Skip to content

Photos offer a bridge to the past of The Narrows and Orchard Point

Take a trip down Memory Lane and get a sense of the history of our region

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.

The Narrows and Orchard Point Postcard, circa 1940, shows an aerial view of the C.N.R. swing bridge during a period when trains were still very active in Orillia. This railway bridge has a long history dating back to 1873 and was used by the Midland Railway and the Grand Trunk Railway. The G.T.R was assimilated by the C.N.R. in the early 1920s.  

The Highway 12 Bridge shown was built in 1925 and was the fourth and last swing bridge built for vehicles over The Narrows.The first bridge was built in 1844. Wooden swing bridges did not last and it was replaced twice before the first iron bridge was built in 1888.

The first building past the road bridge on the left side of Orchard Point is the Jake Gaudaur Boat House. The second building is the Mansell A. Harris Boat Livery. 

The second view is a photo taken in the late 1950s showing the development along the west side of The Narrows. Between the Road Bridge and the C.N.R. Railway Bridge is the Reg. Gaudaur Marina and Gas built in 1948. 

North of the C.N.R. bridge is the Elm Court Marina and Cottages built and owned by Aubrey Gaudaur. A close-up view of the east channel into Couchiching across from Elm Court shows a double row of poles blocking the channel. These are not fishing weirs. Several years after the main channel was dredged in 1925 these poles were driven into the opening to prevent any large vessels from entering the shallow channel. Smaller boats and canoes could still navigate between the poles to enjoy the peaceful wetlands located there.