(Click on the image to open the interactive map and choose the places you wish to explore).
By the time European settlement reached Rebecca and Bella Lakes, in the highlands referred to as the Algonquin Dome, the area had for millennia been an established part of the hunting, fishing, and trapping grounds of Indigenous peoples.
The square of land surveyed by John McAree in 1876 as Sinclair Township, named for Donald Sinclair, MPP for North Bruce from 1867 to 1883, was one of the last areas of Muskoka District to be divided into farm lots – farms that were, for the most part, unsuccessful. The lumbering, fishing, and hunting camps that followed eventually became lodges and cottages.
Sinclair remained an unorganized township until 1971, when it was incorporated into the Township of Lake of Bays.
Project of the Bella-Rebecca Community Association Historical Committee © BRCA 2019