Monday, January 27, 2014

Floating General Stores

So you’ve arrived at your Muskoka cottage for the summer with trunks of supplies for the two or three months you‘ll spend there. Clothes for all activities and weathers, the latest gramophone records, tennis and golfing gear, a collection of books to enlighten and entertain, sacks of flour and other staples were deposited - along with your family and servants - at your dock by a steamship. But how do you obtain fresh foods or sundries when you’re on an island or far from a community?

Supply boats like the Newminko were floating general stores that came by two or three times a week to the cottagers’ docks.  The kids delighted in choosing their candy bars or other treats when Mother or Cook had finished their purchases. Local farmers might also deliver milk and eggs daily, while Indians encamped for the summer at Port Carling brought freshly caught fish.

Blocks of ice cut by the locals from the lake in winter were stored in your icehouse – one of the essential outbuildings - and used as needed to keep food from spoiling, and to make ice-cream or cool your drinks on a sweltering summer day.

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