Lake of Bays

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Lake of Bays
Township of Lake of Bays
Municipal office in Dwight
Municipal office in Dwight
Lake of Bays is located in Southern Ontario
Lake of Bays
Lake of Bays
Coordinates: 45°18′27″N 79°00′23″W / 45.30750°N 79.00639°W / 45.30750; -79.00639[1]
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Regional municipalityMuskoka
 • TypeTownship
 • MayorTerry Glover
 • MPScott Aitchison 
 • MPPNorm Miller (OPC)
 • Land677.91 km2 (261.74 sq mi)
 • Total3,167
 • Density4.7/km2 (12/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Postal code span
P0A, P0B, P1H
Area code(s)705, 249 Edit this at Wikidata

Lake of Bays is a township municipality within the District Municipality of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.[1][4][5][6][7] The township, situated 193 kilometres (120 mi) north of Toronto, is named after the Lake of Bays. During the 2016 census, the township had a population of 3,167 and encompassed 677.91 square kilometres (261.74 sq mi) of land.[3]

Located in the northeast corner of Muskoka, the Lake of Bays offers a natural landscape of forests, rocks, lakes and wetlands. It is an important cottaging, recreation and tourism destination in Ontario. Currently, the economy of the township is primarily based on tourism, recreation, and the service sector with forestry and aggregate (composite) extraction contributing as well.


The Township of Lake of Bays was established in 1971 from the former Townships of Franklin, Ridout, McLean and Sinclair/Finlayson (unorganized) as one of six area municipalities within the District of Muskoka.

In the early 20th century several grand resort hotels opened on the lake, among them the Wawa (built in 1908 and destroyed by fire in 1923) and the Bigwin Inn, a resort that operated on Bigwin Island from 1920 until the late 1960s. These hotels were sought after destinations for many rich and famous individuals and groups at the time, including Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, writers like Ernest Hemingway and, during the Second World War, the Dutch royal family.[8]

The township was once home to the smallest commercial railway line in the world called the Portage Railway. Between 1904 and 1958 it ferried passengers between North Portage on Peninsula Lake to South Portage on Lake of Bays, a distance of 2 km. The train, named the Portage Flyer, was discontinued in 1958 and was relocated to an amusement park near St. Thomas, Ontario, until 1984. Much of the original components have since been repatriated and continue to operate on the grounds of Muskoka Heritage Place near Huntsville.


The township includes the communities of Baysville, Bigwin, Birkendale, Bona Vista, Bondi Village, Britannia, Brooks Mills, Browns Brae, Dorset, Dwight, Fox Point, Glenmount, Grandview, Grassmere, Grove Park, Hillside, Limberlost Lodge, Lumina, Maple Ridge, Millar Hill (ghost town), Nith Grove, North Portage, Norway Point, Port Cunnington, Sea Breeze, South Portage and Wahawin.

A small community developed on the subdivided landholdings of a sawmill built by William Brown in the 1870s. The economic development of Baysville was enabled by good road and steamboat connections. Baysville developed into a popular region for vacationers and sportsmen.[9]

Local bodies of water[edit]


In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Lake of Bays had a population of 3,759 living in 1,760 of its 4,324 total private dwellings, a change of 18.7% from its 2016 population of 3,167. With a land area of 667.43 km2 (257.70 sq mi), it had a population density of 5.6/km2 (14.6/sq mi) in 2021.[10]

Canada census – Lake of Bays community profile
Population3,759 (+18.7% from 2016)3,167 (-9.7% from 2011)3,506[11] (-1.8% from 2006)
Land area667.43 km2 (257.70 sq mi)677.91 km2 (261.74 sq mi)677.58 km2 (261.62 sq mi)
Population density5.6/km2 (15/sq mi)4.7/km2 (12/sq mi)5.2/km2 (13/sq mi)
Median age58.4 (M: 58.4, F: 58.8)57.5 (M: 57.2, F: 57.7)
Total private dwellings1,7604,3884,850[11]
Median household income$69,888
References: 2021[12] 2016[13] 2011[2] earlier[14][15]

In film[edit]

The 1949 FitzPatrick Traveltalk Ontario: Land of Lakes includes a segment on Bigwin Inn.

In 1963 the former Dorset Fire Tower was shown in the opening credits of the old CBC TV show The Forest Rangers. The tower can also be seen in the 1999 Canadian documentary Over Canada: An Aerial Adventure.

The lake scenes from the Canadian film starring Gordon Pinsent called Away From Her were also shot in the township on the south shore of Lake of Bays across from Price's Point.

Notable residents[edit]

  • Art Asbury, speed boat racer and one-time world speed record holder.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lake of Bays". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  2. ^ a b "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 21, 2019. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  3. ^ a b "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Lake of Bays, Township". Statistics Canada. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  4. ^ "Ontario Geonames GIS (on-line map and search)". Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. 2014. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  5. ^ "Toporama (on-line map and search)". Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  6. ^ Restructured municipalities - Ontario map #5 (Map). Restructuring Maps of Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. 2006. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  7. ^ Map 5 (PDF) (Map). 1 : 700,000. Official road map of Ontario. Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. 2018-01-01. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  8. ^ "Where Legends Live". Bigwin History. Bigwin Island Golf Club. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Founding of Baysville, The". Ontario Heritage Trust. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  10. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Ontario". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Corrections and updates: Population and dwelling count amendments, 2011 Census". Statistics Canada. February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "2021 Community Profiles". 2021 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 4, 2022. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  13. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 12, 2021. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  14. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 18, 2021.
  16. ^ "About Art Asbury". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013.

External links[edit]