Although the former Artemesia Township was surveyed in 1849 by Charles Rankin, the area now known as Eugenia was not discovered until 1852. An early settler known as Brownlee was foraging for his winter larder and came upon the mesmerising waterfalls. After telling his neighbour about the beauty he had discovered, they went to explore the area further. Upon viewing the glistening water in the gorge below the falls, the two men saw what looked like gold! After swearing each other to secrecy the friends instantly became miners and started panning for gold.
The solitude the two experienced did not last long as word travelled quickly about the wondrous falls Brownlee had found. Soon, hundreds of men came to steak their claim of gold. As weeks went on, someone decided to find out how much the gold was actually worth. After returning from Toronto the results were in. Iron Pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, had everyone wasting their precious time.
Although most miners left, some stayed and settled the village we now know as Eugenia. In its early days, Eugenia had several mills, a few general stores, a carriage factory, a blacksmith, a shoemaker, as well as a couple carpenters. Two churches served area residents, along with one schoolhouse. The artificially made Lake Eugenia was created in 1915. The Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario moved the power plant that was formerly owned by the Georgian Bay Power Company. The newly flooded the area gave the Commission more control over water levels and, subsequently; more power generation. In the 1950’s Lake Eugenia began to attract cottagers, which resulted in old cabins that were transformed into getaway cottages.
And as they say, the rest is history!