|Thursday, September 3, 1874||The Daily Globe (Toronto)||Page 2, col. 4|
A trip through Muskoka.
(To the Editor of The Globe)
Sir,—A few days ago I travelled over the Northern Railway and the beautiful lakes leading to the Free Grant Districts, and found the trip a most enjoyable one, both as to the varied scenery of land and water, and the fresh and health-producing atmosphere of these higher altitudes. My purpose, however, is not to speak of the enjoyable and beautiful in these regions of lakes, rivers, and forest, but of what I saw of a more practical character.
After spending a little over two days on Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau, and Joseph, and some of the rivers and channels connected therewith, on the trim and comfortable steamers Nipissing and Wenonah, and at the various stopping places of which I met with large numbers of our frontier citizens engaged in fishing, shooting, boating, and other modes of enjoyment, I engaged in a conveyance at Rosseau and started for the interior by the Colonization Road leading to Lake Nipissing. My experience of some portions of this is that it is a pretty "hard road to travel;" but, after all, how can we expect it to be otherwise, at the first opening of a new country?
The 14 miles of road from Washago to Gravenhurst, through about as rough a piece of country as is anywhere to be found, was, some even years ago, a by far worse piece road; but under the superintendence of the Ontario Public Works Department, it is now as good as the most of the main roads of the country; and the Colonization Branch of the Crown Lands Department is now at work improving the Nipissing, four and half miles of which are already completed, and in excellent condition. Travelling on from Rosseau to the Ryerson Junction, near the Spence post office, some rocky ground is passed over; but there is also a good proportion of fertile land, and scattered along the whole route are comfortable looking farm houses, with large clearings and good crops. Leaving the Nipissing Road for the township of Ryerson, I found the first two miles pretty rough and rocky, and so also was a small section of the road in the centre of the township. I was much pleased, however, with the township as a whole. I understand that about eighty persons have been located in the township, on lots varying from 100 to 500 acres each and that the larger portion of these are now living on their lands. The earlier settlers living in the north-western section of the township, appear to be as comfortable as new settlers can expect to be, after only two and three years of settlement. For a distance of about two miles the clearings are continuous on both sides of the road, to a depth of two or three acres, and are well covered with good crops of oats, wheat, Indian corn, potatoes and other root crops; and, in some cases, the settlers have good kitchen and flower gardens also—indeed, this is true in respect to nearly all the settlers. My previous impression had been that the Muskoka region was not adapted for growing wheat. Several fields, however, both in Ryerson and along the Nipissing Road, showed fine crops of this cereal, well filled and in process of being harvested. The oats were magnificent, and the potatoes such as we are not privileged to see in the frontier townships.
The south-eastern portion of the township is not so far advanced in settlement, but the land appears to be very good, and a large area is now being put under cultivation. The crops grown here, so far, are very satisfactory. The settlers are generally of a very intelligent class, and promise well for the future of the township, both in a material and moral point of view.
The making of upwards of twenty-four miles of roads through the township, by the Government, and the clearing of five acres and the erection thereon of a small house upon a large portion of these lots, has given an impetus to the settlement of the township, and has largely benefited the whole surrounding district. In this township are six lakes, of from half a mile to nine miles in length, and about one-third of these distances in width, with the splendid Magnetewan running diagonally through the township. These lakes and rivers, I am informed, abound in fish. The timber growing is principally of the hardwood finds, with here and there a few pines. The Post-offce Department has already located two post-offices in the township, and two other leading roads are soon to be opened to connect with the main settlement roads—one from the Nipissing road to the Starrat post-office—now under construction; and the other, from a new road leading from the Segeun posts-office, in the township of Monteith, to the township of Perry, will connect with the Dow Lake settlement, at the Christie post-office.
Leaving the township of Ryerson I crossed Doe Lake—a beautiful sheet of water of about nine miles in its extreme length, and varying from one to three miles in width, and upon the western shored of which, situated at the head of a beautiful bay, Robert McMichael, a Toronto ex-policeman, is making himself a home. Landing from Doe Lake I struck the new Monteith and Perry road, in the township of McMurrich, about a quarter of a miles from its southern shore, and at a distance of sixteen miles from the Nipissing road. The sixteen miles of road I walked, with a friend who knows something about farms and farming, and the conclusion we arrived at was that for the twelve miles or so of the road running through this township the land is good, is well watered with lakes and rivers, had but little rock, and is very desirable for settlement.
[TO BE COMPETED.]
Railways: N.Ry. of Can.