Gilmour Tramway

In Muskoka's case, Gilmour astounded his competitors with a tramway to lift millions of pine logs over a range of high Canadian Shield hills from one river system to another.

Author Gary Long, a geographer by training and an expert on Muskoka's rivers by passion, documents this remarkable tale of human ingenuity and Herculean engineering in a small book richly illustrated with some 54 period photographs, maps, and diagrams.

The issue, back then, was not a shortage of trees to harvest, but rather, getting those that were available to mills. Gilmour would float millions of pine logs several hundred miles down three river systems from Algonquin Park (yes, logging the Park), to his sawmill at Trenton on Lake Ontario – if he could overcome the fact that deep in the Canadian Shield the critical part of his chosen route was uphill. While Gilmour could not reverse the flow of rivers, he could – and did – build a tramway to lift his logs over a hilly range between rivers in the Lake of Bays district near Dorset.

Gary Long reveals technical information, engineering features and construction details of Gilmour's ingenious solution – all essential to the saga – without ever loosing sight of the vivid human drama in corporate boardrooms and along the sluiceways.

Unlike Ketchum's dream, which in failure was dubbed by critics as "Ketchum's Folly," however, Gilmour's Tramway actually worked. All the same, for reasons Long explains, his Muskoka engineering masterpiece was ultimately doomed.

— Review by J. Patrick Boyer

ISBN: 978-0-9734434-3-1
Fox Meadow Creations, 2008
94 pages 8 x 8 in
$19.95 CDN/USA paperback


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