Photo: Young Family 1937 – North shore of West Bay Narrows

On our lake there are a number of us who come here who must have been bewitched by the place. To those of us who come under the spell... no other lake, no matter how beautiful, has that certain something which gives us so much pleasure here.

Early Chandos Lake cottager

The aftermath of World War I brought changes to Chandos. Second and third generation sons of early settlers, some returning soldiers, some just coming of age, discovered that the land, now denuded of its rich timber, held little promise of productivity….Many of the young men departed, some not even bothering to try to sell property that they did own, and farms and homes were abandoned and left to be sold for taxes while they sought their fortunes in greener fields. One entrepreneur in particular, a Toronto coal dealer, took advantage of the exodus, buying up hundreds of acres of lands in Chandos tax sales in the early twenties, only to divide and sell them at a handsome profit a few years later, primarily to Americans seeking summer properties in the lake district.


Lakes to the south had long been lined with holiday cottages… Chandos was discoverd as buyers had to go farther afield for modestly-priced waterfront lots. For fishermen, many of them from the northern United States, the Ontario lakes were mecca, and many who came to sample the life at the small lodges that sprang up in the area returned to buy property and build family cottages.


…in the thirties a number of local landowners began to sell off waterfront lots to cottagers… In the 1940s the trend accelerated and after World War II cottages were built in great numbers all around the lake.


The first cottagers loved the isolation and privacy that Chandos offered. They were willing to weather the long uncomfortable trip up the Burleigh Road each weekend and the lack of hydro and other amenities in order to enjoy their own special part of the wilderness.


Excerpt from The Loon Calls – A History of the Township of Chandos with permission of the author Jean Murray Cole.


Family History on Chandos Lake

Data was initially collected by Donna Benko at the 2017 Corn & Wiener Roast.