Local History

History of the Area

“There was a time in this fair land when the railway did not run and the long majestic mountains stood alone beneath the sun…” Gordon Lightfoot’s Railroad Trilogy Ballad describes this area of Canada not so long ago.

The Round Lake area was part of the Algonquin (Algonkin) Nations traditional lands. At the time of European contact in the early 17th century the Algonquins inhabited the entire Ottawa River watershed in Ontario and Quebec.

The first native contacts in the area were explorers (Champlain) and fur traders. Most of this activity was along the Ottawa River canoe routes where trading posts were established. The skirmishes between the French who supported the Algonquins and the British who supported the Mohawks and Iroquois to control the fur trade affected the Natives because they brought with them diseases that decimated the native peoples.

The European settlement started in the early 1800’s driven by the lumber trade. The History of Eganville reports that a Frenchman Gregoire Belanger built the first shanty on the banks of the Bonnechere at the future site of Eganville in 1825. By 1837, John Egan, a business man supporting the lumber industry, established Eganville to support the square timber trade on the Bonnechere. The Bonnechere River was the route for the lumber trade through Round Lake and into the log shanties in the upper watershed which is now Algonquin Park. Coming to this area, the lumbermen became the first settlers.

One of the early settlers on Round Lake was John Foy who built a house on the outlet of Round Lake in 1900. His father, Peter Foy had established a hotel and stopping point on the Bonnechere River just downstream of Round Lake. This was the route for loggers to Basin Lake. He had stables that could accomodate 34 teams of horses. John Foy's death was reported in the Eganville Leader in August of 1962

The area was opened up by the extension of the Atlantic and North Western Railway (later CPR) to Eganville in 1892 with the plan to extend it to the west that never happened. By 1897 J.R. Booth’s Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway (latter Grand Trunk -1905 and CNR-1921) was built and provided service from Parry Sound through to Vermont. It was a crucial link for the lumber trade and development in the area.

Air travel came to the area in 1934 with the construction of the Killaloe Airport built during the depression by relief workers. In the early 1950's |RCAF Stn Foymount (Pinetree Radar Line) and the Bonnechere Airport were built. The 6600 foot Bonnechere runway provided an alternate landing airport for the Cold War interceptors.

(This is a history lesson under construction. Comments, photo, and contributions on the history and pioneers of the Round Lake area would be welcome. E-mail to RLPOA.Killaloe@gmail.com . Thanks - Doug Fee, Webmaster)