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Pioneer Muskoka, Muskoka settlers, History of Muskoka, Social and Economic History of Muskoka, Muskoka success stories, J.W. McConnell, Robert Dollar

Pioneer Muskoka
Tales of Courage, Grit and Community
by Ray Love

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.

Ray Love's family settled in Muskoka in 1875. His great grandfather built a highly successful resort business. The story of the seminal resort formed the background for his first book Elgin House, Lake Joseph Past and Present.

Ray Love grew up in Muskoka and returned to pursue a career in education. He taught History, Geography and Economics in secondary schools in Toronto and Muskoka. He finished his career as a school administrator. Ray has always been interested in the history of the Muskoka region, and since retirement has embarked on sharing his passion with his readers.


Ray Love

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