Friday, August 22, 2008

Remembering Bangor Lodge

I've been reading a lot of blog posts lately about vacations.... relaxing by the water, enjoying good food and spending quality time with family. It's all made me rather nostalgic for my own family vacations of the past. Each year, my step family would go to a place called Bangor Lodge on Lake Muskoka. It was a beautiful little place with friendly staff, kid friendly evening activities, a nine hole golf course and nice boat docks for my BILs boats. I best liken the experience to the resort in Dirty Dancing.

Quite honestly, Bangor was a place out of the past. Everyone ate dinner together in the dining room, entire families around tables. My step family would always be between 13 and 17 people. Bangor is a large part of the reason I took up golf (mind you, I'm still not very good). Bangor was one of the first places I spent a lot of time with my step family. Bangor is synonymous with shuffleboard in my mind. Just the name 'Ol Mort makes me smile, thinking of the kids horse race, wooden horses and all.

I had to save up my calories for the chocolate chip muffins served every other day. I made fun of the large groups of line dancers that would sometimes be there during the same week as my family. They line danced in the pool, on the golf course and in the dance hall. I once saw people practicing steps in the buffet line at dinner.

Bangor was a unique experience, a true family vacation. About two years ago the family that owned and operated it sold the place. Family members were getting old and it was what was best for them. The new owners, from what I heard, planned to tear down the buildings and put up cottages or townhomes for new vacationers. My BIL, who was in the area for a boat show, drove through shortly after the sale. The golf course was no longer nicely manicured. The clubhouse was closed up. It was the end of an era. Bangor Lodge only exists in my memories now. I miss that place now....

* photos from Adam Birrell's flickr page (Source: retrieved on 8/22/08)


leah said...

What wonderful memories!

Kathy said...

My husband and I and several family members from the Detroit area went to Bangor for 19 years in a row. We too were very sad when they closed. We met our wonderful friends from Toronto there and continue to see them as much as we can. They retired to Bracebrige and sent us pics of Banger after they tore it down. It broke my heart. It is St. Patrick's Day as I write this and everytime I hear an Irish song it makes me homesick for Bangor.

Thanks for the memories!


Anonymous said...

It truly is funny how you don't miss something until it is gone.
I remember the great meals..especially the roast beef dinner.
It was one of the few times we all had to "dress" for dinner.
I think there are gfar to few places like Bangor left.
"Fare the well old gal".


Amy Pronovost said...

My family has a cottage down the road from bangor (And, trivia, my great great great (great?) grandfather owned a lot of the land bangor was on at the turn of the last century or something. We're part of the old school cottagers) and I spent my childhood summers going to the lodge and eating french fried and ice cream, playing on the golf course and selling lemonade. My mom picked up a bunch of stuff from the auction and I have some photos of it post auction. I should post them online sometime.

Fare Thee Well, bangor, I'll miss ye!

peter_perfect said...

I fell in love with Bangor when I spent a Sunday visiting The Worleys, friends who always talked about it year round..I had to see for myself. Well I didn't want to go home! That was '75. I went for about 17 yrs after that. It was a place for everyone and I couldn't wait to get on the golf course to see if i could shoot sub par for 9.....close but no cigars. Those greens were killers. no gimmes from a foot. No where else could you do that. The food Scotty prepared was second to none, the ribs were the best and his blue berry muffins in the clubhouse with fresh coffee were a treat before 9 holes. I miss this place so much and hope the Sibbery's and Scotty are well. Thanks for the best memories those days were the time of my life. I have pics from then and some of the tear down if anyone wants contact me

Anonymous said...

I worked at Bangor for 10 years. I proudly admit that it was some of the greatest times of my life. I was there when she was sold off piece by piece. I recently posted a tribute video on Youtube on what the site looks like now.

She will be sorely missed by all those who visted through her gates and worked their summers there.

Jamie Boyle
Sport Director 1991-1997

sarah hills said...

What a place!
I "grew up" at Bangor. I first went as a guest, then worked there for three summers. First two I worked cleaning rooms. The third year I worked outside!! Yes, the first girl to work outside!! Funny, that!
Jamie Boyle, what a name from the past. It seems like yesterday, but really, it's been 18 years since I last spent time at Bangor.
Best memories EVER!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of Bangor Lodge. Your photographs bring some of them back. I remember the first time I went to Bangor. Marg and Lois were in the office and welcomed me. I stayed in a little room in the main lodge. The plumbing was suspect, but everything else was perfect. I returned year after year and brought my bridge there in 2001. We were so saddened to learn of its sale. When we were in Muskoka this summer we took a drive back to Bangor. All that is left is the dance hall, boarded up and beaten up. Wild nature has reclaimed the golf course and the waterfront. The swimming pool is filled with reeds. Perhaps someone will build again on Bangor's property, but it will never be the same.

Anonymous said...

I worked there for 3 years and I can say that those 3 summers were the best summers of my life. Nothing can compare. From cleaning rooms, to serving lunch and working in the kitchen, I will never forget the people I met because of Bangor Lodge.
"Fare thee well...."

Anonymous said...

Bangor became my summer holiday home for years. The food was wonderful. The staff were all so friendly and helpful.

There is no place that can compare.

Thanks for the memories.

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Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

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Josh said...

I spent 10 years there with my family, 10 special years I will never forget. I met so many great people whom I met up with every single year, we all grew up together, even though we only saw each other one week of the year. The memories will last a lifetime. The things I would do to bring Bangor back....

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MARNIE said...

My parents went to Bangor for the first time in 1957. That first trip, they met what would become my godparents and another couple that we still see regularly. I went for the first time in 1975. We had moved out west and the first thing Mom and Dad did when we moved back was book Bangor. We continued to go until I was about 17 but stopped for a few years after I started working full time. When my daughter was 7, we returned to Bangor. The first year, it was just my parents, katie and I because my husband just didn't understand that Bangor was so special. He made every excuse that he could and only came up for 2 nights. Well, 2 nights is all it takes to make you a Bangor lover and we went back every year until it closed. I will never forget the first year I took Katie and we went down to the dock. I spotted a familiar face from all the years at Bangor and was in a bearhug with a guy that wasn't "Daddy!!!" It was hard to explain to her that we had grown up together at Bangor.
RIP Bangor, you will never be replaced.

Michael said...

I grew up down the road from Bangor Lodge. I used to know many of the workers there. I never missed the thursday night talent shows that the staff used to put on for the guests. I loved that place. What a great place to grow up.

When I was 12, Mr. Ken Siberry gave me a job in the kitchen for $125/week. I was so happy. Those chefs were a great laugh. They were hard on me, but I'm grateful to them. I learned more about life in one summer than all of grade 8. It is a wonderful memory for me.

I moved to Toronto years ago to pursue my career. I went back to Bracebridge this weekend to have a look around. I drove through Bangor today. I was in shock. It was all gone. Only the octagonal dance hall now remains.

You're right, all we have are our memories.

Michael Richard Griffiths

Phil McArdle said...

In 1973 at age 12, my mom and I spent a week at Bangor; I'll always remember the great bass fishing, my first time on waterskis, and the goofy talent show. A shame it's gone, but seeing how many "old school" places like in the Catskills vanished years ago, amazing it held on do long. Too bad everything is so money-driven today...