Many guests travelling to MBL have endured a series of question from younger family members asking “Are we there yet?”! Some have reported that the questions began shortly after crossing the border, as going to Miners’ Bay was sometimes equated as going to Canada.
Everyone knows that they “are almost there” on reaching the bridges at Moore Falls. Undocumented history suggests that Mr. Moore was an early traveler who, while portaging at the end of Gull Lake, heard a commotion in the bush. He allegedly rescued a native person who was being attacked by a bear, and nursed him back to health. The site, and lake to the south, took the name of this Good Samaritan, though whether it should be Moore, Moores, or Moore’s remains uncertain.
These two Real Photo Post Cards were produced by the Minden Drug Store, and sold throughout the area. They were likely made just after WW II, as the AZO marks were used on Kodak paper from 1945 – 1949. The first shows “Moore’s Falls Dam”, which is to located to the left of the first bridge as you head north. The photo appears to have been taken in the late summer, as the flow is quite reduced. A second log is suspended above the water, and others sit on top of the concrete structure. Logs were raised and lowered by the crank mechanisms on rails above the opening in the top of the dam, allowing logs to be inserted to adjust the flow of water.
The second view is listed as “Beverly Park Moore Falls Ont”, and shows the steel bridges looking south from the northern end.
This Real Photo Post Card was produced in the late 1940’s by the Minden Drug Store. Titled “’No 2’ Falls Beverly Park Moore Falls Ont”.
It shows the concrete dam over the eastern “falls”. This dam is on the right side of Highway # 35, as you cross the second bridge, travelling north. Beyond it is Moore Lake. The rapids on this side of the island separating the two water flows at Moore Falls, is very shallow, but wider than the mainstream. Consequently, the dam is twice as wide as the other structure.
In the foreground are the remains of an old log bridge. Two timbers connect the land-based abutment with a wooden crib in the middle of the stream. It likely is in the same position as an earlier bridge at this location.
Thomas Leary ran the stagecoach from Gull River (now Coboconk) to Moore Falls. From there, after a stay in, or refreshments at, his Tavern (now Summerkiss Restaurant), travelers could proceed to Minden by water. In 1866, he petitioned the Crown, secured funding to build bridges, and start construction of a road to Minden. In 1867, he began, and extended the road as far as Miners’ Bay.
After WW II, the area surrounding Moore Falls was sometimes called “Beverly Park”. This likely resulted from a family taking over the old Leary property, and re-naming it the “Beverly Park Hotel”. Run by Mrs. McDermott, her daughter, Frances, and son-in-law, Ken Adamson, it was a popular spot that featured a licensed “Beverage Room”.
Written by and provided courtesy of Russ Wunker, July 2020
(The Wunkers owned the Miners Bay Lodge for several decades and Russ and his family still live next to the lodge. Russ is the local historian for Gull Lake and we much appreciate his sharing of stories)