Friday, July 9, 2010

We have Bunnies!

There seem to be more rabbits around Beauview than other years. While driving, I saw a deer crossing the road yesterday and Nancy had to stop on Brunel road on the edge of Huntsville, while a deer stood there looking at everyone before ambling off into the bush.
Lots of opportunities to see wildlife.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Floating the Boat at Dorset

This will be an exciting weekend in Dorset. First off, it's Heritage Day in Dorset. All day Saturday.

It's well worth going -- the Muskoka Militia will be there, complete with gunpowder and blunderbusses. There's a wildlife caller (who knows, he might bring in a moose from the underbrush?) and all sorts of interestig displays of pioneer and logging crafts. Be sure to visit the museum to see the scale model of the Gilmour Tramway -- an incredible concept. In 1893, the Gilmour Lumber Co. built the tramway to lift logs that had been driven down the rivers and lakes from Algonquin Park to Dorset across the rise of land into Raven Lake. 20' long logs were hauled a half mile uphill, over the 70' rise. From Raven Lake, through a series of dams, the logs were driven into the Black River system and on to Trenton to the mill. It took two years to put the drive over the tramway, three years to complete the run to Trenton. Built at a cost of over a million dollars in 1893, it was only used once... It has been described as a lumberman's desparate scheme, but what's a lumber baron to do when he has over a million logs floating in Lake of Bays, and needs to get them over the hill?

But the big event this year is happening just across the historic hump back bridge. The S.S. Bigwin is scheduled to be launched, after several long years of restoration and massive fund-raising efforts. Speaking of desparate schemes, this might be one... but Jeff Gabura is convinced that the S.S.Bigwin will not only float (something she was loathe to do back in her days as the tubboat and later ferry for Bigwin Island hotel) but that she will float level. (a skill never truly acquired by the original boat)
This photo is the R.M.S. Iroquois, who plied these waters until she was decommissioned at South Portage dock, where she burned to the waterline, and was sunk and filled in to become the South Portage Dock. If you stand on the end of that dock, and look down in the water to the right of the dock, you can still see her stern underwater.

There is a monster crane arriving to do the deed. Friday will be spent getting the crane into place, so that's probably worth a watch as well. Jeff's expecting 5000 people to come to the launch. Our best advice? Get there early, and stay off the bridge, which collapsed once in its early days (the horses and loaded wagon floated downstream and were safely rescued, but the bridge didn't fare so well and had to be replaced), and isn't rated for 5000 people jumping up and down in glee...

And while you're here, why not just stay for the week? It's going to a hot dry summer, according to Environment Canada. Bondi Village Resort still have vacancies in lakeside cottages, affordable and ideal for family getaways. Our friends and partners in North Muskoka also have accommodation, for the week, or for shorter term, so why not beat the heat and create great summer memories on Lake of Bays? Give us a call!