A Brief History of Clearwater Beach Ontario
The modern history of Clearwater Beach begins in 1949 when local resident Jack McIntaggart bought a tract of land on Georgian Bay from Ethel Odesse. The land extended from what is now known as 1595 to 1679 Champlain Road in the Township of Tiny and was called Clearwater Beach because of the clarity of the water there.
In the early 1950s Alfred Desrochers subdivided the northern section of this tract for seasonal dwellings, and Leo Mailloux subdivided the southern section to the same end.
At the time Concession 17 ended at the Bush Road. The only access to the property, which ended at the Daniels’ property (now known as 1673 Champlain Rd) was by a lumber trail from the Bush Road to Marygrove. In 1956 the Concession was extended straight through to the Beach Road, which itself was extended to Crescentwood Beach, thus allowing for the development of the north end of Clearwater Beach.
In 1952 Jack Purkis convened a meeting at his cottage at 1641 Champlain Rd for the purpose of organizing a ratepayers’ association. At that meeting Bill Hendry, Sam Goodfellow, Maurice Hook, Bill Dalyrimple, Harry Hook, Ray Hook and Jack McIntaggart authorized Purkis to draft a constitution and bylaws for a new association. A year later, in July 1953, another meeting was held in Maurice Hook’s boat house (1631 Champlain Road) and the Clearwater Beach Ratepayers’ Association constitution and bylaws were approved. Maurice Hook was elected as the first President and Jack Purkis was named Secretary-Treasurer.
At first the association only included the McIntaggart subdivision. But as the south was developed and the middle section was starting to fill in, the following year the boundary was extended past Pinery Point, an American fishing camp, to the Marygrove boundary.
When the Beach Road was cut through to Crescentwood the north end developed, and in 1959 George Britton approached the association to request membership for the area as far north as the lot now known as 1769 Champlain Road. Britton preferred to join Clearwater rather than Crescentwood as he perceived it to be a stronger voice for road improvements in the area. The entire area between Marygrove and Crescentwood Beach thus became known as Clearwater Beach, and George Summers erected the well-known “Have a Heart” signs at both ends of the beach. The cottages were numbered and this property identification system was adopted by the Township of Tiny.
In 1953 Harry Hook hosted a swim meet at his cottage for the purpose of encouraging young children to learn to swim. This was the beginning of the Clearwater Beach Fun Day which has evolved into today’s Clearwater Beach Picnic and BBQ. As the children got older the Fun Day’s emphasis shifted from swimming events to races and other special events. In the mid 1960s the Fun Day shifted to Bill Parker’s property. As the event grew larger space became limited and the Fun Day was moved again, this time to Camp Marygrove. The event continues to be held at that site on the Saturday of every Labour Day weekend, with the emphasis on children’s games, a horseshoes pitching contest, awards for fishing and baking competitions, prizes and raffles and a magnificent corn roast and BBQ. The ratepayers association, still alive and thriving, also stages its annual general meeting in conjunction with these activities.
With the introduction of snowmobiles in the late 1960s winter activities began to develop along the beach. Year round access prompted many property owners to winterize their cottages and some adapted them as permanent residences. While retaining its cottage atmosphere, Clearwater Beach has today evolved into a blend of vacationers, commuters and retirees living on the shores of Georgian Bay, still enjoying the crystal clear waters that long ago gave Clearwater its name.