Seven Miles

Author Axle - Last updated: 12.07.2012

Located at the end of a dirt road deep in Ontario’s cottage country, nestled along the shores of Lake Scugog is a piece of property known as Seven Mile Island. Records can trace the Seven Mile Island property on Lake Scugog back to the 1880s when it was known as Nonquon Island under the ownership of Albert C Stevens. Stevens operated a lone log cabin on the property which he rented out as a sportsman home, giving lodging to hunters and fishermen while then enjoyed the game on the lake. From the 1890s to the first decade of the 20th century the property changed hands many times before 1912 when it was purchased by Thomas Stinzel. Stinzel living in the log cabin began to further develop the property, building a new home on the site, which he gave the name Delmont Cottage to. By 1916 the property was a popular spot for both hunters and families who could enjoy the natural beauty, picnics, swimming and boating on the lake. Stinzel sold the property in 1919 to Alex Ross Wilson and his wife Mary; it was under the Wilson’s ownership that the property was transformed into the grand estate that it became known for through the rest of the 20th century. Delmont Cottage was expanded, a boat house with a dance hall on the second floor was built as was a swimming pool, a reflecting pool, and a tea house were also built. Wilson also installed a gate at the entrance of the property with stone pillars in the shape of cigars (Alex had made his money in the tobacco industry). The Wilson’s would also host garden parties for the local residents of Port Perry and Scugog. After the death of her husband in 1941, Mary sold the Seven Mile Island Property to the Harry Ely and his wife in 1943. When the Ely’s took possession of the property it was in a very overgrown state, but they cleaned it up, transforming Delmont Cottage into apartments for their family and friends to stay in during the summer. The property also hosted Camp Ely, a summer camp that was the brain child of Freda, the wife of Harry Ely. The cap was open to all the children in the region; the kids would enjoy swimming, crafts and games on the extensive property. But after the death of Harry, Freda would again sell the property in 1958 to Patrick Harrison. The Harrison’s would become the property’s first full time residents of the property. Patrick would also go on to put one million dollars into improvements, including the construction of two guest houses for his daughters and their families. In 1983 a holding corporation purchased the Seven Mile Island property and developed it to a resort, Delmont Cottage became a hotel, while the residences were converted into a restaurant and a rental unit. By 1984 the property was open again to the public who could enjoy the unique area, swimming, and boating once again. However the later years of the 20th century were not good to the property, two failed attempts at leasing the property ended up with it being left vacant by 1998 and up for sale. Vandals and the elements had reduced the grand property to a dilapidated state. The final attempt at reviving the property happened in 2002 when an artist group purchased the land, there is no indication where they are in reviving the property as of 2012.

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The cigar pillars and the wide open gates welcomed me to drive onto the property.

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A narrow dirt road wound it’s way to the seculded space.

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Parking my car, I set out on foot, after talking the caretaker who saw me drive up, I was allowed to continue wandering around the property. You can see the 1919 Tea House in the distance.

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The Pergola which at one time lead up to the grand Delmont Cottage (what happened to it, I do not know)

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One of the ornate fountains that dot the property. Sadly the vandals and years were not kind to it.

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A picturesque water wheel, now choaked by branbles and weeds.

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The Dance Hall on the 2nd floor of the boathouse, again built in 1919.

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The Reflecting pool

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Random stairs in a hill, probably from a long gone pathway.

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Another massive fountain display.

With rain clouds rolling in I beat a quick retreat back to my car and drove off. Sadly I was never able to find the fate of the grand Delmont Cottage. But there were several other buildings on the site that looked active and occupied. A return trip may be in order.

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