Kish-Kaduk Lodge, situated at Government Park, about 5.5km northwest of Brent on the shore of Cedar Lake, operated from about 1928 until 1975. It was built by a CNR section foreman, Ed Thomas. After Mr. Thomas's death, it was operated by his wife Rose together with Jack Wilkinson (her cousin). In later years, it became an outfitter's store, servicing the area with canoes and camping supplies. (This was before Algonquin Outfitters began providing outfitting services out of the Brent store. The Brent store was still run by Gerry McGaughey.)
It comprised a large main building with dining facilities and lounge, surrounded by several two-room cabins. The lodge could accommodate about 35 guests. In later years, some of the outlying cabins were converted to housekeeping units.
Diana and Bob rented a canoe from Jack Wilkinson in 1975. Bob still remembers the confusion of the long distance telephone operator in placing the call. The number was something like "4 ring 2, Government Park via North Bay". (In 1975, many (most?) long distance calls were still operator assisted). When we arrived at Brent, the canoe was waiting for us on the beach and Mr. Wilkinson arrived soon thereafter in his motor boat from Government Park. Diana remembers him as friendly, fit and healthy; someone, who had spent his entire life in the bush and it showed. We met him again upon returning from another trip later that summer. This time he was providing canoes to another party. It was late in the afternoon and white caps were running beyond the point. This other group was totally disorganized, including having packed their overflow gear in six-quart baskets. They were adamant that they had to reach Catfish Lake that evening. Mr Wilkinson tried to dissuade them from even attempting to cross Cedar Lake, but they were having none of that. Mr. Wilkinson took a paddle and pointed out the mouth of the Petawawa and the Nipissing. If they wanted to drown themselves, that was their business. The last we saw of Mr. Wilkinson was him standing on the beach at Brent, binoculars in hand, watching these yahoos buck the waves out the middle of Cedar Lake.
The lodge closed in the fall of 1975. Parts of the complex were dismantled but mostly it was allowed deteriorate naturally. However, vandalism took its toll and the remaining structures were knocked down due to safety concerns in the 1980s.
On a recent trip to the area, we stopped at the lodge site. Some of our photos are reproduced below, although it's pretty hard to make sense of the ruins without having a floor plan.
Gaye Clemson, Kish-Kaduk Lodge in Treasuring Algonquin: Sharing Scenes from 100 Years of Leaseholding.
Doug Mackey, Tourism on CNR’s Algonquin Route, Heritage Perspectives.