Butler's Blog — Killarney Provincial Park

'Old Agony' or 'The Blueberry Express'

1930s Algoma Eastern Railway Birch Island Canadian Canadian history Canadian Pacific CNR CPR Group of Seven Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche Northern Ontario train Whitefish Falls Willisville

'Old Agony' or 'The Blueberry Express'

The Train The Algoma Eastern Railway connected Sudbury and Little Current in October of 1913. The train carried passengers and mixed freight on the 87 mile long line.  It was nicknamed the ‘Old Agony’ because it took  4 hours to travel from Sudbury to Little Current.  The McKerrow to Little Current stretch , however, is fondly remembered as the ‘Blueberry Express’.  On April 4, 1919, Ernie Willis became the first Postmaster of Willisville. Everyone now had another reason to wait for the train and there was usually quite a gathering at Mile 64, the Willisville Station. From 1914 to 1918,...

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La Cloche Whiskey Smugglers & American Prohibition

1930s Al Capone Big Bill Thompson Canadian history Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche liquor smuggling McGregor Bay prohibition The Pool whiskey smugglers

La Cloche Whiskey Smugglers & American Prohibition

Americans and Prohibition The Prohibition years in the United States lasted from 1920 until 1933 and as well as giving rise to the American gangster it became the law that was disregarded by the majority of American citizens. Al Capone and Chicago’s gangster mayor “Big Bill Thompson’ were two memorable figures both associated with prohibition and gangsters running alcohol from Canada into the United States. ‘Big Bill Thompson’ and many of his friends enjoyed their frequent visits to La Cloche so much so that ‘Big Bill’ built a lodge at Three Narrows Lake. He accessed the lodge from the Pool...

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A. Y. Jackson at Grace Lake Describing His Painting Style

A. Y. jackson art Canadian Canadian history Grace Lake Group of Seven Jon Butler Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche Northern Ontario

A. Y. Jackson at Grace Lake Describing His Painting Style

A wonderful 1941 documentary about A. Y. Jackson by the Academy Award winner Radford Crawley. Watch Jackson and prospector Keith McIver leave Willisville to canoe and portage to Grace Lake. He climbs the Grace Lake ridges to paint the beauty of La Cloche. Jackson explains his art as he paints various Grace Lake scenes in what is now Killarney Provincial Park.  Click here to view Canadian Landscape.

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How Killarney Provincial Park Began!!

1930s A. Y. jackson art Baie Fine Canadian Canadian history Franklin Carmichael Grace Lake Group of Seven Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche Northern Ontario photography The Pool

How Killarney Provincial Park Began!!

How Killarney Provincial Park began!! Sheer devilment by Newland Spreadborough!! From Cottage Life's 1993 story about the Spreadborough Cottage Yacht Registry and an interview with 84 year old Margaret (Spreadborough) Hooton who spent her first summer at the Pool, Baie Fine in 1917. 'An entry in the yacht registry from September 2, 1931 shows a sketch of four small figures bent under packs and canoes. The signature is A. Y. Jackson. "Father called him 'Haywire Jackson," Margaret chuckles. The famed Group of Seven artist was entranced by the Trout Lake pines and Trekked to paint them. "Father told Haywire that...

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A. Y. Jackson at Grace Lake in the 1930s

1930s A. Y. jackson art Canadian Canadian history Franklin Carmichael Grace Lake Group of Seven Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche Northern Ontario photography

A. Y. Jackson at Grace Lake in the 1930s

Grace Lake was a favourite of Group of 7 artist A. Y. Jackson and here is a portion of a letter he wrote to his relative Naomi Jackson Groves on October 22, 1933 and postmarked 'Willisville' October 25, 1933. "I merely make sketches. I have a box full of them. It's been hard work getting them with so much rain and cold wind. Grace Lake is surrounded with big rocky hills. There are several little islands on it. Your Dad would love to spend a summer here. There is one little lake up on top of the hills, with muskeg...

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