Letter: Awareness of the importance of the Big Lake Schoolhouse

Please don’t let the township take it away from us

To the Expositor:

I’m writing in to help bring awareness to the Big Lake School House. First, let’s start with the physical building.

The Big Lake School House is almost 100 years old now and many children attended in the years it was operational until it was decided that the children could be bussed to a nearby community about 15 minutes away. I can name a few from my own family that attended, including my papa Neil Middaugh (now 85 years old), my own mother Lois Keller, my aunt Frieda Tann and many other relatives. The building itself contains beautiful, original hard wood floors, old books sitting on shelves and an amazing array of old school paraphernalia including math tools, school bells, counting tools and so much more. 

Now let’s talk about the heart behind the school. There has always been a small group of locals that are so passionate about their community and keeping its history thriving that they’ve volunteered countless hours of their personal time to not only attend, but plan and prepare community events for all the locals and visitors alike to enjoy. They’ve put their hearts and souls into this building and what it represents to them and their community. The Big Lake School House is a place for seniors to get together and feel comfortable while they play games like crokinole and euchre and socialize the night away. The Big Lake School house is a place for all the summer residents of Manitoulin Island to come together with the locals and enjoy an amazing meal and song and dance together. The Big Lake School House is a place where parents take their littles to stop and enjoy their youth on the playground. The Big Lake School House is more than just a building to people—it is a landmark. The Big Lake School House is the place where community has come together again and again and has raised money for their community. Over $20,000 has been donated to the community in many helping ways from the events held at the Big Lake School House. It is a symbol of the heart of Manitoulin and all it has to offer.

Please don’t let the township of Central Manitoulin take this landmark from us, and from all of you. Sign the petition, write a letter. Do anything you can think of to keep the Big Lake School House right where it is and in the hands of its community so they can continue to offer all that they do for Manitoulin. 

Thank you,

Terri Meeker

Big Lake