Marathon’s motto: Built on paper laced with gold- now 75 years old

We got up and went to the Pancake breakfast at the Seniors hall,


Andy and Elaine got some more visiting in with present and former residents of Marathon.

We then went  to the mall to pick up a few things, and I went in search of a postcard to send Mom. The next item on our itinerary was to drive out to the McKendry’s old “camp” on Little Cedar Lake. 


The trip was a 40 Km drive down highway 17/Trans Canada and then about a 10 minute trip down a windy gravel road and through this gate.

I was told by Andy that the property was acquired in the mid 1950’s, it was cleared one summer, and then in subsequent years the main building and boy’s camp was built, along with a number of out buildings.

In those years, it was a 2 hour plus trip to get to the camp. Since the Trans Canada highway didn’t exist until 1961, the McKendry’s ( 2 adults and 3 kids) crammed into the cab of their truck  and drove the 40 Km over several logging roads to the dam on Cedar creek.  They then had to unpack everything into their boat,which was kept there.  The boat had to be paddled out about 100 yards into the creek before they could put the motor down.  It was then a 2 mile trek down the creek, passing under 2 railway bridges, until they got out into little cedar lake.   They had to go a ways down the lake before crossing it to their camp.  All material for the building of the camp had to be brought in by boat as well- not an easy task.  In the early building years, McKendry’s campe was of 13 on Little Cedar Lake and there was no power or phone- so truly a place for escape and relaxation!

Anne and Mitch Donaldson, who now own the camp,

have down a number of upgrades and extensions to the main building.

Mitch has a collection of old motors, props and other equipment spread out over the property.

They also have some wildlife that hangs out on the deck; the chipmunks were very entertaining as they came for their peanut treats.

Mitch took us out in the boat for a tour of the lake to see all the current camps that exist.  There are now approximately 30 camps, all with power and phone, however the camps on the south east shore are still required to cross the lake by boat, as there is no road.




The creek and one of the bridges at the  entry to Little Cedar Lake.

After lunch and our tour we headed back to Marathon, and passed by the hemlo gold mine.

The plan for the evening was to go to the Legion for drinks and wings, and of course more visiting.  We were some of the first arrivals at the Legion, but it soon filled up.

The kitchen ran out of some of menu items by 6:30.  We stayed until about 9:30 before heading up to the boat.  It’s been great having Elaine here, as we have been borrowing her vehicle each night to go back to the boat- so we don’t have to do the ½  mile trek down the gravel road to the boat launch and marina.

On Friday, Mitch and Anne came to see our boat.  Mitch, Andy and I then went for a tour of the Peninsula given by Leigh, who is a volunteer doing some painting and scrapping.


The boat is a 111 foot tugboat, weighing 261 tons that was originally built for the Royal Canadian Navy in a Montreal shipyard during World War II and called Norton W-31. It  was launched on November 29th 1943, with a mission was to rescue damaged ships in the North Atlantic ocean, as many German submarines were active along the east coast. In 1946, it was sold to Marathon Paper mills.  For over 20 years, the Peninsula towed huge rafts of 8 foot pulp wood from the mouth of the Pic river to the pulp mill in Marathon.  In 1967, with the decline of the forest industry, the boat was sold to several companies in Thunder Bay.  In 2015, the boat was destined for the scrap yard.  The Marathon historical society, headed up by Stan Johnson, raised 200K to buy it and sail it to Marathon in July of 2018.  It now sits on Cummings Beach, but there are plans to move it to an alternate location in town.


Following the tour, Mitch helped Andy to hook up a new float on our shower sump pump.  We then went downtown for a charity BBQ.

Mitch and Anne had come to the BBQ driving Mitch’s  1946  truck.

In the afternoon we spent several hours at the Marathon museum when we looked at displays and old pictures that had been saved under family names.

  We took Ann and Mitch out for supper, in appreciation for helping with the pump in the morning.  Following supper we went to Gerry Ferguson’s for a few drinks and more visiting.

Jocelyn and Roberta Hanson were some of the new arrivals for the weekend.  Finally- someone I knew- as Jocelyn had been our investment advisor for a number of years.  We returned to the boat, and there was a couple looking at it, so we gave them a tour.

On Saturday morning we did some grocery shopping and then drove over to the Donaldson’s.

At Noon we returned to the boat, as Jocelyn, Roberta and Mitch wanted to have a tour.  At about 1:30, Andy got a phone call saying he had won 3rd prize in a lottery- so had received a $500 gift certificate from Napa ( we can always use more  oil and oil filter or fishing gear) .  After receiving the certificate at the Museum,

we went to Napa but they were closed until Tuesday.  In the afternoon we went to Penn Lake Park, which was where the opening and closing ceremonies for the anniversary  took place.


We  visited with Bonnie and Arnie who travel  on a 40 ft  Land Yacht.  We also drove over to  to Pebble Beach, and brought home a few souvenirs.

For dinner we were invited to the Mitch2– Mitch Johnson and Mitch Donaldson’s who are next door neighbours.  Many  stories were told as well as a discussion on  how to microwave corn, how not to stop your skidoo on the railway tracks, and there was also some reference to the out-house mouse song, but no one could remember all the words or tune.

We had a great time  eating, visiting and reminiscing.  At about 8:30 we returned to the boat to put on some warmer clothes, as we were going to the street dance.  We have leaned this week that as the sun goes down, it get colder and the bugs come out.  Andy met up with some other people who  had only come to town for the weekend activities.


One of his friends lives in Owen Sound, so if the weather cooperates when we get to the North Channel we may jump to that shore.  We left the dance shortly after 10:00 and went to the  boat.

On Sunday morning we cast off at 5:45 destined for Wawa.  We  went by Pebble beach


and Heron Bay, places that I hadn’t seen from the water because of the fog.  It was fairly cool and calm,

but the wind increased a little at about 10:30.  We went by Otter Island, and  saw this lighthouse, which we missed , as we had gone behind the island on our trip up to Marathon.


The waves subsided once we got inside of Michipicoten island, however the wind was still quite cool.  At about 2:00, Andy made the suggestion that he drives from the lower helm.   Andy contacted Buck’s Marine at some point, and asked for a slip for a couple nights as well as an escort into their marina once we arrived.

We arrived at Buck’s marina at 5:00, and were in our slip by 6:20. It was a long day- 11 ½ hours and 109.2 miles but we will be happy to be tied up as  the winds are predicted to increase  as well as rain on Canada Day.  We hope to get some fuel on Tuesday and then continue our trek to Sault St Marie.

Hope everyone enjoys Canada Day!!


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