On Saturday, Nancy had the honour of helping to unveil an historic plaque near Dorset, on the Paint Lake Road.
The plaque celebrates the Gilmour Lumber Company Tramway -- and is located on Tramway Creek. While the actual spot where we put the plaque is not exactly where the tramway ran, if we had put it at the actual site, you'd have been hiking some several kilometres into the woods...
The tramway started on the Lake of Bays, in Trading Bay, and logs were lifted by a jackladder to a long mainly level flume that floated them to Tramway Creek. The top end of Tramway Creek, where it bubbled and leapt down the hillside, was dammed, and that created Tramway Pond. This provided not only the water needed to float the logs along the flume, but also backed up enough water that logs could be floated directly into Raven Lake, and then on to the long 445 km. trek to the Gilmour Mills in Trenton, Ontario.
|The plaque was initiated by the Paint Lake Cottage Association|
members, who came out on a Saturday morning to celebrate. (along
with dog Stanley)
It was an extraordinary construction, and undertaking. The jackladders ran up beside Tramway Creek -- the lift was too great for just one engine, so there were several along the way. Over a million logs moved over the tramway in the 1890s, during the three years of operation. They had floated down from Algonquin Park on the Oxtongue River... and then were rafted or boomed to Dorset (softwood will float, and can be boomed. Hardwood will sink, and needs to be rafted onto cribs made out of softwood and towed by an amphibious steam tug called an alligator Now you know.)
To learn about the Tramway, you should visit the Dorset Heritage Museum, where there is a scale model of the creation. Or read one of the books written about it -- Gary Long's "Gilmour Tramway, A Lumber Baron's Desperate Scheme" is one such, specific to the tramway..
When it was built, there was nothing like it anywhere in the world. It is a sparkling little historic gem, that many people are not aware of. The level flume section crossed what is now Hwy 117 right by Paint Lake Road... now, looking at the woods, you'd never know.