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REMEMBER THIS: Slightly Spooky Stories — Mardon Lodge, Part Two

Exactly what has led to the mysterious happenings at Mardon Lodge remains a mystery

Donald and Margaret Hogarth created the most wonderful summer home for themselves on a waterfront spot to the north of Big Bay Point Road. Mardon Lodge, a blending of the couple’s given names, was constructed in 1930. Allandale Golf Course, once the Hogarth’s private course, was built six years later.

In the summer of 1937, more than 250 people took advantage of the chance to have a look around the beautiful estate. The price of admission included a tea party, swimming, fishing and golf on the private links all in aid of the Canadian Institute for the Blind.

A reporter in attendance from the Barrie Examiner reported on the grounds surrounding the “attractive brown log lodge.” Donald Hogarth had himself designed a rock garden retreat, known as the Grotto, as well as the wishing well built over a natural spring. Waterfalls, pools and two fish ponds had also been built.

“The estate was a treat to see with its beautiful rose garden. Flower plots, pools and lawns. In every case, as much as possible of the natural beauty was kept.”

Donald Hogarth died in 1950 and the lodge then passed through several hands before coming into the possession of Georgian College. It was converted into the Kempenfelt Conference Centre and a great deal of changes came with that. Buildings rose, others were torn down and some were insulated for year-round use.

But there’s something else interesting about this place. Not wanting to lose their jobs, a number of former employees have anonymously shared stories of unusual happenings at Kempenfelt Conference Centre.

“I used to work for the Kempenfelt Conference Centre in Innisfil, Ont. Located right on the water, there is a building there called the Mardon Lodge. There have been many reports of ghosts appearing there over the years. These reports were all made by people staying there for business conferences, people who have never met each other. The Lodge used to be owned by Donald Hogarth, whose wife drew up the blueprint plans for the building. It's really quite beautiful, but there is something overly spooky about it.

"One man who was sleeping in one of the rooms woke in the middle of the night and felt someone sitting on the end of his bed, although he could see no one. He immediately called the front desk and asked to be put in another room right away as he was scared and could not spend another moment in that room. It got so bad that at one point, the general manager of the conference centre called in a psychic to see if they couldn't clear the spirits out.”

It's difficult to say what might be behind these mysterious happenings. Are they connected to people who lived on the property before the existence of Mardon Lodge, is it the Horgaths still trying to assure that their guests are comfortable, or is it a case of former guests who didn’t want to leave?

Each week, the Barrie Historical Archive provides BarrieToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past. This unique column features photos and stories from years gone by and is sure to appeal to the historian in each of us.

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Mary Harris

About the Author: Mary Harris

Mary Harris is the Director of History and Research at the Barrie Historical Archive. The Barrie Historical Archive is a free, online archive that centralizes Barrie's historical content.
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