Norway Point, along the southern shore of Lake of Bays, takes its name from the Norway Pines that used to grace it. The community that developed there got its beginning with several ministers who located summer homes along stretch of the lake, at one point earning it the nickname "Holy Row."
Near the Government wharf, built to take the big lake steamers, at nearby Glenmount, a church was constructed to accommodate summer worshippers. (that would be worshippers here in the summer, not those worshipping summer... a fine distinction, but perhaps important)
The original church was built in 1908, and although it was not engineered for Muskoka winters, it stood against the worst of winters until 1943, when it collapsed under a particularly heavy fall of snow.
It was reconstructed in 1944, designed by architect L. Somerville and under the carpentry skills of Lewellyn Robertson. The interior was left in its natural state, showing the beauty of the pine rafters and timbers and remains in its original design today. A large cathedral window allows the worshippers to look beyond the green woods and into the blue sky. The pulpit had been saved from the cave-in and also salvaged were the oak chancel chairs. Much to the congregation's glee, the old hard backed chairs of the first church were replaced with the lovely oak pews that remain in place today. The original Bell was also salvaged, and mounted on a memorial cairn in 1969.
The church has been and still remains the focus of the community of Norway Point -- no longer just in summer -- and recently was the proud recipient of a Built Heritage award from the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation.
Gloria Woodside sent us this beautiful 'Christmas card-worthy' photo she took of this charming slice of Lake of Bays history. A drive around the Lake of Bays will take a day-tripped to several exquisite small churches like this, that remind us not only of time past, but can with their beauty replenish that sense of worship and awe in all of us.
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