I had entered the Take Another Chance Challenge for this year's challenge; and as such, I have finally gotten around to reading my first book for it. I mapped out what I was hoping to read in an earlier post, and am sticking to it so far.
This book falls under the category "Genre Switch-Up" otherwise known as Challenge #6. I didn't realize that if anyone takes up this challenge they will be entered into a draw to win a book of their choice from Amazon for $25 or less. Every challenge has a different difficulty level, and are rated accordingly... For the easier challenges you can win 1 ballot into the draw, and for the harder challenges you can get 2 entries into the draw. I just saw the word challenge and was hooked. In saying that, this Challenge is worth 1 entry.
To participate in this challenge, I needed to read a book from a genre far removed from what I normally read. In saying this, I chose local history as I rarely if ever read non-fiction, and I never read about history. (Other than when I was in school). I picked up Ghost Town Stories of Ontario by Maria Da Silva and Andrew Hind.
I first saw this book when I was browsing the library catalogue. I immediately was interested because I hadn't heard of any of the places listed in the book.
I thought it was great that the authors thought to put driving directions at the head of each chapter so if anyone wanted to visit the "ghost town" they could do so. All of the towns in this book are within a day's drive (round-trip) from the Greater Toronto Area. Right off the bat, the first town listed is Ballycroy. I started reading the directions on how to get there and was startled to see that I actually knew whereabouts this town was. I had driven past the area when driving home from Orangeville one day.
The book goes on to list 9 different towns. Most of them were logging communities that fell to the wayside when the mills burned down, or when the area became over-drawn. One town actually had it's own "gold rush" before it was realized that it was actually iron pyrite or fool's gold. It still was a gorgeous area named Eugenia Falls. Another community was named Kerr Lake and it was known for its silver-mines. The only "town" that capitalized on fishing was The McCoys. The McCoys were only accessible by boat, and they are a chain of small islands off of Georgian Bay. The largest of these islands was named Big McCoy. Over-fishing made this area a ghost town/village pretty quickly.
As with some ghost towns, there are ghost stories associated with the towns. As such, at the end of each chapter, there is a spot where they mention the local ghost lore. The towns inhabited by said ghosts are Ballycroy, Glenville, The McCoys, Eugenia Falls, and Kerr Lake. Many are said to be haunted by those that met horrific and untimely deaths. Eugenia Falls is said to be haunted by a woman and her murdering husband. The ghostly spectre of the husband allegedly tries to drag the unwary into the watery depths and drown them. The McCoys is haunted allegedly by a malevolent spirit who walks the island mourning and howling. All of the ghost stories are backed up with tales from people who had visited the areas and had their own first-hand experience with said spirits.
This was such an interesting read, and it was neat to fall back in time to when these towns were bustling with energy. I encourage everyone to pick up a genre that they don't normally read. What you choose may surprise you and may just become your new favourite read.
Title: Ghost Town Stories of Ontario
Authors: Maria Da Silva, Andrew Hind
Genre: Non-Fiction, Local History, Canadian
Publisher: James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
My Rating: 5/5
This book counts toward the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge over at J. Kaye's book blog.
This book counts toward the Take Another Chance Challenge over at Find Your Next Book Here.