Discover Coboconk, Ontario: A Rich Blend of History and Tourism

Coboconk, Ontario, affectionately known as Coby, is a charming community nestled in the city of Kawartha Lakes. Located in the south-central part of Ontario, Canada, this village is a significant junction of Highway 35 and the former Highway 48. It sits on the northern tip of Balsam Lake, the highest point on the Trent–Severn Waterway. Over the past 150 years, Coboconk has played a crucial role in the logging, limestone, and tourism industries of the Kawartha Lakes region.

The Historical Journey of Coboconk, Ontario

Coboconk's history dates back to 1851 when the first settlers built a sawmill on the Krosh-qua-bo-Konk River, later anglicized to the Gull River. The village served the lumber trade, clearing forests of pine, hemlock, and spruce, and sending logs downstream for processing. The village's name was anglicized in 1859 when a post office was established. The name Coboconk is a translation of two Indigenous names for the village, both referring to the river.

In 1859, the United Council in Bobcaygeon passed a bylaw permitting the construction of The Cameron Road from Fenelon Falls through Rosedale and into Coboconk. This road was designated as part of Highway 35 in 1937. In November 1872, the Toronto and Nipissing Railway reached Coboconk, and a station was built. The station was named Shedden, and the town was renamed to that on June 1, 1873. However, the town was renamed Coboconk on December 1, 1880, by local residents.

Coboconk was home to several grist and lumber mills, brick kilns, and a large limestone quarry. Most of the mills have been torn down, but the kilns remain in place on Queen street, visible as one enters the village from the south on Highway 35.

The Geography of Coboconk, Ontario

Coboconk is located on the border of the geographic townships of Bexley and Somerville. The village lies within the Gull River valley on the ridge between the Paleozoic Limestone region of South-Central Ontario and the Precambrian Granite Canadian Shield. A limestone cuesta crosses the southern portion of the village.

Coboconk lies between the northern tip of Balsam Lake and the southernmost point of the Gull River drainage system. A dam divides the two watersheds, as well as controlling the water levels of Balsam and Mitchell Lakes, the highest point on the Trent–Severn Waterway. Four Mile Lake is located nearby.

Demographics of Coboconk, Ontario

As Coboconk has never been an incorporated place, no census data exists for the village itself. The village of Coboconk lies half within the boundaries of former Somerville Township, and half within the former Bexley Township, and as such, the demographics of those two townships is the only data available.

Services in Coboconk, Ontario

Coboconk, as one of the larger unincorporated villages of the former Victoria County, contains most of the essential services required by the population. It has a fire hall, a public school named Ridgewood P.S., a medical centre, a post office, several churches, a mixed-use library and community centre, an LCBO, and The Beer Store. Since 2010, two fast-food franchises, Subway and Tim Hortons have opened in the village.

Attractions in Coboconk, Ontario

Balsam Lake Provincial Park and Indian Point Provincial Park are both minutes west of Coboconk. The former is a summer campground, while the latter is a natural environment conservation area. Coboconk is also home to one of the smallest jails in North America, the Coby Jail, which is now a designated heritage site and museum, named Ye Olde Jailhouse.

Coboconk, Ontario in the Media

The village was featured in the news when a resident had his winning lottery ticket stolen by the local convenience store clerk. The ensuing scandal began a series of changes within the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to improve the security of claiming prizes. Coboconk was also associated with the 2005 murder of Alicia Ross, when some of her remains were recovered following her killer's confession. Coboconk appears in Canadian fiction in the murder-mystery novel Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg, as well as in a 1926 novel.