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Bear Lake/Sprucedale, Ontario

The village of Sprucedale is located in the municipality of McMurrich/Monteith in the Almaguin Highlands region. The township includes the communities of Axe Lake, Banbury, Bear Lake, Bourdeau, Haldane Hill, McMurrich, Sprucedale and Whitehall.

The municipality was formed in 1998 through amalgamation with the former Township of McMurrich and the eastern two-thirds of the unincorporated Township of Monteith. The remaining portion of Monteith became part of Seguin Township.

Sprucedale is located within close proximity to the Seguin Recreational Trail, a 75 km section that makes up part of the Park to Park Trail. The area is a popular destination for ATV and snowmobile enthusiasts.

Jarlsberg/Bear Lake Settlement

In the days proceeding the influx of settlers the area was known as the Georgian Bay Region and was owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. Other than a few trappers and fur traders the entire area was virgin forests of white pine, spruce and cedar. A tiny settlement was established which became known as Bear Lake.

In 1870 the township of Monteith was surveyed and the Canadian government was eager to establish communities in northern Ontario. A large group of Swedish immigrants, arriving at Montreal in 1873 were persuaded by a land agent to take up the free land grants that were being offered at Bear Lake.

These early pioneers came to Gravenhurst by train, to Rosseau by boat, to Parry Sound by stage and then by following an old Indian trail, on to Bear Lake by foot. Some of these early settlers were Anders Bjorklund, Otto Hansen, Martin Knutsen, Martin Lund, Julius Lund, Olaf Finsberg and their families who would settle at Bear Lake and form a community known as Jarlsberg.

A second group of immigrants, arriving from Norway were told of the Scandinavian settlement at Bear Lake and decided to take up settlement at there. Several of the original log homes of these early European settlers can still be found in the area, a testament to their skill at log home construction.

Places to Explore

Algonquin Provincial Park
Almaguin Highlands
Midlothian Ridge/Screaming Heads
Seguin Recreational Trail

Ontario Cities and Towns

Bala, Ontario
Bear Lake/Sprucedale, Ontario
Bracebridge, Ontario
Port Carling, Ontario
South River, Ontario

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