Welcome to the Ultimate Buckhorn Tour

the buckhorn buck one of the unique things to see in Buckhorn, Ontario in the Kawartha Lakes area

Where to start this self-guided tour

To start the self-guided “Ultimate Buckhorn Tour”, head to 850-802 Adam & Eve Rd., Buckhorn, ON K0L 1J0.

Look for a sign declaring “Adam and Eve Rocks”.

Note: if you will be arriving by vehicle, you can park in the lot that’s here.


1. Selfie Alert! Adam and Eve Rocks

Formed thousands of years ago, the Adam and Eve Rocks were deposited in their location by an ice-age glacier approximately 25,000 years ago.

How did they get their name?

Early settlers to Buckhorn gave the rocks their name.

Put your love to the test

Local folklore says that if you and your lover can stand between the rocks, hold hands, and reach out and touch the rocks with your other hands, your lives will be blessed.

Try it for yourself.

And don’t forget to get a selfie!

Head northbound on Adam & Eve Rd., back to Lakehurst Rd. Turn right (eastbound) onto Lakehurst Road until you see the Buckhorn Canoe Company across the street.

2. Buckhorn Canoe Company

When Dick Persson was a young boy in Sweden, he had a neighbour who was a retired boat builder.

One day the neighbour opened his garage and Dick saw that he was building a canoe.

Dick and his friends started helping the man, learning about canoe building as they did.

Years later…

In 1986, Dick emigrated to Canada. In 1991 he moved to Buckhorn.

Dick was a contractor by trade.

When worked slowed down due to a recession in the 90s, Dick took advantage of the spare time and built a canoe.

It sold, so he built another one.

It sold.

And that’s how the Buckhorn Canoe Company got started.

World-renowned

Dick built a garage/workshop to facilitate his new business and he hasn’t looked back since.

He has built and restored canoes for customers throughout Canada and the US, as well as around the world with England, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France and Turkey being just some of the countries.

Continue eastbound on Lakehurst Rd. a few more steps until you come to the Trent Lakes Public Library.

3. Trent Lakes Public Library

In 1978, a group of 25 residents felt there was a need for library services in Buckhorn.

They circulated a petition.

After two weeks they had over 500 signatures.

Humble beginnings

The first incarnation of the library opened its doors in 1979.

It consisted of a few hundred books, most of them donated, housed in one room of the Buckhorn Community Centre, and staffed by 20 volunteers.

What a success story

Four short years later, in 1983, the library was bustling.

The collection had grown to over 2,500 books, there were 6 children’s programs with over 90 children attending them.

In 1985, the library moved to its current, larger location.

Continue eastbound on Lakehurst Rd. a few more steps until you come to the bend in the road and the “Buckhorn” sign.

4. Selfie Alert! The Buckhorn Sign

Stop and take a pic of you and your group with the Buckhorn Sign in the background.

Look across Lakehurst Rd. and you will see Remedy’sRX Pharmacy.

5. Remedy’sRX Pharmacy

The building that is home to Remedy’sRX Pharmacy has almost had as many lives as a cat.

A brief recap

Built in 1903, it was originally the West Beach Boarding House.

Later in life it became a general store, complete with a post office and a set of Texaco gas pumps.

Sometime in the 1960s it became a gift shop, known as The Oxbow Room.

It catered to tourists until the late 70s.

Children on holidays especially liked the “surprise packs” wrapped in red that The Oxbow Room sold.

No shortcuts allowed

As you can imagine, with the location of this building being on the bend of Lakehurst Road, cutting the corner of the parking lot was an irresistible temptation for some drivers.

It is said that to thwart this delinquent driving, the owner of The Oxbow Room would occasionally take a large rock…

…and strategically place it on the corner of the store’s parking lot to surprise unsuspecting drivers.

Proceed eastbound on Lakehurst Rd. a few more steps until Georgeygirl Art is across the street from you.

6. Georgeygirl Art Studio

Georgeygirl Art Studio is where artist Georgine Ciulla creates one-of-a-kind hand-painted glasses, pet portraits on glass and acrylic on canvas paintings.

It’s also where, when the building was a boarding house, one of the famed Group of Seven stayed when they visited Buckhorn to spend the summer painting in the Kawarthas.

Look next door to the right of Georgeygirl Art and you will see Mariloo’s Ice Cream shop.

7. Mariloo’s Ice Cream

The latest proprietors of Mariloo’s Ice Cream, Peter and Georgine, originally moved up to Buckhorn to retire.

They acquired the house next door to Mariloo’s and the ice cream shop was attached to the property.

So, what happened?

A year after they had moved in, the original owner of Mariloo’s Ice Cream put the business up for sale.

So, Peter and Georgine took it over.

Decision time

Mariloo’s carries 50 flavours of ice cream. Good luck deciding.

Continue eastbound on Lakehurst Rd. a short way until you reach Ode’naang Park.

8. Selfie Alert! Ode’naang Park

Picturesque Ode’naang Park opened in 2018. Its name is Ojibwa for heart of the community.

Historic past

From 1904 till the 1930s, the land that the park sits on was home to the Buckhorn Dairy Co. Ltd.

In the 1960s the dairy’s building was converted into a home and the rest of the property served as a popular summer campground.

big red kawartha chair, one of the unique things to see in Buckhorn, Ontario in the Kawartha Lakes

Selfie Alert

Be sure and take time to get a selfie in the park’s big red Kawartha chair. 

Standing at 5-foot tall, it’s made out of plastic recycled lumber and offers a great view.

Continue eastbound on Lakehurst Rd. a short way until you see, across the street, the Boathouse Boutique.

9. Boathouse Boutique

Locals, tourist and boaters pausing their Trent-Severn Waterway journey at Lock 31 in Buckhorn, enjoy popping into the Boathouse Boutique to check out the latest in lake-inspired décor and giftware.

It’s also a great spot to grab a cold, hot or ice beverage or a yummy, fresh-baked treat.

Did you know…

Boathouse Boutique is owned by Lakeshore Designs, an interior design firm.

Why is that name familiar?

Because Lakeshore Designs is the official interior design firm for the cottages and homes featured in the Princess Margaret Cottage Lottery and Home Lottery.

Continue eastbound on Lakehurst Rd. a few more steps until you see St. Matthew-St. Aidan Church across the street.

10. St. Matthew-St. Aidan Church

St. Matthew Church was built in 1897.

In 1998 it amalgamated with St. Aidan Anglican Church of Young’s Point, hence the current name, St. Matthew-St. Aidan Church.

The windows of the front of the church were originally in St. Aidan Church.

Peculiar preachers

Over the years, the church has had some notable reverends.

In the mid-1920s there was Reverend E. W. Gardiner.

He had very few materials things and travelled almost everywhere by foot, often 30 miles in a day, even after he was 70 years old.

Another noteworthy reverend was A.J. Foote.

Once he bought a car for $25.

A short time later he sold it for $3.25. Reverend Foot’s tenure at the church lasted only two months.

Perhaps he was also acting as the church’s treasurer?

Helping hands

A church as old as St. Matthew-St. Aidan naturally has required repairs and renovations over the years, which of course couldn’t be taken on by any Tom, Dick or Harry…

…except in 1966, when the front entrance to the church was re-built by Thomas Gordon, Richard Hill and Harold Hopkins.

Cross the road and proceed up the driveway of the Cody Inn.

11. The Cody Inn

The Cody Inn was established in 1905 as the Pearson Hotel.

Over the years the number of tourists who stayed increased.

Summer visitors came regularly from as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio in the US, and Hamilton, Toronto and Peterborough here in Ontario.

During the winter season, the hotel’s guests were primarily commercial travellers and logging camp workers.

How did we get here?

Throughout its lifetime, the Pearson Hotel has had different owners and consequently different names such as…

…the Windsor House (after England’s royal family)…

…the Windsor Hotel…

…and most recently the Cody Inn, named for Francis Cody who purchased the property in 1975.

In 2000, it was sold to new owners, who kept the name but turned the hotel into a Chinese restaurant.

FUN FACT #1

Over the years, many of the people who stayed at the Cody Inn have written their names, where they were from, and the year they visited…

…on the bricks located on the front and side exterior walls of the hotel.

Some of the writings date back to the 20s and 30s.

FUN FACT #2

Some locals claim a spirit occupies the Cody Inn as on occasion the hot water tap in the ladies’ washroom has been found running at full blast.

Head down the driveway of the Cody Inn. Cross the road and stop at the Buckhorn Buck.

12. Selfie Alert! The Buckhorn Buck

In 1984 a committee called “The Beautiful Buckhorn Task Force” came up with the idea of erecting a statue of a white-tailed buck on the federally-owned property near Lock 31 in Buckhorn.

Once the committee received permission from the Federal government to do so, they sprung into action.

Fundraising took place, and in 1985 the Buckhorn Buck, created by Ottawa sculptor Ron Seguin, was erected.

Oops

One local recalled that the Buckhorn Buck statue originally had a hole in its rear end.

This was perfect for a whippoorwill who decided to built a nest in the Buck’s butt.

Once the momma bird’s young were old enough and had left the nest, the Buck’s behind was plugged.

FUN FACT

During the fundraising for the Buckhorn Buck, several small replicas of the statue were sold to help raise money for its creation.

Turn away from the Buckhorn Buck and head southbound across the parking lot to the railing by the Locks.

13. Lock 31

Lock 31 in Buckhorn is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway.

This system connects Lake Ontario at Trenton to the Georgian Bay part of Lake Huron at Port Severn.

Lock 31 is one of the busiest locks in the system.

In fact, in 2022 it was the busiest lock with more than 8,000 vessels passing through it.

A little delay

The construction of Lock 31 in Buckhorn began in March 1883.

The canal work was completed 20 months later in November 1884.

However, the Lock gates were not installed until four years later in January 1988.

Why?

Because the builder of the Lock, George Goodwin wanted an additional $62,916 to compensate for additional excavation, explosives and concrete costs.

Tough stuff

Lock 31 was the first lock to be cut out of the tough granite of the Canadian Shield.

The project had eight steam drills but rarely were the crews able to keep more than two drills in operation.

The soft iron drill bits were fine for drilling limestone, but not durable enough for granite.

They were constantly breaking down and needing repair which added to the cost of excavation.

Bug off!

Anyone working on the construction of Lock 31 had to deal with tons of black flies and mosquitoes.

To protect themselves, workers would slather salt pork on their arms and faces.

Fun Fact

picnic table made from the old wood gates of Lock 31, a unique thing to see in Buckhorn, Ontario in the Kawartha Lakes

Along the edge of the canal, you will see three solid looking picnic tables made from thick wood.

These were constructed from materials saved from the previous wooden gates of Lock 31.

Cross over the Lock 31 canal by taking the yellow-railing walking bridge that’s on top of the Lock’s gate. Once you’re on the other side, turn right and head to the two concrete millstones (they look like round tables).

14. The Millstones – John Hall

John Hall was Buckhorn’s first settler.

In 1828, Mr. Hall a successful, Irish-born businessperson, purchased land on both sides of the Buckhorn River at the narrows.

He built a dam to produce power,…

…a sawmill (for cutting lumber that he would ship to the US, Great Britain and Europe)…

…and a grist mill for grinding grain into flour.

He also constructed a bridge across the narrows.

Buckhorn wasn’t always Buckhorn

The original name of Buckhorn was Hall’s Rapids.

When the post office arrived in 1860 the name changed to Hall’s Bridge.

Oh, and John Hall became the area’s first Postmaster.

Besides being a successful businessperson, John Hall was an avid deer hunter.

He was so proud of his hunting abilities that he displayed an assortment of antlers i.e., buck’s horns, on the outside walls of his sawmill and grist mill.

Because of this, the locals started referring to Hall’s Bridge by a different name…Buckhorn.

Despite this, it wasn’t until decades later, in 1936, that the hamlet of Hall’s Bridge officially became known as Buckhorn.

The Millstones

In 1883, during the construction of Lock 31, John Hall’s grist mill was removed.

Two millstones were recovered from the demolition and put on display on the lawn located south of the Locks.

A generous man with vision

John Hall died in 1883 at the age of 96, but before he passed away,…

…he gave every female in Hall’s Bridge a plot of land to build a home to encourage the further growth of the hamlet.

FUN FACT

You can be in two places at once when you visit Buckhorn.

Cross over the two-lane bridge that stretches over the narrows, stop 3/4s of the way and straddle this point on the sidewalk.

The foot that’s on the north side, will be in the Municipality of Trent Lakes.

The foot that’s on the south side, will be in the Township of Selwyn.

Head south, across the grass to the Buckhorn Dam.

15. The Buckhorn Dam

The Buckhorn Dam controls the outflow of water from Upper Buckhorn Lake to Lower Buckhorn Lake.

Water levels can change due to the spring melting of snow, seasonal rainfall and evaporation during the summer.

If the water level gets too low, boat bottoms could scrape against rocks.

If the water level gets too high, shorelines could get flooded.

By adjusting the amount of water flowing through the dam, the water level can be raised or lowered.

A roadway too

The two-lane, high-level bridge that crosses over the narrows between Upper Buckhorn Lake and Lower Buckhorn Lake has only existed since 1976.

Before then the only way to cross the narrows was over a single-lane road that ran across the top of the Buckhorn Dam.

At the end of this road, at Lock 31, there was a swing bridge.

When boats wanted to pass through the locks, traffic on the single-lane road had to be stopped and the swing bridge had to be cranked, by hand, out of the way.

Naturally, this caused a huge back up of vehicles in both directions.

Depending on the number of boats, vehicle drivers would wait 20 minutes or more before they were able to reach the other side.

At times cars would be backed up past Buckhorn Lodge (the white house located beside the Home Hardware) in the south and beyond the building that currently houses the Trent Lakes Public Library in the north.

On the lower portion of the dam, you will see a walking bridge that leads to the other side of the water. Cross this bridge and stop in the parking lot.

16. Buckhorn House/Inn/Lodge

Look south from the parking lot and you will see a large, pale-yellow coloured home up on a hill.

This was Buckhorn’s first hotel.

It opened its doors in 1836 as Buckhorn House.

Later it became the Buckhorn Inn.

At that time, it was the favourite destination of lumbermen because it was the only place that served beer and liquor in the hamlet.

Mind your manners

Occasionally the mix of alcohol and lumbermen at Buckhorn House got a little out of hand.

Fortunately, when it did, there was Mrs. Eastwood, the proprietor’s wife.

As one local tells it, “Mrs. Eastwood was as tough as any man when it became necessary to toss out a rowdy river driver.”

When the lumber industry moved on and tourism became the primary economic driver in the area,…

…Buckhorn House/Inn changed its name to Buckhorn Lodge and evolved into a popular place for fishermen and vacationers to stay.

Today the Buckhorn Lodge is called “The Lodge” and is an outdoor and apparel store that has hunting, fishing, camping and barbecue items as well as clothing and water floaties.

FUN FACT

A legend persists that back in the day the Buckhorn Lodge had at least secret trap doors in its floors.

Why?

So, alcohol-indulging occupants had a way to escape when the authorities conducted surprise visits during the era of prohibition when the sale of alcohol was illegal.

Exit the parking lot, cross the road and stop in front of the large rock.

17. Council Rock (Balancing Rock)

Like the Adam and Eve Rocks, the Council Rock was deposited, where it stands, thousands of years ago, by a glacier.

How it got its name

The Mississauga Indians as well as other indigenous tribes relied on the lakes, rivers and streams in the Kawarthas for transportation and fishing.

Locals refer to the 20-foot-high rock as Council Rock because it is believed that centuries ago indigenous peoples would meet at this landmark to hold council meetings.

FUN FACT

During logging times, lumbermen, fueled by too many libations enjoyed at the Buckhorn Lodge,…

…would stumble down to the Council Rock and attempt to push it over.

None were successful.

Thank you for taking the Ultimate Buckhorn Tour!

Did you enjoy the tour? Please share about it.