Historical Plaques of
Kenora District

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The next plaque was sent in by the McRae Family;
Tom, Cathy, Sarah, Daniel, Matthew, Alexander and Nick

PLAQUE #1


Location: In small park between the Provincial Registry building at
220 Main Street South and the Lake of the Woods Museum

ONTARIO BOUNDARY DISPUTE
When the Province of Ontario was established in 1867, no defined boundary separated it from the Hudson's Bay Company lands to the north and west. Canada's acquisition of these lands in 1869 raised the issue of provincial and federal jurisdictions and the ensuing dispute was submitted to arbitration. In 1878 a decision favourable to Ontario placed the western boundary at its present location and the northern at the English and Albany Rivers. The federal government rejected the award and in 1881 involved Manitoba by ruling that its eastern limit would be Ontario's still undetermined western boundary. The dispute was settled in 1884 when the Privy Council in Britain upheld the 1878 award.

Erected by the Archeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario

The next plaque was sent in by Linda Huckell

PLAQUE #2


Location: at McLeod Park on the Winnipeg River, Hwy 17,
1 km West of the Kenora harbourfront

RAT PORTAGE POST
On Old Fort Island a half mile north of here, the Hudson’s Bay Company erected a stockaded fur trading post about 1836. This was the first known European structure within present Kenora. In 1861 the post was moved to the mainland, where it formed the nucleus of the community of Rat Portage. Situated on the main canoe route to the West, the post was visited by many persons prominent in Canada’s history, including Sir George Simpson, Sir John Henry Lefroy, Paul Kane, Captain John Palliser, Simon James Dawson and Colonel Garnet Wolseley. The post which in its later years became a general store was closed in 1918.

Erected by the Ontario Archeological and Historical Sites Board

PLAQUE #3


Location: In Hudson on the north side of Main Street (Highway 664) just before its end

CANADA'S PIONEER AIRLINES
In February, 1926, J.V. Elliot and Harold Farrington, each flying a Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" made the first in a series of passenger flights from here to the isolated Red lake mining district. The following month, a Curtiss "Lark" flown by H.A. ("Doc") Oaks inaugurated a regular service from Sioux Lookout to Red Lake. That December Oaks organized Western Canada Airways, whose aircraft were based at Hudson. One of the earliest airlines in Canada, it was the first to maintain year-round operations. With its predecessors and with Starratt Airways, organized here in 1932 by R.W. Starratt, it laid the groundwork for commercial aviation in Canada and greatly stimulated northern development.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historical Sites Board

PLAQUE #4


Location: On the waterfront near a set of flags off Bernier Drive, Kenora

THE KENORA THISTLES
1907
In January, 1907, a hockey team from Kenora, comprising
     E. Girouz (goal),           A.H. Ross (point), 
     S.I. Griffis (cover point), T. Hooper (rover), 
     W. McGimsie (centre),       R. Beaudro (right wing)
     and T. Phillips (captain and left wing), 
defeated the Montreal Wanderers in two challenge games at Montreal to win the Stanley Cup. The team was coached and trained by J.A. Link. The Trophy, emblematic of the Canadian championship, had been presented by the Governor General, Baron Stanley of Preston, in 1892. Kenora is the smallest town ever to win the Cup.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historical Sites Board

PLAQUE #5


Location: At the pull-off at Little Joe Lake, Highway 17, 37 km west of Vermillion Bay

LAST SPIKE AT FEIST LAKE
In the 1870s, Canada needed a reliable all-Canadian transportation route between Lake Superior and the western prairie territories it acquired in 1869. After promising a rail connection to British Columbia, the federal government started to build a railway between Thunder Bay and Red River in 1875. It took seven years to complete the 600 kilometre (375 mile) line. Thousands of workers battled mosquitoes and blackflies as they cut trees, blasted granite, bridged chasms and filled in muskeg. On June 19, 1882, the last spike was driven just south of here near Feist lake. The line was transferred to the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway, which delivered the first shipment of western grain to Thunder Bay in the fall of 1883.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario

PLAQUE #6


Location: At the junction of Highways 105 and 125, southeast of Red Lake

FOUNDING OF RED LAKE
MINING DISTRICT
In 1924, two years after a discovery of gold by Gus McManus, the Ontario Department of Mines published a geological report on this district. Prospecting was thus encouraged and in 1925 claims were staked by Lorne Howey and George McNeely. Financed through the efforts of Jack Hammell, Howey Gold Mines was incorporated in 1926 and production began in 1930. Although it ceased operations in 1941, successful mines were developed elsewhere within this region by other organizations, and by the end of 1961, gold valued at over $200,000,000 had been extracted from the Red Lake district. a unique feature in this isolated region's early development was the extensive use of year-round aerial transportation.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historical Sites Board

PLAQUE #7


Location: On the north side of Main Street between First and Second Streets, Kenora

ONTARIO BOUNDARY DISPUTE
When the Province of Ontario was established in 1867, no defined boundary separated it from the Hudson's Bay Company lands to the north and west. Canada's acquisition of these lands in 1869 raised the issue of provincial and federal jurisdictions and the ensuing dispute was submitted to arbitration. In 1878 a decision favourable to Ontario placed the western boundary at its present location and the northern at the English and Albany Rivers. The federal government rejected the award and in 1881 involved Manitoba by ruling that its eastern limit would be Ontario's still undetermined western boundary. The dispute was settled in 1884 when the Privy Council in Britain upheld the 1878 award.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario

PLAQUE #8


Location: On the grounds of a church at the north end of Matheson Street South, Kenora

REVEREND ALBERT LACOMBE, O.M.I.
1827-1916
Born at St. Sulpice, Quebec, and ordained in 1849, Father Lacombe took up mission work at Fort Edmonton in 1852. The following year he founded Ste. Anne, first of several Oblate missions he established in what is now Alberta. He won the confidence of the region's Indians and, on occasion, averted serious inter-tribal warfare. Father Lacombe ministered to C.P.R. construction crews, 1880-82, from mission headquarters at Rat Portage (Kenora), where he began construction of a church in 1881. He helped restrain the Blackfoot Indians from joining the Northwest rebellion of 1885, and did much to ease the impact of white settlement on the Indians and Métis of the prairies. He died in Calgary, Alberta.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario

PLAQUE #9


Location: On the south side of Highway 17, in a pull-off east of the bridge to Keewatin, Kenora

THE WOLSELEY EXPEDITION 1870
In August, 1870, a force of British regulars and Canadian militia comprising some 1,200 men commanded by Colonel Garnet Wolseley, arrived in this area en route to the Red River to establish Canadian authority within the present province of Manitoba. The previous year the Hudson's Bay Company had agreed to transfer control of its western territories to Canada, and some local inhabitants, fearing loss of their lands and interference with their mode of existence, had set up a provisional government under Louis Riel to press their claims on the Dominion. The expedition had disembarked at Prince Arthur's Landing on Lake Superior and travelling by land and water reached Fort Garry on August 24.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation

PLAQUE #10


Location: In a picnic area on the east side of Highway 72, about 5 km south of Sioux Lookout

UMFREVILLE'S EXPLORATION 1784
A fur trader, Edward Umfreville, passed here in July, 1784. He had been commissioned by the North West Company to discover an alternative to the traditional canoe route to the West via the Grand Portage and Pigeon River, which had come under American control. Leaving Lake Superior, he ascended the Nipigon River and struck westward from Lake Nipigon via an intricate course which included the Wabinosh River, Sturgeon Lake, Lac Seul and the English River. He reached the junction of the English and Winnipeg Rivers on July 23. Umfreville's favourable opinion of this route was not shared by the Nor'Westers, who ultimately adopted the long-disused Kaministiquin route, rediscovered in 1798 by Roderick McKenzie.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board

PLAQUE #11


Location: On the northeast shore of White Otter Lake, southwest of Ignace and northwest of Atikokan

WHITE OTTER CASTLE
Woodsman Jimmy McOuat completed this house in 1915 when he was sixty years old. Ever since people have wondered why and how he built it. McOuat claimed that as a child in the Ottawa valley he was once scolded "Ye'll never do no good! Ye'll die in a shack!" and that he resolved late in life to avoid such a fate. Single-handedly he felled trees, winched them from the woods, and hewed them square. With block and tackle he raised massive logs onto platforms and into place. Roofing and windows were hauled in across fifteen portages from Ignace. McOuat drowned nearby in 1918, leaving this wilderness mansion as his monument.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario

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