Early Cottagers

This section is to share the histories of the early cottagers on the Lake. To submit your family’s story please contact: history@lacbernard.ca

Machado & Blair

Area: G-1

Submitted by Fred Blair

The Lake Bernard Fishing Club clubhouse is the large white building just up from the point that lies north of the inlet on the west end of the lake. It was built sometime in the late nineteenth century, and we may infer that the Club members included businessmen from Ottawa.

One of them was José A Machado. He was a native of Cuba in Spanish Colonial times, had emigrated to the US, and had come north to Ottawa to establish the Canadian Bank Note Company. He visited Lake Bernard, loved it, and in 1903 bought several acres immediately adjacent to the Fishing Club property. Over the next few years, substantial main buildings were constructed of logs from Dome Island (which he also owned, along with Nora’s Island and a large tract stretching away along the lake’s north shore from Nora’s). Sleeping cabins and an ice house were also built, and later a boat house with sleeping quarters over. A tennis court was added sometime before the First World War. All of the buildings still stand, but the tennis court is overgrown.

José’s son John Zaldivar Machado grew up in Ottawa and attended Lisgar Collegiate. He was an outstanding figure skater, winning the Canadian Men’s Championship in 1924 and in the same year, with his partner (later wife) Elizabeth (Bet) Blair of Ottawa, the Canadian Pairs Championship.

The Machado property remains in that family, and is used every year by Machado descendants from the U.S. Bet Blair’s five siblings all built or bought various cottage properties in the immediate area. The Fishing Club clubhouse is now in the Blair family, and family members Fred Blair, Geoff Blair, Jake Blair and Scott Duncan enjoy cottages around the southwest corner of the lake.

J. Frank Whittle

Area: B

Submitted by Gilbert Heggtveit

Leo Duffy was the first owner of the Whittle Cottage and had been very active in the formation of the original Cottagers’ Association.  He built his cottage over a two year period between 1937 and 1938.

Frank Whittle was introduced to Lake Bernard by friends.  He bought the Duffy cottage in 1941.  Frank took an active role in the operation of the Club House.  He also served on the Executive of the Association, up to and including the role of President.

At the time of his report, Frank reported concern about cottagers and guests driving without proper care and due diligence on the narrow access roads to his cottage area.  At that time most of the roads were still barely two car widths across.  He felt the hunting and the discharging of firearms should be restricted to “daylight hours”.  It also seemed that some cottagers were throwing their garbage where “Hamilton Booth” used to be and was elated that now they seemed to have curtailed the unsightly practice.

In 1968 Frank Whittle lived in Ottawa at 66 Cameron Ave.

Alan Ogilvie

Area: G-2

Submitted by Gilbert Heggtveit

It is not exactly sure when the Ogilvie cottage was built, but it wasbetween 1916 and 1918.  The first resident owner of property was a Mr.McDougal.  He used the property as a hunting and fishing lodge.  He Also used one of the buildings on the property as a maple sugar processing plant.

The building used for this maple sugar production had been purchased byCameron Hawley and by the mid 1960’s had converted it to a very nice and fairly modern cottage.

In 1964, Alan Ogilvie purchased his cottage from G. S. Hawley , who itis believed purchased the cottage property from Mr. McDougal.  In 1968 the cottage still was without phone or electrical service.  The Ogilvies had 7 children, three boys and four girls.

At the time Alan Ogilvie was living in Ottawa at 85 Concord Street.

Brothers’ Property

Area: H-2

Submitted by Gilbert Heggtveit

La Salle Academy, lead by Father Brosseau, purchased the existing Brothers’ property from Stephen O’Rourke in 1944. This purchase included all the land bordering on the south west shore, from the Evan’s (Brown’s) property to the narrows.

Included in this purchase were the cabins built for rental by Stephen O’Rourke, including the summer residence by the narrows occupied by Mr. Plouffe.

The parcel also contained the summer home built in 1914 for Father Chener,Parish Priest of Farrelton. When Father Chener became Parish Priest of Montabello, he sold the cottage to Father Brosseau who at the time was with the University of Ottawa.

Submitted by Gilbert Heggtveit

Gil Doane

Area: H-2

Submitted by Gilbert Heggtveit

Gil Doane first came to the Lake in 1919. In the 1950s he was active with the cottagers association, serving on numerous committees and was also active in the fishing club. He worked for GE Canada and for many years arranged for the annual Association meetings to be held in the GE Building cafeteria on Richmond Road, beginning in 1953 when the building was first opened.

Read the story of Gil Doane’s discovering Lake Bernard in 1919.

Margaret Higgerty

Area: B-2

Submitted by Will Lockhart

Margaret, a spinster and civil servant, lived at 105 Waverly in Ottawa. Growing up, Margaret’s family moved to a cottage in Aylmer each summer. The Aylmer cottage was shared by a number of siblings and in 1936, at the age of 37, Margaret purchased a place of her own on Lake Bernard. The 3/4 acre property with rocky point and a natural beach was purchased from Jemima Woods & George McClelland.

Lake Bernard would have seemed far away from the city in 1936, especially by a lady that grew up cottaging in Aylmer. The drive was much longer than it is now, the roads a lot rougher and narrower and the cars routinely required oil, water and attention.

In the early years Margaret drove up from Aylmer and she and friends camped out on the property until she was able to have a small one room cabin built in the early 40s. It was a complete cabin kit from Ottawa and was sent up on the Canadian Pacific Railway to the station in Alcove and then into the lake by local transport, perhaps by Woods’ or Mitchell farmers from the area.

There was no bedroom and the “kitchen” referred to the outdoor fire-pit area and flat spot furnished with a picnic table and a cabinet for dishes. Later on in the 40’s Margaret added a bedroom and a kitchen to better accomodate visits from friends and her siblings’ families. Margaret had a small boat and used to row over to the Brothers’ property to attend church.

The old cabin has been winterized and added on to and is now lived in year round by Will Lockhart, grand-nephew of Margaret, and his family.

To submit your family’s story please contact: history@lacbernard.ca