Muskoka Post Staff
The character of the town of Bracebridge is shaped by its proximity to Lake Muskoka to which it is connected by 6 miles of the Muskoka River, and by the promise of abundant water power afforded by the great waterfall at the foot of the downtown.
Early growth of the town occurred in proximity to the falls which powered the first factory. The arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway celebrations mented the town's role as a transportation hub for the area.
Modern settlement of the town began in the 1860s, beginning at first with a few log huts. The Muskoka colonization road had been completed to the first falls on the north branch of the Muskoka River by 1862. Entrepreneurs began to take advantage of the area's water power. With the advent of steamship service on Lake Muskoka a few years later, Bracebridge prospered as the main distribution centre for the region.
By 1869, Bracebridge was a village with a population of 160 in the Township of Macaulay, Victoria County (In 1868 Macauley and six additional townships had been detached from the County and transferred to the new District of Muskoka, but were not withdrawn for municipal purposes until 1877.) The village was established on the Muskoka River.
There were stages in winter and boats in summer from Barrie to Washago. The average price of wild land was $2 to $5 an acre while improved land was $10 per acre.
By 1870 the village had a population of about 400, growing to reach a total of about 2,000 by the turn of the 20th century. The village was incorporated in 1875 and became a town under an Act of Parliament in 1889.
In 1894 Bracebridge became the first town in Ontario to have its own hydro generating station. In 1971 Macaulay Township was merged into Bracebridge.
With files from Wikipedia