304 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
In winter, when driving in a cutter, he frequently had to get out and make his way through the soft snow in order to permit a team hauling a load to pass.
"But there were compensations," Mr. Gray told me twenty years ago in his then comfortable home in Orillia. "The people were eager for the gospel. When Dr. McTavish, of Beaverton, administered sacrament at old Knox, the first Presbyterian church in Oro, people came from Mara and Rama as well as from Medonte and Orillia to attend. When the doctor had sacrament service in his own church at Beaverton people travelled fifty and sixty miles to take part in the services. To provide accommodation for those from a distance every house was thrown open, and, if that did not prove sufficient, barns were opened as well."
Mr. Gray, besides ministering to the spiritual needs of his flock, also assisted in meeting their educational requirements. For a time he served as superintendent of schools; not infrequently, after inspecting a school during the day, he held religious service in the same building in the evening. Nor were religious meetings confined to schoolhouses and churches. One of the regular services was held in the room of an old frame tavern which then occupied the site where the Orillia House now stands.
This recalls the fact that in Oro and adjacent townships there was, in the early days, the same remarkable combination that existed about the same time in Bruce—intense religious feeling with an ardent love for "old Scotch." This is not surprising in the case of the pioneers of Oro,