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Up in Flames: The History of Fire in Muskoka Region

Port Carling , Ontario

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   This Community Memories
exhibit illustrates the
terrible impact of
catastrophic fires on Port
Carling and the surrounding
Muskoka region. The
disastrous town fire of 1931
destroyed nearly all of Port
Carling’s main street,
wreaking economic devastation

in a town already reeling
from the Depression and the
downturn in tourism. Archival
photographs of Port Carling
before, during and after the
fires dramatically chronicle
the changes in architecture
and building materials that
were introduced to reduce
vulnerability to future

fires.
   This exhibit also focuses
on several lodges in Muskoka
Region that were lost to fire
throughout the twentieth
century. Muskoka’s first
great lodge, Pratt’s Hotel on
Lake Rosseau, built in 1870,
was destroyed by fire in
1883, setting an unfortunate

pattern. In 1945, the
legendary Beaumaris Hotel was
lost to a fire set by a
disgruntled employee in the
middle of the night.
Muskoka’s most luxurious
hotel, the famed Royal
Muskoka Hotel was destroyed
by fire in 1952, amidst
speculation of arson.

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