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What a Photograph Will Tell You

February 24, 2022 in Uncategorized


Mary Story, the archivist at the Muskoka Discovery Centre in Gravenhurst, recently sent me a photo of the Queen of the Isles. This “boat” was a steam barge and tug that was used on the lakes about 100 years ago. While it is a photo of the boat, it shows so much more.

The variety of wooden boats floating around the Beaumaris harbour is amazing and the setting is quite spectacular. Beginning with the boats, every manner of wooden canoe, rowboat, small steamer and sailboat dot the waterfront. After careful scanning, I can’t find a single gasoline powered craft anywhere.

I see at least three different kinds of canoes. One that looks like a Sunnyside Cruiser as well as rather long planked canoes. Some very large rowboats with several seats and one rowboat that is very much overloaded with four ladies aboard.

The clothing is wonderful to see as well. A boy, about 10 I’d guess, wearing a white shirt, knickers and long socks with a matching white hat,  strolls down to the water’s edge at the ramp. Speaking of hats, again such a variety for both men and women. I remember my father having at least half a dozen different styles of hats and boxes for some of them. Vests for the men seem to be popular in one canoe, while white ducks or trousers for men were the style to wear aboard the ship. The other remarkable aspect of this photo is the number of people lounging on the grassy area up from the shore. I wonder if this was a special day or just typical for a summer’s day at Beaumaris? I don’t recognize any of the buildings in the background either. I wonder if any of our readers do?

By Tim Du Vernet

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