My Story
Grand Marais

Oliver Lake Vacation

The Model PlanesGord on hill

When we were growing up, my father had a twin-lens, Roloflex camera that he had bought when he was in the Air Force. (Note: My father has since told me that he won the camera when he was up working in Port Radium on Great Bear Lake, which was after he left the Air Force.) My father took quite a lot of pictures as we were growing up, and sometimes we liked to sit around and look at the old family photographs. I remember there was one picture of myself when I was about three years old. In the picture, I am sitting on the grass, dressed in shorts and a short sleeved shirt. For some reason, every time I look at this picture I have memories of this time we were on holidays, when I climbed up this hill with a man. I remember that when we got to the top that we were looking out over Lake Superior. When I talk about this incident, my father is saying I must be referring to a vacation we took at Oliver Lake. For some reason, I always have this idea fixed in my mind, that this incident took place when our family was on vacation at a place called Grand Marais.

After my mother's funeral in May 2004, I was at my parent's place looking through the boxes containing old family pictures. I was able to locate a number of pictures taken at Oliver Lake. Some of the pictures were from spring 1957, and others from a separate visit in summer 1957.

Dad and boys at Oliver LakeDad and Boys at Oliver Lake, 1957 - Date says Mar 57, but leaves on trees might suggest photo was taken previous summer?

My recollection is that we went on two vacations in the summer of 1957. We had a short vacation to Grand Marais, followed by a longer vacation to Oliver Lake. My recollection is that the vacation to Grand Marais was cut short, after just two nights. This was maybe because we were camping in a small and stuffy canvas tent at a very hot and dusty campground that was quite a ways inland from the Lake Superior lakeshore.

One memory I have is after we returned from our vacation at Oliver Lake, we were discussing the two vacations. My mother said she thought that Oliver Lake was a much better place because it was close to home (about an hours drive southwest of Fort William), and because it was nice staying in a cabin by the lake. In my memory, I was the only one who seemed to express a view that both places were good places, even if I agreed that it had been cramped and uncomfortable to sleep in the tent.

Oliver Lake 2002Oliver Lake in 2002

A separate memory was a few years later while we were still living in Fort William. I am talking to my brother and complaining to him that we haven't had a family vacation since the year we went to Grand Marais and Oliver Lake. I seemed so unfair to me that we had been able to go on two vacations that year and had gone on no vacations since.

One thing I do know is that we went to Oliver Lake many times. We have many photos taken from Oliver Lake, including some taken from a picnic with my dad's twin brother's family and their in-laws (who we often used to visit in nearby Port Arthur).

I actually remember one moment from Oliver Lake, when we arrived one day and I was looking at the float out in the lake. On one hand, I was excited, as I wanted to go out to the float. But I couldn't swim and I think the water was maybe too deep for me, so I ended up just splashing around in the shallow water at the very edge of the lake.