Silver Lake Has Huge Impact on Port Dover

MEMORIES shared by delightful Peter Perch who is well known for his humour ” Something’s Fishy”

At one time, Goosey Island was surrounded by Silver Lake. The water tower, at right above, was in the parck on Main St. North at St. Andrew Street.

At one time, Goosey Island was surrounded by Silver Lake. The water tower, at right above, was in the park on Main St. North at St. Andrew Street.

Article copied from the Port Dover Mapleleaf, Issue Wednesday March 1, 2017

SILVER Lake has been a hot topic in the papers lately, and so it should be. It’s an iconic piece of Port Dover. I knew it as my playground. When I was young, it was where I would hang out. We would create hockey rinks on it, and spend endless days swimming in it. Heck, to celebrate our grade 8 graduation we even skinny dipped off the dam.

We used to hang out at “Fletcher’s,” not sure why it was called that, but it was right near the CNR train station. There was a tree there, a big rope, and we would swim there all day. A lot of us guys had our first kiss there. Our biggest concern was not the girls, but the alleged snapping turtles that lurked below the depths.

Silver Lake was not initially a lake, but a dam. It is actually a river held up by the dam to power industries down river. We used it as a short cut in winter to go to my buddy’s house, Dave Buck who lived on Prospect Hill. I still remember the fright of listening to the ice crack as we crossed the lake.

 Some years the ice didn’t freeze over, and the actual river was exposed. One year Dave’s dog ran down to the ice and fell into the river. He couldn’t get back up on the slippery ice. We all ran down to help.

We were probably 12 or 13 years old. My friend Billy “Bung” Laing jumped on the ice to help the dog, but the ice dipped and he fell in. Fortunately the dog was able to climb up on the dipped ice floe and Bung as well.

Silver Lake was also used as a place for swimming lessons. I enrolled in the course. It was just off the Ivey plant. One day I invited my friend to watch me. I was quite proud of myself, though I couldn’t yet swim. Many of my co-swimmers were doing all kinds of “mermaid” like exercises into the depths of Silver Lake and I felt challenged so I thought I had to do something different, though “Dog Paddling” was my level of swimming skills.

I wanted to show off for my buddy. There was a rope, to make sure no one went too deep into the lake. That was my goal. I dove in and swam under water and popped up with my arms in the air, and my head under water. I proceeded to walk towards the rope, with my head still under water; not realizing I had swam past the rope. I was heading into the depths of Silver Lake!

Suddenly, just as I was out of breath, this “man” (Steve Anstee), who was probably 18, and fully clothed, grabbed me and pulled me to the surface. I will never forget it.

Silver Lake has had a huge impact on Port Dover. We should never let that go.



A Picture Says A Thousand Words

A Picture Says A Thousand Words


On behalf of “The Friends of Silver Lake”, we want to express our appreciation for the vote at Council last Tuesday to repair the Misner Dam. We know that two Councilors did not vote in the affirmative as It may have seemed to them that this was a Port Dover issue only and tax monies would be better spent on issues that affect us county wide.

The issue of Misner Dam has county wide impact and is not the “Hobby Horse” of a small group of interested local residents whose properties back onto the lake! For that reason, we are promoting ONE INCLUSIVE SOLUTION!

We welcome the Anglers and will work with them to support their ideas for creating a fishing dock and stocking the lake with fish for their enjoyment. Lake Lisgar in Tillsonburg is a perfect example of how one inclusive solution can meet the needs of special interest groups. There you will see fishermen casting from the shore line or from rowboats or from wheel chairs on a board walk dock. You will see young children sailing by in small sail boats and birders and wild life photographers maneuvering canoes through grassy wetland areas. We also need solutions that are inclusive and respect the interests of all the special interest groups.

We welcome the Rowers : All funds raised from the Dragon Boat races went to the Norfolk General Hospital, a facility that serves the whole County. We contacted Jim Dover former head of the Port Dover Rowing Association and asked him whether the rowing was an activity that only had impact in Port Dover. His response was as follows:

” Our adult “learn to row program” also raised funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation another organization serving the County.. In fact, I was contacted last week about the possibility of resuming this partnership. As for university scholarships, the athletes who earned scholarships were from Port Dover as well as Normandale, Port Ryerse and Burford. However, others that competed elsewhere across Canada were also from Waterford, Scotland, Simcoe, Port Rowan. I think that a very telling fact is that during our club’s existence we received support from community groups such as the Lions, Kinsmen and Rotary Clubs from across the County including Simcoe and Waterford. Another aspect is that our adult recreational rowing program attracted many people from the Hamilton area and our high school regattas attracted over 500 people (parents and athletes) each year from the Niagara Region and southwestern Ontario.”

We welcome the “Day Trippers” the “Trail Racers:, the babies in prams, the dogs, geo cachers, the kids lying on their bellies on the dock with their minnow nets, the pickup hockey games in the winter and the skaters!

In Summary: You made the right decision last week to proceed with the repair! You will be having a second vote in the coming week.





City Flushing The Toilet in Port Dover

City Flushing The Toilet on Port Dover

Our hearts ache for Silver Lake! Summer ruined for residents in downtown Dover. More to come later as we collect resident responses.







Last week a concerned citizen wrote a letter to the Editor of the Maple Leaf objecting to the use of taxpayer dollars for any work undertaken on Silver Lake or Misner Dam.  The concern was that taxpayers should not be paying to beautify the views of private landowners.  The PDWPA has responded to this letter with clarification of facts that may not be fully understood by people new to the area. It should be noted that the land bordering the lake is indeed held privately. In the case of the south side, Silver Lake Park is wholly owned and maintained by the Lions Club. The Lions Club pay annual taxes on the land which they mow, plant and make available to the public for recreational activities. It is also made available to service groups for community events and fundraising activities. These service clubs use their revenues to reinvest in community projects.

The following letter to be published in this week’s Maple Leaf is a formal response from The Port Dover Waterfront Preservation Association and its Friends of Silver Lake Committee.


Revitalizing a community re. Dredging Silver Lake

The question of dredging Silver Lake is not about beautifying a few backyards, it’s about the revitalization of a community. Not long ago, an internationally renowned author and keynote speaker visited Norfolk County for a seminar. While staying in Port Dover, he pointed out the key advantage we have in this community. He said having a water feature, of any kind, was an essential factor in the success of community restoration. And here in Port Dover, we have miles of waterfront!
Our community is blessed with beautiful waterfront and Silver Lake continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many in and around Norfolk County. The Friends of Silver Lake will be working hard, with Norfolk County, to find funding from both private and public sources.
The restoration of Silver Lake will take planning and money and yes, lots of patience. The Friends of Silver Lake are committed to this project. We have volunteers, we have a plan, and we have a community willing to step up. Plans include not only simply the dredging of the lake, but the introduction of a managed wetlands providing for long-term siltation control, flood control, water purification and the preservation of sensitive native aquatic species. A plan to establish power generation from river flow is also being investigated, along with generation at the dam, when it becomes available. Annual income from such a venture could fund ongoing Lake maintenance. Our long term plans also include public access via wetland boardwalks, lakefront promenades and walkways along the Lions Club Silver Lake Park, all adjacent to the Lynn Valley trail system.
Our community as a whole will benefit from the restoration of Silver Lake and thanks to our many supporters, we will once again, have a real Silver Lake!
Paul Lipsit,
The Friends of Silver Lake committee
Port Dover Waterfront Preservation Assoc.



SILVER LAKE MONSTROSITY         Photo by Tim Warris

On Tuesday June 17, 2014, The Friends of Silver Lake Committee is presenting a deputation to Norfolk Council.

With much appreciation to Don Malpass and Ron Keating for their tenacity and tireless searching through archival records, we now have in our possession the full documentation for the ownership trail dating back to the 1800’s up and including the expropriation documentation by the County detailing all property that was transferred.

This has been sent to Council for their review and will be addressed June 17.

The mystery of Silver Lake is a mystery no more!



Silver Lake Park Usage

Silver Lake Park Usage







A Ballad

New Family born May 7, 2014 with thanks to Tim Warris

New Family born May 7, 2014 with thanks to Tim Warris

It was a day in early spring
My young son came to me
His face was creased with a little frown
Of confused perplexity!
“Why did they call it Silver Lake?”

Taken aback, I listened long
and wondered what to say
He raised his voice
Had I not heard? And so he tried again
“Why do they call it Silver Lake
WHY do they call it SILVER LAKE
It looks like muck to me!”


I took a breath and calmly said
“Well that was long ago
but as a boy with inquiring mind
you have a right to know!”


This boy believes in Santa Claus
And the Easter Bunny too
I’ll spin a tale that will delight
Chuck full of pirates in the night,
smugglers, monsters, wild beasts
And perhaps a dragon or two!

“Well now, Wee Matey, here we go
We’re a fishing village for sure
And back in 1854 the air and water was pure.
A Scotsman built a dam of logs across the river way
Trapping water to power his mill and to 
simmer his fiery whiskay!

S0, that’s how the lake was made!

Harmony on Silver Lake

Harmony on Silver Lake

The water was a silvery colour
And home to fish and frogs
But in the middle, floating on top
was a giant silver log.
At night the log seemed to come alive
Two eyes lit by the moon above
Revealing a giant writhing snake
A line of mercury on the lake
Slipping and sliding in shadowy light .
We called him “Merk”
and left him to lurk
On Silver Lake at night!

“Wow!” exclaimed my little man
His eyes a twinkling bright
“But tell me more – did pirates come and did they have a fight?”
“Well yes they did! How could you know?”
And then the story flowed
the rest of the tale
in the dark foggy gloom
When pirates fought smugglers
Beneath Silver Lake moon.
And Indians rescued soldiers
in giant war canoes
And bags of sterling silver
And chests of silver doubloons
buried on Goosy Island
Close to the silver lagoon.

The little boy was satisfied
At least for a year or two
And when he raised the question next
I knew only the truth would do!
“Mom. Why do they really call it Silver Lake?
Does Merk still live in the muck?
Did anyone find pirate treasure?
“Mom. Why do they really call it Silver Lake?
What happened to make this disaster?
What can we do to fix it?
Why does it smell like an outhouse?
Why are the turtles covered in slime?
What can we do to fix it?
Why do we call it Silver Lake?”

9222_10151305093176882_335473323_n“Well son, surely you remember that day
The workmen drove into to town
With trucks and heavy equipment?
And they rumbled down
to the bridge
And their crane hit an overhead line?
They were protecting us from disaster
and checking for signs of weakness
In the dam that served us so faithfully
For a hundred and thirty some years.
The dam was declared to be sound
Without needing much to be done
That is where the story ends
As they drove off in the western sun!”


Forsaken but not forgotten
Silver Lake is now the memory
in our hearts
Here it shimmers and glows in the moonlight
While its stench tears us apart!
We await those who will lead in our County
Those with vision and courage and heart
Those who look us direct in the eye
Those who are able to honestly say
There’s a lesson we learned from our forefathers
Where there’s the will,
We can find the way!

Anon 2014

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

Serenity View

Serenity View





Photo of winter 2014 is provided compliments of Helen Bingleman: This recent photo includes the following description:  This is what surrounds your natural free flowing stream, one big drainage ditch, the free flowing stream is one little thread on the far side by the willows. The ditch carries water from at least three county drains and a dozen other ditches on the St. Andrew and St. Patrick side and likely as much water from Prospect Hill side. After a spring thaw and heavy rains they pour in not only water but oil and any other hazardous waste residents and non residents decide to pour down the drains. The area from Ivey’s Dam to Misner’s Dam has never been anything but hazard land long before Andrew Thompson built the dam for his woolen mills. This will never be anything but a mosquito breeding mess of muck and mire unless the water level is brought back up.

The following note of optimism has been released today from Ron Keating, Vice President, Port Dover Waterfront Preservation Association,for its FRIENDS OF SILVER LAKE COMMITTEE:

To all Friends of Silver Lake:

 Things have been quiet while we await the report on Misner Dam options from the consultant retained by the County. But now, they’re starting to move.

 1. For those who missed the news from last fall, the County and MNR agreed then that the County should retain a consultant experienced in dam repair to develop options for County and MNR to consider as they seek resolution. MNR said they, for their part, would expedite any approvals process that might flow from this. The consultant’s report is due this month,  so  stay tuned.

2. All Friends of Silver Lake, please mark your calendars for March 6 for our third annual benefit buffet hosted by the Erie Beach Hotel. As in prior years tickets are twenty-five dollars of which Erie Beach will donate half to our cause. Details as to sittings and tickets will be forthcoming shortly. Stay tuned. (PDWPA membership renewals will be taken at the door. Those who haven’t yet re-upped, please note.)

3. The mayor, Mr. Dennis Travale, has issued the note below which makes encouraging reading. Again, stay tuned.

Mr. Travale wrote as follows:

Sun, 26 Jan 2014

Rural Ontario Municipalities Association conference is mid February. I have asked the MNR Minister David Orazietti to meet with me.  His most recent response to an earlier letter stated that the Lakes & Rivers Improvement Act and its Regulations provides the guidance we need.

The dam was never built for flood control and we shouldn’t be forced by Act and Regulation into flood evaluation or structure design for flood control. 

My desire has always been and continues to be to “repair” the structure and allow water back into Silver Lake.  I will ask him to exercise his Ministerial “over-ride” authority and give permission to “repair” Misner’s dam.

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