The Hughes of Hughes Landing Road

Oct 13, 2013

By Nancy Kallina

Sheldrake Bay, on the southwest end of Skootamatta Lake was developed by cottagers in the 1960‘s. However, for over a decade before this, a little white cottage stood alone in what was at that time, primeval forest.
Stan Hughes, a descendant of one of the founding families in Kaladar, had long wanted to have a cottage in the area. With his wife Georgina, he purchased 210 feet of shoreline at $1.00 per foot on what was then called Loon Lake. Because there was no road, they brought all of the building supplies in on a couple of cedar strip boats owned by Archie Meeks. There was no hydro, so they used coal oil lamps for lighting, and blocks of ice from Harold Maybee's store for refrigeration. Many families of those here now, can trace their cottage roots back to being a guest of the fun-loving Hughes family in the little white cottage.

In 1960, they built a larger place on the property and started to sell a few groceries. But the real fun started in the 70's when Georgina retired from her Oshawa job. In an addition built by son-in-law Larry Craggs, they started a General Store. Life became so much easier for cottagers. First there were the antique gas pumps, where folks came from all over the lake to fuel their boats. They sold worms for fishing, ice for camping, and of course groceries to the many who were now firmly established in the bay and elsewhere on the lake. They shared their property with folks from the city who came with trailers and tents to enjoy their little part of Eden. They procured the first telephone in the area, and travelled all over the lake to pass along emergency messages.

Since all the action was at Hughes Store, everyone gathered there. Georgina and Stan shared their knowledge of the area and connected newcomers with contractors and service providers. Teenagers were offered, and eagerly went off to their first job. Georgina was a natural supervisor who ran a tight ship. She taught them how to stock shelves, clean outhouses, pump gas, and package worms.

A community had been established, and with it came the need for recreational events. Again, the Hughes stepped up to the plate and organized horseshoe tournaments, canoe races, with trophies and prizes for the children's games.

Next door neighbour and organizer David Cooke collaborated with them and the Lake Swim was born. In appropriate age groups, contestants swam from the store to Trail's End and sometimes back. Younger chil-dren swam out and around the island in the Bay followed by flotillas of proud parents.

Stan and Georgina had become year round residents at the Lake. Stan served on Council for four years, and after he died in 1988 the road was renamed Hughes Landing Road in his honour.

Georgina has always lived a life of exemplary service to her Community. Her pies were legendary, and usually were sold before she could get them out the door. She has tended the gardens at the Cloyne Pioneer Museum and Archives, has been made a honorary life member of both the Land O' Lakes Garden Club and the Skootamatta District Ratepayers Association, participat-ed in many quilting groups, worked as a volunteer in the gift shop at Bon Echo Park, and has been a loyal member of her Church. At 88 years of age, with a wealth of memories of her life on Skootamatta, she still welcomes her many guests with her engaging smile and vibrant invitation to "stay a while for a little visit."

Norma Cragg (daughter) and Georgina

Category: Lake Tales

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