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The first hunter/gatherers at the lake were aboriginal people of the Algonquin nation. They named the lake Kaijick Manitou after their chief, meaning "Cedar Spirit".

The lake was renamed Loon Lake and then Long Lake, by the white surveyors.

Native families such as Bernard, Lavallee and Baptiste were some of the first settlers. Of these, Algonquin Chief Jean Baptiste and his family are believed to be the earliest resident. Hence the village and lake were named Baptiste.

Read more historical information by clicking on the topic of your choice below:

Birch Cliff History,    Early Settlers,    Bancroft Railway,    Dams on the Lake,    Logging Operations

Artists on The lake,    Old L'Amable,    Rangers Lodge,    Paddy Cox Story ,    Baptiste Memories

Early Exploration and Settlement

Baptiste Lake is located in the granite highlands south of Algonquin Provincial Park. The largest lake in Hastings County, it is 350 m above sea level, with an area of 2,126 hectares and a maximum depth of 31 m. While we have no way to know who first saw the lake, some believe that the Hudsons Bay Company had a fort at Baptiste Lake in the eighteenth century.

We do know that Aboriginal people of the Algonquin nation lived here. The area was rich in wildlife and fish. There was a route followed by the Algonquin people from the Lindsay area, through Paudash Lake and Lake Baptiste to winter grounds, where they would come to grind corn and make winter camp until the ice broke, and they could once more navigate the waters with canoes.

Lake Baptiste was first known as Kaijick Manitou by the Aboriginals, named after a chief and meaning "Cedar Spirit". Some of the first known native families living here were named Bernards, LaVallees and Baptistes. Descendents of these families still inhabit the area. Of these, Algonquin Chief Jean Baptiste and his family are believed to be the earliest permanent resident. Hence, the village and lake were named Baptiste. He resided at the Narrows on Lot 20, Concession V.

White trappers roamed the area in search of pelts. Early explorers include Lieutenant Walpole in 1827, sent to map a canoe route from Lake Simcoe through Lake Baptiste, the York and the Madawaska Rivers. He was followed by the well-known explorer of the Canadian West, David Thompson in 1835.