I am a little older than most of the folks who have commented about the Actinolite Bears. In the summer of 1936 and 1937 I lived with my grandparents- Joseph and Beatrice Yanch in the Stewart House in Flinton. The owner of the service station at Actinolite had a bear that we stopped in to see when we went into Tweed for shopping. However, the real adventure was when the bear owner took his bear on a tour around the countryside. You could buy bottles of pop or beer from him and hand them to the bear. For an extra fee he would allow people to have their picture taken handing the bottle to the bear or standing beside it while it guzzled the refreshment. I have an old photo of me standing beside the bear who was chained to the front bumper of the owners old truck. We were all standing in front of the Stewart House.
During the 1930s as Highway 7 was built to replace the poor road to Kaladar, a bus stop restaurant and store with motor court cabins was built (largely using the logs from the old Kleinsteuber church from the nearby German Settlement. It had a tourist attraction of caged black bears, a store that sold Indian moccasins and trinkets, and the restaurant was later rebuilt.
From–at the manse
I remember Buster and Brandy. The Price Log Cabin was owned by my 2 Uncles, Bud and Bruce Price. I sure miss the days of feeding the bears their ice cream and pop. My Great Grandfather built the log cabin. I also remember the trading post that was next door, they had a lot of nice things
My Grandpa, Bruce Price & Uncle Bud (Lloyd Price) were owners of the Log Cabin Restaurant (Price Bros.). My Dad worked there along with everyone else in the family at some point, and many of the locals as well. Lots of memories there. I still come into contact with may people who remember the place and the bears, Buster and Bandy (sisters) and the older bear Teddy (female). When I was a kid it was just empty cages. The bears are buried in the field at what used to be my Grandparents house, across the road from the restaurant, now owned by my cousin.
My Great Grandfather, Merritt Price built the Log Cabin Restaurant. His sons Bud and Bruce (my Grandfather) inherited and ran the restaurant, with their wives Shirley and Helen, respectively, until 1984, when they sold it and retired. I note above, mention of the bears being incorrectly identified as Mandy, Bandy, and Moe. Please note that there were more than two bears, over the years, and those names do sound familiar to me. The restaurant was named after the log cabin that Merritt and Dorothy Price lived in. There were also 3 very small rental cabins, and they were also named (although i forget the names), which may be contributing to name-related confusion . One of the cabins still exists on the property of the late Bud Price on the corner of Hwy’s 7 and 37. Also note, the bears loved ice cream just as much as pop.
Jon, I’m afraid I don’t know when the bears were no longer at the Log Cabin, but I’m hoping some readers might. As you probably saw from other comments, some members of the Price family, who ran the restaurant for many years, have weighed in, and they might know. I kind of think that the bears were still there when my family moved away in 1975, though I wouldn’t want to bet my bottom dollar on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the last of the bears was somewhere around 1976 or 1977, as you are guessing
In the mid 1960’s and into the 1970’s our family would often make the trip from Belleville to both, Tweed and Flinton to visit family. Of course, our father (late Charles Kammer) would always stop at the Log Cabin for us kids to view the bears. From time to time, we were granted enough money to purchase a coke to give the bears. This was a highlite of a weekend for us kids!
Day Tripping Ontario–I remember a zoo on Highway 7 near Sharbot Lake. I think it was only .10 admission and had eagles and some other animals in fencing that didn’t look too secure Anyone remember this, Most likely very early 70’s or late 60’s