Explore Muskoka


144 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-919783-90-2
DDC 97





Photos by G.W. Campbell
Reviewed by Sue Giles

Sue Giles was a librarian at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto.


This book admirably fulfills its purpose as set out in the preface: it “pinpoints locations” that the author “found interesting, intriguing or beautiful.” It was written for “the people who live in Muskoka, or spend their summers here, to show them what interesting excursions exist in their own backyard. It is also for the tourists who come to Muskoka on vacation or day trips, to guide them on sight-seeing expeditions, “and for “those people ... in a place far away from Muskoka” it “is an invitation to come to this most beautiful and historic lakeland.”

The introduction sets the stage for the following chapters, giving a brief overview of the history of the area. A number of chapters follow, each outlining a tour through a different part of Muskoka.

Each chapter has a similar format. At the beginning is a sketched map showing the roads and “Points of Interest” in a clean and easily interpreted manner. The chapter outlines the tour and lists the “Sights” as well as arts and crafts establishments, and this is followed by each “Point of Interest” written up in the order in which it is encountered on the tour. There is an underlying historical theme to the whole book so that the “Points of Interest” range from historical markers and buildings such as the Opera House in Gravenhurst to natural and constructed physical features such as Dee Banks Falls and the Baysville Dam.

There are five tours, covered in seven chapters, as two of the circular tours are quite long and have been split into two. They are the Highway 11 Tour, Lake Muskoka (A) and (B), Lake Rousseau Tour, Lake of Bays and Peninsula Lake (A) and (B), and Sydney / Huntsville. The final chapter lists some of the author’s favourite items.

Throughout the book there are some beautiful photographs, both new and old. Especially fascinating are the numerous photographs of buildings and man-made constructions that no longer exist. The book is peppered with references to places that were destroyed by fire, a reflection on the lumber industry that was responsible for the exploitation of the area and provided the main building material. The photographs, attributed to G.W. Campbell, make an important contribution to the book.

With its guided tours, clear maps, and attractive photographs, this book will be of interest to the groups mentioned earlier and should be in all public library collections in Southern Ontario so that people can be aware of attractions that are close by. It should probably sell well in stores in the Muskokas and also in the appropriate sections of bookstores.



Pryke, Susan, “Explore Muskoka,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/34316.