The first hunter/gatherers at the lake were aboriginal people of the Algonquin nation. They named the lake Kaijick Manitou after their chief, meaning "Cedar Spirit".
The lake was renamed Loon Lake and then Long Lake, by the white surveyors.
Native families such as Bernard, Lavallee and Baptiste were some of the first settlers. Of these, Algonquin Chief Jean Baptiste and his family are believed to be the earliest resident. Hence the village and lake were named Baptiste.
The natural beauty and relative remoteness of Baptiste Lake has been attractive to painters and poets from the first. An early artist who remains remembered is "Lura", Mrs. Erin Edwards who came from England with her husband in 1886 and settled at Mud Creek. She was admired in the district for her writings, poetry and painting.
The twentieth century saw at least three well-known Canadian painters produce works at Baptiste Lake. David Milne built a cabin on an isolated shore of Baptiste Lake. He was looking for solitude and a place to be close to the landscapes he wanted to paint. His paintings hang in Bancroft, the National Gallery of Canada and galleries all over the world.
A.J. Casson also discovered Baptiste Lake. Casson was one of the Group of Seven, Canadian landscape painters early in the twentieth centUry. Unlike the others, he didn't want to be camping out in the wilds of Algonquin Park, but preferred the relative proximity to the town of Bancroft that Baptiste afforded. Some of his paintinss which were painted at Baptiste are "The Blue Heron", "Backwater" and "Bay on Lake Baptiste". A drawing titled "Lake Baptiste" is also known. Another Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael also painted a work titled "Lake Baptiste".
Artists today continue to depict the changeless beauty of the lake, its wildlife, trees, sunsets and charms. The area abounds in talent and inspiration.
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