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Thread: Windigo Lake, Ontario area ghost town

  1. #1
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    Question Stirland Lake, Ontario Canada ghost town

    UPDATE: It took awhile, but it appears that the proper name of the lake is Stirland Lake and not Windigo Lake. Apparently there is a connection between the ghost town at Stirland Lake and another settlement at Crystal
    Lake.


    Anyone know the history behind this ghost town? I am a motorcyclist and read a ride report here:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=394825&page=2

    If you go to the posts by ZZR_Ron, you will see pictures of a small abandoned town/village that appears to have been abandoned in the early 80's by the looks of the computer in one of the pics in the thread. The odd thing is it looks like the people just left one day leaving all their food, belongings, etc. behind.

    There was mention late in the thread on ADVrider that it was an unwanted religious group that the locals ran off. I've looked through the Ontario section but haven't seen it listed.

    If anyone knows the story behind this, I would love to hear it.
    Last edited by Dirk Squarejaw; 06-17-2009 at 01:28 PM. Reason: Stirland Lake is the proper name of the area

  2. #2
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    Hi Dirk ,
    Welcome.
    I looked through all 6 pages.
    What an adventure.
    Those houses looked like in decent shape.
    Yes,it would be nice to have some more info on what happened.
    That 'puter looks like a Radio Shack model from the early-mid 80's.
    Think they were TRS-80 (?).
    Some were all-in-one,others were separate monitors,keyboards,etc.
    One I have, was a portable.
    No collector value now;the power supply burned up about 2007.
    Oh well.....

  3. #3
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    Just curious if anyone else may have any information on this little settlement?

  4. #4
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    Hey Dirk,
    I know all about this ghost town, lived there for 2 years when I was a kid. Let me know if you're still interested, can tell you all about its untimely demise, some pretty crazy stuff.

  5. #5
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    Slick7 - I suspect all of us would be very interested in the story behind the abandonment of the small town in question.

  6. #6
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by slick7 View Post
    Hey Dirk,
    I know all about this ghost town, lived there for 2 years when I was a kid. Let me know if you're still interested, can tell you all about its untimely demise, some pretty crazy stuff.
    You can't leave us hanging like this!

  7. #7
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    been trying

  8. #8
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    Sometime in the 60's or 70's the Natives on the reservations in this area decided that they wanted their kids to attend high school and since there were none on the reservations they sent 400 of the kids to one of the large towns to the south for the purpose of education. At the end of the first year 397 of the kids had been returned to the rez, couldn't handle town life. About this time a missionary from the US decided to build remote high schools for the Natives, and from the Gov leased land at the north end of the so called North Road from for this purpose. Two schools and their small supporting towns were built, Crystal Lake for the girls and 50 miles to the north, Stirland Lake for the boys. Many prominent Natives including the chiefs sent their kids to these schools, they were considered a good place to get an education and resembled the reservations in many ways. My family moved to Stirland from Pennsylvania in the early 80's. For two years we lived in a house overlooking that lake. In the fall the students would fly in from the reservations in bush planes on pontoons, live in dorms and attend high school. I went to a 1 room school for the missionary kids, there were about 10 kids in our whole elementary school. Imagine not seeing a tv, hearing a radio or reading a newspaper for 2 years. There was nowhere to drive on a regular basis, so it would be months between car rides. The only things I had were canoes, a huge lake, and unending wilderness. It was paradise. I'd go back tomorrow if I could. Anyway, the year after we came back to the US, the Powers That Be decided that it would be a good idea to move the girls up from Crystal and make Stirland a coed campus. It was not a good idea. I don't know all the details of what started it, but an all out riot broke out. The students burned the power generator to the ground, lit the fuel tanks on fire and dragged the staff members from their homes and beat them. Eventually the OPP arrived and pattywagoned the whole lot of them. The school was shut down and the town was sold to a Native bush pilot and some partners. I have no idea what they were planning to do with it, the land was leased from the Gov for 99 years for the purpose of education only, it cannot be used for anything else. The buildings are now in a state of disrepair. I've taken the 36 hour drive up there twice in the last 12 years, it's kind of sad to see it like that when you remember it filled with people. Anyhow, life goes on. It feels funny talking about something that happened 25 years ago, where the **** does the time go? (PS, along the North Road, just past the old entrance to Stirland there is a small place to camp. If one were to paddle a canoe across the lake, get into the river system and know the way ( its not easy ) one would eventually reemerge at the North Road, 30 miles south, on the Pipestone River, which also has a camping area. If one took that trip, one would see sights and catch fish that were not easily forgotten. Did it twice.

  9. #9
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    Hi, I'm the guy who posted the ride report...I also have quite a bit of video we took.

    What Newbie Ghost Towner describes is pretty much what we found, the main generator and heating system had been burned.

    It's an absolutely amazing ghost town, in that it is so complete.

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