THE TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE
Hudson Restoration is proud to announce a new office in the spectacular Muskoka region of Ontario. Muskoka has a fascinating and rich history….
A 2 hr drive north of Toronto, Muskoka spanning 6,475 sq km, with approximately 1600 crystal blue lakes, makes Muskoka the #1 most sought after Canadian destination for vacation rentals.
Many of Muskoka’s seasonal properties are large mansion-like summer estates located along the shores of Muskoka’s three major lakes: Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph.
The name of the municipality derives from a First Nations chief of the 1850’s, MUSQUAKIE. Largely the land of the Ojibwa people, the tribe lived south of the region, near present day Orillia.
Settlers began arriving from Europe in the 19th century. The passage of the Free Grants and Homestead Act of 1868 opened the era of widespread settlement to Muskoka. Settlers could receive free land if they agreed to clear the land, have at least 15 acres cultivated and build a 320 square foot house.
However, they soon realized upon settling that Muskoka’s “ubiquitous” rocks also had to be cleared. Consisting largely of dense clay, the soil in the region turned out to be poorly suited to farming. As news of the difficult conditions spread, development in Muskoka began to falter, but the arrival of the steamship revived industry.
Alexander Cockburn, sometimes called the Father of Muskoka began placing “Steamers” on the lake in 1866. By 1905, the Muskoka Navigation Company was the largest of its kind in Canada. The lumber industry expanded rapidly, alongside the steamship industry. Road transportation took the form of the Muskoka Colonization Road, begun in 1858 and reaching Bracebridge in 1861.
By 1861, farmers who were barely scratching a living from the rocky soil found demand for overnight accommodations arriving on their doorsteps – the early tourists of the area. Some desperate farmers made the switch quickly and converted their farmhouses to boarding houses and hotels. The first wilderness hotel, called Rosseau House, was built at the head of Lake Rosseau in 1870. It was owned by New Yorker William H. Pratt. The idea caught on and the number of tourists increased, establishing the tourist industry as the up and coming money earner in 1880’s.
The steamship era gave rise to the area’s great hotels: Rosseau, Royal Muskoka, Windemere and many more. When the railroad reached Gravenhurst in 1875 the area grew rapidly. The demands of WW1 & 11 slowed development but postwar prosperity brought another boom around the availability of the automobile, improved roads and thus, tourism. Suddenly owning a summer cottage became possible. Steamship companies were forced to retire their ships one by one, until the last sailing in the 50’s. Muskoka now has 60,000 permanent residents and 100,000 seasonal property owners. (Wikipedia)
Hudson Restoration is committed to its work in the north country. Our expansion to the Muskoka region is growth that has come from our mission, vision and values including superior customer service, integrity and attention to detail. The early settlers of Muskoka paved the way to the success it is today, proving that if we work together, any loss can be overcome and any dream is possible. Hudson Restoration would like to pay homage to the Ojibwa, the First Nations peoples of the Muskoka region.