Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — Police say they recovered a body this afternoon in relation to a missing canoeist investigation last Thursday on Sparrow Lake.

They say officers with the assistance of the Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (USRU) and OPP Aviation Services located the body Sunday, Aug. 1, at 12:30 p.m.

Positive identification cannot be made until a post mortem examination is completed, they say.

If it is the missing person, it would be the ninth water fatality in Muskoka since June 27.

Police say the USRU and Central Region SAVE team have suspended their search of the area until the identification of the body has been made.

The discovery comes after police divers began searching July 29 for a canoeist on Sparrow Lake who went missing early that morning.

The seasonal resident’s canoe was found on the lake later in the day.

Police had asked the public if they had seen Ian Walker, 56, of Toronto, who was with his family at their cottage on Wiancko Road in Gravenhurst and set out in a canoe on Sparrow Lake.

Police say his canoe was located some distance away in Sparrow Lake close to Riverview Drive in Severn Bridge with no sign of him.

He was described as 5-foot-6 with short salt and pepper hair and brown eyes.

OPP Marine units began a search of the waters Thursday and have resumed the search over the weekend.

Ian Walker set out paddling early July 29 and his canoe was found later in the day on Sparrow Lake without him in it. Police say OPP divers this afternoon found an unidentified person in relation to the missing person investigation.


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