Today’s visitor to Cache Lake may wonder about some unusual features visible there. Near the parking lot is a long, low, retaining wall, a concrete sidewalk and steps leading to nowhere, and a short, isolated section of rusting railway track. All are disappearing under a blanket of pine needles. Close by, two hydrants jut out in the middle of a red-pine plantation, and a noble white pine near the public washroom, towers over the surrounding red pines.
This majestic white pine is the only living witness to much of what evolved in this historic area of Algonquin Park not so long ago. Here a once-grand hotel complex, train station, park headquarters, and golf course thrived for half a century. Nothing — or at least very little — of the Highland Inn, camps, associated buildings, and rail lines is still in evidence at Cache Lake. If the pine could talk, it would tell some of the stories about the buildings and the people who worked in them a century ago.
In Destination Algonquin Park: Tracks to Cache Lake and the Highland Inn, Don Beauprie relates the history of a thriving part of Algonquin Park where people once lived or vacationed in grand inns or at camps and cottages, and where he has spent much of his life. His book begins with J.R. Booth’s railway, which led to the development of tourism and the Highland Inn, and concludes with tales about the settlement of Cache Lake and its characters.
In the pages of this informative and enjoyable publication, readers will find much to enrich their personal libraries and knowledge of our beloved provincial park.
Available on backorder