LETTERS: Sad day for Island history as Manitowaning Lodge slated for demolition

To the Expositor:

It is with abject sadness that I learned Manitowaning Lodge will be torn down in its entirety within a few weeks. A lot of people cherish such good memories of being there. It is a legacy to Manitowaning that the lodge hosted so many interesting and famous personalities. Former caretakers, Charlene and Henk, had visitors stop by on a continual basis, asking to tour the grounds once more. 

Remembering times spent on vacation, swimming, fishing, eating fabulous meals, being with friends and family. Memories of a happier time.

The lodge was a source of summer employment for Manitowaning and Wiikwemkoong youth for many years. It was a place to start their work experience. 

The current owner has determined to tear down the lodge and use the land for other purposes. 

The Island has such few historical sites. It is a tragedy that more cannot be preserved. 

Manitoulin Island has a rich cultural history from many different peoples. In one story told by the late Lucy Ida Embry about Manitowaning Lodge when she was just a little girl living at Wiikwemkoong, she remembers ‘dressing up’ to go and dance for the lodge visitors in the 1930s. A flat bed pick-up truck came for them. They all crowded in at the back. “I was so excited to go. Everyone wanted the chance because you got paid five cents. It was a lot of money in those days for a child.”

That day it rained and the coloured paper headbands they wore got soaked. The water streaming down their faces in different shades of red, yellow, blue. “But we danced anyway,” she said.

This was a story told to me and others at a dinner hosted by former caretakers Helen and Jake at the main lodge building. They were another couple who cared for the lodge; a lodge that soon will be no more. 

Lee Weimer