Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CARSON LAKE - Finding Sleeping Bear Rock

I headed out for a short canoe trip with just Alexander, down the lake along the shore and the old Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound railway line, just for a bit of fun. An interesting little trip it was, as we encountered a boat with four divers in scuba gear beginning a one hour search of the lake just below a large boulder railway embankment, at the bottom of which (as legend has it) lie the entombed remains of a short freight train! Having paddled the area numerous times, I have never seen rotting railcars peering from the murky depths, but one of the divers was insistent that he saw such a thing while paddling in the area a number of years back.

Further along, Alexander and I made our turn around at 'Sleeping Bear Rock', a near 100 tonne boulder that closely resembles a napping black bear cub!


  1. very cool! i remember reading somewhere of a train derailment down that way.... isee what i can find later!
    enjoying your posts good to see you out on the go again!

  2. In the deep recesses of my mind, I also recall hearing something to that effect, and the old railbed is on a slightly downslope, outside curve to the lake, along about 150 metres of massive boulder fill, so it would be the perfect location for a few freight cars to end up... I chatted briefly with the divers, had to tell them that gold bullion and bars were never shipped on the line!

  3. the train wreck happened in late august of 1909. Grand Trunk mixed train. It occurred after a landslide was caused by a "cloudburst". A Mr. Thurston of Madawaska lost his life under one of the cars. Another train had just passed by and without incident. This was published in the Renfrew Mercury, 20 August, 1909. Indeed I suspect it happened where the rocks were liad along the lake.

  4. Well thank you very much! I had spent a bit of time doing various internet searches to see if anything on the wreck was available online, without any luck. I will find a copy of the Renfrew Mercury on fiche at the library next time I visit the bay, and then do a follow up post on this site... Interestingly, I don't think there is any information on the wreck at the Barry's Bay visitor center in the old railway station...



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