While camping in Algonquin Park last weekend, we took our canoe on Canoe Lake and paddled to Potters Creek. We had wanted to do this in the summer, but ran out of time and good weather. My son had told us of an old bridge across the creek, and we wanted to see that.
Below are the last remaining timbers from that bridge which connected the main railway line to a sawmill across Potters Creek. The timbers are breaking down a little bit more each year, and are silvery grey with age. I took these photos from our canoe. This bridge was originally built sometime between 1933 and 1940 by the Barry's Bay Lumber Company (owned by Messrs. Omanique).
|The same bridge|
My son told us back in the summer that there was some kind of stone "wheel" and a foundation alongside Potters Creek. It's actually the foundation for the sawdust burner that was built here on the edge of the water to burn the heaps of sawdust created by the sawmill.
You can see the square concrete platform below, and the circular foundation for the burner on top of that. Where we pulled up our canoe just to the right of this, we saw all kinds of crumbling red bricks along the shore, which were used for part of this structure.
When you look in the water around this area, there are all kinds of old pieces of lumber lying on the bottom of the creek.
|The top of the circular section of the burner, now filled in with pine trees|
Behind the burner foundation are lots of trees crowding up to the shore of the creek. We followed a short path that led into the trees ...
... and were so surprised to find this!
This is the old Barry's Bay Lumber Company sawmill! Previous to that it was the Canoe Lake Lumber Company, and was built around 1923. The trees have completely taken over this site, and all that is left are a few outer walls of this abandoned mill. With the shadows of the trees on the walls, it was quite camouflaged in the forest. When it was built, the trees in this area had all been chopped down, and the shores along the creek were bare.
|A hole in a wall that was heart-shaped ;)|
We walked around the remains of this old mill and you can't help but think of the men that worked and lived here all those years ago. It seems most of these old mills ran into financial difficulties along the way and were eventually shut down and abandoned. I'm glad the park has left this structure standing, although their policy is to tear down any old building in the park. I think it's interesting to get a glimpse into the past through these old relics.
|you can see the cables embedded in the concrete walls|
|an old bedframe|
Looking into the building ... more forest!
Trees have lived and died within the confines of these walls.
Heavy mill equipment was bolted to this raised concrete slab (below).
The next three photos are the sawmill in operation, and then at stages of decay.
|You can see the same walls that are still standing today, and the|
sawdust burner foundations to the right in the water
And just as I took this last photo, someone ... or something drifted into the doorway ...
hmmmm ... a former employee of the sawmill?
It was time to go!
Thanks for stopping by!