Mother and daughter
after boat tips in Lake Scugog
One of the saddest drowning deaths
reported during the early development of the area,
was that of 30-year old Ann Cornish and her three-year-old
Newspapers reported that on Friday,
July 22, 1869, Mary Aldridge, Ann Cornish and her
child, arranged for a man named Gregson to row them
from the village of Caesarea to Scugog Island, a
distance of about two miles.
The lake was much rougher than they
expected and when they had travelled about one mile
from the shore, the young women became alarmed and
suddenly rose from their seats. In doing so, the
small boat upset sending all occupants into the
John Watson and James Demara were
in a boat near the shore at the time of the disaster,
and hearing the cries coming from the capsized boat,
immediately pulled for the spot. They fortunately
arrived in time to rescue Miss Aldridge as she rose
to the surface for the last time. Mr Gregson was
found clinging to the bottom of the capsized boat
and was rescued, but Ann Cornish and her child had
disappeared under the water and were nowhere to
The Observer editor editorialized,
"Had it not been for the energy displayed by
Watson and Demara, chances are that at least one
additional name (Aldridge) would have been
added to the mournful catalogue of the drowned".
Town in shock
after two boys drowned
Wherever there is a body of water,
there is the distinct possibility of lives being
taken, and Lake Scugog has had its share of drownings
over the past century and a half.
One of the first incidents recorded
by the local press was published in the July 8,
1863 Ontario Observer, as it recorded the tragic
death of two young residents of the community. The
two boys, aged 10 and 7 years respectively, residents
of the Nonquon (Seagrave) area, the former being
a son of Mr. Palmer Car and the Henry William, son
of Mr. Jessie Ireland.
It appears that the two boys went
down to the Nonquon River on the afternoon of June
30th, unfastened a boat and jumped in. By some means
or other the boat must have upset and thrown the
young lads into the water. They had only been gone
a short time from home, but no one saw them leave
or where they had gone.
Someone passing near the river, saw
the boat, floating bottom up upon the water. Upon
righting it the oars and hat of one of the boys
was found. A little further from the shore the two
boys were found. The boys were very much thought
of by the whole neighbourhood, and their untimely
death cast a gloom of sorrow over the whole locality.
Two young men
lost when canoe
overturns returning from Caesarea
Probably the worst steamboat related
tragedy on Lake Scugog occurred on Friday, May 10,
1892. James Carnegie's steamboat, the Stranger was
on the return run from Lindsay to Port Perry when
it made a stop at Washburn Island.
James Carnegie, the eldest son of
the steamboat owner, and his friend James Roberts
were on board. When the boat arrived at Washburn
Island the young men went into a canoe to have a
spin down to Caesarea, with the intention of returning
to Washburn in time to catch the steamer on her
return to Port Perry.
But when the steamer was ready to
return, the young men had not returned and an alarm
was at once raised. It was found that they had left
Caesarea in time to catch the boat and it was at
once concluded that the parties had gone down. The
steamer arrived in Port Perry late on Saturday night
and the greatest alarm was created when it became
known that the young men were lost.
An active search for the bodies was
started with several steamers and smaller boats
taking part, but the bodies were not recovered until
more than two days later. James Carnegie was only
20 years old and his friend, James Roberts, only
21 at the time of their deaths.
Tragedy on Sunday
The Raglan Sunday School, with a
large number of friends went on an excursion from
Port Perry to Lindsay on board the Anglo Saxon on
Sunday, June 25, 1870. On the return, two men, Wm.
Jamieson and Richard O'Boyle, fell from the steamboat
into the water, but by the time a rescue was attempted,
only one remained struggling to keep above the water.
After struggling for some time he
also sank to rise no more. One of the hands on the
steamship jumped in and was able to recover Mr.
Jamieson, but could not find O'Boyle. His body was
recovered later that night. The accident was blamed
on a defect in the fastening of the gangway.
men drown when
car slips through ice
Three Caesarea men, out on Lake Scugog
for a drive, plunged through the ice Sunday, March
5, 1955. Fred Frayer, 51, and Earl Burr, 31, and
John Neill, 38, had stopped to let NeillŐs dog out
for a run, and later while returning to Caesarea
the car went into a crevice in the ice and slid
into the water.
Neill was able to push Burr out of the car and managed
to escape himself, but Mr. Frayer, who was driving
the car, and Neill's dog went down with the car.
All the efforts by Mr. Neill to hold Burr out of
the water failed as he slipped out of his grasp
and went down in about 20 feet of water.
The next day, a special diver from
the Department of Transport arrived and descended
into the frigid water of Lake Scugog to recover
the bodies of Frayer and Burr. Mr. Frayer was well
know in Caesarea as the owner of FrayerŐs Pavilion
Four men drown
in tragic boating
accident on Lake Scugog
The chance finding of a gasoline
tank on the west shore of Scugog Island Saturday,
June 14 touched off an investigation which revealed
the worst boating accident on Lake Scugog in the
past quarter of a century. Four youths from Toronto,
the oldest only 20, drowned when their rented outboard
motorboat capsized about noon.
Cedar Shores Beach cottager Howard
Stacey was out walking along the shore of the island
came across a red gas tank washed up on shore on
and realized something must be wrong. He ran back
to his cottage and with the hand of neighbour Don
MacMillan, they took their boat out into the lake
where they found the first body.
John Orde, who had rented the boat
earlier in the day arrived to help, and while attempting
to remove the motor from the overturned boat, found
a second youth under the boat, entangled in the
gasoline feeding line. Members of the OPP and Port
Perry Fire Department began dragging the area but
had to call off the search for the other two missing
men due to the rough lake and darkness.
Early the next morning the search
began again with skin divers from the Underwater
Club of Canada and members of the Port Perry Yacht
Club. The other victims were found later in the
day. Drowned were Michael Madden, 16, Robert Walker,
18, Larry OŐConnor, 17 and Douglas Mortson, 20,
all of Toronto.
Mr. Orde said that if the youths
had held onto the boat, which would have floated
even if filled with water, the could have remained
there indefinitely until help arrived. Port Perry
Star Thurs., June 19, 1958
March 1877 - Mr. Wm. Lee was driving across
the ice of Scugog, when near the Caesarea shore
his horse broke through and was drowned. The ice
is not now to be trusted and parties will do well
to avoid it.
July 1885 - Thos. McBrien, Isaac Vipond and
Martin Hardy, all of Brooklin, were out on Lake
Scugog this morning in a small boat. When near Scugog
Island one of them made a mistroke of the oar and
the boat capsized. Vipond and McBrien clung to the
boat and drifted ashore, but Hardy, being unable
to swim, was drowned.
June 1891 - Mr. John McKenzie, games keeper
of the Lake Scugog Game Preserve Co. located the
body of James Donaldson, after he fell from his
boat and drowned in Lake Scugog.
April 1895 - The body of Cassie Burk, who
was drowned while skating on the lake last fall,
was found floating near Washburn Island by Inspector
August 1901 - Joseph Hood, eldest son of
Paul and Lydia Hood, aged 20, drowned while bathing
with friends in Lake Scugog.
August 1910 - Herbert Sweetman, son of the
late Wm. Sweetman of Scugog Island, drowned after
falling from a canoe while out fishing with friends
on Lake Scugog.
July 1912 - Seventeen year old Karl Ross
drowned near the dock at the foot of Queen St. when
he got stuck in the mud while playing with friends.
May 1962 - The first fatal accident in Lake
Scugog off Pine Point in 100 years occurred when
Bill Healey drowned while out fishing for mudcat
with Ted Leahy of Scugog Island.
July 1980 - A 19-year-old Oshawa man drowned
in Lake Scugog Monday afternoon when he fell from
a high-powered motor boat about 100 yards off the
north shore of Seven Mile Island.
October 1989 - Two Toronto area men, out
for a days fishing, drowned in Lake Scugog when
their small boat capsized.
January 1998 - Firefighters and police recover
the bodies of four men from Lake Scugog that drowned
in two separate snowmobiling accidents when their
machines went through the ice not far from Caesarea.