Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next

 

88   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

can judge the length of some of this spar timber, when I tell you that I have seen five, six, and even seven saw-logs cut from one tree. The record spar, which was one hundred and twenty feet long, came from Big Bay Point on Lake Simcoe. Eight or ten teams were used in hauling such timbers from the bush to the water's edge. When the rafts arrived at Montreal they were broken up and loaded into sailing vessels for shipment to England. Those timber vessels had large port-holes in their bows, and the timber was hauled to these holes by horses operating a windlass and then shot into the hold. When the timber fleet was in Montreal harbour the masts appeared like a great forest from which the limbs had been stripped. As I went down the river on rafts I often met immigrants coming up in bateaux or Durham boats. These vessels were much alike save that the bateaux were open while the Durhams were partially decked over. Men, women, and children were huddled together in these craft by day and camped on shore at night.

"All the lakes and rivers were then full of fish. I helped haul in a net near Willard's Beach in Prince Edward County that contained fourteen thousand fish, and I have seen salmon near there that were eight inches through the body. In one case a salmon actually broke the handle of the spear and got away, but was afterwards caught with the fragment still in its body."

In 1847, Mr. Smith moved to Vespra, north of Barrie. The journey from Toronto to Holland Landing was by stage. "Near the end of the


Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next