Swords, located in Parry Sound District, began as a small railway siding on the Canada Atlantic Railway (later CN) to serve the surrounding lumber industry. Originally known as Maple Lake Station, a small settlement took form with the opening of the Long Lake Lumber Company around 1894.
The settlement began with a small company store, followed by a post office in 1897. They added a school in 1904. The community also included a boarding house and a number of cabins for the mill workers.
Swords began to blossom at the beginning of the 20th century, with the opening of the popular Maple Lake Hotel. The hotel, opened by John Sword, quickly became a favourite stopping point for American tourists heading north to the great “Canadian Wilderness.” The Sword family also took over the general store, which grew to become a popular community hangout.
Swords fell into a deep decline after the lumber mill closed and the tourist trains stopped coming. The store and businesses closed by the mid-60s.
Today Swords still contains a number of relics from its early years. These include the schoolhouse, now used as a community centre, the store, and the boarding house. The remainder of the area has reverted to farming. Learn more