History of Ara Lake Camp
Welcome to an Ara Lake Camp future that’s anchored in a glorious past! Steeped in the history of Canada’s Far North, the history of Ara Lake Camp can be traced to Colonel Edward Deeds. After purchasing five acres of virgin Canadian wilderness in 1906, Deeds, the wealthy and creative catalyst who spearheaded the early growth of Dayton Ohio’s National Cash Register and Delco corporations, set about establishing a retreat far from the reaches of everyday stresses. Although initially challenging, Deeds’ engineering abilities served the remote camp well as he and his mates constructed a large log structure (approximately 30’ x 60’) to serve as general quarters for visiting groups. Constructed from logs culled from the surrounding bush area, the building would stand for nearly 50 years before succumbing to the pressures of heavy winter snow and suffering a collapsed roof. However, as the next owners would discover, Colonel Deeds built things to last. Thus, some of the materials utilized in the original structures constructed by Deeds would be salvaged and used to compliment the next generation of buildings at Ara Lake Camp.
In 1963, a young Canadian couple hailing from Auden, Ontario purchased the camp from Colonel Deeds. Initially, Dick and Shirley Fayle learned of the property’s availability from a friend who served as caretaker of Deeds’ companion camp on Marshall Lake. The Fayle’s interest in the Ara Lake acreage soon led to an offer to purchase being made by them and the subsequent acceptance by Deeds. Although Dick’s dad Wilfred “Slim” Fayle, an employee of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, did have some knowledge of Ara Lake and the area, it’s interesting to note Dick and Shirley acquired the property sight unseen! Hence, with all the exuberance and excitement of a young adventurous couple, the Falyes set out by canoe to explore their wilderness retreat. Along with Dick’s brother Jim, the three Fayles navigated a circuitous route over the bush trails created by the Abitibi Paper Company and Pulp Mill until road travel ended. It was at that point that the group took to their canoe and made haste for Marshall Lake where they spent the night before paddling to Meta Lake through a series of side cuts, portages and marshes. Shortly thereafter, Dick, Shirley, and Jim breached Ara Lake through the Ara / Meta Channel, and approached the beach of their “diamond in the rough”.
A Norwegian and his native companion welcomed the Fayles to their camp as they had been flown into the area and were busy constructing the first cabin on the site. Upon seeing the property, the three Fayles were heartened! With the exception of the stands of poplar trees being slightly smaller than they anticipated (Deeds need for construction materials took the first generation of trees), the property was exactly as they had imagined and Ara Lake Camp, Ltd. was created. After a quick one day investigation of the territory (and due to the fact that both Dick and Jim were expected at work), the Fayles headed back to civilization traveling in some less than favorable weather. In fact, Shirley notes that the Fayle’s first trek into and out of Ara Lake was in a constant rain whereby the only time it stopped was when they were in camp.
For the next 54 years, Dick and Shirley Fayle provided thousands of satisfied fishermen, hunters, and vacationers with incredible wilderness trips featuring world-class fishing and hunting. The ultimate testimony of their success is the dedicated customers who return year after year to experience their warmth, hospitality and service. Through the years, cabins have been replaced, docks have been moved, and a new lodge has replaced the old one. But one thing has not changed. For over half a century, the Fayles have remained steadfast stewards of the Ara Lake environment by consistently offering customers a glimpse of the true Canadian North via their accommodating and generous hospitality.
It’s in the same spirit of hospitality engendered by the Fayles that the Smith family now undertakes the management of Ara Lake Camp. As the camp’s owners, our family would like to extend a warm Northern welcome to you by this introduction. For over 50 years, our dear friends Dick and Shirley Fayle provided wilderness experiences filled with memories of great fishing, hunting, friendship, and comradery, and the Smith family is dedicated to ensuring that the Fayles continue to be honored by providing the same type of experiences for your group.
Over the last 42 years, our family has enjoyed the wonderful hospitality and friendship of the Dick and Shirley along with the incredible fishing and hunting found at Ara Lake Camp. We have been privileged to make many good friends from the US and Canada along the way.
Accompanied by my dad, Page (Buck), I first flew into Ara Lake Camp to fish with Dick and Shiryl when I was seven years old. Since that time, my family and me have been privileged to be guests of the Fayles for many years at both Ara Lake and their outpost camps. In fact, 2017 marked the 4th generation of Smith’s to fish Ara as my two boys, Paul and John accompanied me on a July trip into camp.
Recently, through some very friendly negotiations, the transition of Dick and Shiryl’s business to our family occurred with my purchase of Ara Lake Camp in July 2016. Thus, my dad and I fulfilled life-long dreams of continuing the legacy that the Fayles established over the last half century.
Although I’m very excited about operating Ara Lake Camp, serving our guests, and implementing our future plans, we were all saddened by Dick’s passing on January 26, 2016. His absence in our lives is overwhelming at times, and we dedicate our efforts to his memory and the continuing enjoyment of Shirley’s presence as a trusted friend and advisor.
As the Smith’s take the reigns and continue where Dick and Shiryl left off, please know you can expect the same high level of service at Ara as in the past. It’s our opinion that we owe both our clients and the Fayle family nothing less. Our great camp attendant and friend Brad is with us, improvements are under way and your party can anticipate more of the conveniences of home during your stay.
Once again, our family would like to thank you for considering Ara Lake Camp as your destination for a tremendous wilderness fishing experience! Your friendship and business has been very much appreciated and as members of the Ara Lake family, we believe all of us look forward to adding to the rich history started by Colonel Deeds and enhanced by Dick and Shirley Fayle. As we continue to provide all of you with our best wilderness fishing and hunting experiences, my pledge to you is that we will always stand by the reputation of Ara Lake Camp but never rest upon it!
My Very Best Wishes,