Twelve Mile Lake, ON - Malka Rozencwajg

A favoured locale a distance north of big city bustle remains Twelve Mile Lake region. A breath from a series of treacherous turns along the highway overlooking steep precipices above its waterfront a retreat fondly recalled stood. I recall sitting a few feet of a immense hearth a-crackle with warming logs dreaming as though hypnotized watching flames waver sitting upon a bearskin rug flanking it.

—I retain memories of the public beach a drive away from Minden having an artificial beach comprised of pale sand. Via the beachfront an extended wading section similar to Wasaga was attempted. As a teen I found it boring however of greater interest to me directly opposite the beach was to step across a dirt concession road veining from the paved highway to visit a patch of maintained green steps from a minute pioneer-era wooden chapel. Within the fence surrounded rectangle of bright green grass next to bramble and woodland a cemetery containing eroding tombstones sat. Whenever visiting Twelve Mile public beach I took some moments to step across the dirt concession road to enter the rectangle of green. Strolling through I'd ponder about daily existence of pioneering homesteaders intent upon establishing settlements as I wove through the graveyard to over again read the in instances barely legible olden headstones. Especially haunting were lines of small gravestones citing scourges resulting in high ratios of fatality preceding more modern medical advents alongside the names of the young victims.. At times members of the same surname were stricken—

I recollect steps of the gravestones across that dusty unpaved concession road youths might build a bonfire.. carryout singsongs strumming guitars into the night upon the strip of county beach. Leftover logs periodically were left partially burned within a circular pit— visible evidence overnight bonfires transpired upon the bank of Twelve Mile Beach. This was sure to make me smile as a teen. I yearned to join-in along with my guitar;



The retreat with the over-sized hearth.. a series of precipitous turns of that section of shoreline contained its own tiny strip of beach accessible via a rickety wooden staircase leading from the highway down to the shore of Twelve Mile lake where some number of motorized water vehicles traversed. Some towed waving male skiers performing deliberate acrobatics— at times fiascoes.. as a few girls aside I lay slathered in suntan oil clad in bikinis upon an afloat dock. The brief beach at bottom of the precipice was too narrow and pebble-strewn to sit comfortably thus we sunned upon a pontoon raft attached via heavy chains to the stationary thin and wobbly dock where canoes might be tied also. I retain memories of overheating under searing summer canopies of sky upon the planked pontoon square of dock attempting a tan.. occasionally diving into intensely cold water that lay beneath extreme turns of highway where traffic is known to periodically burst through barriers along sections of steep highway descending through overgrowth to craggy shorelines along Twelve Mile Lake.. As the private cleared strip of beach sat upon the opposite side of the highway from the resort I awaited abatement of fast-moving traffic as I attempted crossing to the lakefront side of that treacherous with steep bends section..

However I’m unaware of either beaches' statuses.. what remains, whether persons outfitted with beach and bonfire regalia along with guitars continue traversing to those spots.. or if the pioneers' chapel a step across the concession road along with the grassy cemetery and hauntingly eroded headstones remains—
 

Collector
Jessica Gordon
Contributor
Malka Rozencwajg