Lake Savant History

Origin of the Name “Canada”

In 1535, two Indian youths told Jacques Cartier about the route to “Kanata.” They were referring to the village of Stadacona; “Kanata” was the Huron-Iroquois word for “village” or “settlement.” For want of another name, Cartier used “Canada” to refer not only to Stadacona (the site of present day Quebec City), but also to the entire area subject to its chief Donnacona. The name was soon applied to a much larger area: maps in 1547 designated everything north of the St. Lawrence River as “Canada.” The first use of “Canada” as an official name came in 1791.

The CN Savant Lake railroad station was built in 1913.

Originally, the town was named Bucke, after a civil engineer in charge of building the railroad. In 1928, the name was changed because there was already a town in Ontario named Bucke. The new town name Savant Lake, was taken from a lake north of town called Lake Savant. The St. Anthony Goldmine situated south of town opened in 1905 and finally closed in 1941. Gold was found on Lake Savant as early as 1901. This resulted in several gold rushes until the 1940s.

The main mode of travel to Savant Lake was dog teams until Highway 599 was completed in 1959. Hydro (electricity) wasn’t brought in until 1973.

Wildewood began its existence in the 1960s when the purchase of property was still possible. The clearing of the portage and land was a slow process until its completion in the mid ’70s. Once government requirements were met, a patent (deed) was issued. A church first financed the resort. Services were held in the chapel, which is now cabin five. Guests were transported to the camp by timber jack and wagon train for many years until float-equipped aircraft became the mode of transportation. The portage (trail) is still used today as a snowmobile trail and to haul fuel and other supplies. In 1980, Richard Kungle arrived from Akron, Ohio and purchased the property. He began adding new buildings, updating the facilities, and purchasing new equipment, which is still ongoing today. On January 1, 2008, Matt & Kim Neufeld purchased the resort with the intent to keep the Wildewood legacy alive.

Savant Lake recorded history dates back to the mid 1800s. Lake Savant and the Savant River were key canoe, and in later years, sleigh train routes for hauling furs to the Hudson Bay Trading Post on the James Bay and returning with supplies. As time passed, the Hudson Bay Company established trading posts along the route including one located on the northwest shores of Lake Savant. Remnants of the old trapper cabins are found along its shores. Evidences of portages around rapids and unsafe areas can be seen by air. The lure of the silver and gold rush days still brings prospectors to the region. High gold values exist in and around Lake Savant, but low volumes prohibit mining activity today.