Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lake Name

What's in a Name?

(copied from Joe's e-mail)
I understand that the cottage association has, in the past, considered the option of renaming the Lake. I also understand that such a change has typically been opposed, although I'm not sure what the reasons were. Could someone who is more familiar with this issue post a comment with a bit of detail as to what has happened with this issue in the past.

Joe

24 Comments:

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I would love to see the name changed. In fact, an individual on the lake has his deed registered as Silver Springs not Leech. There was a vote with respect to interest in changing the name last year at the association meeting and only a handful of hands went up so it was dropped like a hot potatoe.
One can't help but wonder what a name change might do to property values!!

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you planning to sell ?

I for one do not want too see our Lake name changed , this is history and if it offends you so much why did you buy in the first place? As far as property values did you not receive your last tax statement, which is based on market value assesment.

 
At 7:52 AM, Anonymous pat munroe said...

Colonel Leech was the leader of the British Army unit assigned by the newly formed government of Canada (at that time) to explore and survey the area north and east of Orillia and specifically the Muskoka area. The original plan was for the railroad to come through Fraserburg, not Bracebridge. Leech Lake was named by the Colonel, as this was his favourite lake in the entire area of his survey. For many years he apparently returned to our lake. He also had an affinity for pirates, and many landmarks around the lake had original "pirate-type" names, such as Jolly Roger Point, Blind Man's Bluff, Pirate Cove, etc. There are more names and I can get them if anyone is truly interested.
The issue of name change has come up at least 5 times in the 25 years that I have been on the lake, always voted down. Someone went as far as investigating what it would entail, and we were informed that we would have to cover the cost for amending and reprinting every existing piece of material in Canada which the name appeared (databases, maps, signs, etc., etc.). You think you have trouble getting folks to pay association fees...... just try collecting the millions of dollars we would have to raise to change the name. Get over it people .... we have no leeches, but we do have history.

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks to Pat Munroe for shedding light on the history of the name "Leech Lake" As soon as I read the note I called my 11 year old son to read it and he was truly amazed. We were trying to figure out which landmarks were "Pirate Cove" and "Blind Man's Bluff". Whenever we have guests we always take them to "The Shark's Tooth" so it would be great to know the other "cool" names. Nice to see the blog used for something other than complaining.

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Don Hill said...

My Uncle (one of the original purchasers at the lake) passed along a map to me that shows all the pirate names of the lake areas. The development was sold under the name of "Pirates Cove Muskoka". When I came up as a kid I can still remebe some of those names that had been posted along the road. Blackbeard's Fall, Eagle's Roost and Bimini Bay. I have reprodcued the map in a PDF format but cannot attach it to this BLOG. If anyone would like a copy just e-mail me hill@sympatico.ca and I will sent it to you. I will also post it on the bulletin board for anyone driving in to check out.

Don

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Thanks Pat and Don for providing some information on the history of how our lake was named "Leech Lake". I love the lake, but I think the Colonel could have come up with a more thoughtful name. That said, I would certainly like to learn more about this swash-buckling Colonel Leech. Do you have any reference material or sources that would provide additional info? Ideally, I'd like to find an old photo of him and superimpose a pirate costume on top of his uniform. Then I'm going frame it and hang it above my fireplace. If you can help me find a photo, I'll make you a copy of the finished product, although you'll have to supply your own frame. Who would have thunk it, Colonel Leech, the Johnny Depp of Muskoka.

As for the other anonymous comments, my understanding is: (i) it does not cost much money at all to change the name of your lake and the process is quite easily done (ii) changing the name will not have any impact on your tax assessments.

Finally, I'm not looking to sell my property. I'd just like to be able to live without the fear of having to answer that dreaded question. It pops up whenever a conversation turns to cottages as quickly and as innocently as chipmunks do in the Spring (ie. "What's the name of your lake?"). I guess now I can tell them it's named after an obscure British Army Colonel that had a penchant for pirates and just let them figure it out...

Joe

 
At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A quick note to thank you for initiating cottage email communication. We very much appreciate receiving the news. We also enjoy reading news on the blog. Previously, we were very strong advocates of a name change, but after reading about Colonel Leech, we also feel it is important to preserve the history of the lake.
Again, many thanks for the news. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

Deborah and Mel

 
At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Line Villeneuve said...

I just want to confirm someone else's note that it would be very time consuming and potentially expensive to try to get our lake name changed. I did check into it a few years ago when I was treasurer of the association and found out that because the name "Leech Lake" had survived for so long, it would mean changing a large number of maps, etc. Anyone who wants to dig into this further is welcome to!

 
At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a sunny day in June the first time I stood on the deck of our cottage. The water was glistening like diamonds, people were out in canoes, paddle boats, and motor boats....playing and enjoying this beautiful jewel set back in the bush of Muskoka.

My home, at the time, was on the low side of a mountain, overlooking miles and miles of water and a recreation area that would probably rival Lake Muskoka, but the beauty of this little lake won my heart.

Not once did I worry about leeches in this lake, they are in many lakes not named Leech, LOL.....

Leech Lake was named before my time, and before anyone currently on the lake, and we bought, built, and came to this little jewel of a lake time after time. So what if people ask if we have leeches, if we did, the road situation would be solved!!! Just catch the little suckers and sell them to medical science or fishermen.....pay for a new road.

At the end of the day just sit back and have a drink (prefer tea) and watch as the sun goes down, leaving multicolored jewels glistening across the water.

Ray

 
At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys,
I cottaged on Leech Lake for 13 years, about 5 years ago we moved to another lake.
Its a really beautiful little lake and I loved the time we spent there, but I have to tell you the name really is terrible. The standard question we always got was, so is it full of Leeches? Why is it called Leech Lake? We used to try to encourage friends to buy on the lake, and one friend of ours said that they would never buy a cottage on a Lake called Leech Lake. Our standard answer was to smile and say well, its named after a Colonel Leech
About 5 years ago there was an article in Cottage Life about a small lake with a similarily unfortunate name, the cottagers got together, and had the name changed. It took less than one year, and no they didnt have to pay to have all the maps changed, it cost almost nothing becuase the name did not have historical significance.
So here the truth about the name Leech Lake. Its named after blood sucking Leeches. Not Colonel Leech. Lake names are maned by the MNR. Thier website is here:
http://geonames.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.php
You can seach this site and the origins of the lake name are not sepecified. I called them, got a live person on the phone, and within two minutes they told me that the name was a "local name", meaning that any Tom Dick or Harry could have named it and it stuck, and further that it was named after an insect, when I asked them if they meant the blood sucking kind of invertebrate, they said yes. So heres the reality, the name is not historic, its not even accurate (I have never seen a leech in the lake). Its not even that old, I have seen maps of about 100 years ago where the lake has no name at all.
It kills me that people come up with these wrong statements like that its a historic name, that youll have to pay to have all the maps changed, that your taxes will go up, that its been discussed at AGMs at least 5 times in 25 years... jeeze. I was on the lake 13 years, attended all the AGMs and it was never raised even once. I heard that the 2006 meeting it was shot down immediately without any discussion.It killed me to see Pine like, an almost identical lake with property values at least 50% higher.
You can change the name or not. I really dont care, I have been there in years but at least take the time to really understand where the name REALLY comes from, have an open and EDUCATED discussion.
I was always amazed at the thousands of Trilliums that covered the area around the lake. I have never seen anything like it anywhere in the spring. Truly beautiful. Trillium Lake has a nice ring. At least its accurate.

 
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