Historical Plaques of
Nipissing District

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The next plaque was sent in by Dave Crawford


Location: North Bay, Algonquin & Jane St.'s

Algonquin Regiment

In memory of the officers and men of the Algonquin Regiment who gave their lives in service to Canada


Location: North Bay, Main West @ Harriet St.

North Face (front):

Jacques Cartier
E'rige' par le cercle
Canadien - Francais
La Fe'de'ration des Femmes
Canadiennes - Francaise

East face:
25e anniversaire
de la Fondation De La FFCF
West face:
La Societe' Historique Du Nippising
Commemore la Fe^te De La Saint-Jean-Baptiste
Organise'e Par La Federation Des Femmes
Canadiennes-Francaises en collaboration
avec Les Originismes Francophones De La Region
22 Juin 80 21 Juin 81 20 Juin 82

These next 2 plaques were sent in by Nelda Hawes


Location: H-Way #17, near the pond where the former
portages began, about 4kms east of North Bay

The historic La Vase (Mud) portages began at the head of
the nearby pond. These three portages, connecting Trout Lake
and the lower La Vase River, were linked by small navigable
streams and ponds. They formed part of the great canoe route
via the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers, Lake Nipissing and the
French River, leading to the upper Great Lakes and the West,
which was followed by the early explorers, missionaries and
fur traders. Among many famous men who passed here were:
Etienne Brûlé, 1610; Samuel de Champlain, 1615;
Pierre de la Vérendrye, 1731; Alexander Henry, 1761;
and Sir Alexander MacKenzie, 1802.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Site of former post, Explorer's Point,
H-Way #533, just north of Mattawa

Trading in furs at this junction of historic canoe routes probably began during the Frencg regime. At intervals during the 1820's and 1830's Chief Trader John Siveright, commanding the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Fort Coulonge, sent men to trade at Mattawa. In 1837, primarily to counteract trading by lumbermen, the company established a permanent post there. Its original site was chosen by the company's governor, George Simpson, but before 1843 it was moved to this point. In later years, faced with diminishing fur trade, the post supplied its former rivals the lumbermen and turned to general trade in the community which grew around it. Mattawa House was closed in 1908.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board

This next plaque was sent in by Mary Crandall


Location: by dock at Portage Store, Canoe lake, Algonquin Park



This distinguished painter was born in Claremont, Ontario and grew up near Owen Sound. While working as a photo-engraver in Toronto, he met some of the artists who later formed the Group of Seven. They encouraged him to pursue a career in art and he, in turn, introruced them to the north county and exercised a profound influence on their work. From 1912, Thomson visited Algonquin Park where the colours and moods captured his imagination. Before his death on this lake he had developed a bold new way of depicting our wilderness and had given Canadians a unique artistic heritage. Many of his greatest works were inspired within a few miles of this site.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: In front of the Tourist Info Ctr., Regina & Main Sts., North Bay

In 1900 the Ontario Government ordered a survey for a railway from North Bay to the head of Lake Timiskaming to encourage settlement and provide access to mineral deposits. Construction of the Timiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway began in 1902, and the following year silver and cobalt were discovered in what was to become the Cobalt mining field. By 1908 the main line had reached the site of Cochrane, and branch lines were built to other new mining areas. Between 1928-32 the railway was extended to Moosonee on James Bay. Renamed the Ontario Northland Railway in 1940, this provincially-owned line was primarily responsible for the development of northeastern Ontario.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: Trinity United Church, McIntyre & Ferguson Sts., North Bay

A zealous Methodist missionary descended from an early New England family, Huntington was born in Kemptville. With his ordination in 1854 he commenced a long Christian ministry, serving various congregations in eastern Ontario and Quebec until 1882 when he was posted to Mattawa. Using this mission as a base, Huntington travelled extensively, visiting outlying settlements and work camps along the CPR as far west as Schreiber. Reputedly the first Protestant missionary to reach many northern communities, he is credited with establishing several pastoral charges, including this congregation formed in 1882. His unflagging energy and magnetic personality gained him immense popularity and respect throughout the north, and in 1960 Huntington University, now Huntington College in Laurentian University Sudbury, was named in his honour.

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


Location: In Lee Park, Memorial Dr., North Bay

Born in France about 1598, this explorer, fur trader and interpreter came to Canada in 1618. Under orders from Samuel de Champlain, he spent the following two years with the Algonguins of Allumette Island. He was then sent to the Nipissing Indians of this area and dwelt among them for at least eight years, learning their language, adopting their customs, and strengthening their alliance with the French. Nicolet is generally credited with the discovery of Lake Michigan which he explored as far south as the head of Green Bay in 1634. He later settled in Trois Rivières and was drowned in the St. Lawrence in 1642.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: At the Champlain Bridge Lookout, First St., (H-Way 17), Sturgeon Falls

The development of Sturgeon Falls began in 1881 with the arrival of Canadian Pacific Railway construction teams and the opening of a post office. About a year earlier the community's first permanent settler James Holditch, had acquired land here on the Sturgeon River about two miles north-east of a former Hudson's Bay Company post, which he later purchased. The erection of sawmills and the rapid growth of the lumbering and pulp-paper industries stimulated the development of the village and attracted many French-Canadian settlers to the area. Some of the most prominent were Joseph Michaud, Zotique Mageau, Georges L'évesque, J. D. Cockburn and J. A. Lévis. In 1895, with a population of about 850, Sturgeon Falls was incorporated as a Town.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Ministry of Colleges and Universities


Location: St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, 38 Main St., Verner


1848 - 1926

Born in Kamouraska County, Quebec, Paradis studied at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière College and taught art in Ottawa. Following his ordination in 1881 he was posted to Lake Timiskaming as missionary of the Oblate Congregation. Paradis' travels as a missionary provided information for his pamphlet "From Temiskaming to Hudson Bay". In it he strongly recommended the colonization of the region. After leaving the Congregation in 1890, he encouraged many French-Canadian farm families from Michigan to settle in the region of Verner and took up farming himself. An enterprising individual, he prospected for gold at Nighthawk Lake, wrote, painted in water colour and worked on the compilation of an Ojibwa dictionary. He died in Montreal on May 10, 1926.

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

The next plaque was sent in by Gus Knierim


Location: Near the site of the former Post, Bear Island, Lake Temagami,
located at the docks where the old Hudson Bay Company post was located

The first Hudson's Bay post on Lake Timagami was established on the south shore of Timagami Island in 1834 under Chief Trader Richard Hardisty, the father-in-law of Lord Strathcona. It was essentially an outpost of the Company's larger establishment on Lake Timiskaming in the Ottawa Valley. Temagami (originally Timagami) was not a large centre of trade and, in its early days, was abandoned several times. However, in these instances the consequent establishment of rival traders induced the Company to reopen the post. In the 1870's it was moved to this site on Bear Island.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: On the NE corner of Main Street (County Road 533) and Mattawan Street, Mattawa

Here, when the canoe was the principal means of travel, exploreres, voyageurs, missionaries and others bound for the West, left the Ottawa River and followed the Mattawa River to Lake Nipissing, the French River and the upper Great Lakes. For over 200 years the Mattawa River formed part of the route linking the St. Lawrence River settlements with the vast interior of the continent. Among the historic figures who passed here were: Samuel De Champlain, 1615, Jean Nicolet, 1620, fathers Brébeuf, 1626, and Lalemant, 1648, Radisson and Groseilliers, 1685, La Vérendrye, 1731, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, 1794, and David Thompson, 1812.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: At Finlayson Point Provincial Park, off Highway 11, about 1.5 km south of Temagami

GREY OWL 1888-1938
As a youth in England, Archibald Belaney was fascinated with wildlife and tales of North American Indians. At seventeen he came to Canada and soon began living among the Ojibwa on Bear Island. He adopted native dress and customs and worked as a woodsman, fire ranger and trapper in north eastern Ontario. In the 1920s Belaney became concerned that the lumber industry and sportsmen were plundering the northern wilderness and threatening the survival of native culture. He took the name Grey Owl (Wa-Sha Quon-Asin) and turned his efforts to conservation, pleading for recognition of "the natural brotherhood between man and animals". Grey owl gained international fame as a writer and public speaker.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: Outside the Visitor Centre on the south side of Highway 60 about
18 km west of the Madawaska River bridge in Whitney

Established in 1893, Algonquin was the first provincial park in Canada and the forerunner of Ontario's extensive park system. Many methods now used across Canada to administer multi-purpose parks and explain nature to the public were developed here. Algonquin also became a focus for discussion of seemingly conflicting objectives, such as wilderness protection versus recreation promotion; forest conservation versus logging activity. Its rugged lakeshores and wooded slopes have long attracted many artists and outdoor enthusiasts, fostering intense affection for the Park across the province and the nation.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: At the lookout tower on the eastern rim of the crater on Brent Road
32 km south of Highway 17 2 km east of Ferry Lane in Deux-Rivières on Highway 17

First recognized in 1951 from aerial photographs, the crater is a circular depression about 3 km in diameter formed in Precambrian crystalline rocks. Geophysical and diamond drilling investigations show that the crater has a present depth of about 427 metres but is partly filled by sedimentary rocks with a thickness of 274 metres. The rocks beneath the crater floor are thoroughly fragmented over a depth of 610 metres. Like the similar New Quebec (Chubb) crater, the Brent crater is attributed to the high speed impact of a giant meteorite. It is calculated that the impact released energy equaling 250 megatons of TNT and occurred about 450 million years ago when this area was probably covered by a shallow sea.

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


Location: On the north side of Main Street (Road 533) just west of
the Mattawa River bridge, Mattawa

Francophone settlement rapidly increased in the Mattawa area with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1881. During construction of the rail line, the local economy benefitted from the presence of thousands of French-Canadian workers, some of whom were accompanied by their families. Once the railway was operational, the local lumber industry expanded and Mattawa prospered as a community, a supply and transportation hub, and a lumber depot. Development was also stimulated in the towns to the west of Mattawa along the CPR line - Eau Claire, Bonfield, Astorville and Corbeil - communities that also benefitted from significant numbers of French-Canadian settlers during the 1880s. These people brought with them their unique culture and heritage, and left a lasting Francophone legacy in this area of Ontario.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On a cairn in front of a building on the northeast corner of
Main Street (Road 533) and Mattawan Street, Mattawa

When west-bound voyageurs left the Ottawa here at Mattawa, "the forks," they faced 11 portages in the next 64 km. The Mattawa, or Petite-Rivière, was a key link in the historic canoe route between Montreal and the upper Great Lakes and the Northwest, for its headwaters are separated from Lake Nipissing and the Lake Huron drainage only by the La Vase portages. This route had already been used for millennia by Indians before it was first seen by Europeans in the early 17th century. For more than 200 years thereafter, it was one of Canada's main highways of exploration and commerce.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada