old pump house was stenciled “R. Giroux – Minaki”.

We soon became aware of Muncer’s Marina at the opposite side of the bay from Holst Point.  Les Muncer ran it, and he was also a contractor who did some work at our place, as did his son, Reg.  Reg and Reg’s wife Betty continued the operation.    Les Muncer kindly brought two of Jean’s women friends and their children down to our cabin at night after their late arrival on the train from Winnipeg.   Betty Muncer was a great help to us, and always took a friendly interest in our family.  She managed the Blue Heron when the shop was in the Lodge, and later when it moved to the vacant railroad station.  One evening we arrived at the Minaki airport in Bud’s airplane, and Betty fulfilled the arrangement Bud had made with Reg to come and get us after we circled their house.  She was another person I miss seeing at Minaki.

Dick Giroux’s  marina enterprise was taken over  by the Sigurgursons.  Mr. Sigurgurson was reputed to be one of the best Evinrude mechanics anywhere, and could make almost any engine go.  Business didn’t always keep him busy, so Mr. and Mrs. Sigurgurson would often sit on a bench in front of the marina, and that is how I picture them in my mind.  They moved to Lake Winnipeg many years ago, and we were surprised a few years ago when they called at our camp to renew “auld acquaintance.”  It was nice to be remembered as “old timers”.

Reid, Martin and Sons (i.e. Merv, Mike and Malcolm (Bim) bought the site from the Sigurgursons, kept the marina operation and added the contracting operation that Elmer had.  Mike and his wife Wendy bought an island in Gunn Lake and opened Birch Island Resort.   This required a lot of remodeling and a real venture into the unknown, for they had to buy boats and motors, staff a kitchen, dining room, and maids for the guest rooms, buy lots of insurance, and commit all the time they had make it go.  Courage!  Mike also kept his foot in the contracting business, and gets the excavating machinery and supplies for what has been Merv’s contracting business.  Bim and his wife Doreen run the marina and motel above the marina.  The enterprise should be named Reid, Martin & Sons and Wives and Children, for Bim’s and Doreen’s daughters are now an active part of the business.  The whole extended family sees that the very existence of Minaki depends on tourism, and the hours and service they extend campers reflect that view.  The people who work with them, like Dave Morgan, Pauline and Jason Bowlin, Tim Watson, and others help make our summers pleasant.

The campers, too, were interesting people.  Bill and Agnes Parker, with whom we shared the island, kept us entertained for many an evening.  He was an engineer who designed the railroad bridge at Minaki. A worker fell from that bridge during its construction and his body washed ashore on our island, and was buried there.  Mrs. Parker tended the grave until we moved onto the island, but after many seasons of high water, nothing remains of the grave today.   Bill Parker also designed and built boats, and he had two of his inboards running when we came to the island.  The Parkers had several children, some of whom had moved away by the time we came to the island, but we got to know Eleanor (Nora) and Kitty, and through them their husbands, Glen Hodgson and Hugh McKay.   These couples too had children:  Bill, Susan, and Roy to the Hodgsons, and Nancy, Gordy and Louise to the McKays.  Bill Parker was a storyteller, and every once in a while Agnes would put in a terse word to keep him on track or to deflate him a little if the story got too grand.  Nora must have picked out Glen out of respect for her father, for their relationship regarding the telling of stories was similar.  Nora was a little more timid than her mother, for she let Glen interrupt her stories.  Hugh and Kitty were good company, too, and no evening lacked for entertainment when spent with any of the Parker clan.  We couldn’t ask for better neighbors.

The Brodies owned the small island across from the Parkers.  We heard stories that Mr. Brodie was at one time a real canoe-and-pick-axe prospector, and unlike many others had turned a strike or two into profitable mines.   We never had any contact with the Brodies, perhaps because we were there at different times.  However, the Brodies had a boatman who had a beautiful voice, and we enjoyed his singing in the evenings.  When my grandfather suffered a stroke while visiting our place, the boatman was very helpful to my mother.

The Heffelfinger brothers had places at Minaki.  Totten had a red-painted camp down toward Big Sand from us.  One of his boys saw service in the Pacific during the war, and named one of their boats the Mama San.  He also had a boatman, Art Taylor, who helped many people in camps and town, and was well liked by one and all.  George Heffelfinger bought part of an island closer to us, and bought a de Havilland Beaver airplane to make it more available from Minneapolis.  I don’t think he flew it himself.  My memory of Totten is of a man carrying a big Duluth pack made of cowhide, with the hair side out, on his trips to town for supplies.

The Minaki Yacht Club was intended to get campers and their children together.  Through that club we met the Wilcoxes, Bill and Laura Gardner, Lyle, Jean, and John Carson, the Barbers, the Christies, and many others.  The club bought a few small sailboats for young sailors.  Each summer a regatta was held, with events such as swimming races for different ages, sailing races, canoe tilting, canoe races, etc.  It was a wonderful idea, but foundered when Orde Island, on which the clubhouse was built, was sold by the CNR and the new owner was not so encouraging to the club.  Speaking of Christies, I believe someone from their camp was tragically killed in a boat collision off Holst Point several years ago.  That reminds me to keep a long sight line when rounding that point.

Many thanks to all who have made my memories of Minaki so enjoyable!