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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Here's a tiny slice of history, coming to beautiful life!

The S. S. Bigwin, sailing on the waters of the Lake of Bays this past week, is a welcome sight.

In 1910, James Kuhn launched a steamship on Lake Muskoka, named for his wife, Ella Marie.   They summered at Belle Isle, but when the Kuhns very sadly fell off their own Financial Cliff about 15 years later, the boat was sold to C.O. Shaw. 
She was relocated to the Lake of Bays to serve as a ferry for Bigwin Inn.

Her next 45 years were spent carrying guests such as Clark Gable, Louis Armstrong, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo and other 'glitterati' of the age to the world-class Bigwin Inn.  As the other, bigger, steamships left the lake, the S.S. Bigwin became the only ship servicing the resort, running across to the mainland at Norway Point.  Gradually, with the ascent of the automobile, the fortunes of the Island resort waned, and the legendary Bigwin Inn herself tumbled into financial hard times.  Around 1970 the doors closed for good. The ship was abandoned in the boathouse slip, where she sank.  In 1991 a group of local enthusiasts spearheaded by the Dwight Fire Department and Ross Boothby conspired to raise her, and float her to a property in Port Cunnington where restoration started on her in 2002.

66 feet in length, and registered at 25 tons, she is a small lake steamer, but very elegant and conjures memories of times past that are worth both saving and savouring.  Jeff Gabura formed the Lake of Bays Marine Museum as a registered charity to fund raise for the restoration. Through countless hours of hard work, and we hate to think how much money raised, she was re-launched on the Lake in 2010, on her 100th birthday, and was on static display at Dorset.  Fundraising continued to equip her with an engine.

One of only four steamships remaining from that era, the S.S. Bigwin joins the Wanda III (on static display only) and the operational RMS Segwun and RMS Wenonah -- who's cruises from their base in Gravenhurst are rated as one of Canada's top attractions.

We're thrilled this autumn to welcome the S.S. Bigwin back onto the lake, away from the dock, and sailing. What a wonderful sight! She headed out for her 'shakedown cruise'  this week through Trading Bay.

She is now out of the water for the winter, while restoration continues. If you'd like to contribute to her journey and help her sail the Lake of Bays again next summer, the Marine Museum would welcome any contributions.  But beware - you may have to line up to get on board...  there's lots of people who've waited a long long time to join her sailing!

1 comment:

  1. I've seen her in Dorset, I recall, during restorations. At least I'm assuming it's the same boat.