Bigwin Inn was named after Ojibwa Chief Joseph Big Wind. It was built on a 670 acre island in Lake of Bays, and was the brainchild of prominent Huntsville businessman Charles Orlando Shaw. Construction was started in 1912 but not completed until 1920 due to the First World War. After Mr. Shaw's death in 1942 a newsuccession of owners created a whole new entertainment era for the resort making it one of North America's favourite hotspots. Big name orchestras like Canada's own Chicho Valle were flown in from Toronto along with other big bands from the States to entertain at the crowded dance floor in the Pavilion on Saturday night. Spotting Royalty, the likes of Clark Gable or other famous celebrities was not an uncommon sight. This resort was also a favourite boat ride destination for local cottagers who would enjoy a meal away from their rustic vacation dinner. Many of my gallery visitors still chat about going to Sunday lunch by boat after church at Norway Point.
The Bigwin Inn waterfront was changed forever with the rebuilding of the golf course and the restoration of the Sonora dining room, which has been transformed into the pro shop for the golf course and restaurant on the second floor. Fortunately or unfortunately, time has crept up on The Bigwin Inn facade that has attractedonlookers for decades. The end of a wonderful era has been noted with thedemolition of the dancehall pavilion seen on the right side of this latest lithograph and also the ferry shed that is not visible. The water tower outlook can be seen in the painting above the Bigwin Ferry. The tower was a favourite sunset meeting place for many summer romances. If the walls could talk there would be a thousand stories! Hopefully I have represented Bigwin Inn in the honourable way it such deserves.
The all-familiar Bigwin Ferry transported passengers from Norway Point to Bigwin Inn. The Bigwin Inn Ferry has been moved by truck, back to her home port of Dorset at the east end of Lake of Bays where she will be undergoing an extensive restoration project.
Story by the artist….