Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

True Colours for Christmas

Driving Peggy home after the Friends of the Library Christmas dinner party in Dwight, I found myself in the midst of an eerily lovely wonderland. The wet snow was bending down the trees over
the road until they almost touched. Mine were the only tracks. It was silent, black and white, and beautiful, with the snow falling steadily.

Peggy lives on Dwight Beach Road. There aren't a lot of homes along that stretch of tarmac, but those there had Christmas lights sparkling through their windows.

This was once the old road into Huntsville. My Grandmother, Elizabeth, returning from Huntsville with the wagon and team of horses, once found herself stuck on this road -- where the snow had drifted deep in a blizzard, and dusk was settling on the land. The horses balked at the depth of the snow, reluctant to struggle forward. There was no way to turn the team around -- even today, on our modern roads, you'd be hard pressed to turn around on that stretch with a car, let alone a team of horses. Staying the night in the blizzard was not an option. Elizabeth climbed off the wagon, and broke trail for the horses through the drifts until they came to this section, where the bending trees held the snow up enough that the team were willing to 'go it alone.'

At the bottom of Buttermilk Hill, the wind off the lake had blown the roadway clear enough for her team, and for my car. And suddenly, out of the black and white snowbound night, there was colour...

The Stewart Memorial Church, over a century old, was glowing with beauty. The lights are on for the Christmas season, illuminating the beautiful glass windows.

This lovely church has a long history. Rev. Alexander Steward heard there were no preachers in this area, and felt the call. Arriving in Dwight, with his life savings of $700, he purchased an old cabin and an acre of land where he would build this church. Staying in the cabin during the first winter, he slept wrapped in an old fur coat, rising in the morning to shake off the snow. The church was dedicated in 1887. Lumber for the building was cut at the Fetterly saw mill at the mouth of the Boyne River. Parishioners sat on boards, since the money didn't stretch to pews or chairs for many years. Rev. A. Stewart's son, Dr. Joseph Stewart, became the church's second minister. In 1915 the bell was added in memory of Mrs. J. W. Stewart.

The windows have changed, as have the ministers, and the Church was joined to the United Church in 1936. It still welcomes the faithful throughout the summer months.

Earlier this year, the Church held a fundraiser to restore the lovely picket fence. Napster provided a piece of original artwork and helped raise money for that project. The new fence, in the darkness, provided an unusual and lovely photo opportunity.

And it still shines as a beacon through the dark nights. Rev. Stewart -- and his minister sons -- would be proud. Several of the original Stewart cottages near the Church are now in proud heritage designation, preserving their unique history, and helping Lake of Bays celebrate its past.
The photo is Dr. Joseph Stewart and Joseph Tapley, at the Church in 1938, when it joined the United Church. Joseph, with his celebrated tenor voice, sang at that service.


  1. "Elizabeth walked to Dwight." I thought that would make a good title for the book based on your grandpa's memoirs. Are you waiting for retirement to write it? I ask, 'cause I suspect retirement is not in your vocabulary.


  2. Beautiful Nancy! What a unique look at the black and white of a dark winter night.