The Ruins of Kionontio and the Lake of the Clouds

In the mid 1800’s, an enchanting love story between Britton Bath Osler and his wife Caroline began on County road 19 in Grey County, beside Osler Bluffs. Britton was a famous Canadian criminal lawyer, and also the crown attorney at the trial of Louis Riel on the charges of treason in 1885. He founded the law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto. When his wife, Caroline, began to suffer with her chronic arthritis, Osler decided in 1893, to build the 15-room Osler ‘Castle’ near the Town of Blue Mountain. Mr. Osler hoped that the ‘fresh air’ would improve her health. Before he was finished, several hundreds of thousand dollars had been invested. The “cottage” that emerged from the construction had 15 rooms within a stone shell of huge granite hard heads that had been gathered from the surrounding hills. It was a fanciful structure of massive cut rock with turret-like chimneys, an arched entryway, and large bright windows. It was built to last an eternity. Caroline named it “Kionontio”, a First Nation’s name meaning “Top of the Hill” Tragically, Caroline died before ever being able to summer at Osler Castle. She died on May 3, 1895. After Caroline’s death, Britton visited the home for 5 years before his own health deteriorated. The furnishings were stolen and the home vandalized and eventually was set on fire. Of course, urban legends began to sprout up with notions that the castle was haunted and that strange lights could be seen and horrible noises heard. Today, all that’s left of the castle are ruins, which keeps watch over the Lake in the Clouds and is lined by the Silver Creek flowing down the Escarpment. Signing off, “Hiking with the Viking”

Published by Annette Sandberg

I grew up on the Niagara Escarpment in Grey County and this ancient land was, and still is, my backyard playground. I am a Certified Hike Leader with Hike Ontario and I lead hikes for various Ontario Trail Clubs, Sightseeing Tour Agencies and individual groups of family & friends who want to experience nature safely and informatively with an experienced Guide.

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