Port Sandfield



Formed in 1870 and named in honour of then Premier of Ontario John Sandfield MacDonald, Port Sandfield is a charming community between Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph, originally founded in conjunction with a canal constructed to connect the two lakes. First President and founder of the Muskoka Settlers’ Association, and a member of Ontario Provincial Parliament, Alexander Peter Cockburn was instrumental in developing plans for the canal, as well as securing funding to see the project through completion. With the Port Sandfield canal completed at roughly the same time as the locks at Port Carling, steamships were now able to carry cargo, timber, mail, and passengers unhindered over the three largest lakes in Muskoka. This led ultimately to an influx of both tourists and settlers, which in turn revealed the need for a bridge over the new canal. In 1876, the first bridge across the Port Sandfield canal was completed. Eight years later, in response to Muskoka’s growing tourist industry, Enoch Cox founded the Prospect House, a posh summer resort. Following an economic downturn, the canal fell into disuse and neglect, yet it was restored to its former glory in 1999. Built in 1924 and impeccably maintained to this day, the historic swing bridge over the Port Sandfield canal is the oldest of its kind in Ontario, and a proud landmark of Muskoka’s rich history.