White Otter Castle
Outside our Motel in Atikokan –the White Otter Inn–where we spent the first night on our trip to Ottawa we saw a display of an extravagant castle in the forest. This is a photograph of it I found on the Internet. We learned that the motel was named after that castle–the White Otter Castle. The castle deep in the north woods of northwest Ontario that can only be reached by boat or plane is an amazing 3-storey log house built by James Alexander “Jimmy” McOuat on the shores of White Otter Lake. Like any self-respecting castle it has a turret extends 41 ft. above the 3 storeys. McQuat built the castle by himself starting in 1905 and finished it in 1915. Clearly he was another man with passion. He felled the red pines all by himself in order to complete construction. If you are not familiar with red pines they are Manitoba’s and Ontario’s version of the California Redwoods. McQuat’s grave is beside the castle. The castle was falling into disrepair though recently restored.
According to a brochure in our Inn the castle is “a symbol of man’s triumph over nature.” I am not so sure. Although it has been restored, I think it is a symbol of nature’s triumph over man. As the saying goes, nature always bats last. We’ll have to see who is right.