A sawmill on the shores of
Minnow Lake (then known as Black Lake) was constructed as soon as the railway reached
Sudbury in 1883. For over 30 years the mill processed lumber from the rich forest that
covered the landscape, much of it sturdy white pine. A few stumps of these large trees can
still be found in the area behind the Carmichael arena on the Blueberry Hill trial. The
sawdust, slabs and other residue from formed a peninsula out into Minnow Lake from the
site of the mill at the bottom of Downing Street that can still be plainly seen today.
Later primitive ore smelting methods would destroy much of the remaining vegetation and
deposit heavy minerals into the soil and water. The area was
a pretty bleak place in the very early days.
A world traveler and author of many books, the Count cut a dashing figure with his long beard, swallow tail coat studded with beads, tall hat and high boots. He always carried a cane or long stick. He made an annual trip across the Atlantic to visit Sudbury each summer, and was his intention to settle here in retirement. He said, "Sudbury is a small town with a great future". Unfortunately, on his death in 1919 his family, back in France, let the property go, and the Barry Family became the second owners of much of the Counts property in the Minnow Lake Area. The two islands in Minnow Lake are named after the Count, the larger island is Du Caillaud, and the smaller Romanet.
William and Maurerite Barry were the best know Minnow Lake residents for many years, and for good reason. William was an active politician serving as reeve of McKim township, and he also ran for Federal election. He subdivided much of the land in the area and also in what was to become New Sudbury. Mrs. Barry named virtually all of the streets, many after her children (7 of their own and over 30 foster kids).
Before she died Mrs. Barry was interviewed by the area councillor Ted Nicholson with John Lindsay and Ian MciIraith (summer student). The interviews can be accessed here in two 30 minutes in length sections:
donated land for church buildings of all faiths and for other public uses.
They opened the first post office and operated the largest general store in
the area, shown in this photo with their residence to the left of the store
in the background. The building still stands today, however moved somewhat from
its former location. The Barry residence, which became vacant when Mrs.
Barry died at age 89 in 1999, has been preserved as an historical site, and
is now occupied by offices, but is open for public viewing by appointment
(call Financial Decisions Inc. at 525-7526). It is planned that a
portion of the property will eventually become a park to add to the public
space along the waterfront and to recognize the contribution of the Barry
family to this area.
A presentation on development can be accessed here