|Friday, November 19, 1875||The Newmarket Era||Page 2, col. 1|
Washago to Gravenhurst.
Opening a new link of R.R. communication.
The celebration connected with opening fifteen miles of railway, recently constructed between the Severn and Gravenhurst by the Northern Extension Company,—and now amalgamated with the Northern R.R. Co. of Canada, took place on Saturday last. A special train, of several cars, drawn by a grandly decorated engine, and preceded by aPilot Engine, also decorated, left Toronto shortly after 8 a.m., having on board the President and Directors of the Northern R.R.; also the officials of the Northern Extension Co., together with several members of the City of Toronto Corporation, members of Parliament, and a large company of invited guests. Calling at Newmarket, we had the pleasure of joining the excursion here; and at Bradford and other points North, along the route, the Reeves and Deputy-Reeves of Simcoe County, swelled the number,—so that on leaving Orillia, the party numbered nearly 200. The proceedings of the day included the presentation of an address to the President of the R.R. Company, and a dinner, given in the new Town Hall at Gravenhurst, by the Municipality of Muskoka, to their guests. The steamers of Capt. Cockburn, M.P., brought hundreds of the settlers of the district,—so that on the arrival of the Excursion party a large assemblage of gratified people greeted the approaching train with vociferous cheers. The events of the day passed off exceedingly satisfactory to all concerned, and will be long remembered by all who had the pleasure of being present on the occasion. We have not room for the after dinner speeches; but may observe, they were timely, appropriate, and full of interest.
This new line covers a distance of some fifteen miles,—being virtually a continuation of our own Northern R.R., and will prove a very valuable extension of railway communication between the frontier and back country—affording a ready outlet to an area of several thousand square miles of timber and lumber—while at the same time opening up a home market, as well as speedy and easy transit, to the back settlers of Muskoka, who now number about 10,000 souls.
The appearance of the country between Washago and Gravenhurst is not prepossessing; but the aspect is far more agreeable along the line of railway chosen, than from the Government plank road. Judging from remarks made by several speakers at the dinner above referred to, and also from the evidence of progress we observed since visiting the locality three years ago, the Muskoka District is making rapid strides in material prosperity. Gravenhurst can now boast two sawmills, and we understand seven other mills are to be projected almost immediately—the facilities offered by this link of railway communication, affording sufficient inducement for embarking in these enterprises. At Gravenhurst settlers and visitors can take steamers which ply on Muskoka lakes father inward about fifty miles, and during the summer months speedy transit over this large extent of territory is now secured to the frontier. No wonder the people of that section rejoiced to hear the shrill whistle of the ironhorse; and it is equally a matter for congratulation to the commercial interests of Toronto, that the trade of so large a section of country has been thus secured.
Railways: N.Ry. of Can.
Stations: Gravenhurst, Severn, Washago