Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Muskoka Cottage History

Originally, back in 1960, my extended family (Forsyths & Butts) bought property here. My aunts and uncles built cottages and, it being the thing to do, and quite affordable, we bought the property at the end of the peninsula. Summers were filled with family times at the lake.

We didn't have a lot of money and we were a working class family. Both of my parent's fathers died when they were age 15 and they did not retire until age 66. They finally retired to the home they built here. Both had only gr. 10 educations. Mom worked for the Toronto Rotary Club for 27 yrs. - she was declared an Honorary Member, and looked after all 500 members with panache and grace. Dad was a hardware consultant. His pension died with his bankrupt firm's employer after 30 years employment, but because they were frugal - they succeeded.

My parents bought and cleared the land in 1960. They paid $2000 for it back then. I still have the deeds and the paperwork.

The neighbours were all very close. There was a lake association in those days, and I have papers and a land map that shows each of the property owners in the 60s. It was 'Uncle Doug' Flett (above on the left in the photo) who worked hard at keeping us together. Uncle Doug, as we called him, liked to keep everyone organized. I remember non-Uncles, like and 'Uncle Bill' Bodrug on the right). Mr. Wilson, who was a retired science teacher, told us all about the creatures in the water who hid under rocks.

I remember endless slide shows (of real slides) as those who travelled abroad would offer dessert and coffee, with the big projectors and small screens set up at someone's cottage. I remember my cousins taking me fishing, water skiing, and have many family photos of picnics. All are middle-aged or older, my mother was 18 years younger than her siblings, and live in various places across Canada. I pretty much stuck close to home!

We spent hours cutting away brush, clearing up and cutting down shrubs, all this before trimmers! Many weekends were filled with picnics on the small piece of property on lawn chairs. Then they had the cottage built.


... Smells Like Fries said...

Great stuff. Gives history and perspective with a usual personal touch. $2,000 huh? :)

Anonymous said...

I would love to see those original papers. Really interesting history that you've managed to hold on to...gotta still give that disc to you. So thankfully, it's not a big shipment of CHAP goods;)