By Gillian Brunette
Bondi Bay. Just the name conjures up images of golden sand and azure-blue waters. A surfers’ paradise, its beach draws thousands of tourists each year.
Closer to home, another Bondi Bay offers a far more tranquil setting. Although named for its Aussie counterpart, the only resemblance Bondi Bay in Lake of Bays can lay claim to today is its horseshoe shape.
But in May of 1905, when Joseph and Elisabeth Tapley arrived from Sydney, Australia, the two bays were very similar. Both sported sweeping sands and the surrounding areas were rural.
Joseph Tapley enjoyed an illustrious career on the comic opera stage in the late 1800s in Australia and England, but decided to become a farmer and move his family to Canada. After searching and rejecting several properties in Muskoka, Tapley came upon a farmhouse and tract of land with a bay that so resembled the beach he had left behind, he immediately bought it and named it Bondi.