There is more than enough to do and see in the area around Pine Rock Cottage and Island View House if you decide that you want to do more than rest and relax on the deck or dock. A small sampling of things to do and see are listed below. You’ll find brochures and fliers for local attractions and activities in both Island View House and Pine Rock Cottage as well as area telephone books.
FISHING, BOATING & SWIMMING
There are 40 miles of navigable waterways stretching in both directions from Watson Island. It is possible to boat from the Village of Burk’s Falls down the winding twisting Magnetawan River to Lake Cecebe, down the River again to the locks at Magnetawan, and then into Lake Ahmic. There are numerous buoys and markers on Lake Cecebe and the Magnetawan River indicating sand bars, rocks or other navigational hazards. This generally makes boating safe on the local waterways. – The Port Carman Marina on Lake Cecebe supplies gas for motors and boat repair services.
Island View House and Pine Rock Cottage both come with the loan of a canoe, but if you prefer, boats and motors are available for rent at marinas on the lake. (We can provide contact information for boat rentals.) Kayaks can be rented in Huntsville or Kearney on the way north from Toronto.
There are always fishermen on Lake Cecebe. The lake contains Walleye, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, Pike and Small Mouth Bass. – You can get fishing licenses at the local marina and bait stores.
Both Pine Rock Cottage and Island View House have private docks with swim ladders. Both docks have Muskoka chairs and are wide enough to make sunbathing or just sitting and reading very comfortable. Swimming in Lake Cecebe is good in the summer since the sun warms the water to a comfortable temperature. – While there are rocky shore lines, as opposed to sandy beaches, at both Pine Rock Cottage and Island View House, the Lion’s Centennial Park in the nearby Village of Magnetawan has a large sandy beach and a full range of playground equipment that are ideal for young children.
Echo Rock on Lake Cecebe — Echo Rock, which can be seen from the docks of Pine Rock Cottage and Island Views House, is a large high granite slab at the west edge of the main lake. It has traditionally been used by teenagers for climbing and jumping into the lake If you boat to Echo Rock you’ll see various ledges where people have taken the leap and some graffiti commemorating brave jumpers. – Some fishermen think the waters just off Echo Rock are especially good for fishing.
Two nearby towns, Burk’s Falls and Magnetawan, both have restaurants, grocery stores, LCBOs, churches, antique and craft shops, and other stores. Magnetawan is easily reachable by car (about 9 km) on Highway #520 or by boat/canoe by going down the Magnetawan River from Lake Cecebe. You’ll most likely have come through Burk’s Falls on your way to Island View House or Rockwynn Landing for Pine Rock Cottage, but if not Burk’s is about 14 km east along Highway #520. You can get to Burk’s going up the Magnetawan River from Lake Cecebe, but it is a very long twisting trip.
Magnetawan Farmer’s Market
From late-June until Thanksgiving weekend the Village of Magnetawan has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 10 AM until 2 PM with
delicious baked goods, homemade jams and jellies, smoked meats and fish, cheese, honey, crafts, organic foods, fruits, vegetables, jewelry, antiques, and other items. The Market, which also has live entertainment, is held next to the civic offices in the open air Pavilion which is used for hockey in the winter. The Magnetawan Farmers’ Market is definitely a place to see friends and enjoy the morning.
Magnetawan Lion’s Centennial Park
The Magnetawan Lion’s Centennial Park in the Village of Magnetawan is accessible by road (just off highway #520) or by boat and canoe. From Island View House or Pine Rock Cottage you can get to “Mag” and the Lion’s Centennial Park by going down the river in 15 minutes with a boat and motor and in about 45 minutes by canoe. There is a dock at both ends of the Park for convenient boat and canoe docking, and there is plenty of parking spaces in the Park for vehicles.
The Magnetawan Lion’s Centennial Park provides great playground equipment for children and a very nice large sandy beach. The Lion’s Park also has picnic tables and charcoal BBQs. From the Park there is a good view of the locks leading in Lake Ahmic, and it is just a short stroll to the Village with it’s shops and stores where you can get ice cream cones on a warm day.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE NEARBY
Ahmic Lake Golf Club — 9 holes (scoregolf.com/ahmic-lake-golf-club-magnetawan-ontario-canada)
Parry Sound and area: 40 minutes to an hour west
Parry Sound Golf and Country Club — (scoregolf.com/parry-sound-golf-and-country-club-parry-sound-ontario-canada)
The Ridge at Manitou Golf Club — (scoregolf.com/golf-course-at-the-ridge-at-manitou-golf-club)
Seguin Valley Golf and Country Club — (worldgolf.com/courses/canada/ontario/parrysound/seguin-valley-golf-and-country-club.html)
Huntsville and area: 40 minutes south east
Deerhurst Highlands — (scoregolf.com/deerhurst-highlands-golf-course-huntsville-ontario-canada)
Huntsville Downs Golf Course — (scoregolf.com/huntsville-downs-golf-club-huntsville-ontario-canada)
North Granite Ridge Golf Club (in Port Sydney south of Huntsville) — (scoregolf.com/north-granite-ridge-golf-club-port-sydney-ontario-canada)
SCREAMING HEADS on Midlothian Road– “Midlothian Castle is the creation and home of retired Secondary School art teacher Peter Camani,
an artist and sculptor who’s created an unusual residence in the form of a castle complete with sculpture garden on an old 310 acre farm which is most commonly known as “Screaming Heads”. The castle, a former farmhouse, is guarded by a fire-breathing dragon which sits on the chimney and emits smoke whenever the fireplace is used. Gargoyles sit atop a fence surrounding the castle. – Scattered throughout the property are more than a hundred screaming head sculptures created over a 30 year period, each one is approximately 20 feet high and can weighs as much as 30 tons. Camani says he built his otherworldly creations as a warning about environmental degradation.” Quoted from (almaguin.on.ca/screaming-heads-midlothian-castle-gallery)
HIKING AND BIKING
There are hiking and biking trails nearby, some short and some much longer. With a local map you’ll be able to plan numerous cycling routes in the area.
Ahmic Lake Route — 40.2 km from Magnetawan– Take Hwy #520 from Rockwynn Landing (Pine Rock Cottage guests) or Chapman Drive to Hwy #520 (Island View House guests) to the Village of Magnetawan and go south on the Old Nipissing Road (Magnetawan’s main street) which is part of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) for 16.2 km, turn right on Ahmic Lake Road and after about 18 km you’ll reach Ahmic Harbour. (There are two places to eat or drink.) From there go east 6 km on Hwy. #124 to Hwy. #520 and back into Magnetawan or stopping at Rockwynn Landing (Pine Rock Cottage guests) or Chapman Drive West (Island View House guests).
Lake Cecebe/Midlothian Route— 56.4 km from Rockwynn Landing or the corner of Chapman Drive East and Hwy. #520 — Take Hwy. #520
into Magnetawan and turn south on the Old Nipissing Road (Magnetawan’s main street) with is part of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) for 15.6 km. Turn left at the Cornball Store (a good place for a snack or something to drink) on to Midlothian Road which is part gravel. Stop at the Screaming Heads (almaguin.on.ca/screaming-heads-midlothian-castle-gallery) for a visit (donations appreciated) and then continue on for 10 km and turn left on to Hwy #520 until you get to Rockwynn Landing (Pine Rock Cottage guests) of the corner of Chapman Dr. West and Hwy #520 (Island View House guests).
Dam Trail — 1.2 km — Go to the dam and locks in Magnetawan next to the old powerhouse (Magnetawan Heritage Centre) and follow the Dam Trail signs around the island where you will see waterfalls, granite outcropings, the Distress River Light House, and the Lion’s Centennial Park.
Cornelia Levering Broadmeadows Trail (Golf Course Trail) — 3 km — In Magnetawan take Golf Course Road from Bay Street with the River always on your left until you see a Broadmeadows Trail Head marker on your right. The Trail goes around the Ahmic Lake Golf Course and the Broadmeadows Wildlife Area. While not a closed loop, hikers get to see diverse forest areas and ecosystems.
Old Nipissing Road — 50 km — This road was an early colonization route built by the Canadian Government to help settlers get to areas in the Ottawa River and Georgian Bay areas. Now part of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) this cycling/hiking trail goes from the Village of Magnetawan (The trailhead is located at N45.41.554 W079.38.425.) north to the Village of Commanda (The trailhead is at N45.41.924 W079.34.918.)
Birders report over 260 species of birds within a 50 km radius of Lake Cecebe, Many birds you’ll see in the area migrate south in the winter, other pass through on their migratory routes, and still others stay year around. Streams, meadows, marshes and forests offer great opportunities for seeing and photographing birds. Just head out with your binoculars and camera.
ARTISTS AND GALLERIES
There are numerous artists and art galleries in the area with a very short list of them being:
R.W. Haviland Studio/Gallery near Burk’s Falls (www.rwhavilandstudiogallery.blogspot.ca)
Windows to the North Gallery near Magnetawan (www.windowstothenorth.com)
Petra’s Pottery near Katrine south of Burk’s Falls (www.petraspottery.com)
(Local publications will guide you to other artists and galleries.)
This area abounds with the history of Ontario’s early settlement, logging and farming, and there are several historical markers in the area relating the area’s past. For example, the Old Nipissing Road, which was built in the 1840s, is now Magnetawan’s main street. Originally the Nipissing Road stretched 110 km from Lake Rosseau south of Magnetawan to Lake Nipissing to the north. It was the only road north. Old cemeteries, abandoned farms and school houses can be seen along the route which was used by settlers before the railroads came to the area in 1886. With the advent of the railroad the Nipissing Road and many communities along the Road fell into disrepair and were abandoned.
Magnetawan Heritage Centre — At the north edge of the locks walkway in Magnetawan is the Heritage Centre which contains many artifactsand stories relating the fascinating farming and logging history of the area. The Heritage Centre is located in the original power plant building which provided the first electricity for the Village of Magnetawan in 1925. The Heritage Centre is open seven days a week during the summer from 11 AM until 5 PM.
Distress River Lighthouse– The original lighthouse built on the Magnetawan River at the mouth of the Distress River let steam boat captains know when to signal the Magnetawan lock master with three blasts that they were coming. Steanboats regularly travelled between Burk’s Falls and Ahmic Harbour bringing mail, goods, food and people. The current replica lighthouse can be seen from The Distress River bridge on Hwy. #520, from the Dam Trail in Magnetawan, and from the river as you come and go from Lake Cecebe to Magnetawan.
The Remains of the S.S.Wenonah on Lake Cecebe– The wooden ribs of the steamship Wenonah can be seen near the surface of the water on the mainland shore of Lake Cecebe across from Pine Rock Cottage and Watson Island. Her remaining ribs can be seen just north of a large protruding rock by a private cottage. – “The Wenonah was built in Burk’s Falls by Muskoka and Nipissing Navigation Co. in 1885-86. She was 94′ long, 18′ wide and weighed 89 tons. Driven by two side paddle wheels and a screw propeller with a 12 hp motor, she was the only one of her kind on the Magnetwan (River). She was the first boat through the new locks at Magnetawan on July 8, 1886, licensed to carry 100 passengers, she ran daily from Burk’s Falls to Ahmic Harbour and back. In 1906 she was converted to a tug and later caught fire and sunk off Echo Rock in Lake Cecebe.”* The Wenonah is said to have caught fire at the mouth of the Magnetawan as she entered Lake Cecebe. She was abandoned and steamed across the lake until reaching her final resting place near the west shore.
*From Historical Facts of Magnetawan- Celebrating 130th Fall Fair, created by Gayl Robertson and Helen Stewart, Sponsored by the Magnetawan Lion’s Club.
Watson Island in Lake Cecebe (location of Pine Rock Cottage and the island closest to Island View House) — The island is named for Robert James Watson an energetic, restless and popular man of many talents and careers. In the 1880’s Watson ran a flour mill in Bracebridge, he was a steamboat captain for a while, in 1888 he commanded a tug boat for the Muskoka Leather Company tannery, and he later became the manager of the firm. Later Watson became active in local politics and eventually stood for election himself.*
*This information was taken from The Steamboat Era in the Muskokas, Vol II – The Golden Years to the Present, by Richard Tatley published by Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, pages 110-113. This is a Boston Mills Press book, Erin, ON.
There are a few sheets with local historical photos and information in each of Pine Rock cottage and Island View House.
THE SPECIAL BEAUTY OF FALL
Fall is a beautiful time on Lake Cecebe with the beautiful colored leaves. The cool nights and warm days make September a great time to enjoy the lake, hiking trails, bicycling routes, and just enjoying the beauty of nature. After Labour Day weekend many cottagers head back to the city, so it’s a quiet time to rest and relax or explore the lake.