By Jerelyn Craden
Imagine, the glory days of Haliburton’s most beloved lodges and resorts brought to life during a two-hour guided boat tour aboard the beautiful Lady of the Lake 24-foot fantail launch every Wednesday in July and August at 1 p.m.
This idea is the brain child of Haliburton Highlands Museum director, Kate Butler, Highland Boat Tours owner/operator, Paul Dillion, and long-time museum volunteer, Tim Hagarty – Lost Haliburton Boat Tours are back after a three-year hiatus due to COVID.
“Early in the mid-20th Century,” Butler said, “there was a tradition for many people of coming up to the Haliburton area for the same two weeks every summer and staying at the same local lodge or resort. Friendships were forged, some becoming like family. But, as people began to vacation differently, the heyday of lodges and resorts started to wane. Many were torn down, some repurposed, and in terms of those early lodges, the only one that’s still operating essentially as it did before is the Bonnie View Inn.”
“It was a magical time,” Hagarty said. “Being a guest at a lodge from the late-40s and 50s as a child and in the 80s and 90s as an adult allowed me to experience the delight of lodging in Haliburton. Summer friends, some now lifelong, skit nights, bonfires and so much food! Thirty-one lodges on the five-lake chain, an incredible history starting in 1895.”
“There are so many places that have so many stories,” Butler added, “and that’s why the tour is called, Lost Haliburton Boat Tours because it’s telling those stories about the people who ran the lodges and resorts, the people who worked in them and those who spent time there.”
“We also bring the stories to life through people’s recollections that they have shared with us,” Butler said. “We have binders of photos and maps that help people get the lay of the land. Those items are passed around and showed on the boat. There is also live commentary all the way through the tour. Stories that are shared, reminiscences that we’ve heard and also the history of individual places. It’s a fascinating window into Haliburton’s history that Tim Hagarty helps bring to life.”
Conveniently located, the tour starts at the Head Lake town docks, located off of County Road 21 and takes guests under the bridge by the high school.
“Then it heads out through Grass Lake,” Butler said, “then to Lake Kashagawigamog. The tour does about half of Kash, and parks at Bonnie View to give guests a chance to hop out of the boat and stretch their legs. Then they come back around the other side of the lake to the town docks.”
Lost Haliburton Boat Tour is a beautiful two-hour ride on a lovely, comfortable boat surrounded by lush scenic surroundings with live commentary that takes you back in time to a summer experience that was loved, lost, and now remembered.
“It’s a win-win-win situation all around!” Butler said.
For more information call the Haliburton Highlands Museum at 705-457-2760 or email Kate Butler at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase tickets see losthaliburtonboattours.brownpapertickets.com.