Farmers, Fishers, Hunters and Trades — Indigenous Communities on Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay: Discovering A Unique North American Ecosystem
Ronald F. Williamson and Martin Cooper

Discover the marvel that is Georgian Bay, its hidden history, its storied rock, culture, and the fragile nature that abounds here.

The Bay has been home to Indigenous people for thousands of years. Samuel Champlain canoed it in 1615 marveling at its maze of islands. The Bay was a significant part of the fur trade and the lumber business and a place that attracted new farmer-settlers who would find both solace and sorrow among the beautiful but unforgiving Canadian Shield rock.

This book is a project of the Georgian Bay Land Trust (GBLT) which recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Edited by award-winning geologist and best-selling author, Nick Eyles, the text and pictures have been selected from a wide-ranging group of scientists, historians, artists, writers, photographers, and people who are passionate about preservation of this unique ecosystem.

Founder Ronald F. Williamson and Senior Associate Martin Cooper collaborated on a chapter focused on the Indigenous history of the Georgian Bay area, which is attached below.



Winner of the 2017 Chalmers Award for Ontario History

“‘Impressive’ . . . ‘Compelling’. . . ‘Seductive’. . . With such comments, the Champlain Society’s Chalmers Award Committee gave unanimous approval to a beautifully illustrated compendium of essays on Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay: Discovering A Unique North American Ecosystem, edited by Nick Eyles, takes the reader on a two billion year journey through geological time to reveal the complex and singular ecosystem that is often called the Sixth Great Lake. The book tells the story of the clash between water and rocks and the myriad ways that flora and fauna have adapted and flourished along the Bay?s windswept shores and its many thousands of offshore islands. Individual chapters focus on life on the land, in the air above and in the water beneath the wide-mouthed bay. Maps, charts, stunning photographs old and new, complement the clear-eyed prose. And then there are the stories of the peoples of the Bay with their varying histories, triumphs and failures. First Nations, traders and settlers all receive appropriate attention. Special regard is given to the colourful history of Collingwood, and the art of Georgian Bay before and after the Group of Seven’s iconic work.

In short, the book enriches our appreciation of the constantly interacting aquatic and terrestrial spaces that characterize this massive and monumental region of Ontario. Congratulations to the Georgian Bay Land Trust who sponsored it and to editor Nick Eyles and all the contributors for a book which will delight scholars, general readers, and visitors as well as all those fortunate enough to live along the shores of the Bay.”
— Chalmers Award jury

Additional Documents