A Message from Greg Pyke
I began this project with a single question: Where did the name “Bob” come from? As I traveled back in time to find the answer, I learned more about the connected histories of Upper Canada, Haliburton County, Minden Village and Bob Lake and what had started out as a simple project quickly grew into a series of chapters, beginning with the first indigenous peoples to visit this area and ending with our lake’s current state of development.
Bob Lake was in pristine condition when the first three cottage lots were sold in 1926. My history with the lake began a few decades later when my future in-laws, Margaret and Archie Thompson, purchased a waterfront property in 1955 when there were only 45 cottages on the lake. A few years later, Archie bought an 18-foot wooden boat with a 35 hp Evinrude motor, which at the time was one of the biggest and fastest boats on the lake. Although motorboats are now larger and more powerful, today’s engines are more efficient and environmentally friendly than they were 60 years ago.
When the Bob Lake dam was rebuilt in 1961, the highwater mark rose significantly. As a result, many of the original cottage septic systems became an environmental hazard and were reinstalled further back from the water. Most of the original boathouses were either torn down or relocated, and some of them are used today as bunkies.
In May 1975, Sue Thompson and I were engaged. Since we are both teachers, we have been fortunate to spend many memorable summers at the lake with our family during the past 45 years. After Archie Thompson died, we bought the cottage from my mother-in-law in 1997 and now our son, daughter and grandchildren – three generations of Pykes – are also able to enjoy their summers in the Highlands. Sue is now the Bob Lake steward and keeps me up-to-date on all matters affecting the health of our lake health.
Until the mid-1980s, most people opened their cottages on the long weekend in May, and closed it shortly after Thanksgiving. For the few people who came up to visit during the winter, the roads were not plowed and were perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoes.
Today there are approximately 230 cottages on Bob Lake, which the Ontario MOE now lists as “at capacity”, and many owners and their families visit throughout the year. We even have some year-round residents. We have a lake association to raise awareness about lake health while promoting proper septic maintenance and the importance of shoreline preservation and naturalization. There are no longer any outhouses along the lakeshore, and very few people bathe or wash their hair in the lake. We are also seeing a steady decline in power boats with an increase in kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.
I hope you will enjoy reading the history of Bob Lake as much as I enjoyed writing it. Some of the more notable facts include 2 murders (with a mystery), an accidental shooting, a hunting and fishing camp, 2 popular summer lodges, 2 drownings and a major fire. I would like to acknowledge and thank the groups and people listed below for their help with this history project, with a special thanks to David Greig who spent countless hours editing all the various chapters.
All the best,
Author and Bob Lake Cottager
P.S. I would love to receive additional information or corrections, family stories/histories, old newspaper articles or photos associated with Bob Lake or the Minden area. Just submit the contact form on The History and Stories of Bob Lake page to start the dialogue.
- Jeff Ball – Geographic Names Specialist, MNR
- Glen Boone – Ex-Bob-Lake Cottager
- The Bob Lake Association
- Neil Campbell – Author, Newspaper Columnist, Bob Lake Resident
- The Lydia Coultier Scraps- A collection of newspaper articles maintained by the Haliburton Highlands Genealogy Group
- Bill & Shirley Dawson – Bob Lake Cottagers
- Louise Folks – Bob Lake Cottager
- Fred Gregory – Author, Historian, Haliburton County Resident
- David Greig, Bob Lake Cottager and Editor
- Scott Kaldeway – Provincial Lands Specialist, MNR
- The Minden Land Registry Office
- Sue Pyke – Bob Lake Cottager
- Dave Roberts, Webmaster, Bob Lake Association and Bob Lake Cottager
- Martha Robinson – Ex-Bob Lake Cottager
- Doug Thompson, Marine Mechanic, Former Bob Lake Cottager and Gull Lake Resident