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Tilden Lake, Ontario: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards

Tilden Lake, Main Lodge at Tildenmere Camp Highlighting in vintage postcards the history of towns and townships in the greater Lake Nipissing and Lake Temagami areas of Northern Ontario, Canada and including the Nipissing District and portions of the Parry Sound District which are in the “Blue Sky Region.” These Canadian postcards are shown in digital museum format for educational purposes. If you have images or historical information which you’d like to share with our virtual museum, feel free to do so. With your mouse, hover over the top navigation bar to find the areas which interest you. Click on thumbnails for larger images. Close the larger image before opening another thumbnail. This is an ongoing project; comments and questions to the webmaster (webmaster - at sign - vintagepostcards.org) are welcome. The occasional duplicates for sale can be found using the search box on the main (home) page of VintagePostcards.org.

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Tilden Lake, Entrance to Campsite on the Ferguson Highway

About 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of North Bay, Ontario, along Highway 11 in the unorganized North Part of the Nipissing census subdivision, is the small community of Tilden Lake, Ontario. In the 1920s, 1930s and part of the 1940s, the Ellesmere Brothers owned a timber mill in Tilden Lake which employed over 500 lumberjacks and millers. The actual Tilden Lake was the upper lake, where timber took on water before it was “run” down river to Elbo Lake for mill processing. Men navigated logs down river, which was a dangerous undertaking. Nevertheless, there were early attempts at promoting the town as a Ferguson Highway tourism destination, as the c. 1935 postcard to the left, published by the Valentine-Black Co., Ltd. of Toronto, shows. Tilden Lake Tourist Camp, seen to the right in a c. 1940s PECO vintage postcard, also shows a large home (bottom right) and several tourist cottages along Tilden Lake. The mill shut down in the early 1950s after fire destroyed it. The Ellesmere presence remains, insofar as the main village road is still known as Ellesmere.

Tilden Lake, Aerial View of Roadside Tourist Camp on the Ferguson Highway
 
 

A c. 1930s Tilden Lake Tourist Camps brochure we’ve seen lists the camp owner as H. E. McDonald / Box 17, North Bay. The brochure described the camp as being 21 miles north of North Bay, with “large and small log cabins completely equipped for housekeeping, boats, canoes, guides, dining room, supply booth [and] first class fishing.” By the 1950s, the economy focused almost exclusively on tourism, as seen in most of the antique postcards below. Prominent among the camps was Tildenmere, run by Bert Ellesmere and seen in several images below, including the first two postcards.

Tilden Lake, Main Lodge at Tildenmere Camp 1 Tilden Lake, Tildenmere Camp Postcard Folder Cover Tilden Lake, Entrance to Tildenmere Camp Tilden Lake, Main Lodge at Tildenmere Camp 2 Tilden Lake, Lodge and Cottages at Tildenmere Camp
 
Tilden Lake, Tildenmere Camp Cabins Tilden Lake, Cottage at Tildenmere Camp Tilden Lake, One of the Cabins at Tildenmere Camp Tilden Lake, Tildenmere Camp Overview 1 Tilden Lake, Tildenmere Camp Overview 2

About 400 families live in the community, which is administered by a local services board. They often commute to nearby North Bay and Temagami. At least two gas stations have serviced the area, Park’s Esso service station seen to the left in a c. 1950s postcard, and Shea’s service station, photographed by the legendary Ozzie Sweet, about whom more information can be found on the Northern Ontario Postcard Photographers page.

Tilden Lake, Park's Esso Gas Station on the Ferguson Highway Black Bear at Tilden Lake Camp Tilden Lake, Shea's Service Station Advertising
 
 
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See the postcard collecting, Canadiana and s for more information about collecting vintage postcards. You can learn more about this postcard dealer on the About Us page. Additional information about postcard styles and prices can be found on the Old Postcards and Antique Postcards and Postcard Price Guides pages.

 

More as time permits, with updated photos and new articles on Bear Island, Bonfield, Callander and Corbeil, Commanda, the Ferguson Highway (Highway 11), Lavigne and Verner, Marten River, Monetville and Noëlville, Powassan and Trout Creek, Sturgeon Falls, Sundridge, North Bay, Alderdale, Nipissing Village, Trout Lake, Restoule, South River, Temagami, Ferguson Highway, Dokis, Tilden Lake, Tomiko Ontario, Rutherglen, Trout Mills and other areas of interest. You might also enjoy the story of Frederic Remington’s moose hunt, the story of a hunting trip which took place more than 100 years ago near Mattawa. See a 19th c. Orangemen parade, or a collection of rare New Ontario Brewery artifacts.

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