Letting off steam

Back in the logging days on Georgian Bay and around the upper lakes, when the workers were paid off many gravitated to places where they could drink, laugh, and be merry — where there were wine, women and song. Two of the best known destinations were Midland and Parry Sound.

Midland’s Dollartown, just east of the main town, evolved from a mill built in 1879 by Scotsman John Dollar. For about a decade, and maybe longer, Dollartown was a place for loggers to let off steam after leaving the woods.

The town of Parry Sound, as laid out by its founder William Beatty Jr., would not tolerate alcoholic beverages within its borders. However, booze and the high-jinks it could cause were able to thrive over the town limits on the south side of the harbour.

As author James Barry writes in Georgian Bay, The Sixth Great Lake, that part of town became known as “Parry Hoot”.

“The noises of revelry and fighting that drifted out of those resorts might keep some people awake in the more sedate parts of town, but most of the citizens who lived around the Bay were used to them.”

Happily, that rough revelry has passed, and the magnificent white pines that its creators unwittingly decimated are now returning.

2 thoughts on “Letting off steam

    1. The logging has stopped, so we can hope the pines are growing again along the Bay, but it’s very slow. And some that took root along the shore when the water was low have now died with the higher lake level.


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