Nick Scale, the Founder of Springhaven

Nick Scale, 1923–2010

Our community suffered a big loss with the passing of Nick on June 22, 2010, almost two years after the loss of his wife, Marg. He was in his 87th year. Nick was born in Italy in 1923 and grew up in Toronto. Prior to starting Springhaven Lodge, Nick had worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Heron Bay on Lake Superior.

Nick bought  Springhaven at the head of Nares Inlet with his business partner and brother-in-law, George LaVertue, in 1958. The next few years were spent turning the trail from the Bayfield Road into a road and then building the Lodge and cabins. 

Open for business

Springhaven opened for business in 1962 or 1963. Nick and Marg ran it until 1987 when Garry and Karen, and Dennis and Kay took over. Nick and Marg continued to live on the Lodge property in their new house until a few years ago. They then purchased a house in Parry Sound to be closer to medical care.

I first met Nick when I was in single digits, before the Lodge was opened. The Martin family had gone down to inspect the activity at the end of the inlet. Nick greeted us at the yet to be finished dock. Since that first meeting, I enjoyed the time I spent with Nick and am most grateful for his friendship and assistance over the years. For me, the cottage season didn’t really begin each year until I had had a good chat with Nick about what was going on with him, the family, the Lodge and the area. 

After he moved to Parry Sound, I visited him at the house on a number of occasions to catch up and reminisce with him about our Inlet and the Bay in general. It was so easy for an hour or more to slip by while chatting with him.

He helped islanders in so many ways

During his years running the Lodge Nick helped out the islanders in so many ways. Everyone in the Inlet probably has a story of Nick and/or Marg solving some problem or other for them at some time. He did much more for us besides providing dockage, car park and boat storage. 

Whether it was delivering messages or guests out to an island, helping erect new buildings on an island, pulling cars backed almost over the dock back onto the road, helping with boats or cars which weren’t co-operating, he always seemed happy to help out. 

But I think I’ll remember him most for the huge vegetable garden he kept on the property. Nick seemed so content while working away on his vegetables. He was keen to show you how the crop was progressing as well as other interesting tidbits such as the recently hatched fox snake eggs in the compost heap. We were so fortunate during those years to have fresh vegetables available at the Lodge through the late summer due to his efforts.

He was a township builder too

Nick’s efforts went beyond the easy and obvious. At the time of the creation of our Township, he played an important role in keeping the BNIA informed of local political matters. As well, he provided his thoughts and advice to Tony Ormsby, who headed up the effort to create our Township as President of the GBA, and others in the BNIA, regarding what he felt would be right for the area.

For many years he enjoyed building Heathkit televisions and hi-fi equipment during the off season. The hi-fi equipment was located next to his easy chair in the Lodge, the one with the marvelous view up the inlet. One fall day while chatting with him while he sat in his chair it all clicked in for me. I saw a devoted family man who had built his own business, sitting with his indoor hobby beside him, who’d soon be off to his place in Florida. Clearly, Nick enjoyed much success in both his personal and business life.

Nick, along with the rest of the Scale family, made a tremendous contribution to our Inlet. It just doesn’t seem the same to pull up to the dock and not see him leaning against the gas pump as if he were waiting for you, with a burning cigarette in hand!

by Tom Martin