Waba Cottage Museum

The museum is full of memories from the past. Local families have been so generous in donating artifacts. We are very proud of our community volunteer force that helped, and continue to help maintain our Museum and Gardens showing ever-continuing support of our heritage. The buildings contain everything from Sunday's best china to farm harvesting equipment.

In 1975 a local resident of White Lake unearthed bones that were later determined to be from 11,500 years ago, belonging to a mature Bowhead whale, an arctic sea mammal. The original bones are at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Ottawa, replicas of the bones are on display in the Waba Cottage Museum.

The Gardens at Waba Cottage Museum
In 1999 the McNab/Braeside Millennium Committee was formed to create a special garden at the Waba Cottage Museum site to mark the beginning of the millennium.

A Canada Millennium grant was matched by the Township of McNab/Braeside, and the community rallied with donations of plants, labour, material and money to complete seven gardens in the year 2000. Since then, four more gardens have been added and many changes have been made in the gardens in an effort to strike a balance between beauty and ease of maintenance. All eleven themed gardens have a wonderful south and west exposure that is perfect for growing all types of plants. The view of the lake in the background adds a marvelous backdrop of shimmering blue to the spectacular colours on this sunny 8 acre site.

Garden Committee members are responsible for the appearance and ongoing maintenance of the gardens along with a group of 25 volunteers and one summer student. As in a home garden the tasks are many and varied - from purchasing the annuals, to dealing with pests and irrigation issues. Volunteers are brought in for spring and fall cleanups, plant sales and to spruce up the gardens for weddings and special events. New volunteers are always welcome! The biennial plant sale is always held on the Saturday of the May long weekend.

With additional funding, the Waba Cottage Museum and Gardens Committee would like to establish a stone walk in front of the Museum, introduce interlocking brick on all walkways (beginning with the Garden of the Senses), lay a flagstone walkway around the Museum, erect another log display building, install gates to hide garden debris and restore and erect an historic windmill.

Garden Views

Heritage Buildings
The present building is a faithful reconstruction of the house built in 1835 by the founder of McNab Township, the controversial and colourful Archibald 13th Laird of McNab (c.1781-1860).

In 1978 this log school house (McNab School Section No. 15, built in 1878) was moved from German Settlement (now called Clay Valley), an area settled primarily by German immigrants in the 1860's and 1870's. A plaque commemorates broadcaster Frank Ryan (born 1901) who attended this school.

"The Temple". This log structure is dating back to 1868 and was moved to the Waba Cottage Museum and Gardens in 1978. It was originally built in White Lake village as a "Penny Reading House".

The early history of McNab Township (Renfrew County, Ontario) is closely linked with Archibald 13th Laird of McNab. The Laird was born about 1781 at Bouvain, Glen Dochart, Scotland. In 1816, when his illustrious Uncle Francis, 12th Laird of McNab died without legitimate heir, Archibald inherited the title of Chief along with insurmountable debts upon the family estate. In 1822 Archibald fled from his creditors and came to Canada, where other members of the Clan McNab had already settled (Sir Allan Napier McNab, Prime Minister of Canada from 1854 to 1856, was his first cousin.)

Soon after his arrival in Upper Canada, the government appointed Archibald administrator of a township. He promised to settle it with Highland clansmen, hoping the scheme would enable him to return to Scotland to regain his possessions. His first Scottish settlers arrived in 1825. Archibald ruled with an iron fist. It took 18 years of "peaceful resistance", petitions, court battles, and legal maneuvers to oust the only "Feudal Lord" English Canada has ever seen.

In 1835, Archibald had a small stone house erected on the shore of White Lake. Here he lived for a number of years with his common-law wife Catherine Fisher, their son Allan, and their daughter Kitty. The Laird returned to Britain in 1852; Catherine remained in the house until her death in the 1870's.

Later the house became the property of Mrs. Violet Box. It had fallen to disrepair, and efforts were made to have the historic building restored. However on April 12, 1936 the owners demolished it with a few sticks of dynamite. In 1967 the Box family donated the ruins and 8 acres of surrounding lakefront property to the Township of McNab. The McNab Centennial Committee under leadership of Mrs. Verna Campbell built a replica of Archibald's house, using some of the original stone. The hearthstone from one of the two old fireplaces became the threshold. Archibald Corry McNab who had then assumed the Chiefship of the Clan laid the cornerstone of the new building in 1967. The rebuilt Waba Cottage opened to the public as a museum on June 26, 1968.

Tours, picnics, weddings, family reunions, school outings and other special events can be arranged. Waba Cottage Museum and Gardens is situated on an 8-acre park. Picnic tables, a boat launch dock and modern sanitary facilities. Easy access for the disabled. Several books are available for sale at the Museum.

Waba Cottage Museum and Gardens
White Lake, Ontario 
Renfrew County

To arrange a group tour or to make a donation:
613-623-8853 - Museum

To book an event:
andrea@mcnabbraeside.com or 613-623-5756 ext. 226

For garden information or to volunteer:
613-623-8853 - Museum

Location: 24 Museum Road, White Lake, Ontario K0A 3L0
Directions from Hwy 17 (Arnprior)
- Take the White Lake Road (County Rd. 2) for 12 km to the White Lake Village
- Turn right at the four way stop (White Lake General Store and Church)
- Continue 1.5km and the Museum is on your left.

Hours Of Operation:
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Mondays (including stats) 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. From Victoria Day Weekend - Thanksgiving Weekend

In-Person Purchase



Municipal Office

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Waba Cottage Museum & Gardens

24 Museum Rd. White Lake ON

Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon 10 am - 4 pm Victoria Day Weekend through Thanksgiving Weekend

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Waba Cottage Museum & Gardens Boat Launch

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