Cottage on Second (2nd) Island on The Rideau. This cottage has since been replaced with another.

Summer may not officially arrive for several weeks, but the weather certainly feels like cottage-season is already here. Camping, cottaging, and boating on the waters near Westport are a popular pastime, for obvious reasons. Early settlers, however, found little value in lake-shore property due to its unworkability, and those planning to make a living off of the land were hesitant to purchase lots on the water.

Resorts and lodges were a huge summertime draw for tourists, such as Nordlaw Lodge on Bob’s Lake, shown here.

The earliest cottage-themed record in Nell’s Diary was found in 1914:

“My first trip to Bobs Lake to J. C. F. (J.C. Forrester) Cottage with Bob & family. Splendid time. Aug 2/1914. Spent the week out at the Cottage with Aunt & Uncle from the 5th to the 9th of Aug. Visitors Muriel Butler & Fred Forrester, Mr Whaley & Stanley, J.C.F., Mrs. Hill from S. Falls”

An old postcard stamped, “Rideau Lake Westport”

However, the newly released book of Westport has a recording of cottagers taking to their lakeside getaways in 1897, pre-dating Nell’s diary entry by more than 15 years:

“Citizens were starting to take possession of their summer cottages and were entertaining their friends”, and “Many locals were camping on the Lower Rideau Lake.”

If you’ve been enjoying our Vintage Westport blog posts, you may want to purchase a copy of the Museum’s newly released book of Westport, which contains over 200 local historic photos of our village, citizens, and more. These books are available at the Museum for $20.00 (no tax), or, if you live too far away to make the trip to Westport, the book can be ordered directly from the distributor (shipping charges apply) by clicking on the book cover below: