Big Bay Remembers
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         “We Walked Down Memory Lane

by Edith Gallowy

        A most beautiful day dawned on Big Bay on Sunday, August 3, 2008.  The day called us and hundreds came to spend it greeting, laughing and story telling.  

        It started with a great fanfare in the cemetery. Headstones were adorned with wild bouquets, old heirlooms and flags.  It was overwhelmingly a “Scottish” theme; the Piper in full attire, the politicians beaming in kilts and Wiarton Legion’s Colours of Honour set the standard of dignity and importance.  There were top hats and straw hats and long dresses swooshed over the grass.

        The crowd left the Big Bay Cemetery at the south end of Lymburner Street and proceeded down the dirt road to the north end.  Up and down the ridges, past the fields and woods on either side where once a town to rival Owen Sound was once thought would develop.  The walk was guided by the “Walking Tour Guide” with each place of interest  pictured  how it looked in the past.  The “archives” which surfaced from cupboards, drawers and attics was remarkable. It was difficult to take down and place these precious photos away.

        Down at the Dock was the “Stone Skipping Contest” .  From child to ninety-one, the contestants plied their skills at the defying little waves.  Age was simply a category and no reflection of excitement or ability.

        Music filled the village end to end. Old tunes and old songs kept hands clapping and toes tapping.

        More stories were told.  The “Memoirs” booklet contain only those stories we wrote down over the past year. When you read the little booklet, take a pen and paper and continue the story.

        What brought us together for Big Bay ’s 150th was the cemetery restoration. More than 130 families would record their names as sponsors of the cemetery fencing, ending the day with the restoration fully paid.  How pleased you were when you discovered that the committee, seeing the support emerging, added a new sign.  The little cemetery seems to have taken on a proud stature declaring that it is now on equal importance to the ice cream store !

        The ribbon cutting was assisted by several youthful faces; Bridget, Mary, Henry, Jakob, Katarina, Carter and Selena who we hope in 2058 will re-remember  “Big Bay Remembers”.  Until then, remember this little parcel of land, Big Bay Cemetery and return more often.

Big Bay Remembered 150 years on Sunday, August 3. Images of the events of the day can be found at the Past Activities page. The "Big bay Remembers" booklets and walking tour brochures are still available at Keppel Croft Gardens and at the Big Bay Store, at a donation of $7.00 for the set.

"According to earliest records available it would appear that North Keppel, the 
most northerly situated village of Keppel Township was the first place to be 
settled. ....The village really had its beginning in 1858 on Lot 38, Colpoy's Range, 
which was purchased by John and Mary Jane Horn who later sold half of it to 
Horace Lymburner." 
From Beautiful Stoney Keppel, Keppel Township Historical Society, 1986.

Big Bay (originally known as North Keppel) certainly has a rich history, if only in stories. 150 years, a sesquicentennial, certainly warrants recognition. Big Bay Cemetery needed some repair, so with the approval of the Township a gate and fence restoration began. On August 3, a dedication will take place at the historic Big Bay Cemetery, originally the Lymburner Cemetery. 

The new cemetery gate
The old large cemetery gate The old small cemetery gate

Historical Walking Tour

1 Sawmill site
2 Look at the village
3 General Store
4 Hotel
5 Original John Horn residence
6 Townsend residence
7 Original Cole residence
8 Fry home
9 Mr Hill's house, Griffith Island lighthouse keeper
10 Fred Day's house
11 Grist Mill site
12 Garret Patterson's frame house
13 Site of Nickle and Ferguson homesteads
14 Cemetery and school house

school house

A brochure is available with historical photos and descriptions of all locations. The "Big bay Remembers" booklets and walking tour brochures are available at Keppel Croft Gardens and at the Big Bay Store, at a donation of $7.00 for the set. The walking tour brochure may also be downloaded in Adobe pdf format.

Big Bay volunteers working on the cemetery gate

Big Bay Remembers Committee
Honorary Chair Roly Fenwick
Chair Edith Galloway
Vice Chair Bill Loney

Please email us your questions and comments