BradfordToday columnist publishes book on historic Parry Sound

Book written by Bradford author Andrew Hind delves deep into the history of the Parry Sound district

Founded in Stone 2: More stories about the early days of Parry Sound and its district is the Bradford author’s latest book, and BradfordToday columnist, Andrew Hind.

The second volume features a collection of tales from the Parry Sound area, from ghost towns to the booming railroad industry, Hind takes us back to simpler times. His deep dive into the history of the region brings together the foundations of the community in a refreshing and interesting read.

Each chapter highlights a resident, landmark or industry that has contributed to the region’s rich history.

From a state-of-the-art luxury resort to a bustling train station, there’s plenty to learn about the region’s charming towns.

The area’s tourist industry was established by William and Lucy Pratt and their construction of Rosseau House in 1870. The hotel was the first of its kind to be built in the area, providing guests with views and luxurious accommodations . For 13 years it was a high profile hotspot for area residents and tourists, before it burned down in 1873. It set the example for other resorts that followed in its path, setting the area on the map as a top tourist destination.

Tourists and locals alike were delighted when the largest boat to ever sail the Magnetawan River, commanded by Robert James Watson, was built: the Armour, which is still afloat today as Dover.

The region’s economy was rooted in the logging and sawmill industries, with oxen, not horses, crossing the fields carrying heavy loads through the deep clay soils.

It was the railroad industry that truly transformed Parry Sound, with the arrival of a railroad in Burk’s Falls in 1886, which became a thriving and bustling sawmill town.

World War I in 1914 and the many men of Parry Sound who bid farewell to their families to fight changed the town forever. His militia regiment, The Northern Pioneers, was headquartered in Parry Sound and encompassed the Parry Sound-Muskoka area. Residents who stayed behind helped produce the tools for the soldiers.

The first school, Spence Schoolhouse in Spence Township, had a room that was established in the 1870s by farmers, saw three decades of families pass through its rustic doors. The school closed in 1954 but still exists today, as a reminder of Spence’s beautiful community.

This is just a glimpse of some of the stories discovered by Hind, which shed light on the region’s roots and culture.

Copies can be purchased on Amazon here.

Andrew Hind has always had a passion for history and over his 20 year writing career he has written 29 books and contributed to numerous local publications including Village Media, Parry Sound Life, Muskoka Life, Canada’s History and more.

Lucas E. Kelly