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The Gilmour Tramway
Dorset Heritage Museum
Dorset , Ontario


   During the 19th century,
lumber companies mounted an
all-out assault on the pine
forests of eastern Canada. In
that era they relied on
rivers to float their logs
downstream to sawmills, or to
ports for export to Great
Britain. One of these lumber
firms was Gilmour and

Company, which operated a
huge sawmill in Trenton at
the mouth of the Trent River
on Lake Ontario.
   Logs for the mill came
from the watersheds of the
Trent and Moira rivers. By
the 1890s, timber limits in
those river systems had been
largely depleted. David

Gilmour, head of Gilmour and
Company, was forced to
acquire expensive new limits
far to the north in Algonquin
Park. The problem was that
the river draining from these
limits - the Oxtounge-Muskoka
- did not flow to Trenton.
   David Gilmour came up
with an ingenious solution.

Near Dorset, he constructed a
complex mechanism known as
the Gilmour Tramway to lift
millions of logs through a
range of hills from the Lake
of Bays, on the Muskoka River
system, to Raven Lake on the
Black River. The Black was
then diverted to flow to St.
Nora Lake in the headwaters

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