Saturday, 11 October 2014


A view of Rock Lake from the Booth's Rock Hiking Trail

Watercolour Painting    2001

On a recent visit to Algonquin Provincial Park we drove into Rock Lake and did a short hike to the remains of what was once known as the Barclay Estate. Parks Ontario's website describes the history behind the ruins, of which only a concrete base remains, as follows: -

Even wealthy Ontario judges can face government expropriation.
In 1895-96, the prominent timber baron J.R. Booth purchased this point and built a large estate here called Men-Way-Tay ("Place of Sunshine"). Booth gave the property to his daughter, Gertrude Fleck, and through marriage it was eventually passed down to Justice George Barclay. This estate met the Ontario government land reclamation axe of the 1950s, when over 50% of the leased properties in Algonquin were removed. Barclay vacated the site in 1953.

It is of note that in 2017 the several hundred remaining cottages in Algonquin Provincial Park will be expropriated, and will be removed. Algonquin will then truly become a place of solitude.

History aside, the main reason that I wished to hike to the Barclay estate was to make a sketch , or two, and to obtain a few photographs to aid in the making of some drawings and paintings between shoveling snow come this winter. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative. We here in this part of Canada experienced a very cool and wet summer. On the days of our visit if it wasn’t raining it was downright cold. So needless to say there wasn’t much sketching done.

Disappointing as this sounds it’s not as if we haven’t hike the Booth Rock Trail and paddled Rock Lake on many occasions over the years. I fact I came upon a sketch and a few notes from some years ago to prove the point. Note that it was raining on this occasion as well.

My how quickly time passes. It seems only yesterday that we were running for shelter........

The tiny island depicted has always been a source of interest, and has been sketched and photographed by, no doubt, thousands of hikers and canoeists over the years. I'm no exception as my files reveal that I've made quite a few drawings and sketches in this area over the years.......

Pen & Ink Sketch 2000

And this year's visit has resulted in a few more sketches and drawings to add to my Algonquin collection.

Pencil Sketch on a scrap piece of paper    2014

Graphite Drawing 2014

On the way in to Rock Lake, a fair drive on dirt road with washboard sections, we discovered a section that screamed out for a quick sketch so we stopped and had lunch while I made marks in my sketch book.

We never cease to enjoy the solitude that is Algonquin Provincial Park. It's an endless source of inspiration in all kinds of weather. 

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