Did You Ever See the Monster of Otty Lake?




Photo from Perth Remembered

Otty Lake, just 6 km from Perth, Ontario, was and still is a great place for anglers to land that monster fish. Chances are if you grew up in Lanark County you knew Otty was a most mysterious body of water. In fact, if Robert Service had been a camper out on the shores of Otty Lake many years ago we might well believe he had it in mind when he wrote the following well known lines:

“We have seen strange sights “ ’Neath the Northern Lights, “But the strangest we ever did see “Was one night on a barge “On Lake Lemarge “They cremated Sam McGee.”

Some figure it was probably a dying Esox Lucius, or what is known around this are as your basic Northern Pike “coming to the surface to get as much air as it can,” says an eminent authority on the frightening monster seen recently in Otty Lake by Ken Erwin and his family. The body of this strange marine animal is some four feet long with a very prominent nose and the head resembling that of a dog. It was first seen last week by the children who were on shore. When they saw it they threw stones and the monster promptly dived out of sight.



Last Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Erwin were on the lake at the upper end when Mrs. Erwin noticed this strange being floating on the surface. She called her husband’s attention to it but by the time he had turned the boat around, the monster had dived and was out of sight. Apparently there are other strange sights around Otty Lake.

There seems to be a skunk whose only means of livelihood is water, for the simple reason that a bottle, stuck over his head, cannot permit his eating food. To obtain water, the skunk dips his head in the water, fills the jar and then tips it upward, drinking the water issuing out. If it were not for the undoubted respectability and sobriety of the campers around Otty Lake we might have our doubts about the monster and, as for the skunk, that is just about out of this world.

There used to be a monster on Bennett’s Lake in Bathurst Township, and a strange thing about it is that the only eye witnesses who testified about seeing it were gentlemen who had been fishing up there and who had been addicted to the bottle—not the kind of bottle that is said to have adorned the skunk’s head. We don’t recall that the Bennett’s Lake monster ever was captured— it just seemed to disappear many years ago. Maybe it found some underground channel through which it was able to make its way to Otty Lake. That theory is worth considering especially in view of the antics of the skunk


With files from the Perth Courier Archives

Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark


Photo from Perth Remembered

Could this possibly be the same Fur Covered Trout that we all saw in James Brothers Hardware Store window for many years. Was said to be caught in the Big Rideau. It was a big tourist draw and as a youngster, had me believe that this rare creature had indeed existed for there it was mounted and on display for all to see. Wonder if this fancy work of taxidermy, (probably the work of Dawson Girdwood’s amazing talent), survived and where is it now?





Photo from Perth Remembered

Read all about The James Brothers Perth Ontario



The Buchanan Scrapbook–Perth Water Tank used to keep the dust down on the town streets, manufactured by James & Reid. Photo: Perth Museum

Follow the Crowd by John A. McKenty, 2000, is a book about the James Brothers’ enterprises in Perth. From a bookseller’s summary,

For over 80 years, James Brothers Hardware stood as the retail centre of historic downtown Perth, Ontario. Crowds from town and country alike flocked there for their every need, while from their open offices on the mezzanine above the first floor, George and Lawrence James and later George’s son, Alan, and grandson, George, oversaw a mercantile enterprise that included not only the store, but a machine shop, a foundry, a Chevrolet dealership, a Ford dealership, two automotive garages, various woodlots, a bulk fuel oil business, a coal business, a snow fence factory, a billboard service and the local arena

Storage room at James Brothers

Perth Remembered

January 25, 2019  · JAMES BROTHERS FOUNDRYPhoto taken outside James Brother’s Foundry 1910. Shown here are W. Bates and D. Mayall on a cart with a shipment of sleighs from James Brothers bound for Montreal by train. Black and white photo colourized by David Bromley.

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