Lake Bernard

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Lake Bernard
Lake Bernard.jpg
Coordinates45°44′N 79°23′W / 45.733°N 79.383°W / 45.733; -79.383Coordinates: 45°44′N 79°23′W / 45.733°N 79.383°W / 45.733; -79.383
Basin countriesCanada
Max. length7 km (4.3 mi)
Max. width2.5 km (1.5 mi)

Lake Bernard is a freshwater lake 276 km (171 mi) north of Toronto and 6 km (3.7 mi) west of Algonquin Park in Parry Sound District, Ontario, Canada, between Huntsville and North Bay. It measures roughly 2.5 km (1.5 mi) across and 7 km (4.3 mi) long. The village of Sundridge lies on the northern shore of this clean, clear lake, which is otherwise surrounded by the municipal township of Strong.[1]

Lake Bernard is the largest freshwater lake in the world without an island.[2] Large in comparison to the majority of Ontario’s thousands of lakes, it is surprising that Lake Bernard is also not connected to any other lake: "The lack of any islands and the fact that it is not connected to any other lake are both very curious since, just to the south, the Muskoka Lakes region is famous for its hundreds of lakes that are full of islands, and most of these lakes are interconnected."[3] Part of the charm of Lake Bernard is also its more peaceful, less developed nature, 50 km (31 mi) removed from the hubbub of busy Muskoka.

It is also an exceptionally deep lake, charted to depths of 45.7 metres (150 feet) [4] but rumoured to have deeper spots of up to 400 metres (1312 feet), leading to speculation that the lake may have been formed by a meteor.[5]

Historically, the lake was primarily used for logging, and one may still see many logs which have become waterlogged and sunk to the bottom.[6] Lake Bernard used to go by the name of Stoney Lake, due to the large volume of rock found around the southern shores of the lake.[7] For tourists looking to vacation now, much of the lake has sandy beaches and many areas feature a beautiful sandy bottom and shallow waters that are wonderful for families with small children.[8]

Summer events on Lake Bernard include the annual Canada Day festivities in July and the Sunflower Festival and RBC Sundridge Triathlon each August. Including members of the local community, cottagers and tourists alike, there is something for everyone either on the water or on the shores at the Lions Park and bandshell, the children's waterside playground and Memories SplashPad (new in June, 2015).

Fish species in the lake include smallmouth bass, lake trout, whitefish, yellow perch and rock bass. Because Lake Bernard is large and deep, fishing for bass is limited to some areas, but lake trout and whitefish are plentiful in this unstocked lake.[9]

Lake Bernard is a four-season recreational destination. Fall is highlighted with the beautiful seasonal colours all around the lake and visitors should check out the High Park Lookout and hiking trails.[10] Lake Bernard is also part of the Discovery Routes Trails system for cycling.[11] Ice fishing is very popular during the winter and huts can be seen on the lake until April. Snowmobiling on and around the lake is considered some of the best in Ontario and dog-sledding can also be arranged at local resorts.[12]

Lake Bernard is also home to Glen Bernard Camp, a residential girls' camp founded in 1922 by Mary S. Edgar.[13] Focussing on helping girls develop self-confidence and independence, the camp challenges campers of all ages and skill levels in activities such as canoeing, kayaking, sailing, boardsailing, theatre, rock climbing, high ropes, low ropes, mountain biking, horseback riding, trampoline, canoe trips, arts & crafts, tennis, archery, golf and more.[14] Glen Bernard is also a leader in environmental education and offers off-season educational and weekend programs as well.[15]

Photo purported to show evidence of the elusive "Bernard Monster"

The shores of the lake have been developed with non-permanent residences and cottages as well as permanent residents, many of whom are descendants of the original settlers to the area in the latter half of the 1800s. Several resorts have also made Lake Bernard their home, including Shady Nook Cottages,[16] the Northridge Inn & Resort (newly renovated in 2015),[17] Lake Bernard Park campground and Caswell Resort Hotel.

See also[edit]