My Old Washburn

Map Photo

Washburn Island, Lake Scugog, 1930

Washburn Island, Lake Scugog, Ontario, aerial photo facing north, c. 1930

Collective memory takes you back …

The island I remember from my youth (pictured above) has little resemblance to today’s Washburn Island on Lake Scugog. When my maternal and paternal grandparents bought 50-foot lots in the 1930s from Farmer Percy Wakeford, three farming families lived on less than 300 acres – the Wakefords, the Bowens and the Grills.

A narrow causeway threaded the reedy shallows at the north end of the lake before a landfill project in the late 60s obliterated the sliver of causeway as we knew it. Demolition of older cottages and conversions to permanent homes began. Dusty gravel roads were paved over and given street names.

Lake Scugog attracts cottagers and home owners to surrounding towns and landmarks like Port Perry, Pine Point, Caesarea, Fingerboard, Seagrave, Little Britain, Valentia, Manilla, Port Hoover, Starr’s Beach and Ball Point. For over a century, the lake’s proximity to larger centers – Toronto, Whitby, Oshawa and Lindsay gave cottagers quick access to a Kawartha cottage experience. Visit local heritage site, Scugog Township.

I’d like to share memories of family members with cottages on the island, relations holidaying with us, neighbouring cottagers, farming families, and others who have since owned homes on the island.


Right: Bob on right at top & Viv in middle of girls standing c. 1939

As teenagers in the mid-30s, my mum, Vera Humphries (Viv) meets my dad, Robert Burrows (Bob) on Washburn Island. Their parents’ cottages are separated by Baldwin’s cottage, all built between 1934 and 1936.

With siblings, their friends from Toronto invited to the island and new friends they meet on the island, the young people hang around together in groups.

In many photos, young girls wear skirts and blouses and men wear dress pants with suspenders over collared shirts.Labour laws stipulate a longer work week (44 hrs) for the working class, usually at work until noon on Saturday in Toronto. They likely drive to the cottage in their work clothes. It is also an era when you dress. I recall in the 50s we change out of cottage clothes to return to the city. It seems ridiculous today, but there were recognized standards about conventions like that.

Viv Humphries & Bob Burrows, Washburn Island, c. 1939. (It appears that Viv is wearing her “cottage clothes” in this shot)

Author, MARY and siblings, BARBARA, MAEVE & ROBERT

1952 photo of Viv and Bob Burrows with three daughters, Barbara (8 yrs), Maeve (6 yrs), author Mary (4 yrs) at the shoreline of Gran and Gramp Humphries cottage. (Son Robert born 1958) Note the sand beach, large boulders, low bluff and strip cedar fences to keep cattle and horses off cottagers’ properties. Mum sewed most of our clothes on a treadle sewing machine. As the youngest daughter, the hand-me-downs were pretty much used up when I was through with them. I’m sure I’ll weave the complaint into my book.

1958 Winter visit, Maeve, Viv, Bob, Barb and son Bob

Once or twice each winter we visited the cottage. Sometimes we parked outside the forest because the road was unplowed, and we hiked in. Dad lit a fire in a black potbelly stove in the living room and we boiled water for tea on it, and ate sandwiches Mum pre-made at home. A couple of times we shoveled the snow off the ice on the lake and skated. Maeve and I were given skis at Christmastime one year and we found a slope to practise on.

Siblings with Puffballs, 1960

Puffballs didn’t grow every year. They required particular climatic conditions. Mum and Dad fried them in an iron frying pan with big slabs of butter. I wasn’t convinced we were doing the prudent thing, and usually turned up my nose at them.

(Photo: Mary crouching, Bob, Maeve and Barb standing with trophy puffballs on Washburn Island, 1960)

Maternal Grandparents: Ernest and Edith Humphries

Ernie (Gramp) came to Canada from Dorset, England in 1906 when he was 17-years old. He signed up for WWI in Owen Sound, Ontario, and met Edith Collins (Gran) when he was on leave for a holiday weekend in Little Hampton, England, where she was born. They decided to make their life in Toronto, Canada, with my 2-year old mother, Vera (Viv) in 1920. In 1922, their son Ernie was born.

Ernest & Edith Humphries (Gran & Gramp), in front of their cottage, Twin Cedars, c. 1965, which they purchased c. 1936

Paternal grandparents, SAMUEL & MARGUERITE (DAISY) BURROWS

Daisy Whiteley (Grandma) was born in Buxton, Derbyshire, England. She met her husband Sam when they worked together in Southampton. They had five children born in England and one daughter born in Saskatchewan before they settled in Toronto in 1929. Daisy and Sam bought their cottage on Washburn Island in 1936.

Father Sam, Sisters May and Peg, Len Hamlett, Bob Washburn Island 1941

Sam Burrows (top left) died in 1941 (in his fifties) shortly after this photo was taken on the steps to The Burrows cottage he built with his sons (Bob and Syd) in 1936. His wife Daisy lived to be ninety-four years old. Sam was born in London, England and joined the Royal Navy at an early age.

Margeurite (Daisy) Burrows (Grandma) with granddaughter Mary McIntrye, Washburn Island, c. 1948

Dark Secrets Revealed

The dark secrets of family mythology are embedded beliefs. These beliefs build family values and motivate the actions of individual family members to varying degrees. Values govern behaviour, communication and interaction with others.

A Family Theme, A Family Secret by K. L. Cook:

Predominant themes emerge over generations and are imprinted on a family as a kind of private mythology. How has this theme worked through the generations, positively and/or negatively? In what ways has it helped create a sense of loyalty and identity among family members …?”

I can’t speak for every member of my extended family, but here are some generalities I think we’d agree on.

Americans can’t make a decent cup of tea. They just swish a tea bag through a cup of hot tap water.

  • Hardly an earth-shaking, dark secret, but shows a long-held view by some Brits about Americans. Americans rejected our tea (Boston Tea Party) so we scoff at them. I recall hearing, when crossing back into Canada on returns from American vacations, We’re finally going to get a decent cup of tea.
  • Beliefs about tea go even deeper. Brewing a pot of tea is the first thing that is done in a crisis. The tea pot must be warmed first. Tea is best drunk from china tea cups. Tea should be steeped. You can never drink enough cups of tea in a day. Knitted tea cozies were favourite knitting projects by Gran Humphries.

We are working class people

  • This goes along with, Don’t try to rise above your station. At the turn of the 20th century when all of my grandparents were growing up in England, there existed a well-defined class system based on education, jobs and family connections. Looking at the occupations of my four great-grandparents, I sense what my grandparents believed of their station: a gold-leaf painter for churches, a labourer, a heating & metal works business owner and a river pilot.
  • At risk of sounding trite, the working class expected to work – often physically and for long hours. It wasn’t until they lived in Canada under a modified American system of “getting ahead” that they dared to believe that future generations could throw off the constraints of the class system.

Family First.

  • You help your own first, everyone else second. Be loyal to family. Family rewards you in turnFamily is to be trusted. Strong family values benefit all. Family forgives. Family members are your best friends. Do not bring shame upon your family. Make us proud. Put your best foot forward.

We are Christians

  • Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This Christian based belief is at the foundation of British social teachings, at least man to man – not country to country (we can’t forget that Empire building is an ugly business based on annihilation or assimilation, not accommodation).
  • “Manners Maketh Man” was inscribed in stone above the entry to the Anglican Church School my father and sibling attended in England.

There will always be an England

  • Loyalty to England was a rallying cry for grandparents and parents signing up in two world wars. Victorian expansionist policies at the turn of the twentieth century had reached its zenith. British newspapers and literature exploded with exploits in foreign lands. Empire was something to be proud of in workaday lives back home. Power of one nation over another. (The dark secret was to ignore the destruction of Empire-building to the vanquished.)

Work before pleasure

  • At its core this can be stripped down to a universal truth, If you don’t hunt, you don’t eat. Hard work is rewarded, laziness is not (Grasshopper and the Ant). Put your shoulder to the wheel, was often repeated in my family. A stitch in time saves nine. You reap what you sow. Get on with it. All hands on deck. Many hands make short work.

I will address superstitons and family myths in follow up posts.

Washburn Island Cottages

The Humphries Cottage “Twin Cedars”

1936 Humphries Cottage Washburn Island

Ernie and Edith HUMPHRIES bought Twin Cedars from Frankel Bros. Lumber (Lindsay) when it was partially built on a low foundation. The original purchasers, a young couple with a baby, were unable to pay for the cottage they arranged for Frankel Bros. to build. Frankel Bros., who supplied the materials, claimed the property in lieu of materials and labour costs. As a sign of the times, deeds stipulated that only gentiles could own property on the island and Frankel Bros., being Jewish, sold the unfinished cottage to my maternal grandparents, Ernie and Edith Humphries in 1936.

Humphries cottage, Washburn Island, late 1930s
The Humphries Cottage, Twin Cedars, the late 30s before porch addition and dock construction. All-day sunshine. Shortly after this photo was taken in the late 1930s, a shuttered and screened porch was added across the front of the cottage. Most cottagers constructed cedar strip fences to keep Percy Wakeford’s horses and cattle away from their windows. Cottagers today may be surprised to see the deep sandy beach and low bluff which was a permanent feature until the 1960s when water tables changed. The boulders helped to keep the shoreline stable. At the top of the bluff in front of the fence was a level grassy landing for deck chairs.

Ernie & Edith Humphries' cottage, Twin Cedars, Washburn Island, Baldwin's cottage on right, circa 1944

Humprhies cottage, Twin Cedars, 2001

Ernie Humphries sold the cottage in 1972, two years after his wife Edith’s death in 1970. In this 2003 view, gone is the outhouse, gone is the big maple with the circle of stones and ferns around its base, gone is the tool shed attached to the left side of the cottage, gone is the high dense cedar fence separating the properties, gone is the split cedar fence and gate that kept out the farmer’s cows and horses, gone is the long narrow cedar lined driveway leading from the sandy cottage road. Gone.


Sam Burrows and daughter May, 1941

Daisy Burrows and 12-year old daughter Peg Burrows sitting on vacant lot beside the Burrows cottage, 1939. Lot purchased 1936. Where they are sitting will become the lot where her daugher Nora and husband Harrie Baker will build their cottage in 1953.

Daisy Burrows, Washburn Island & 12-year old daughter Peg Burrows, 1939

Sam and Daisy (Marguerite) BURROWS bought their 50-ft lot from farmer Percy Wakeford in 1936. The family of six camped in tents until Sam and sons Bob and Syd built the structure pictured above. On the left stands a giant elm tree that nearly 20 years after this photo was taken played a role in a tragic death at the cottage. The lot where Daisy and Peg are sitting was bought by her daughter Nora and her husband Harrie Baker in the early 50s. They built a cottage there in 1953. (Below, Bob Burrows 1939)

Burrows / Hamlett cottage, 2006

Back view of the Burrows cottage 2006. A single storey cottage was built over the original Burrows cottage in photo above by Sam and Daisy Burrows’ daughter May Hamlett when she took ownership from her mother. New owners added a second floor in the 1970s.

My aunt, May HAMLETT sold the Burrows cottage in the late 70s. The photo above shows a second storey addition, a shed and satellite dish. The structure on the far right had been Baldwin’s cottage in the 30s.The tall cedars that lined the driveway and car park stretched behind the cottages are gone. The cottage on the far left belonged to Aunt Nora and Uncle Harrie Baker.


Baker Cottage (Bob Burrows’s sister Nora and husband Harrie Baker)

Baker Cottage, Washburn Island, Lake Scugog, 2006

The BAKER cottage is situated on the most westerly point of Washburn Island beside the original Burrows cottage. In the late 50s, on the left side of a tall cedar fence, a sand trail led from the cottage road to a public beach (considered unpopular by seasoned cottagers). As a child, I recall the farmer’s cows cooling themsleves in the shallows at the point. The best swimming on the island is here where the westerly winds bleows across the lake and creates wave action solidifying the bottom. The original structure, including outhouse was separated by a fence and cedar trees from the parking area pictured above. A short cedar hedge separated The Baker cottage and the Burrows cottage.


Viv and Bob Burrows bought a lot from farmer Alex Bowen in 1956, situated in a maple forest and facing south into Starr’s Bay

Burrows Cottage, Washburn Island, Lake Scugog, 1991

Burrows Cottage, Washburn Island, Lake Scugog, 1957

Burrows Cottage, Washburn Island, Lake Scugog, 1958

The dark building on the left was a shed Bob Burrows constructed to serve as shelter while he built the cottage. The structure on the right was half of the cottage: kitchen, dining room and living room. A bedroom addition was erected the next year at the right side of the existing structure. The shed served as a tool and storage shed. About 10 years later Bob constructed a hip roof on top of it. View of the Burrows cottage modernized in 2003, purchased by an Oshawa couple in 1991 and renovated to become their retirement home.


Great Aunt Lil and Great Uncle Bill were related to my Gran Humphries (sisters). They owned a cottage on the Wakeford cottage road, then sold it and rented another cottage on the same road for a few years, then bought a lot from Grills and erected a small structure on it. I don’t have any photographs of their cottages, but hope to get some from Lil & Bill’s granddaughter Linda.

Washburn Island Setting

Lake, Beach, Shore, Cottage, Road and Farm

Heading west on Starr Bay Rd., approaching left turn to Washburn Island. First glimpse of the island is distant Bowen’s maple forest where my parents’ cottage is located, Viv and Bob Burrows, (’56-’91)
Roadside view looking east on Washburn Island Rd. at the approach to the causeway. The breezes blowing the trees and tall growth is typical summer afternoon weather.
View of Washburn Island on right before entering the causeway. The tall plants growing at the water’s edge are found in many shoreline locations around Lake Scugog
On the road to Washburn Island, an osprey nest, 2006
Typical marshy shoreline with water lilies in the shallows – attracting bass, pickerel, carp, muskelunge and more
Entrance to causeway with Washburn in distant right.
Typical bull rushes at entrance to causeway, Washburn Island in background right. Tall willows grew beside the narrow causeway and swished against passing cars. Grills’ farm driveway on right after crossing the causeway to Washburn Island
Heading southwest on Wakeford Rd. to Percy Wakeford’s farm.
Heading west at the high point of the island. Directly in front of the trees used to be the place where cottagers rented mailboxes. It was a great walking destination, especially in the 50s when Byrds opened a little store at the bottom of the hill and sold ice cream cones
Farm gate at the entrance to Wakeford’s farm. The house and some outbuildings are demolished now. The land belongs to the Elliott family whose cottage history goes back to the turn of the last century
The access road to the cottages in Bowen’s maple forest, named Sugar Bush Trail. Here is a pretty opening in the forest behind the cottage of Viv and Bob Burrows. In spring the forest floor was a carpet of pink, purple and white violets and white trilliums. In summer wild strawberries grew along the roadside.
Sugar Bush trail got its name from Bowen’s sugar shack. In the 50s our family visited in winter, and old Alex and his son Harvey drizzled maple sugar on snow for us to eat. Sap was hauled to the sugar shack by horse and sled.

Forthcoming Book: Washburn Island: Memoir of a Childhood

Click Archives to read author’s posts. Readers comments and stories are welcome.

Or, email direct:

44 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Heather on April 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I’m looking forward to reading your book. And I don’t think I was ever shown the Ugly as a Scar poem…..can we see it anywhere?


  2. Posted by smurphy on April 16, 2010 at 12:46 am

    As a child, my family rented a cottage on the Island. What great memories they were. I look forward to
    the reading of your published book.

    i will follow your blog now that I have discovered it. Thanks.


  3. Posted by Mary on April 16, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Hi Heather,
    Thanks for your interest in my poem. When it has been published in June, I’ll put a copy of it on this blog.


  4. Posted by carin on April 16, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Congratulations, Mary! What a lovely blog you’ve created. No doubt an exciting step in the ‘process’, and one many will happily share.


  5. Posted by Heather on April 16, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Great, look forward to seeing it.


  6. Posted by frank on April 17, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Congrats Mary-sounds like its taken a whole bunch of time, but you’ve finally taken that writing talent and put it
    to something everyone can see and read


    • Posted by Chris Fowler on July 10, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      Hello, my great grandparents; the Brown’s than later the Hagerman’s cottage was down the street. My grandmother Edna was friends. I have a very beautiful oil painting that a W.R.Burrows painted, of an old bearded man smoking a cob pipe, green sweater and a tan cap. Looks pre WW2 clothing? Anyways, I believe this is someone from your family both in the painting and artist?


      • Hi Chris. I have a slight recollection of the names, Brown and Hagerman at Washburn. People used to put little name signs on trees, and you became familiar with them in passing by every weekend, even if you didn’t know the cottagers. As far as I know, there is no W. R. Burrows in my family. There was an artistic bent in the Burrows family, however (music and art. I’m going to ponder this some more and get back to you once I look into it. So nice to hear from you. Is there any way you can post a photograph of this, or send it to me via email,

      • Hi Chris,
        I had to remove my original reply to you because by mistake I sent an incorrect email address for you to contact me. My email address is I also had time to realize that my Aunt Peg’s name was Winnifred, and she painted in oils. Now I’m curious to know if perhaps it is her painting. The Burrows family of my Dad’s generation from the 1911 era forward were artistically and musically creative. Are you able to send me a photograph of the painting? I don’t suppose there is any way of verifying if it is hers, but the coincidence seems intriguing. Thanks for your interest.

  7. Posted by Liz on April 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I’m excited about your blog, Mary, and your book and poem. Looking forward to good reads!!


  8. Posted by Bob Burrows on May 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Hey Big Sister,
    Just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you and how amazing your site looks!
    Your writing journey has come full circle and all of your hard work and skill sets are paying off.
    Lake Scugog/Washburn Island is a very special place for all of our family (and extended family) that will always hold great memories for each us of hot summer days, cool falls (raking leaves!) and cold winter excursions.
    I can’t wait to read your book (an autographed copy of course) and relive some of the history of the island as a background to your story.
    Wishing you all the success you deserve and much love.
    Your little brother,


  9. Congratulations on your site, Mary! You’re much more technologically savvy than I am. That’s a disgrace, I imagine, because I have a daughter with a Master’s in I.T.
    Thanks for getting in touch! All best! Dolores


  10. Posted by Liz on May 9, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I am so looking forward to reading your book, Mary. You have always been a good writer, far above the average, and have enjoyed reading anything you wrote in the past. I responded to your blog once before. Just want you to know I am keen on reading your writings.
    Congratulations in this endeavour and I know you will do well and go far as you have always enjoyed writing!


  11. Thanks for letting me know about your blog. I’m looking forward to reading your book.


  12. Posted by Archie Goodman on May 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    It is just nice to know a person who is organized and practical who also has imagination.


  13. This sounds like a a fascinating project, Mary. Unfortunately, I do not know the area well…I just love to visit it. I live about half an hour west of Port Perry.

    Best wishes!


  14. This looks like a fascinating project. Thank you for checking out my blog ( I will definitely write more on topics of nostalgia.
    I look forward to reading your memoir!


  15. Posted by Barb Burns on July 22, 2010 at 9:50 pm


    I’ve just spent the best part of the afternoon enjoying your blog. I’m so glad you’ve decided to write about our family’s experiences on Washburn Island. We’ve long admired your writing talent and think your interpretation of this topic will showcase your abilities to others as well. Washburn Island is one of the few places I often miss and always enjoy to re-visit.

    Your sister Barb


  16. Posted by Connie on August 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm


    Thank you for your insightful comments on my musings at
    I am looking forward to reading your book.



  17. Posted by Donna Melnik on August 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Mary,

    The Wakeford’s you mention in your article above are my relatives. My dad’s Uncle was Percy Wakeford and I remember often visiting Uncle Perc while at my grandparents (Charles Wakeford) on Lake Scugog as a child. I was searching for info on my family when I stumbled upon your blog! How cool! I would love to see more on the history of this area as you see fit to forward it to me.

    Donna Melnik (nee Wakeford)


    • Posted by Deborah Clarke on October 27, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      I also spent every summer up at our family cottage growing up and much of the time I spent up at Percy and Edith’s farm, riding cows or helping Percy out in the fields on his tractor which was pulled by horses!! I can only remember one horse’s name ‘Nellie’ and I just loved them. Percy and Edith were such kind, gentle people. This has brought back soooo many wonderful memories – thanks so much. All the best.


      • Deborah, it’s nice to hear from you. I can picture Edythe. (I think that is how her name was spelled, but I will check again.) She wore no-nonsense print house dresses, usually covered with an apron, and sturdy leather shoes. She had sunny disposition, always making visiting kids feel welcome.

  18. Posted by ROGER on August 18, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Too easy to be distracted from what I should be doing — working on “Grow Up!” — to what presents itself as a can’t-resist. . .
    So was the sight of your “Washburn Island” in Lake Scugog! How well I remember the place & time!
    The 40’s, the Nonquon River — where we shot carp while standing on the deck of our cedar-strip Peterborough run-about!, poled through the shallow water of the Nonquon. Then taking them to Washburn and getting 25 cents a piece. WOW!
    Stephenson’s Point where we camped into the mid fifties. When things began to serve a new economy. Lakeside Beach by boat to pick up milk. . . Night time fishing for Mud Cats — by the pail. WOW!
    “Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end.” But alas. . .
    “Thanks for the memories…” Mary. Most enjoyed!
    Continued success with your writing.


    • So I managed to unearth another Lake Scugog person! Slowly we’re coming out of the woodwork. I’m so pleased to hear from you, as I’ve heard from a few others. I recall the carp too, especially when they thrashed close to shore, glinting golden yellow in the shallows. If you were close to the Nonquon, you might remember the town of Seagrave. Mud cats–hard to get by their ugly faces but the lake had lots of them. I used to think their “whiskers” gave off electric shocks. How come no one straightened me out on that one? It’s interesting that you sold fish for 25 cents apiece. There must have been some lazy fishermen around! Thanks for your generous sharing and kind comments.


  19. Hi Mary, I love the way you describe the island, Your descriptions are beautifully composed. I wish you luck with the book. And thanks for plugging your blog and book on Marinagraphy. It’s so much easier to get to know people this way. There are just too many networks out there.



    • Hi Marina,
      You are a great support to emerging writers and your idea to promote other writers is heartwarming. I wish you continued success.


  20. Hi Mary, you are a very talented writer. Congratulations on your accomplishments to date & the future. Your poem Ugly as a Scar is beautiful, I enjoyed Love Letters, am looking forward to reading your book. I am familiar with Lake Scugog, we had a cottage on Williams Point, purchased fish & chips wrapped in newspaper on Fridays for our late dinner at the cottage. We ate many mud cats, enjoyed boating, raked many leaves in the fall, I do not recall the exact location of Washburn Island. I wish you all the best in writing your book.

    Mary Spry


    • Hi Mary,
      So nice to hear from you. There are lots of ups and downs in the writing process, but once the writing bug finds you, you don’t want it to go away.


  21. Am enjoying reading your writing, Mary. Congratulations on your achievements. You are a very talented writer & I look forward to reading much more of your writing in the future.


  22. Posted by Rick Koohtow on May 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Our family cottage is 3-lots south of the ‘Burrows’ and is still owned by our mother.


    • I remember your cottage! If my mind serves me well, you had a central copper hood over a central fireplace??? or is that the mind of a 9-year old fuzzying up the details? How wonderful to hear from you.


  23. I’m not familiar with Washburn Island but I spent many wonderful weekends with my parents on their small boat moored at a marina on Lake Scugog in the late 60s and early 70s. It was our escape from workday weeks in Toronto.


    • Hi Lynne,
      There are a few marinas on the lake: Port Perry, Scugog Island and Cesarea to name three. Most people know Scugog Island, now famous for the Blue Heron Casino. Washburn Island, quite tiny, used to have a narrow causeway attaching it to the mainland in the north eastern part of Lake Scugog. But there has been so much landfill development, it no longer appears as an island. I guess if you went boating, you likely went fishing too. Scugog is still a good fishing lake, although shallow and mucky for swimmers and boaters. For us, its proximity to Toronto was likely a reason for my family to cottage there in the 1930s.


  24. Posted by eleanor murray on January 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Lived on washburn from 1980 to 2003, beside what is pictured as Bakers cottage,stump of huge tree is still there, many happy memories


    • Eleanor, so nice to hear from you. Does that mean you were living at The Point, south of the Baker cottage, or to the north of it? There were always lovely sunsets on the western side of the island. In 1980, there would have been some of the old cedar forests behind the cottages. Gone now. Who did you buy your cottage/home from? Did you know the farmers, Percy Wakeford and Harvey Bowen? Anything you recall can come to me personally at


  25. We moved from Oshawa to Washburn Island to build our home on Grills Road back in 1988 and have absolutely loved living here. We plan to stay here now that our son has moved in while we build ourselves an in-law suite downstairs and we’re ecstatic about it too. My husband and I both worked in Oshawa/Ajax and commuted back and forth from the day we moved here till we retired 3 yrs ago. We loved coming home to peace and quiet after a long day in the city…made the commute so worthwhile!


    • Hi Debbie. Glad to hear from you. When you say Grill’s Road, do you mean the one that leads to Sugar Bush Trail, or are you on the west side of the island?


  26. Posted by Patricia on February 27, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Just stumbled on this site and think it is great. My husband and I just moved to Washburn Island on Wakeford road getting close to the point. From what we have seen so far there is something very special about this area. We feel very blessed to live here to start our retirement. I will watch for more information. Would love to know the origin of our home.


    • Hi Patricia,
      So glad to hear from you. You get wonderful sunsets from where you are. Three of my families cottages were north of the point, and I believe some of them are owned by one person. The one directly beside the point looked overgrown. Are you south of the point?


    • Posted by Patricia on October 9, 2016 at 12:13 am

      Not sure where you are speaking about but we are just south of Murray’s Lane on the opposite side and the home was previously built and owned by the Brant’s. From what we have been told the house across from us on the lake as well as the two on our side to the north were owned by this family or the wife’s parents. We are starting to see people making more of an effort since we moved here to keep their properties nicer.
      Sorry I have been out of touch for awhile but love going down and seeing who has added what to Washburn Island’s history.


  27. Posted by Patti Slama/Roche on February 28, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    We are number 65 which is about 2-3 houses up on the east side from the point so north of. The previous owners were here I believe about 25 years (The Brant’s). Hope that helps a bit, lol.


  28. Posted by Sandra Milligan on June 6, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Wonderful to have seen this site … I am soon to build on the Island and love the peace and tranquility it provides. I have memories dating back to 1969 when my Dad Robert Milligan bought a little cottage, now know as Wakeford Road.
    I will be interested to see your book when it comes out.
    Blessings – Sandra


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