Lakefield Ontario Visited

My Ancestors Lived There…

The following is an excerpt from the Selwyn Township website – Whether it’s a quiet stroll, a leisurely cycle or a more ambitious jog, the Trail provides a place to enjoy all of the diversity the Village of Lakefield has to offer.”


by Gary McWilliams (Festival Nomad)

“The following description of the Village of Lakefield is base on our many visits to the town.”

 In 1831, Robert McWilliams immigrated to Canada from County Cavan, Ireland. Once he landed in Canada, he and his family eventually settled in Lakefield, Ontario. This was the start of “my‘ relationship with the Village.

Over time the McWilliams family flourished, multiplied and started a carriage making business. Ultimately the family became prominent members of the community. I think that the last relative to live in Lakefield was my Grandfather, Matthew McWilliams. That is, he was the last until Judi and I move to the area (R.R. #1, Lakefield) in the mid 1980’s.


I had known, when we moved there, that my father’s family had connections with the Village, but I didn’t know the extent. Fortunately a long lost relative, who still lives in the area, contacted me by e-mail.. In the initial e-mail and subsequent one, my relative outlined some of the history of the family that she knew about. She even forwarded some old photos of the family! It’s funny,

Judi and I loved living in the area, we really felt at home. Most Saturdays we would drive into the Village to shop and to do our laundry. Ultimately travelling to Lakefield on a Saturday morning became a “ritual”. First we would head to the local Laundromat  and then, next door, to the Coffee Donut Shop (no, not Tims!).

There we would both order coffee and a freshly made “Canadian” Maple donut! While there would read the local paper and discuss the past week’s activities. Once the laundry was completed we would drive to the Grocery store. These activities seemed to bring calm to our busy lives. The Village of Lakefield, for us, was like that, laid back and enjoyable. The stores in the Village were interesting and fun to visit. The restaurants were great places to have an evening meal. Lock 26 ran through the south end of the Village and allowed boaters to pass their way up and down the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Many boaters would stop at the town docks and walk to investigate the nearby shops or go to nearby “Hamilin Restaurant” for a yummy ice-cream cone! Over the years the town has changed. There are a number of newer buildings in the downtown area.

The local donut shop has been replaced by a Tim Hortons. Some things have not changed, the locks still allow boaters to travel the Trent-Severn. Well known Lakefield College School still educates students from around the world. And Judi and I still reminisce about the times we spent in Lakefield. We were sad, when business forced us to relocate from this enjoyable community.

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