SoHomey Lodge and Balm Beach

Tiny Township

In 1922, Robert J. Finley, of Barrie, purchased 30 acres of waterfront property, along Balm Beach, at the bottom of Concession Rs. 10, from Xavier Moreau, a local farmer, and began building the first summer cottages, for sale and rental, in this area.

At that time, there was a small log hotel, dating from about 1900, at the corner of Concession 10 and the beach road. This was purchased from Mr. Finley by L.H. Spring, of Wyevale. Seeing the tourism potential of Balm Beach, Mr. Spring replaced the old log hotel with a new, modern inn that he opened in 1929 as the SoHomey Lodge.

On the ground floor of the Lodge, Mr. Spring also operated a general store-Spring’s Store-serving summer holiday-makers. Spring’s Store also housed the Balm Beach Post Office, where Mr. Spring served as the first postmaster.

As a Balm Beach cottage community grew around the SoHomey Lodge and Spring’s Store, Mr. Spring added a two-storey structure just to the north of the Lodge to house a larger store, Spring’s Groceteria.

Spring’s Groceteria and the SoHomey Lodge, in the mid-1940s

in 1934, the SoHomey Lodge and the Groceteria were joined by a summertime beach restaurant, the Georgian Grill, and an adjoining amusement hall, the Balm Beach Arcade, to complete the waterfront block between Balm Beach and Olive.

The Georgian Grill and Balm Beach arcade complete the block

In 1944, Spring’s Groceteria was purchased by a Mr. Collard, who operated it as “Collard’s Groceteria” throughout the forties, fifties and sixties.

All of these trailblazing Balm Beach businesses remain in operation today; the SoHomey Lodge as the Balm Beach Tavern, Collard’s Groceteria as Bingham’s Variety, and the Georgian grill-now rebuilt to enclose the arcade-as, still, the Georgian Grill.