Muskoka Conservancy this past weekend for her property, known as Shadow Rock.
Margaret Moffat, seen here with her son Norman and Alleyn Abbot from the Conservancy, has not only kept her lovely heritage properties in immaculate shape for many years, she and her family have most generously gifted the Conservancy with two large tracts of land that will forever preserve Wolf Mountain and Strawberry Mountain on Peninsula Lake. That is generous beyond words, and it a wonderful thing.
Margaret and her late husband Norman D. Moffat, purchased a waterfront propety on Wolf Bay, at the east end of Peninsual Lake in 1947. They added several more adjacent properties over the years, extending from the shores of Wolf Bay across South Portage Road and including fields, woodlands, shorelines and the two lovely lookouts. Inspired by the reflections in the water of the high rock faces and hills Margaret named the property Shadow Rock. Local builders constructed the first log cottage in 1949, very much in the Muskoka simple rustic style. In 1955 noted builder Knud Petersen built the Moffat's a second, larger cottage of spruce logs, notable for the stonework and animal carvings set into each of the interior doors that were done by Knud's father, Erik Skat Peterson.
In 1966 the Moffats acquired teh elegant stone Georgian farmhouse, built in 1907 by Robert Meredith for his bride-to-be (who, alas, never arrived from England). The property had been in the Meredith family since 1877 when it was acquired as a free land grant. The original smokehouse with its rough stone chimney remains. The sugar shack was built with logs from a settler's cabin. The main house is beautifully proportioned, and very rare in 1907. The gables are shingled and the tin roof is original. William Proudfoot of Huntsville built the house.
The first conservation easement was a joint donation with her son, Norm Moffat, on a parcel of land including Wolf Mountain, with rock cliffs that rise more than 300 feet above Wolf Bay. In 2012 Margaret added another conservation easement, almost as high, known as Strawberry Mountain. In all these easements protect more than 70 acres of mixed hardwood forest and more than 1700 feet of frontage.
The Conservancy was delighted to recognize Margaret's far-sightedness, her love of her property and her desire to protect it from further development, preserving not only some of the most unique built heritage in the region, but also a large area of wild Muskoka.
Along with Margaret Moffat, another Lake of Bays "icon" was recognized, with the presentation of a Built and Cultural Heritage award to the Stewart Memorial Church. One of four historic churches in the Lake of Bays pastoral charge of the United Church, it is an ecellent example of 1887 white painted rural frame ecclesiastical architecture. Rev. Stewart came to Dwight in 1886, and his Church remains one of the oldest buildings in the village. Originally Baptist, it joined the United Church charge in 1936. In addition to much of the original building, the church boasts the most lovely of modern stained glass windows, done by local artist Charles Knapp in exquisite nature oriented themes. The first of these windows was presented to the church to honour Norman D. Moffat -- another most generous gesture by Margaret Moffat and family.
Bill and Catherine Hawkins were on hand to represent the congregation and receive this award.
We salute all of the people recognized by the Muskoka Conservancy for the work they do to preserve the natural beauty and unique buildings that make this area so special.
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