Manufacturer: Wood & Sons – England
User: Bigwin Inn – Lake of Bays, Muskoka, Canada
Distributor: Cassidy's Limited
Date of platters: circa 1920s
Notes: From Wikipedia: "Bigwin Island is an island in the municipality of Lake of Bays, District Municipality of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada. It the largest island on Lake of Bays.
"There are multiple Indigenous burial grounds on the island and immediately offshore (due to flooding from industrial damming). The first property developers agreed to preserve and protect all the graves from desecration and to let Chief John Bigwin be buried here with his ancestors after he died.
"The first development on Bigwin Island was known as the Bigwin Inn, which opened in 1920. It was an exclusive summer destination for tourists from Toronto and the US eastern seaboard, and was developed by Charles Orlando Shaw, a Huntsville businessman. He founded the Bigwin Inn Company Ltd. in 1915 and hired architect John Wilson of Collingwood to design the resort. With 350 guest rooms, it was one of the biggest and most beautiful resorts in Muskoka at the time.
"Wilson employed classical, Mediterranean, dodecagon, craftsman, Tudor and Victorian design elements, placed the buildings using the natural shoreline and landscape, used natural sunlight as much as possible, and connected the buildings with covered, lit walkways. Most construction took place during the winter, as the ice made it easier to transport supplies to the island, usually by horses and sleigh. Key buildings were the Indian Head Dining Room, which could seat up to 750 guests at one time, the dance pavilion and the rotunda.
"At its height during the 1930s, many renowned musicians played at the dance pavilion. By then, the smaller marine dining room and the less elaborate Tea House were built, along with the ferry house to store the many boats that serviced Bigwin.
"From 1941 to 1945, the Dutch Royal Family summered on the island when they were exiled in Ottawa. Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family lived in private cottages. The rotunda was used to store the constitution of the Netherlands.
"C. O. Shaw died of a heart attack in 1942, and although the inn appeared highly successful while he managed it, the following years were clearly not as profitable. Ownership passed through several hands until Frank Leslie purchased the property in 1949. Leslie operated on a non-profit basis and was successful in attracting entertainers to Bigwin, it was popular as a result, but due to illness he had to sell the hotel in the 1960s. Bigwin Inn closed in 1966."
White body vitrified china with a wide teal band on the rim's outer edge. There is a matching thin teal stripe at the top of the verge. At the top of the platter, starting at the middle of the rim and spilling down into the verge is matching teal stylized line drawing of a teepee and a canoe. Near the top of the teepee, at a slight arch in block letters are the words "Bigwin Inn."
ID and photos: Paula DiRenzo
Author: Ed Phillips