Caledon Lake: An Unfortunately Co-opted Local Gem

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Intro

For every outdoor-minded GTA resident, an inner geographer wakes up at least once a year.  For Fullprice, it often happens in the midst of winter, when he idles in a store and pops open a hard copy map book, or more often goes to maps.google.ca and scutters past residential blocks of say Hamilton, Brampton or Vaughan and marks some interesting bodies of water or forest tracts.

Such an outdoor-minded GTA resident certainly notices an enticing, almost perfectly circular hydrological treasure called Caledon Lake.  She may also click on a satellite view of the place and notice that this piece of Eden gets quite deep/ not swampy at all.  Of-course such a natural lake can’t be too deep and thereby would warm up quite quickly into the season.  What a great reward after those punitive Canadian winters, eh?

The only really relevant info-blog post that exist is a 2009 one from Inside Caledon.  Noteworthy are the comically insane barrage of comments.  Clearly some the local cottagers are out to create an acrimonious atmosphere over their neighbourhood.

Highlight of the comments:

The other time I was there we watched an older man with one of the residences on Cranberry Lane washing out a bucket and what I believe was used paint brushes in the water of this lake. Well done, old top.  [Maybe that’s why they seek such an absolute privacy, to abuse the water that they clearly see that exclusively theirs to do whatever.]

Make Sure you take a good picture of us Duck Hunting Spet 28 on the lake, and post it on here. We have scouted the area lots of ducks and geese and very excited for the opener. Cant wait we have 3 groups of 4 men per group covering most fly ways. And there’s nothing you can do about it but watch and take pictures

There is no public access to this lake… Even the inlets and outlets are privately owned. Go on MLS.ca… (?)

I am actually a resident at Caledon lake. Now we do paya hefty fee to own property there and it is very disrespectful when people come on and ignore signs to go fishing. We are not a trout club. Its just like if I went onto your farm and took all your crops. I mean its something you shouldnt do right? So do not go to caledon lake because you willl be removed and fined. Thank you.

we just want to “go water skiing and not to be hasseled by people.”

“So do not go to caledon (sic) lake because you willl (sic) be removed and fined.” Excuse me? You can remove someone from private land, but you still haven’t established that the surrounding landowners own the water.

Prospectively, People living on Lake Ontario should claim lake is theirs and refuse others access

the owners own the lake and the water in it.

people complaining are envious and have a sense of entitlement to use the lake just because its there. This lake is not a provincial park as far as i know, nor is it a public beach. its a community of people that own a large percentage of the lake front and quite possibly own the lake itself.

most of you complaining about not being allowed to use the lake are ignorant and moronic. You people are posting ways to access the lake and looking for a loop hole

It is possible, as far as I know, to own the lake or river bottom, but NOT the water above it.

You people only own 30% of the shore line, but don’t want others access it.
This is complete and udder bullshit, couldnt there atleast be a boat ramp to allow people on the water? I understand you don’t want them on your LAND but that’s why we want the water.. I live 20 minute walk from this place and am not allowed in.. BULLSHIT

We on caledon lake will continue being vigilant towards trespassers.

Maybe next time I’ll perform a citizens arrest and hold someone until police show up..

sarcasm : we prefer to utilize public safety officers at a cost to all taxpayers to harass our fellow man whenever he may try and enjoy this natural feature himself. If this was Texas, we’d shoot on site.

good thing to see some people with a sense of humour

If you tried to preform a citizens arrest on me you’d probably end up with a broken jaw.

Ontarios slogan is “yours to discover” I’ll adventure to any private locations regardless of the negative actions people may give me, you do not own the waterways so have fun seeing me fish 1 foot from your shoreline

Now Fullprice’ve been to other parts of Ontario, where local residents in league with the municipality co-opt an end of a road allowance and mark it as private.  These residents actually put work into the property and never gave problems to say a weary respectful traveller, who comes by for a 10 minutes’ soak of the body and spirit.  Here is an example along Lake Simcoe:

Or here:


Also an image search yielded the following insane sign.  Fullprice took a liberty of saving it, since it is from an archived blog that may be gone from the internet at any moment.  Original here.

cal lake

This practice is exceptionally illegal.  Fullprice will send you here for a succinct explanation.  Also, there are civil and criminal implications in addition to the provincial sanctions.  Upon Fullprice’s arrival, the sign was removed.  Not sure about the ‘traps.’

Fullprice arrived via the tremendously scenic Mississauga Rd.  At the end of it is a public road allowance right of way.  Fullprice followed it to a point.

Fullprice will not describe the route that he followed to the lake.  He will state for a record that he took every care to not trespass.  Should he have failed, such trespass was at most de minimis.  In addition, such access was done in order to enter a bed of navigable water that belongs to him as a resident of Ontario (right of way of necessity).  Note that if you enter the lake with, say a kayak, you will not be trespassing, despite any sign.  More on law to follow.

Destination

The lake is fed by a branch of Credit River in its headwaters.  Despite the summer being exceptionally arid and many streams elsewhere being now nothing, but parched beds of rocks and clay, a constant cool crystal-clear stream of water stubbornly fills Caledon Lake from the West.  Fullprice would not suggest entering this enticing moving water at such point, as the bed is all very deep muck.


The outlet is equally of decent volume, but with slightly warmer water at the South-West of the lake.   Fullprice’s  verdict is that both inlet and outlet are navigable by kayak and even certain sizes of lightly-packed canoes.  Fullprice have seen people brave worse.

The outlet is also crested with a cute thin patch of buggy whips.

IMG_20160804_182611

For a comparison, it is at least thrice the flow of the stream between Cameron and Cyprus lakes up around Tobermory, which is certainly considered navigable.  Caledon Lake is a superior local option.

Towards the North lies a picturesque area where the lake features lots of riparian vegetation.  Watch out for black flies that obviously come from the fast-flowing streams of the Credit River, indicating an ultimate cleanliness of the water in a most unpleasant way.  While on the Beach Area of the lake, there are no mosquitoes, since the fish eat their larva, this area has some standing marshy areas, around which the little buggers may give you a mild inconvenience.

Heading back south, between the inlet and the outlet lies a splendid natural beach.

Here, the bed of the lake is a tad spongy, but supported all of Fullprice’s 200lbs.  He would recommend water shoes or some sort of crocs in any case.  The shallows go on for a while, but the lake gets quite deep.  At one point, Fullprice could not free-dive to the bottom.  The water is clear, with a very pleasant azure tint.  Usually in Ontario the natural micro-flora of living lakes by this time of the year gives unpleasant rusty-brown, black, milky gray or dark-green hues.  This one was rather pleasant, second only to maybe tropical saltwaters of the Caribbean.

Admin:Fullprice swam undisturbed for about 10 – 15 minutes.  It was heaven.  Fullprice was filled with sheer pleasure and thankful serendipity for finding this destination and was happy for the cottagers living on such special parcel of land.  #Finallymadeit

Then a small aluminum motor-boat appeared creeping the perimeter of the lake from the north.  Noticing it, Fullprice  was still splashing around and taking in the sheer beauty of the surroundings, periodically diving into the darker, slightly chillier depths of his new liquid surrounding.  The peaceful quiet of the deep was now invaded by the thrashing propeller of the craft.

Fullprice in a display of courtesy waved hello at his fellow humans, as they passed along.

“Are you okay, bro?” – Asked a beta-male looking individual up on the boat

“Yea, the lake is great!” – Replied Fullprice with a smile of courtesy and decency

“Uhm, which uh,  like cottage are you with?” – Asked one of the females

“I am just coming down the trails.”

Silence

“With the board of education.” – Ambiguously answers Fullprice

“Uh Uh, Ok” – comes from the vessel, as it continues circumnavigating the deep part of the lake.  They then proceed pointing somewhere at the outlet and drifting towards the cottage shore, still following the edge of deep core of the body of water

Not long after, Fullprice notices that the sun is speeding towards horizon and it is time to start leaving.  Just as Fullprice tracks back the trail, the beta-male, now shirtless, yet in a different, much speedier  boat thrashes at a Somali-pirate speed around the lake, creating massive tumult throughout the lake.  Luckily, Fullprice was not in the lake at the time, as it would create a very dangerous situation.

Had Fullprice been in the water, he might have been struck by the boat that was not in full control by the operator, given the excessive speed.  Further, it is his opinion that the waves targeting him qualified as a civil case of battery.  Fullprice shook his head in disbelief, as this fellow made insane rounds around the lake, much like a dumb belligerent hornet around its nest, later regretting of not filming it.   The above behaviour leads to a reasonable inference that the beta-male was fairly intoxicated.

This was clearly very negligent behaviour and disrespect to the law, which the cottagers selectively quote when it suits and benefits them.  Charges can be pressed for assault with a deadly weapon.  Technically the cottagers can counter-sue with trespass, but since there is no harm done to them, the damages are usually very nominal, like $5.

Note Fullprice is not a lawyer and this does not intend to create any sort of lawyer-client relationship.  Fullprice simply shares information and opinion regarding the lake and the people.

However, since these people are so prone to active antagonism, altercation and even boat rage, Caledon Lake may prove an opportune place for certain litigious people to execute successful schemes of personal enrichment.  Hopefully such profiteers force our beta male to sell his cottage to humans that enjoy their property as people and not as Mr Burns’ hounds from The Simpsons.

Also the beach area was spoiled by smell of carrion.  It emanated from the following pile of decomposing fish.

IMG_20160804_183459

Fullprice’s guess is that the cottagers did this to spoil their opposite beach in order to deter visitors.

This is a very special find of a lake.  Obviously, Fullprice will visit it again, but earlier in the season next year.  It is relatively shallow and should warm up quicker than the deeper, more expansive or more northern alternatives.  Fullprice will avoid it for the rest of the season, as other, closer water bodies are also pleasant by now and will remain warm for some longer time of the year.

Addendum – The Law

Again Fullprice is not a lawyer, but is a responsible citizen who informs himself on the law in order not to get bullied by people such as these cottagers and the like.   Furthermore, for a definitive investigation, the crown patent to this lot is needed.

If Fullprice was a resident of Orangeville or surrounding areas, he would be very displeased that people of such character co-opt the entire lake.  The cottage association seems to be very old, established in 1885 (backup).  However, the link above notes that the association was not the only access to the lake and a hotel was once proposed to be built along the shores. That article also recognises that:

 the southwestern shore forms a Conservation Area used by the local school board to teach Nature Studies and the northern lakes and ponds provided marl to the early concrete industry at the turn of the century. .

atlas

The above screenshot is of help.  It is taken from the Land Use Policy Atlas.  It can be inferred that the south portion of the lake is a whole separate lot altogether.  It appears to be a conservation area that is operated by the Peel Board of Education and the school is out for the summer.  It offers programs for the schools under its jurisdiction and makes boring educational videos for the internet at large.  Their lot is clearly posted from the road sides.

The confusing thing is that the No Trespassing to the lake sign that formerly was sporting something about ‘traps’  is deep within the neighbour lot. Maybe the cottagers are trying their hand at adverse possession, aka a land grab, from the unsuspecting school board.  That operation of old common law is still apparently alive in these parts of Ontario, according to a local law firm.

google map road allowance

In Ontario crown patents are issued under the Public Lands Act.  It is a general practice of lakes like this that the granting patent reserved a 66ft allowance along the lakeshore, often described as a “road allowance.”  Fullprice infers from the picture about that the cottagers hired a lawyer that went to the unscrupulous municipality and got the allowance “closed.”

Huzzah our loyuh closed the road allowance, that sure mean we own the lake, and the waters that enter it, and like the airpace, and the mineral lights beneath, and will citizen arrest yall from a friggin boat.  #kingofthecastle

The cottagers comprehended that now the entire lakefront is their’s and their’s alone, since they simply closed the road allowance.  This may explain why they opine that the lake is  now private and wholly their own, even as it stretches beyond their parcel.  In reality, all it means that they can use their property up to the lakeshore, whilst the allowance remains closed. The municipality is clearly in the wrong, as it effectively stole access of a navigable body of water from the school board and the public enjoying the trails and streams of Caledon Lake Forest tract.  Responsible local residents need to contact their municipality to urge them to open the public allowance and to finally designate the lake as a Cultural Heritage Landscape.

Speaking of unscrupulous municipality, Caledon is made of beautiful scenic villages, but also or weird over-size recluse compounds.  As an urban dweller, Fullprice can comprehend living as a farmer, but to build a architecturally-bizarre plywood castle in the woods and to brave such boredom is beyond him.  Caledon is Florida of Ontario, at least in terms of weird news.  Eg: a disgraced lawyer purveying toilet-hand-made bacteria water for us all.  They don’t take kindly to new industry, labelling the most basic element of our reality a hazardous chemical and harass visiting little green men (1) (2), who done so much good for our civilisation, according to the History Channel.  Given all that, it is little wonder that the local humans of Caledon Lake create a George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin situation in the making.

Fullprice can foresee  people stooping down to the impugned cottagers’ level and do something like pour sludge in the lake, sink their boats or introduce zebra mussel.  Fullprice urges visitors and kayakers to refrain from any criminal or immoral behaviour.  An appropriate course of action may be to organise a local flashmob to the lake and of course profit handsomely if the belligerent locals proceed in their civil-criminal ways of threatening unlawful confinement, assault, battery, negligence, etc.  Also please press criminal charges  if such behaviour occurs.

Such weirdness uploads to the political level.   The province even appointed recently a provincial facilitator to help solve the dysfunction that Caledon brings to the Peel Regional Council.  Even a local newspaper describes local politics as “a bizarre tale of smear campaigns, hired thugs and small-town vengeance.”  These are the people who closed the road allowance.

Recall that the article describes the lake, inlet and outlet as navigable.  Ontario has a history steeped in canoeing.  The sport is also very much in vogue right now, enjoying a kind of resurgence.  The lake is very much navigable, as the residents prove it by using even motor boats on it.  Credit River itself is a mecca for canoeing, which is officially promoted (1) (2).  The act quoted in this paragraph is quite bare-bone, but judges have elaborate on it quite a bit at trial level.  The cases sometimes tend to be contradictory, but here is a leading example.

Fullprice proposes that the lake is clearly navigable, but even if it is not, he suspects that the West coast is simply a closed road allowance, meaning that in the worst case, the cottagers’ property extends merely to the centre of the lake.  But it is my opinion that the lake is wholly navigable, meaning that the general public has ownership to this natural severance of the property and requires a reasonable access to it.  Furthermore, patents in Ontario retain foreshore for the benefit of general public. Kayakers, etc, can land on any shores of such lakes for any reasonable necessity, including tiredness/ sickness or to access a nearby public road.  Note that you cannot use this right to access the lake.  This is only for one-way movement out of the water.  Note that unlike idiosyncratic municipalities, judges are people of the community who understand the increased difficulty of the access to the outdoors, etc.  Also the law is still being developed and the judgements tend to be recreationalist friendly.  EG.

Fullprice  notices some confusion about this provincial act being changed.  To his knowledge, it was never changed, but is continuously developed by cases.

Another note is that is the locals give you trouble, simply request for their title.  With older cottage properties such as these, they are really faulty, as little to no care was done in registering them by non-professionals.  It is reasonable to assume that the cottagers’ title is so faulty, that they are essentially a bunch of squatter bullies trying to establish a no-go zone/ turf.

Other acts that are on your side:

Real Property Limitations Act

There is also an entirely separate federal regime under the Navigation Protection Act.  Please note not to conflate or transfer its ideas and protection with its provincial counterpart.  It is an entirely different body of law and cases.

Of note, also are realtors and their puffery that this is a private lake, an outpost of Muskoka.  Such deceptive marketing obviously hikes the price of the property, earning them handsome commissions, even though it is misleading and gives the new owners wrong ideas.  Also how dare they compare this lake to Muskoka.  Despite Caledon Lake being an invaluable local gem, Muskoka is really no comparison.

greenbelt

One least note is that the lake is in the heart of GTA’s Greenbelt, created in order for the metropolis’ residents to enjoy the outdoors (without gunning 500 clicks north and burning all that fossil fuel) by protecting it from development.  If the cottagers remain unreasonable, maybe it is time to re-channel the public Credit River and leave the bullies ion the muck and dust.

Overall,  Fullprice invites everybody to enjoy the lake.

See you at the beach 🙂

Admin: Fullprice

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