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ARTICLE AND PHOTOGRAPHS
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This park started as a beach situated on Couchiching Lake, which is about 18 kilometres long. It was right at the foot of the main business district of Orillia which is close to Lake Simcoe and north of Toronto. Little information has come up yet on this park, but it started around the turn of the 20th century and is known to have a pier for ferries, with an open promenade next to it.
Couchiching Park Ferry Dock
Spectators sitting on the shore near a shady tree watch canoeists in the water. In the background is seen the ferry landing with two ferries and many passengers along the dock.
Boating and picnicking were two activities, but no word yet if there was a bathhouse for the beach or amusement rides. In 1909 The Champlain Monument was built. It was a bandstand which still exists today.
Presently, the area is a day-use park with paths and flower beds. Next to the park is a marina with a capacity of 222 boats. Also there are the bandstand, Aqua Theatre, picnic pavilions, and a lifeguarded beach. The only current amusements are children's playground related and a miniature train called the "Mariposa Railway".
Couchiching Park Train
This train originally ran at Hanlan's Point starting in the 1890s. It was a wood-fired, Armitage-Herschell steam model which ran on a 381mm gauge track. After changing hands many times, it was restored and runs today at Couchiching. (See the Hanlan's Point article for the complete story.)
Thanks to Matt Stolzenfels for the train photo. See more images of
the Herschell train at his website:
Armitage-Herschell Miniature Train.
Thanks to Larry Laevens of Cambridge, Ontario for the "whistle" scan.
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