Can you blame her? These bathing suits were made of wool and always in dark colours so that you couldn’t see through them. Black stockings, slippers, and cap completed the outfit. Little wonder that “skinny dipping” - swimming naked, usually at night and with the same sex - became fashionable.
This is a photo of the dining room at the Royal Muskoka Hotel, which the author used as the basis for the Grand Muskoka Hotel.
This photo gives an idea of what the pollution must have been like in Pittsburgh. Note that effluence from the mill is also spewing into the river.
A fleet of majestic steamships serviced the three large, interconnected lakes, dropping passengers at resorts or private homes. This photo shows the wharf at Gravenhurst - the gateway to the lakes - with a couple of the large steamships in the back and private ones in the foreground. The train pulled right up onto the wharf.
The restored R.M.S. Segwun is the oldest operating steamship in North America, and provides daily sightseeing cruises in the summer, including a delightful sunset dinner cruise. It can also be rented for weddings and special events. Check out the website for information on sailings.
Rosedale, one of the oldest suburbs of Toronto, started out as a country property known for its abundance of wild roses. It’s now one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Canada. This sketch shows what the area looked like in 1882, when the fictional Wyndhams were one of the few families to reside in this picturesque area. By the turn of the century, there were many large estates, and increasing expansion.
The Cottage Sanatorium in Gravenhurst, Muskoka, was the first one in Canada. Tuberculosis patients breathed plenty of Muskoka’s clean, pine-scented air, as treatment consisted of spending the best part of every day outdoors, no matter the weather. In winter, patients would be wrapped in layers of woolens or furs, and then in a dozen blankets before their beds or "cure chairs" were wheeled onto verandas.
Find out more about TB at this site.
For decades, lumbering was big business in Muskoka. The logs that came down the rivers and lakes in the spring were often a problem for boats navigating the waters. Gravenhurst Bay was lined with lumber and shingle mills, and it was said that the Bay itself was sometimes so thick with log booms that you could walk across it. This photo shows some stray logs on the Moon River.
This is not a photo of the family, of course, but it conveys the ethos of leisurely summer life on the veranda of a typical Muskoka cottage at the beginning of the last century.
The Shingle Style is illustrated in this cottage.
The author enjoys weaving real people into her novels. Mackenzie is one of the several self-made millionaires that crop up in the book. He was one of the builders of the transcontinental Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR), and also owned the Toronto Street Railway. But the CNoR went into bankruptcy and was taken over by the government, becoming part of the CNR in 1918. There’s an excellent biography about him by Dr. R.B. Fleming. Find out more at this website.
Muskoka boat builders like Ditchburn, Minett, Greavette, and others became famous for their beautiful, handcrafted vessels, many of them finished in gleaming mahogany. These boats are now prized by their owners, many of whom display them at the annual Antique and Classic Boat Show in Gravenhurst in July, where this photo was taken.
Watch some of these classics perform at the 2011 show.