Always described as a picturesque and nature lover’s wonderland, Harris Lake is the perfect water way for both the motorised angler and the senior resident canoe fanatic. Being Part of the Magnatewan River water shed, it has so much to offer cottage renters, yet is not so far away by car, that it cannot be reached in a reasonable time period. In this article we will describe to you one of Muskokas best kept secrets: Harris Lake.
Since the early 1920’s the Harris Family has done just about everything from its homestead in Parry Sound, from farming and boarding horses, to selling antiques locally in town today. AS one of the founding families local to the district of Parry Sound, the lake situated about ten minutes from the four corners of the township of Parry Sound, and about five minutes from the neighbouring town of McKellar, was named after this historical family. Some locals will also attest to the influence that the lake and area had on the art works of Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris, from the Canadian Group of Seven.
I feel one of the lake’s fundamental characteristics is the right amount of Crown land situated all around its borders. It provides an abundance of Conservation area, lovely picturesque scenery, and a wide assortment of birds, and local wildlife. The fishing is abundant in Harris Lake, with many different varieties. My boys have caught more than kind of fish and because certain parts of the lake are very deep, the fish population always seem to grow every year.
Tubing, boating and water skiing is a favourite past time. There are nice sized parts of the lake with open water. In addition, because the terrain is rocky, and there are so many shallow parts that the locals are careful to point out, it also provides for the avid bird watcher and slow motion canoe lover, to relax and take your time to enjoy the sights and sounds. You are guaranteed to hear that old familiar song coming from across Big Ben’s Bay, the call of the loon.
When I first purchased my cottage on Harris Lake, an elder from the Owner’s Association of Harris Lake came and told my kids and me a story about Big Ben. He was a brown bear that had been found and domesticated by one of the Lake’s founding fathers, and had been kept in a pen on the property. Big Ben was friendly and loved people. Tourists and families would travel to the area and go and visit Big Ben in his pen. He was famous and he brought fame to the lake. Cottage renting had not quite taken on full force back in the 30’s and 40’s. It had been camping that was the trend. The bear outlived his owner and was willed to the eldest son of the family. The bay my cottage sits on is named after Big Ben, as is my road. Stories like this make me proud of my cottage’s heritage. It makes me love Harris Lake and everything it has to offer.
March 19, 2012