Tilden Lake, Ontario: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards
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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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.
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.
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.
For collectors of vintage postcards, old postcards and the antique postcard. Deltiology, the hobby of collecting vintage postcards, is one of the fastest-growing collectibles hobbies. Old postcard collections interest collectors of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera; collectables such as old vintage postcards are used by museums and historians to document what was.