The Georgian Bay Ship Canal
The Georgian Bay Ship Canal was a river and lake canalization scheme designed to create a commercial waterway along the route of the voyageurs. It was the dream of Canadian businessmen and entrepreneurs for centuries. Originally a trade route for Indigenous peoples, it became Canada's first Trans-Canada Highway during the fur trade, greatly contributing to the economic development of the colonies of France and later Britain. In the early years of Canadian nationhood it was viewed as the shortest route to get prairie grain to world markets.
The canal scheme was supported by no fewer than six Canadian Prime Ministers and for a century less two years was surveyed a dozen times. It was also hotly debated in the Canadian Senate and House of Commons. The scheme was supported by lobby groups in Northern and Eastern Ontario as well as the Montreal business elite. It was strongly criticized by citizen's groups in cities along the shores of the rival Welland-St. Lawrence route.
The story told is why the scheme, despite its geographical advantages, failed to see the bucket of a steam shovel. It is a story of political intrigue, Northern Ontario versus the South and the role that federal government overspending played in its demise. It was also at the center of the battle between federal and provincial governments over control of the lucrative resource of hydro-electricity.
The book contains many historic maps and photos of the route as well as modern images from this famous Canadian waterway.
Muskoka Ontario's Playground
Recreation and Sport are an integral part of Canadian culture. This is nowhere more evident than in the Muskoka District of Ontario. Beginning in the 1860s, people from more populated areas of Southern Ontario and the North Eastern United States flocked to Muskoka to enjoy nature's bounty. They came to fish, hunt, canoe, sail, swim, hike and explore. Many vacationed at one of the ever expanding selection of Muskoka resorts. Others built their own recreational retreats or cottages.
Also beginning in the 1860s, Free Land Grant recipients ventured to the area to take land and attempt to farm it. They became the permanent population base and set about developing their own recreations and sporting organizations.
This book surveys the attempts of all of Muskoka's residents and visitors to enjoy the recreational opportunities the region provided. The main focus of this local history is on how people in the past used recreation and sport to enhance their lives. In other words, what they did for exercise and fun.
The history of Ontario's premier cottage destination, Muskoka, was not commonplace or uneventful. Beginning in the 1860's, emigrants from the British Isles and Europe were lured to this desolate region with the promise of free land grants for farming. What they found were mature forests, swamp, and never ending rock.
Their heroic attempts to make a living farming on the Precambrian Shield did not come without considerable discomfort. Pioneer Muskoka documents the struggles faced by these early homesteaders and their response to hardship, isolation, disease and poverty. This is the tale of a community banding together to overcome fear with courage and determination. Readers will be astounded by the lengths these settlers went in their quest to make a home for themselves and future generations in Muskoka.
The eventual shift from farming to more profitable industries such as lumber and tourism brought a shift in attitude towards this now highly sought after locale. The first families, through their enormous efforts, were able to create this positive and enduring change.
Elgin House, Lake Joseph
Elgin House, Lake Joseph Past and Present is a history of an important and successful summer resort in the Muskoka Region of Ontario from 1885 to the present. It details the efforts of four generations of the Love family to create a world class summer resort from modest beginnings.The resort was unique in that it catered to the many well to do Canadians and Americans with strong religious beliefs including several of North America's founding families. The book revolves around a series of Love family stories and is set in the context of developments in Canadian history throughout the twentieth century.
The book contains 58 images of the resort through it's history including a number by the Muskoka photography legend Frank Mickelthwaite. It concludes with a description of the present day use of this property in the form of the luxurious Lake Joseph Club, a Thomas McBroom designed championship golf course, villas and lake front dining facility.