Who Are Algonquin Leaseholders?
Along the shores of Canoe, Smoke, Cache, Rock, Whitefish, and a handful of other lakes, you will notice a small number of cabins, sheltered amid the darkness of the local forest. Most are modest in size, and many are still quite primitive with unlined walls and curtainless windows. Though a few on Canoe Lake and Smoke Lake have access to the power grid, most are usually heated by wood stoves and lit by kerosene lamps, with water pumped by hand, and refrigerators and stoves fueled by propane. Some have been upgraded over the years, but in general development has been resisted, the preference being to supplement rather than rebuild--working hard to blend in with the forest surroundings. This community, striving to be a model for minimal environmental impact cottaging in Canada, continues to look for new ways to enhance and support the natural environment within iconic Algonquin Park.
In these cabins live quiet, unobtrusive groups of leaseholders and their extended families whose forebears were invited in the early years of the twentieth century, by the Ontario Government, to establish cottages in the Park. Mostly in residence on weekends from ice-out to ice-in, and for a few weeks in the summer, members of this small and eco-sensitive community comprise 304 leaseholds on 19 lakes, the majority along the Highway 60 corridor. For some families it's the fifth generation who now are learning to appreciate the Park and its beauty.
Most of the time, you'd hardly know they were there until you run into trouble while paddling on one of the lakes, lose your way, need medical attention, or get caught in a storm or a heavy north wind. Then they miraculously appear to provide help and guidance. It is with great pride that the cottagers consider themselves to be important members of the Algonquin Park community.