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.



The Dam Courtesy of Helen Bingleman

The Dam Courtesy of Helen Bingleman

The Erie Beach Hotel this past March 6 held its yearly Benefit Buffet. With this “Benefit Buffet” the Erie Beach shares proceeds of the day with participating community organizations.

 The Friends of Silver Lake wish to give a whole-hearted “Thanks” to both the Erie Beach for this fine gesture of giving back to the Community; and also to those Friends of Silver Lake who attended and enjoyed a buffet of the Erie Beach’s finest. We had even more Friends enjoying the Buffet this year than last. We appreciate the support of our Friends of Silver Lake during the time the matter of repairing Misner Dam and restoring Silver Lake has been dragging out.

That being said, all Friends of Silver Lake, stay alert for word that the Consultant’s options report for Misner Dam is finally to be tabled for Council’s guidance. (It did have a February due-date.) We can be encouraged by statements that MNR is ready to assist Council with short-term options.

 Once again, Thanks to All! 

 The Friends of Silver Lake Committee

Misner Dam Challenges

Earthweek Cleanup Crew at Silver Lake

Earth Week Cleanup Crew at Silver Lake

Sunday, April 21, an enthusiastic group of residents whose heart and commitment to our waterfront areas is unsurpassed, turned up to do a spring cleaning – this group is posing in Silver Lake Park. Another group went down to Black Creek where to their dismay, people have been doing their spring cleaning by dumping their renovation materials and other unwanted stuff along the Black Creek waterfront. Pictures of that atrocity can be viewed on Face Book – perhaps you may recognize items that could lead to identifying the perpetrators! Thank you to everyone who gave up time on the weekend to spruce up our community areas – this is the spirit that makes us proud to live here.


As we prepare to attend the Town Hall Meeting May 9, there are a number of issues we need to be ready to consider and to problem solve alternatives  no matter what is decided on a go forward basis. The following are some notes sent out to Councillors by Ron Keating.

The challenge before us with Misner Dam must accommodate certain facts.

  1. Flood Management. The terrain drops some fourteen feet in the half mile from Ivey Dam to Black Creek. In the absence of a dam any flood torrent rushing down the Lynn River would pick up major impetus from such a drop, before it crashes into its right angle turn  with Black Creek. And while any reasonable person would raise an eyebrow at the flood projected by the IDF study, we know that extreme weather events are occurring with increasing frequency: witness Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy; the 2011 Red River floods (locally the worst ever); and at this very moment the floods rushing through our northern cottage country. Closer to home consider the 1989 Harrow storm, Essex County (“the greatest  rainstorm on record east of the Pacific coastal Mountains in Canada”). In 27 hours 450 mm of rain fell. (I have attached the “MNR Harrow Storm Internal Study”.)  Are dams a suitable response to floods? The judgement is, yes. Think about all the dams built in Ontario following the 1954 Hurricane Hazel; the numerous dams on the Thames and Grand rivers and their tributaries – precisely for flood management. Manitoba is strengthening its Red River defenses, not abandoning them.
  2. Siltation. We know that Misner Dam has trapped behind it silt flowing down the river these past 157 years. Any proposal to remove the dam must a) deal with removing the immediate movement of that silt into the downstream waters and harbour; and b) address the long-term challenge of dealing with the silt coming down the river year after year, to maintain the viability of the waterway, harbour and local economy. Port Burwell, just down the lake, with its magnificent beaches and dockage, and total lack of any meaningful commercial activity is an object lesson for us all. Its harbour has been overwhelmed by silt.
  3. Water quality. Each year sees more storm sewers built to empty into the Lynn River. Each decade sees more treated sewage effluent flowing into the waterway. The Silver Lake upper marshes and the entrapment of silt contributes greatly to containing upstream pollution from  the beaches central to our flourishing tourism. What are alternatives without the lake and the dam?


Please plan to attend this important meeting. There will be opportunity to ask questions.

%d bloggers like this: