Mary Garland was only six weeks old when she got her first canoe ride with her father, at his log cabin on Smoke Lake, Algonquin Park. From this introduction to canoeing, and Algonquin, Mary went on to explore the Park on canoe trips with camps Tanamakoon and Wapomeo, and on her own with friends. After graduation with a degree in geology from the University of Toronto, summers were spent in distant places, but when possible, Mary came back to the family cottage, now at the south end of Smoke Lake, and brought canoeing friends to enjoy paddling in the glorious backcountry of Algonquin.
On one such adventure, while exploring the old Mowat site on Canoe Lake with her husband Rob Kruys, Mary noticed that the photographs of Mowat Lodge, said to be built on top of the old Gilmour mill foundations, did not show this. On further investigation, Mary realized that the mill foundations were much larger than visible from the lake, and the lodge was built on top of the old chip burner foundation. She proposed to the Friends of Algonquin to provide a map of the quickly disappearing foundations, and a brief history of the Mowat area. What started as a small adventure ten years ago has grown to a much larger project, which will be published this coming year. Over thirty years working in field geology, a PhD in mineralogy and research into gemmological deposits in Canada coupled with a love of history, are qualifications that segue well into doing the meticulous research necessary to ferret out long-ago details of the small Canoe Lake community.
Copyright Mary I. Garland, 2013.
Below: Smoke Lake in the mist.