The Last Blacksmith at Stokes Bay

     Henry Wardrope was the last blacksmith to do business in Stokes Bay. Prior to 1922, he built the house between the bridges, now owned by Thelma (Smith) Slumskie and her husband.

     The blacksmith shop was a small building to the right of the house. Trade was brisk here for some time as farmers and bushworkers brought their teams to be shod, sleighs and wagons to be fixed and the many other jobs that falls to a busy “smith.” In 1922 Wardrope gave up the business, and sold the house to Jack Smith.

     Later Wardrope went into the sawmill business having a mill between Stokes Bay and Spry. Later this mill was owned by Glen Bowdin.

     Mrs. Wardrope (Eva McKinnon), was a frail looking, but cheerful person always ready with a mild joke or story. She kept a diary about the family, and the everyday life about the village, but none of the family was allowed to see it. She kept it locked away, and I often wondered what happened to it.

     We remember a birthday party she gave for one of the family, and most of the school kids were invited. The big feature of the party was a “fortune telling bowl.” She wrote out different fortunes and attached them to sticks, which were then pushed down in a big pan of sawdust. Fortunes were handed out to the older boys and girls. Juniors, such a Mabel Burley, Helen, Eloise Doran and myself were told we were too young for fortunes. We were raelly miffed at the thought “too young”... The Wardrope home was really missed when they moved.

Pages 78 - 79 of Old Timers’ Tales
A History of Stokes Bay and Area
(Bruce Peninsula)
By Helene Scott