Beautiful Kawartha Lakes: Stoney Lake and Clear Lake

Stoney Lake is approximately 32 kilometers long and five kilometers wide. Part of the Trent Severn Waterway system, it is entered through the locks at Burleigh Falls, a beautiful area of rushing white water over craggy pink granite rocks from Lovesick Lake. Stoney and Clear Lake exit downstream through the locks at Youngs Point and into Lake Katchawanooka.

Stoney Lake is made up of three interconnecting lakes.

The easterly portion of the lake (known as Upper Stoney Lake) projects toward the north east and is bypassed by the main navigational channel.  The westerly portion of the lake is known as Lower Stony. Historically, cottagers in “Upper” use an “e” in Stoney, while “Lower” cottagers drop the “e”. This makes for great debate in the proper spelling of the lake’s name, with many old maps and notations spelling it one way or the other. Clear Lake forms the third part of the lake. Clear Lake is the south west portion of the lake and is free or “Clear “of islands.

Stoney is dotted with hundreds of lovely rocky islands supporting some of the earliest traditional cottages in southern Ontario. Stoney Lake straddles the border between the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The lake is influenced by both the granite of the Canadian Shield on the north shore and a Limestone, gentler base on the south shore.

Stoney Lake has been renowned since the late 1880’s for the fishing, attracting some of the earliest cottagers from Ontario and the United States. Many of these original cottaging families are still residents on the lake in the summer months.

The Lower Stony Lake Cottager’s Association retains the gifted property on Juniper Island and maintains its original buildings. Annual regattas as well as organized sailing races have been held on Juniper Island since the 1880’s. The Juniper Island Store, snack bar and pavilion are a wonderful attraction on Juniper Island. The Stony Lake Yacht Club (century old two storey wet slip boathouse) and Tennis Club are also operated from the Juniper Island property. Organized swimming, workouts, triathlons, square dances, sailing, dances and movies are available to all.

Years ago, before powerboats and cottage roads, cottages were accessed by steam ships. Many of the older cottages still have large, old concrete docks where the steamers could land and tie up. These same steamers would bring fresh produce, milk and other supplies to the summer residents. During the winter, ice was cut from the lake in blocks, stores in sawdust in icehouses, preserving it for summer use. It was delivered by boat for their “ice boxes”. Many of the older, larger cottages still have old icehouse structures on their islands.

St. Peter’s on the Rock, an island church is situated on one of the lovely islands in Lower Stony. Sunday services have been offered for 100 years. The church celebrated its centennial this past year. Summer weddings are popular, as well as christenings and there is a special thanksgiving service in the fall.

The seasons change with the birds. Early in the spring, Merganser, Bufflehead, Golden Eye and other duck varieties are found settling on the lake by the hundreds as soon as the ice disappears. As they move north, Mallards, Cormorants, Blue Herons and Loons become the summer residents. Large flocks of Canada Geese mark the return of both the end of winter and beginning of autumn. Osprey are common, with their giant nests perched on top of island hydro poles. A single bird feeder will soon attract many varieties of small bird species. Goldfinch, siskins, purple finch, chickadees, blue jays, and nuthatch, to name a few regulars and if you’re lucky, a baltimore oriole and indigo bunting. Beaver, muskrat, raccoon, otter and red squirrel are common as well as occasional sightings of moose and black bear. During the spring and winter months, deer are abundant, with daily sightings anywhere around the lake and islands.

Stoney and Clear Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Kawarthas. Stunning scenery, strong cottage associations and a rich history have made this region one of the most desirable cottage locations for many generations.

Submitted by

Gail Burton

Jay Burton

Sales Representatives

Royal LePage Frank Real Estate

97 Queen Street, Lakefield


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