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Summerland General Store History

Summerland General Store - Riley Lake

Information from “History of Ryde Township” booklet.

Summerland Dance Hall

In his book, I Policed Toronto (1985), James Mackey reveals that he and his wife Anne and another couple, Art and Etta Coulter purchased nine acres of land at the intersection of what is now Housey’s Rapids Road and Riley Lake Road with the intention of building a dance hall and cabins. Summerland Dance Hall opened early in the summer of 1948. An old time fiddle band was hired (Amos Kett, Carl MacIntosh and others), with piano, banjo, and guitar. Archie Fitchett was the caller, and Henry Jones the bouncer. The dances were an instant success. Even today for many people beyond Ryde, the words ‘Housey’s Rapids’ mean ‘Summerland Dance Hall’.

Ownership changed several times but dances continued until 1972. By that time, records had largely replaced the live music.

Subsequent owners of the property have been real estate agent Ray Moore, Don Scott and a partner who established a store, Dianne and Bob Bradley and Gord and Shelley Haugh. Betty Lou Everett then owned with the Haughs. Carrie Marriott and Ron Post are the current owners of the popular store and restaurant.

Currently the Summerland General Store is run by a local Gravenhurst family, husband & wife team, Andrew and Gen, alongside their 3 kids!

For more information on Ryde Township and Riley Lake be sure to pick up a copy of the History of Ryde Township at the Summerland General Store.

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Riley Lake Community – Gravenhurst, Muskoka Facebook Group

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