Muskoka Mills, located near the Georgian Bay, began as a sawmill operation during the mid 1850s. On the negative side, a series of ongoing financial problems plagued the mill for many years.
By 1867, when the mill finally reopened after several shutdowns, there was a small company town site that contained about 20 company homes. Consequently, as production increased, the townsite expanded to include additional dwellings, a two-storey schoolhouse and a company store. A post office followed in 1875. By the 1890s, the population peaked at around 250.
Unfortunately for Muskoka Mills, dark clouds were looming on the horizon. The mill had been dumping sawdust into the surrounding lakes and streams for years, which eventually decimated the spawning beds of the local fish population. The government finally laid charges in 1884 following repeated complaints.
In 1895 the company simply shut down the operation and walked away. By 1896 there was nothing left except debris and the old structures. Spontaneous combustion gradually consumed the townsite over the next few years. This was likely the result of sawdust generating heat while slowly decomposing within a packed and humid environment.
Today little remains at the overgrown site other than some rotten timber, a few cellar holes, and a great deal of sawdust. The site is not currently accessible by road. Learn more