We hope that you have all had an enjoyable and restful summer. At least we have been spared the western drought and the rainfall has been the right amount to support all the crops and keep the lawns lush and green. My own lawn is usually burnt out by the end of summer. While at my cottage I came across a fascinating document about a voyage made by Pierre Radisson to the headwaters of the Mississippi River In 1658. On his return, a dispute with the French authorities, over illegal trading, led him to join the English in the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company. On this earlier journey he described the traditional route up the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers through Lake Nipissing and down the French River to Lake Huron. What interested me, however, was his reference to West Bay of Lake Nipissing where my cottage is located:
“The upper end of it is full of islands, where there is not time lost to wander about, finding therewith all to make kettle boyle with venison, great bears, castors and fishes which are plenty in that place….The place where we weare is a bay full of rocks [and] small isles…with an infinite number of fishes, which are seen in water so crystal clear. That is the reason of so many otters that lives onley upon fish.”
Well, there are plenty of beaver in the area and I have had a few otter swim by from time to time. I have also had the occasional deer and even a bear on my island but the fishes not so much, although fishermen regularly try their luck if they are willing to face the multitude of islets and immovable rocks still there and capable of holing a modern craft as easily as a birchbark canoe.
PROGRAMME In conjunction with the Simcoe County Historical Association and the Barrie Legion our fall programme has now been finalized.
1. On Tuesday, September 22 , 7:30 pm, at the Simcoe County Museum, Donna Wice and Marj Mossman of the Innisfil Historical Society will give a presentation on the paddle wheel steamer Emily May and their successful campaign to have Lake Simcoe officially designated as a “Heritage Lake.” This is more significant from a publicity point of view but it is necessary to maintain public awareness in support of efforts to preserve and restore the integrity of a body of water that has played such an important role in the history of Barrie and Simcoe County.
2. On Tuesday October 20, 7:30 pm, at the Simcoe County Museum, Patricia Watson will address us on the writing of her recent novel “Princes in the Wilderness.” This is a work of historical fiction based on the fascinating history of the Dale family of Tecumseth township.
3. Our final meeting for 2015 will be on Tuesday November 17 at the Barrie Legion, 7:30 pm, for a presentation by Major John Fisher on the history of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, a regiment that will be celebrating its 150th anniversary next year. Over that time it has always been very much a part of the story of the town of Barrie. Major Fisher, I am sure, will have much to relate to us.
Annual General Meeting: We concluded the year with another successful Annual General Meeting on May 12. The speaker was Cian Horrabin from the Monarchist League. Rather than recounting the travails of the royal family he gave us a thoughtful presentation and reminder of not just the symbols of the monarchy that remain part of our history but also the debt we owe for the foundations of our social, legal and political systems that are derived from the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom. This was an enjoyable evening with a delicious meal prepared once again by the ladies and men of the Midhurst United Church.
Memberships: With our declining membership we have found it necessary to raise our fee for next year to $20 for a single or a family. For a couple this means no change from our present fee of $10 per person. However, given our present financial situation any additional donation by a couple would be appreciated. At present our operating expenses are about $1200 a year and our revenue has only been about $400 a year, leaving a deficit of $800 a year. Obviously we cannot go on like this if we hope to remain in operation. I urge everyone to rejoin the BHA. The present Executive has agreed to continue for this year but we need your support. Memberships can be renewed by mailing to Jim Willis at 94 Lillian Crescent, Barrie ON L4N 5H7. You can also renew through Paypal on the BHA website.