Livingstone Lake History

To some extent, the history of Livingstone Lake is shrouded in the mists of time, although, thanks to the efforts of several current lake residents, we have been able to shed some light
on times past. There would appear to have been four key developments that have brought Livingstone Lake to where it is today: the Round Lake Hunting and Fishing Company, the advent of lumbering, Livingstone Lodge and the sale of Crown lands.

Members of the Round Lake Hunting and Fishing Company, circa 1912
The Round Lake Hunting and Fishing Company

The first recorded historical event occurred in 1888 when the Round Lake Hunting and Fishing Company (often referred to as the Hunt Club and whose members were mainly from the Kitchener-Waterloo area) purchased 220 acres from the Ontario Government at $1 per acre, covering much of the west shores of Round Lake (now called Livingstone Lake), Bear Lake and down the Bear River to Hollow Lake (Kawagama Lake). The group’s log cabin is believed to have been built originally circa 1867 as part of the lumber camp depot on Fletcher Lake, but, after the cabin was sold to the Hunt Club, it was disassembled, transported and reconstructed on its present site at the northern end of the west shore. At that time, access to the club lands on Livingstone Lake included a long trek up from Hollow/Kawagama Lake, through Bear Lake, by portage up to Round/Livingstone Lake. Club usage continued up until the 1950s, but by the late 1960s/ early 1970s, thanks to the building of what is now Hughes Road in from County Road 12 (initially to allow equipment in to construct the dam at the south end of the lake), a few of the remaining club members were looking after disposal of the property. The original acreage was subdivided and sold off to, among others, families of former club members, such as Charles (“Chappy”) Boehm and son Dick Boehm (now the Scotts, brothers Don and Gord); Dr. Fred Hughes and son Jeremy who later subdivided and sold a lot to Harris/McDonald (now the Kotajarvis); and Dr. Fred’s brother, (“Old”) George Hughes (now sons Paul and Mark, plus sons Fred and George on the adjacent lot).

In the early 1970s, Hunt Club lands on the east shore of the lake (east of the dam) were sold to the McHenrys (now McHenry/ Surtel) and the Broadbents, the latter subdividing and selling their property in the mid-1990s (now the McCartens, James Schwartz and Durocher/Hammond). In the late 1970s and 1980s, more west shore club lands were sold to Albert Gang (now the Pupletts); Bob Van Strepin (later the Jacksons, now the Stones); and to the Wieses who sold the southerly part of their lot to Van Strepin (later several owners including the Karl Parkers, and now Johnsons). As for the remaining west shore club lots (between the Pupletts and the Stones), these have seen several owners over the years although most of these properties have been in the same hands for most of the last fifteen years: the Fittons, the Cowleys, and James Schwartz (formerly owned by Nancy Hughes, who is no relation to the Hunt Club Hughes).

The abandoned Hunt Club log cabin was in substantial disrepair by the late 1970s, but was rescued and preserved by the Wieses for use as their summer cottage. In 1997, it was purchased by the Wayne Parkers, who have continued the preservation and added to the original clubhouse, making it their very comfortable year-round home. During the Wieses’ tenure, the property was made more accessible by a lane cut through the bush from County Road 12. That road was later named Round Lake Company Lane as a fitting tribute to
the Round Lake Hunting and Fishing Club that had purchased land on the lake more than a century earlier.


Another early development that had some bearing on the course of events at Livingstone Lake was the advent of lumbering. Unfortunately, we have so far been able to glean very little information in terms of when cutting began and how many times the Livingstone area has been cut over, although our best guess is that the initial cut took place approximately 1868 to 1888. We do know that the Round Lake Lumber Company had a mill on the west side of what many of us call the back bay, as well as a settlement that included two cabins on the north shore point separating the back bay from the main lake; the most easterly one is thought to have been the residence of the mill foreman. There was also another larger dwelling across the channel on the northeast shore, thought to have been the residence of the mill superintendent. We know that the mill burned down in the 1950s, and that the land, then leased by National Lumber Company, reverted back to the Crown.

Vestiges of the mill still remain along the west shore of the back bay, and, if one looks closely along the edges of Millyard Lane (past the former mill yard off Laurel Road), you can still uncover the remains of the bark slabs that were removed from trees felled in that area. In addition, the former superintendent’s house is still standing on the northeast shore, having been for many years the summer cottage of the Stoddart family (later the Hetheringtons, now the Gendrons). Adjacent to that structure, the younger Stoddarts built another cottage (later owned by the Bracks, the Dixons, and now by Fizzell / James). In the back bay itself, the milling operation left behind many sunken logs which a company dealing in antique timber wanted to harvest during 2006-2007. However, a strong protest from lake property owners led to the withdrawal of the company’s application.

Livingstone Lodge
Livingstone Lodge ad

Of course, no history of Livingstone Lake would be complete without mention of Livingstone Lodge. It was in 1945 that Steve Kopys purchased the land on the east shore from the Crown, and began erecting the main lodge buildings and adjacent cabins. At some point after the demise of the lumbering activities, Steve also took possession of the company’s property on the mainland north shore, including the two cabins mentioned above. Annie joined him sometime early in the 1950s, and together they added several other structures as well as an addition to the most westerly of the two original cabins, making it into their residence and the lodge office. Over the years, Steve and Annie Kopys played host to many fishing and hunting groups, as well as many evenings of music and dancing that lodge guests and other lake residents enjoyed. The Kopys also sold off two of the former lumber company lots facing the back bay (at the entrance to what is now Hazelnut Lane) to the Friedays and Wilkinsons (now the Farahs).

Following Steve’s death in 1987, Annie carried on operating the lodge until her passing in December 2009. By that time, she had already sold the former foreman’s residence to Gord Farah (then the Loves, now the Horners) and in 2007 the east shore main lodge property to the Dubés who have restored and renovated most of the buildings for their family’s use. In 2010, the Dubés also purchased the remaining portion of the mainland lodge property and have turned the lodge office/residence (now named “Annie’s Place”) and one of the outbuildings into comfortable summer cabins. In addition, the boathouse has been rescued for boat and other storage, and the Livingstone Lake Association now holds its Annual General Meeting there every year on the third Saturday in August.

Sale of Crown Lands

Last, but certainly not least, there was the Ontario government’s sale of Crown lands following World War II. Lots were sold to the public with the stipulation that a building to a certain minimum size had to be erected within a specified length of time or the land would revert to the Crown. Seven lots were surveyed on the north shore east of Livingstone Creek. One of the first of these was sold to the Arnotts, who paid a $10 deposit in November 1945, receiving their deed in the early 1950s once their log cabin had been built. At that time, before County Road 12 was extended past Otter Lake, access was from Highway 60, down a logging road (still used for logging purposes) to the top of Livingstone Lake. The first cottage on the north shore, the Arnotts’ cabin, has remained in the family and has recently been restored and expanded by the Wieses. Other purchasers in the 1950s included the Schiedels (now Scott/McLaren), the Yellands, the Armstrongs (now the Bettgers and the Stouffers), the Wismers and the McDermotts/Bruces (now the Adams), all of whom erected buildings as per government requirements.

Before the north shore settlement began, however, there was already a log cabin on the east shore, just at the base of the big cliff (and south of what was then Livingstone Lodge property). It was apparently purchased from the Crown in the early 1950s by a family from Bradford, who then sold it to the Hawleys from Tillsonburg in the late 1950s (now cousins Rooke and Hawley who are part of the extended Hawley family). As (bad) luck would have it, there have been three structures on that site: the original cabin which burned down in 1969, followed by its replacement which, in 2005, was so severely damaged by a falling tree that it had to be demolished and replaced in 2006.

The one other area on the lake where there were Crown land sales was on the point at the end of what is now Hazelnut Lane. From what we can gather, this area was originally part of the lumber company lands which reverted to the Crown after the mill closed. Apparently, one of the buildings on the lake side of that strip of land had been a lumber company house that was purchased by the Hedleys as part of a Crown lot, although the building burned down at some point and was replaced with a Viceroy structure (later purchased and expanded by the Tauntons, now the Bolligers). On the back bay side of that point, a cottage was built sometime in the late 1950s (again, presumably on land purchased from the Crown), then sold to the Reids, who subsequently subdivided to create a lot for their relatives, the Lambes.

No history is complete without reference to the odd bit of folklore that has at times been associated with the lake. For example, it has been suggested that, in the early 20th century, famed Canadian painter Tom Thomson (associated with the Group of Seven artists before that group’s official formation) may have passed through Round Lake on one of his canoe trips from Canoe Lake just up the way in Algonquin Park. Even before that, in the late 18th or early 19th century, it is possible that British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor and map-maker David Thompson passed this way in his search for the most effective waterway connecting the Ottawa River to Georgian Bay. We’ll likely never know for sure whether these visits ever took place, but we do have it on good authority that Kitchener, Ontario, native and cook, Edna Staebler, did vacation at the lake in company with her father who was a Round Lake Club member. They would have stayed at the club’s cabin, and it’s entirely possible that some of her famous Food That Really Schmecks recipes were compiled and written in this environs.

As the above outline suggests, there have been many changes at Livingstone Lake over the past 120 years, but what has not changed is the special place that this lake has in the hearts and minds of all who have visited or resided here during this time period. In our 2010 survey, respondents commented on such features as the lake’s natural, serene beauty and the fact that there is still considerable undeveloped Crown land with undisturbed shorelines. They remarked on special places such as the cliff/ rock face on the east shore of the lake, with its changing light patterns at different points during the day, its amazing vistas (from the top), the birds nesting on the rocks, and its offer of sheltered swimming and fishing. Also noted was the marsh/creek at the north end of the lake, offering a great habitat for birds, animals and other natural phenomena and a quiet, peaceful place to explore in a canoe.

So, that’s the history of Livingstone Lake as best as we can determine at the present time. Because there are still gaps in our knowledge of past events, and because changes in ownership and other events will add to the lake’s annals, it is our hope that we can continue to update this chronicle as the years go by.


In addition to email, phone and in-person conversations with many current lake residents, the following sources have made possible this first attempt at a lake history:

History of Livingstone Lake: 1945 to the Present. Susan and Brian Wiese, 2012

History of the Round Lake Hunting and Fishing Club. Wayne Parker, Livingstone Lake News, 2012.

Livingstone Lodge and the Kopys. Beth Adams Bow, Livingstone Lake News, 2010.

The Schiedels’ Story: A Conversation. Beth Adams Bow, 2013.

60 Years at Livingstone Lake. Susan Wiese, Livingstone Lake News, 2008.

An interview with George Hughes. Beth Adams Bow, 2008.