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georgian explorerThe Georgian Bay Explorer - Black's Beach

Who would ever believe a sandy beach in the middle of Proton Township. But there was one once.

ln 1930,Wilfred Black and his son, Robert, began excavating and building a dam on a creek that ran through their farm in the Swinton Park district of the Township.

Robert Black remembers the event. ln later life, he recalled, "Farming was always secondary for Dad. He was somewhat of a maverick and had a dream of creating a recreational area on the farm for the community." The Blacks, father and son, built a dam across the creek and faced it with 300 wagon loads of stone. For over two summers, they worked on the dam until it was 40 rods long and eight feet high. Their reward for such arduous work was a lake. During the next few winters, loads of sand were driven out onto the lake's ice and spread. When the ice melted in the spring, a good sandy beach was left behind. lt became known as Black's Beach. Robert Black remembers, "People would come in the summers for picnics, swimming and dances in the pavilion at night. A booth was built and we sold ice cream for a nickel and hot dogs were a dime." The Black's ice cream was homemade in an ice cream maker that would make about two and a half gallons at a time. A good summer's picnic required about 15 gallons so the Blacks and their neighbours took turns turning the ice cream maker. Throughout the Dirty Thirties, picnics and family reunions were held at Black's Beach. There were sports programmes, boat races, ball games, and, in the winter, a sheltered portion of the lake was an ideal spot for a game of shinny. Then the Second World War began and crowds dwindled at Black's Beach. Soon, with no help available, Black's Beach in Proton Township closed forever.