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Orchard Point Inn featured bowling alleys, dance hall and much more

According to a 1912 newspaper account, one of the first attempts at water skiing in the area occurred during the popular annual regatta at The Narrows
211 Regatta Atherley
Many sailing and boating events were organized for guests of the Orchard Point Inn including this annual regatta in 1912 held at The Narrows to mark Orillia's CIvic Holiday.

Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by Marcel Rousseau.

Some were previously published by the Orillia Museum of Art and History and in the book Postcard Memories Orillia.

Built in 1880 as a summer hotel, the Orchard Point Inn was converted to a private hospital eight years later. 

The hospital, with its 25 ward beds and 22 private rooms, was not very successful and closed in 1895. Several years later, a syndicate led by R. O. Smith, a downtown Orillia businessman, converted the property back to a fine summer hotel. 

By 1907 improvements included 70 guest rooms, an 80-foot wharf, bowling alleys and a dance hall above a large boathouse.  

Under the management of N. S. Starr, many sailing and boating events were organized for the guests. In 1912, the annual regatta was held at The Narrows during Orillia’s Civic Holiday. Events included canoe races, swimming races and tilting contests. 

The Aug. 81912 Times reports “with great skill and daring Mr. Leslie Harling gave a well executed exhibition of water planing or gliding over the water on a board tied to a fast moving motor boat.” 

Mrs. Shavers' launch, Betty, was used for the demonstration, possibly one of the first attempts at water skiing in the area. The Shavers, from Toronto, were regular guests at the inn. The Betty was built by the Ross Boat Co. and stored at Orillia’s waterfront every winter. 

The day ended with an evening boat display with Miss Elizabeth Coulthard winning first prize for the best decorated canoe.