Back in November of 1961, 13 year old Raymond Ricketts received a letter from the Department of Lands and Forest of Ontario. This letter was in reply to a letter young Raymond had sent to them to enquire about Sandbanks Provincial Park.Sandbanks Park is a jewel in the crown of provincial parks in Ontario. On the shores of Lake Ontario, the park boasts clean, cold water, sandy beaches and sand dunes the size of a small town. And that was Raymond’s question.
It had been rumoured that the dunes had buried an entire town or village. Was this true and if so, what was the cause?
Recently, little Raymond, now a grandfather a couple of times over, revealed the existence of the response letter to this reporter. Although we do not have the original letter sent by Raymond, we do know that he asked if a tidal wave had hit the area and what was buried, if anything, under the dunes.
In their reply, Land and Forests told of a 19th century rural community that was destroyed by the short-sightedness of a group of farmers looking for more land. They proceeded to cut down trees which left the area open to erosion. Over time the road, a hotel, brick factory and a number of houses were buried by the moving sand. In 1911, the farmers planted some trees to halt the erosion by it was too little too late.
In 1921 the Provincial Government stepped in and, following a massive reforestation effort, stabilized the area.
Today, Sandbanks Provincial Park attracts thousands of visitors every year