It’s Wayback Wednesday, sponsored by Jamie Lockwood, broker/owner of Sutton Group Muskoka Realty!
Highway 11 traffic once passed beneath this archway, which was located in Huntsville’s west end. The Highway 11 bypass didn’t open until November 27, 1959.
Note the people standing in the back of the red vehicle heading into town. We’re not sure what they’re up to but it wouldn’t be allowed today!
When the arch was built in 1932, the Department of Highways provided road signs identifying all the towns along on highways in southern Ontario, but communities in Muskoka were left to their own devices. The idea for the archway came from Harold Briggs, chairman of the publicity committee of the Huntsville Board of Trade. Local families were invited to contribute stones for its pillars.
The archway was officially opened by Mayor J. Frank Kelly in July 1932. The inscription read, “Huntsville, Lake of Bays – Summer and Winter Vacationland”. The Town of Bracebridge objected to Huntsville calling itself the Gateway to Lake of Bays, claiming that it was easier to get to Lake of Bays via Bracebridge, but the the Grand Trunk and Canadian National Railways had already been advertising Huntsville as the Gateway to Lake of Bays.
In July 1958, a truck carrying a bulky load struck the heavy steel beam that joined the pillars and knocked it from its moorings. An oil company had been pleading with town council for years to widen the arch or remove it because trucks could not get through town. Following the accident, the archway was removed.
(Photo courtesy of Vintage Muskoka District / Facebook, details from Huntsville: With Spirit and Resolve by Susan Pryke)
See more Wayback Wednesday photos here.
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