OAK SHORES ESTATES COMMUNITY HISTORY (O.S.E.C.A.)

The Oak Shores Estates Community consists of 3 miles of lakeshore and 2 miles of river frontage, comprising approximately 500 acres.

The entrance to Miskwaa Ziibi (formerly Squaw River) was once a haven for Indian women and children seeking refuge from an Indian battle that was being fought at Buckhorn. The river also provided a means of floating logs from a chain of lakes further north. Henry Oliver operated a saw mill at the mouth of Squaw River. He also built the Mere House in 1876, which is now Pinecrest Nursing Home. John Carew Lumber Company was also active in the area, cribbing their logs through the waterways to their mill in Lindsay.

The property was sold to Roy Kennedy in 1955 for the sum of $5000. Nichols Cove Road was a lumber trail for a lengthy period and the only way to enter the Community. At that time Dick Nichols owned a hunting cabin around where the old farm house now stands. There was no road access down to Pigeon Lake; the only access was by water. There were two families (Wilsons and Edwards) who had purchased land near the lake around 1949. The Harvey Township finally made a road down to the water, and it was William Wilson who in fact named Nichol’s Cove in honour of Dick Nichols. He chose this name because they had just returned from a trip to Peggy’s Cove and he liked the sound of it. The bridge over the Miskwaa Ziibi (formerly Squaw River) on Northern Avenue was bought by Mr. Kennedy (for $400.) from the Dept of Highways, who were building a new bridge over Nogie’s Creek on Highway 36.

There were no phones at first; a line was strung on trees through the bush from Buckhorn to Sobel’s (Oak Shores) Marina where a pay phone was installed. Residents used a 2 way radio (CB) for communications among themselves. As far back as 1972 OSECA was trying to get NO CHARGE calls from Oak Shores to Bobcaygeon. A petition was circulated and presented to the Canadian Radio and Tele Communications Commission but nothing materialized.

In the early 60’s Mr. Kennedy sold the property to Sumcot Development which was then represented by William Phillips. The original sales office was established at the corner of Kennedy and Oak Ridge Rd, and then moved to the area where the marina is now and finally to its present location (OSECA) at 1305 Northern. The original sales office is still part of the community hall.
Sumcot’s media advertising was most extensive with the Oak Shores being presented in glowing terms. Purchasers flocked to the area and the cottage community gradually took shape. Prices of lots and cottages were ridiculously low considering today’s inflated prices. Sumcot installed the pool in 1966 as a desirable addition, to attract purchasers of the back lots. The pool is still in place, now owned by OSECA. Its cost and government regulations had escalated to the point where most of OSECA’s profits were eaten up by the maintenance.

Trouble between Sumcot and OSECA arose over promises not being adhered to in the original agreement drawn up between the 2 parties. The final conclusion was that OSECA would have the swimming pool, the sales office and surrounding land, plus Sumcot would pay a sum of $5000. Sumcot had also promised a golf course, tennis court and shuffle board, none of which materialized. The deed was handed over to OSECA in 1977.

Those interested in forming an association for the protection of cottagers were indeed pioneers of Oak Shores. Their meetings were originally held at each other’s homes in Toronto, and then progressed to the Bobcaygeon Legion, from there to Oak Shores Marina, which was owned by Al Sobel at that time. This group was so interested; they chartered busses just for members to attend Harvey Township elections. The first president was Edmund Brown in 1968, VP was Arthur Stringer, treasurer was Catharine Ann Joss, and secretary was Ivy Albert. Directors were William Archer and Zigunder Augulis. The chairman reported the company had been incorporated (as a private company without share capital) by the Letters Patent issued under the Corporation Act (Ontario) bearing date April 29, 1968.

In 1970 dredging of navigational channels 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep was accomplished and a Community water system was set up. It was taken over by Harvey Township in 1976. A water committee was formed with Noble Cummings in charge. A skating rink was erected in the winter where the ball diamond is and in summer the walls were used to form an outdoor dance floor at the hall. The wood was stored behind the fire hall and then ended up being used to build part of the wheelchair ramp.

In 1980 the OSECA hall was enlarged to meet the demands of the growing membership. A tender of $3412.00 from Taylor Brothers Construction was accepted and work began on a 3 wall extension of 22 ft by 24 ft. In 1985 the new septic system went in because the Ministry of Health had threatened to shut the centre down. The new heating system was paid for. The roof was replaced in 2000. The new well was drilled in 2006. Over the years each executive have added improvements and made repairs keeping the building in good condition. The pool is no longer operational due to safety issues and the high cost of the repairs.

Changes and upgrades are still required now, if the Oak Shores Community Centre is to remain a viable operation. Funding is always an issue and one way to generate money is through memberships and community participation at the Centre’s events.

It’s up to YOU!!!!

Become a member; get involved in your community:
OSECA Membership sign-up form

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