BARRY’S BAY – There is a place in Combermere where guests can truly disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Stevenson Lodge does not have WiFi, televisions, or hot tubs. However, what it lacks for in technology or luxuries, it makes up for in rustic charm.
This July, the lodge celebrated 75 years of business. Madawaska Valley Mayor David Shulist visited the lodge to present owners Brian and Ralph Stevenson a certificate of achievement on behalf of the township.
“75 years of business is pretty exceptional,” Shulist said.
Much has changed since lodge founder Harry Stevenson began clearing land along the Madawaska River to create a fishing camp.
Harry grew up in Timmins and worked at the Hollinger Mine. He would spend a day’s pay to purchase Irish Sweepstake tickets with the hopes of winning the $140,000 top prize.
When friends asked what he would do with the top prize, Harry said he would go hunting and fishing until he was so sick of it, he would be glad to go back in the mine.
Then, someone suggested that he start a fishing camp.
“That is how my dream was born,” Harry wrote in the memoir, Harry History, which can be found in the rooms at the lodge today.
He never did win the lottery. Yet on July 9, 1939, his 30th birthday, Harry left Timmins on holidays with the intention of looking for a place to start his fishing camp dream.
“That was the best move I have ever made,” Harry wrote.
He and his brother Ernie borrowed a vehicle from their brother and headed to Calabogie. They met up with a game warden, who suggested that they head up to Combermere and meet with another game warden, Mel, whom the Stevensons had met several times before.
They set up their tents in the pines just off Palmer Road and below the river bridge. Mel began talking about possible locations. They looked at a variety of properties, but they were either too expensive or not what the men had in mind.
Get your July 30 , 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.