Heritage and History

Location and Facts

  •  Christie Lake is located approximately 15 km southwest of Perth in the Tay Valley Township (formerly townships of Bathurst, Burgess and South Sherbrooke) in the County of Lanark.  The geographic coordinates of the lake are centred on 76° 26′ 19″ W longitude and 44° 48′ 16″ N latitude (N.T.S. Map Sheet, Perth 31 C/16 edition 4).
  • Christie Lake is the third largest lake in the Tay Watershed with 1626 acres, after Otty Lake 1664 acres and Bobs Lake 7962 acres.
  • Lake elevation is 155 metres above mean sea level.
  • 31 islands on the lake (28 named, 3 unnamed).
  • Maximum depth is approximately 18.3m or 60ft.
  • The Tay Watershed is approximately 850 square kilometers in size.
  • The Tay River is approximately 95 km long.
    • The Tay River drops an average of 1.2 metres per kilometer (6.4 feet per mile).
    • There are 46 lakes in the Tay Watershed.
    • There are 6 municipalities within the Tay River Watershed.
    • There are 4 dams and 1 set of locks on the Tay River.
    • The headwaters of the Tay River are used as a reservoir for the Rideau Canal.

A Short History of Christie Lake and Surrounding Area

Why So Named – “lost to posterity”

Sometime prior to 1816, Christie Lake1 was called Myers Lake as was the Tay River named the Pike River.  The original spelling of the lake was Christy’s Lake which was subsequently changed by the Geographic Board of Canada to Christie Lake on April 10th, 1908.  Anecdotal evidence indicates that Christie Lake was so named after John Christie around 1816.  Two prominent families living on Christie Lake at that time were the Allan`s and the Christy`s – word has it that they drew straws to decide which family name would be used to identify the lake.  Another possibility taken from a Perth Courier article under the pen-name Rusticus, dated 18 July 1899 states “Mrs. Code and Miss Code with Miss Christy, Ottawa are among the late arrivals at the Christie’s Lake House.  Miss Christy must feel honoured to have such a beautiful lake as ours named after her”.  Interestingly the following statement also found in The Perth Courier; August 29, 1968, “The early history of Christies Lake is lost to posterity.  If there is a Christie who settled there and perpetrated his name in this lake, no information is obtainable”.

Archival records show a John Christy1, born in Greenock Scotland in 1791, his wife Isabella (nee Wright) and one daughter sailed on the ship Eliza with 122 people on board from Scotland approximately 3 August 1815 arriving Quebec City 22 September of that same year.  It has been assumed that they, along with 20-30 other persons headed for Lanark, wintered somewhere between Cornwall and Kingston which was the norm in those days due to distances and harsh winters.  The Christie2 family occupied Concession 2, Lot 2 in Bathurst District in 1816 according to a census at that time.  Little else is known about the Christie family save that they had 10 children: Agnes (baptized at the Perth Presbyterian church, Perth on 4 May 1817), George (died at 42 in 1862, requires confirmation), Archie, James, William (died at 22 in 1862, requires confirmation), Charlie, Mary, Victoria, Christina and John Jr.  The 1842 census of Bathurst Township recorded the following: Christie, John, Irish, Con 2 Lot 2, 1816 (meaning the year of arrival), Born There 3 (meaning number born abroad), Born Here 8 (meaning number born in Upper Canada).

The bottom line is that there remains no clear evidence to date of how Christie Lake obtained its name.

Footnotes 1 & 2:  The name Christy and Christie have been spelled as originally found when researching the data.