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If you've ever had a yen for an Ontario Cottage Country vacation without the commercialization and crowds, then Ferguson Lake is for you! Only seven miles northwest of better-known Calabogie Lake, visitors to Ferguson Lake can have all of the joys of Cottage Country and far fewer frustrations. Sparsely populated Ferguson Lake gives you the solitude that you want in a vacation only an hour west of Ottawa. You could actually commute, but why would you want to leave?
The area around Ferguson Lake has been settled since the early 1800s. Settlers were predominantly Scots or Irish; the Ferguson surname is still extremely common in the area. Early tales tell of hardy farmers, loggers and river drovers who moved logs and freight up and down rivers such as the Madawaska. Despite hardship, crop failures, disease and cold winters, these intrepid country folk tamed the rugged hills and built communities throughout the area. By 1900, summer visitors were coming to the area in droves to escape city heat and enjoy the cool lake breezes. Smaller lakes off the main roads such as Ferguson Lake escaped the influx of summer visitors and remained isolated and uncrowded. Here, a man could hunt or fish in peace without a gaggle of city-folk pestering him. Area residents no doubt enjoyed it that way and kept their paradise more or less secret.
Ferguson Lake is a secret no more; the peaceful little resort that catered to fishermen and hunters at the west end of the lake has been joined by lakefront homes along the east shore. The multi-acre estates remain wooded and natural in keeping with character of a north country lake. The shorelne still remains primarily natural with little development. The sand beaches are noted for swimming, and the deep lake holds bass, perch, pike, bluegill, walleye and pickerel. The ice-gouged lake between high hills is an excellent canoe and kayaking lake, especially in the autumn when the leaves turn. The lake is large enough for water-skiing, tubing and power boating, making it an excellent location for family activities. Something more than a 'wide-spot' along Current Creek, Ferguson Lake is a nature lover's dream.
Ferguson Lake is only 80 miles from Canada's first Provincial Park. Algonquin Provincial Park provides all types of outdoor experiences visitors wish to engage in; hiking, fishing, bird-watching, camping and observing nature. Although the vast majority of the park is roadless, visitors from the direction of Ferguson Lake arrive at the only section of the park where vehicle access is permitted. At least 53 species of mammals, 272 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles and amphibians, 54 species of fish, and approximately 7000 species of insects are known to occur within Algonquin's boundaries! Closer to home, the country roads around Ferguson Lake encourage mountain biking and nature observation. Designated hiking trails can be accessed near Calabogie Lake, including the K & P Railroad Trail that runs from the Town of Renfrew south through Calabogie and down to Dalhousie Lake. The all-season trail can be used for hiking and walking, running, cycling, off-road vehicles, horseback riding, snowshoeing and back-country access.
Around Calabogie Lake, every amenity visitors might desire can be found. The area has been a vacation and retirement haven for many years and has developed as an active tourist mecca that will please every member of the family. From downhill skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing on the local Calabogie slopes to golfing, white water rafting, canoeing and rock climbing, Calabogie has it all. Or visitors can take one of the map-guided driving tours of the region and visit the ghost town of Balaclava or the leprechauns reputed to inhabit Mount St. Patrick. A great rainy day activity is a visit to Bonnechere Caverns to enjoy the underground marvels created within the limestone.
Both Calabogie and Burnstown to the east have attracted a good number of artisans, and all types of art can be enjoyed here. The two towns are a treasure trove of specialty shopping. Both casual and elegant dining establishments can satisfy any appetite. For more formal attractions, one can visit Ottawa and tour historic government sites. Ottawa holds nearly a dozen museums, and the National Arts Center presents wonderful music, theatre and dance performances on a regular basis.
Vacation rentals are plentiful near Ferguson Lake, with resorts and fishing cabins, hotels and lodges near Calabogie and more informal lodgings in the smaller towns. Campgrounds are available in the vicinity and unique bed-and breakfasts overlook many of the neighboring lakes. A visit to Ferguson Lake will have you planning your next trip before the week ends. Come to Ferguson Lake - and we'll see you again next year!
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