Tag Archives: Mazinaw Lake

Meyer’s Cave — John Walden Meyers

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Meyer’s Cave — John Walden Meyers

Last week I had a lot of interest in the story I did in 2016 about Meyer’s Cave so this week I am adding more information. This is all about john Walden Meyers

John Walden Meyers was a Loyalist spy, Belleville founder and a true Canadian pioneer, but rumour still swirls around his brush with a fabled silver mine in Bon Echo provincial park.

John Walden Meyers died Nov. 22, 1821 at the age of 76. Family history says that he died of a fever contracted a few days earlier while loading goods’on a barge in a driving sleet. But there is another tale of Walden’s demise. It is his last and, in some ways, his most intriguing legend. ” The story goes that when Meyers noticed local native using silver to barter for goods, he convinced two of them to show him the source of the ore. In late fall, they canoed up the Moira River to Loon Lake and led Meyers overland to what is now a popular provincial park, Bon Echo.

Park officials say that Meyers may have, been the first non-native to see Mazinaw Lake, whose cliffs and pic-tographs have become park symbols. On such a cliff, according to legend, Meyers was shown a hidden underground passage lined with silver. He filled his pockets and started upon the return voyage with his Indian guides. But the natives had second thoughts about revealing the secret of the cave and pushed the old man overboard. Despite being weighed down by silver nuggets, he managed to make it to shore.

As the temperature, fell, he began the long, painful journey toward home, where he would succumb to the effects of his exposure though not, the story goes, before leaving a map to the cave. There have been other stories since, of descendants coming into sudden wealth, presumably after visits to the cave. Others have tried to find the cave over the decades. The legend has become part of Bon Echo’s lore, and there is a hamlet south of the park, Myer’s Cave, that takes its name (with a slightly different spelling of the family name) from the tales. You won’t find any reference to the mythic lost silver mine on the plaque dedicated to John Walden Meyers on .the,-banks of the Moira River in Belleville, nor on the memorial commissioned by his descendants in a local church. But, two centuries after Meyers’ death, and despite a Canadian penchant for obscuring the most interesting stories of the country’s past, the legend lingers on, as tenacious as the real-life Canadian pioneer who spawned it.

In 1891miners were stationed near the Meyer’s Cave area and discovered a narrow passage that led to a surreal cavern. Stairs were carved out of the rock in the cavern and they descended about 100 feet to a hidden chamber. In the chamber were tools, Aboriginal artifacts, and a pool of water that extended to a subterranean lake that led to a cave full of silver stalactites. It is said that the miners sealed the cave so that they can return to it and claim the riches inside, but there was never any confirmation that they actually did that.

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