Norah’s Island

Norah’s Island is a 22-acre island on beautiful Kennisis Lake. Norah’s Island was donated by Bruce Carruthers to the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) to honour the memory of his late wife, Norah, in 2007. Environment Canada certified the island as ecologically sensitive, a key step in the donation process. It was donated through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.

 Norah’s Island is one of the “last vestiges of intact representative wilderness” on Kennisis Lake, one of Haliburton County’s major cottage lakes, and lies about 1,000 feet from the nearest mainland point.  Picnickers have used the south shore of the island for years as a dense undergrowth of ground hemlock discourages visitors to the interior. A low wet area in the interior has several rare species of orchids, including the round-leafed orchid. Other plant species include bearberry, clubmoss, goldthread, honeysuckle, bracken fern, lady fern, lichens, painted trillium, pale corydalis, pipsissewa, red-berried elder, saskatoon berry, starflower and wintergreen.

Norah's Island
History

Norah and Bruce Carruthers used to visit the lake to see their friends, the Kerr Family. In the 1970s they were visiting when they found out that a large island across from the Kerr cottage was for sale. They bought it planning to perhaps build on it one day, but content to leave it be until they made up their minds. In the meantime, Norah inherited her family cottage on Georgian Bay and it was at that lakeside retreat that the Carruthers family would gather. Apart from their visits to their friends at Kennisis Lake, they seldom saw their island.  The Carruthers’ owned the island for 32 years before Bruce donated the island in 2007 to the Land Trust.

Donation

Norah’s Island was donated by Bruce Carruthers to the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust to honour the memory of his late wife, Norah in 2007. Environment Canada certified the island as ecologically sensitive, a key step in the donation process. The Ontario Land Trust Assistance Program (OLTAP), an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources initiative to conserve Ontario’s biodiversity, assisted the Land Trust with the land acquisition expenses associated with the donation of the island.

Management

The Norah’s Island Management Committee (NIMC) was formed through a partnership with the Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners’ Association (KLCOA) and the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust.

The committee consists of representatives from both entities and together they oversee the management and protection of Norah’s Island. A group of dedicated volunteers keep watch over Norah’s Island throughout the year.

An original commemorative plaque, created by Leo Sepa, has been installed on Norah’s South Shore.  It recognizes the Carruthers donation and the many generous donors to the Norah’s Island Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund will provide the HHLT with the financial resources necessary to maintain and protect Norah’s Island in perpetuity.

Significant Milestones

In the summer of 2017, the 10-year celebration of the donation of Norah’s Island took place.  It was a fun-filled day of boat tours, visiting with friends and a dedication ceremony. This gave many people a chance to get out to see the beautiful Norah’s Island.