• A Little More ‘Heritage Cooking’ collected, enjoyed, & shared by Jennie McLennan


    The recipe book is a ‘collection of recipes from a lifetime of cooking’.  Includes recipes from the kitchens of the first homes in the Muskoka/Haliburton Region of Central Ontario.

    Photo from the book Heritage Cooking – A Lifetime of Recipes

    Photo of a page in the Soup section


  • Dedicated to Dorset


    The following poem was written by M. Elizabeth Wettlaufer (Allan) McEachern and her sister Margaret Wettlaufer (Alexander) McKay ages 17 & 18. Margaret was married to Alexander McKay and living on Harvey Ave. Her sister Elizabeth came to stay with her and later married Allan McEachern and they lived at the corner of County Rd 12 & 8.

    In hills and forests hidden Mid rivers, dale and wilds Where flowers bloom unbidden There is where Dorset lies

    In spring time’s budding splendor

    The violets sweetly grow And in the glorious sunshine The rippling waters flow

    So green the hills and mountains As they majestic stand By the Almighty’s bounties Our little Dorset stands

    Amid its hills and valleys The water shimmering lies The moon in all its splendor Sails calmly in the skies

    Dorset, the home of maples Of rocks and mountains tall However small and homely We love you with it all

    P.S. And when the wind is blowing With snow and ice and sleet In Alex McKay’s kitchen Is a safe and warm retreat


  • Camp Inawendawin


    My teenage summers were spent working at Camp Inawendawin on Paint Lake.  The camp was owed by the Andersons who treated the staff like family.  We worked hard in the kitchen and dining room 6 1/2 days each week with Wednesday afternoons off.

    Each Wednesday we rushed through our work in order to hitch -hike to our cottage on otter Lake, hoping to get there in time for a late swim and supper.  Hitch-hiking was a popular mode of transportation for young people.  it was easy to hitch a ride and once in Dorset, we often walked the rest of the way.  If we were lucky, Jack Crozier would give us a ride in the back of his truck from the camp to Dorset when he came in to pick up the mail.  Dad drove us back tot eh camp next imorning in time to start work at 7:30 am.

    We worked with Ellen Avery who was the main cook for the camp and Jennie McLennan who was pastry cook.  our pay cheques came at the end of the 2 months of summer.  We were paid $200.  for the summer with a $50. bonus.  Our pay included our lodging and food.  Camp food was excellent.  The campers were very well fed and desserts Jenny made could have won prizes!  After the evening meal, a sign-song usually got under way and ended with the singing of the Camp Inawendawin song.

    Inawendawin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Inawendawin…lovely refuge in the Northland                                                                                                                                                                                    We will return again                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To stand here hand in hand Inawendawin                                                                                                                                                                                          We know that time will never change you                                                                                                                                                                                          The greatest camp that’s ever been                                                                                                                                                                                     Inawendawin We love Inawendawin  We all hope to come again To dear old Inawendawin

    Camp Inawendawin offered the girls swimming, canoeing, surfing, horse-back riding, overnight camping, crafts, drama and everything else a camper would enjoy.  The campers cabins all had names and each week a cabin was chosen as best camper cabin for its neatness.  Cabin names included Bob Inn, Bo Out, Sleepy Hollow.  Our staff cabin had as its name Hollow Log.  The name Inawendawin conjures up many happy summer memories of days and nights spen at camp on Paint Lake near Dorset.

    Fond memories remembered by Lorna Cassie – Bywater


  • The Gilmour Tramway


    This unique piece of engineering  took place at Dorset, in Big Trading Bay,  Lake of Bays in 1894.

    The task of the Tramway was to lift 400,000 pine logs over a 30 metres (90 feet) height of land, while moving them a distance of 2 km.  At the Dorset end, a stone building was constructed to house the steam engine needed to power 2 large water pumps.  It also powered a jack ladder,  which is an endless chain, to lift the logs the first 10 metres of their journey into a large wooden trough or sluice way that they had built. It was one and three quarters kms in length.  The trough filled with water would carry the logs along to two more jack ladders, ten metres in length that would lift the logs the last twenty metres where they dumped into a large pond Mr. Gilmour had made.   He had dammed up outlets from a marshy pond and a small lake raising the water level to about 7 metres, this became known as the Tramway Pond.  The Tramway Pond supplied water power through a pen stock to the turbine at the bottom of the two jack ladders that were lifting the logs up and over the top of the height of land.  This pond also allowed him to float the logs on to Raven Lake and then into the Gull and Trent Waterways, to Trenton Ontario, where his sawmill was located.


    Stop into the Dorset Heritage Museum to see a scale model of the Tramway!

    Gilmour Tramway Scale Model Exhibit

    Gilmour Tramway Scale Model Exhibit

    Close up of Tramway Scale Model Exhibit

    Close up of Gilmour Tramway Scale Model Exhibit


  • Heritage Cooking…collected, enjoyed, & shared by Jennie McLennan

    Marvin & Jennie McLennan

    Marvin & Jennie McLennan


    The following is the introduction from Jennie’s cookbook that she created.  We are so very glad that she did!…

    I have worked as a cook for most of my life.  My mama, Letitia Kernohan from Minden was a cook before she married my daddy.  After she married and began her life on the farm, she cooked to feed her family, their hired men and a steady stream of guests.  I learned much of what I know about cooking from her as so much of my early life was spent in our farm kitchen.  I loved it then and I still do today.

    At the age of 16, I began cooking at the lodges, hunt camps, logging camps, Girl Guide camps, Junior Forest Ranger camps, inns, hospitals, and for many local church and community events.  Through most of those years elected recipes;  recipes from neighbours, relatives, friends and family, and just about anyone who would share them with me.   Many of the recipes I have collected were in the author’s own handwriting which makes them even more special to me.

    I have talked for years about putting a cookbook together, so when the Dorset Museum contacted me about preparing this one it seems like the timing was right.   It was what I needed to get me going in transferring them from handwriting to the printed page.

    I mentioned the project to several of my friends and before long I had been generously given many more recipes to add to my collection.   Thank you to all who have so graciously offered your family recipes for all of us to enjoy.

    Throughout the book, I have not only noted the name of the person who gave me the recipe but also my relationship to these people, some of my memories about that person or a story they have offered about their recipe or some other information about their family in our community.

    Occasionally I have included a story I remember relating to the recipe. I hope these little vignettes add to the enjoyment of this book.

    Most of the recipes in this first collection has been gathered over my lifetime from friends and family in the Muskoka and Haliburton  communities.   Many of these friends and family are missed dearly now, but they are remembered through their stories and the fond memories of the wonderful times we have shared together over good food.

    Jenny McLennan

    Many of us grew up knowing Jennie and the other contributing community members of this wonderful collection of recipes.  It is a trip down memory lane every time you pick it up and go through it looking for a recipe.



  • A Fun Fact…


    Did you know that area where the Dorset Scenic Tower is was once a farm?  The first owner of the land was Charles Barker, who cleared the land from Hwy 35 in the area of the tower entrance up to the top of the hill, and grew a crop of hay.  It’s hard to picture that now when you see the land so heavily forested.

    Dorset Scenic Tower

    Dorset Scenic Tower

  • Early Days Mail Delivery To Dorset


    Mail was delivered and posted in an interesting mode of travel back in the early days of Dorset.  Mail was carried by any of the settlers, who might be going to Baysville and the Baysville Post Office, which was a good 16 or 17 miles away.

    Museum Logo BellThey paddled a canoe or rowed a boat in the summer and in winter when the ice was good, and good for skating they would skate for the mail.  If not they would walk, or snowshoe in the winter.  The mail carrier also brought necessary groceries such as salt, tea, or flour.

  • The Fastest Man On Water













    The photo is of Mrs. Ellerington and Don Payne the boats restorer, last year at Heritage Day here at the Dorset Heritage Museum.Mrs. Ellerington’s husband Bill worked on this boat with a group of men, one being Art Asbury the driver of it at the time, and Don’s father! They worked on it in a work shop located at the Ellerington’s home, which is next door to the museum. Don was very happy the she came over to see this beautifully refurbished hydroplane that her husband and friends had once worked on and raced in the 60’s.

    On Heritage Day, July 2, 2016  at the Dorset Heritage Museum the boat in the photo, one of Art’s, will be on display.

  • The First Tooth Pulled… a memory from Lenly Barry


    The first time Lenly Barry had  a tooth pulled out was by the Doctors and Dentists that used  to come each year to hunt in the Dorset area.

    The doctors traveled to Dorset by boat.   The Algonquin or the Ramona, then across the Portage on the little steam engine, The Portage Flyer, to the Iroquois, or the Mohawk Belle.  People always knew the day they were coming out from their hunting camps.  The doctors would spend the day at the Dorset Hotel helping people.

    That first time Lenly went down to the Hotel his mother took him and his sister Noreen.  Of course he yelled blue murder, because he thought they were going to kill him.  He said ‘I think it hurt more to cry then to get the tooth pulled’.  Then my sister started to cry.  She swore up and down the dentist got a hold of her tongue. There was no freezing then.  One fellow held your mouth open and the other pulled!    Whether they got the right teeth or not, he didn’t know, but they were always happier afterward!Dorset Hotel near the bridge on the right

  • Francis Harvey 1821 – 1903

    The original building was  square timbers hewn byFrancis from trees on his property.

    The original building was square timbers hewn byFrancis from trees on his property.

    The blog below is part of our Early Settlers 2015 Exhibit.

    Each year we  ‘feature’ one of our early settlers in this exhibit space.

    Francis Harvey 1821 – 1903

    In putting together this exhibit about Dorset’s first settler we wanted to try and find out more than the basic facts.  We went on a hunt for Francis Harvey’s life to find out more.  Did he have more than his one child Agnes?  Why didn’t his family live here? When did he die?  Where was he buried? 

    This is what we found…

    Francis Harvey first arrived here in 1854- 1859, he claimed a very large portion of land that touched both Big and Little Trading Bays, land that ran on both sides of the now Main Street in Ridout Township and in Sherborne Township Lot 29 Con A, and he farmed it with oxen.  On this land he built a square timber dove tail home with a second story it sat beside the Anglican Church. Francis built and operated the first trading post sitting where the Dorset Garage is today.  Trading with the First Nations people, Francis Harvey ran a small trading post in the Narrows.  He traded with the Chippewa.  They traded fish, game, brightly coloured utensils, and clothing which had been painted with ochre from Loon Bay on Kawagama Lake.

    Mr. Harvey also cleared land on Otter Lake at the time it was known as Harvey Lake and the little lake to the east to it Harvey Lake Jr. The name Harvey Lake was later changed by some government worker without local input. He built a square timber dove tail home at the shore.  He sold this land to Francis Hoover in 1880 and the building was moved to the top of the hill and added on to and sided over.

    Francis Harvey donated the land for the United Church, the Anglican Church, and the Methodist Church, and the Orange Hall sometimes referred to as the church hall, beside the Methodist Church.  He gave the land for Harvey Avenue.  Selling parts of his land later as the village developed and as he grew older.

    It is believed that the first ones came here through a chain of trails, lakes and rivers on through to Havelock Township down into Hollow Lake (Kawagama), and further down into the Lake of Bays.  So quite possibly Francis Harvey came that way too.

    Francis Harvey was born in Rigaud, Quebec in 1821, his parents were Thomas Harvey who was born in England and Agnes Willman who was born in Ontario.

    When he ventured here he left behind a farm, and his family in the Prescott Russell area of Ontario, near Hawkesbury which is located near the border of Ontario and Quebec.

    His parents were alive and farmed near him.  Francis Harvey had 8 siblings.

    Francis Harvey was married to Ellen Smith and they had six children, Agnes, John, Mary Ellen, Robert, Emma Jane, and Annabella Theresa.               When Francis came here he had five children.  Annabella Theresa was born in 1861.

    It is possible to think that he came here, he claimed land and then traveled home again for supplies and to see family.  Maybe hoping to have them come with him or to come later when he had a home built.

    He is listed on two 1861 censuses one for our area titled Stanhope, Peterborough, Canada West and East Hawkesbury, Prescott, Canada West where his family were living on their farm.  His wife Ellen would have made sure he was listed on the census.

    On the census for our area it was fun to read that he was listed as a Hunter, and that he lived on Trading Lake!

    On all other Census records he is listed as a farmer.  In 1871 he is listed with his family in Hawkesbury East.  We could not find any of his family listed on any 1881 Census records.

    By the 1891 Census records he is seventy years old living here in Dorset and he is widowed, living on his own as his wife Ellen passed in 1872.

    By the next Census record of 1901 his eldest child Agnes Harvey McCallum came to live with him and in checking records at the land registry Agnes was in Dorset by 1892.

    Francis in 1901 was listed as then being eighty years old and his daughter as fifty three.  They had had him down as older than he was, his birth date all through the Census records varied slightly except for the 1891 record.

    Even on his death record they had the term ‘about’ before his birth date!

    There are local Dorset family remembrances that when he was older he was crippled up his legs didn’t work properly? This did not stop him from crawling from his home across the road to his wood lot to try and work on his firewood.

    Another known story was that Agnes didn’t want her father to smoke.  His friends that stopped in to visit would give him some and this upset Agnes so she discouraged his friends from any more visits.  However, the local men feeling sorry for Francis would give some smoking material to their your boys and the boys were allowed to stop in and visit Mr. Harvey!

    Agnes Harvey McCallum’s name was added to the remaining property that her father owned on September 26, 1894 and she was helping tidy up her father’s affairs.  From that document and following documents you can see his handwriting deteriorating to just putting an X for his mark.  So you know that his physical health his declining.

    1902 Francis Harvey had left Dorset for good.  The end of an era here in a Dorset. He would have seen so many changes during his time here!

    He went back to where the rest of his family were still living, Hawkesbury, Ontario.

    Living with a family member possibly Robert Harvey his son.

    On June Twenty-third, in the year Nineteen Hundred and Three, Francis Harvey died.

    His son Robert Harvey was the informant on the death record and it stated disability as being the cause of death.

    Francis Harvey was buried in the Barb Protestant Cemetery.  The Barb Cemetery is located on County Road 10, in East Hawkesbury Twp., Prescott Co, ON and about 3.5 km East of Hwy 417, and about 0.5 km West of St Paul’s Anglican Church. It is hidden in amongst many trees on the South side of the county road.

    In closing we can’t help but wonder what his family thought of him being away for most of their lives, if they resented how he lived his life or if they ever understood his need to explore and claim untouched land and be a part of the birth of a new village.  We still don’t know if any of them other than Agnes ever came to Dorset even just for a visit.

    But we do feel that Francis Harvey must have loved his life here.

    While searching for information on his life we found a few family members doing the same on Ancestry.  We thought we may have had  some family photos sent to us but they haven’t materialized yet.  We remain hopeful.

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