Saturday, 31 December 2016

Total Pageviews at the end of the year 2016 = 109,275

A very big Thank You to all the readers from around the world.
A record 28, 462 Pageviews  for the year 2016 that is up a thousand over last year.
Lost my "create a new post" button for a while... just found it again.
Very exciting year at the Nipigon Museum (2016) with some visitors arranging to come for a visit from California and England and Southern Ontario. A family from China. A couple from Brazil. A few Tour Buses. ( Tour Buses are welcome ...if we know in advance we can bring in extra guides)
The Nipigon Museum will open on request through-out the year.

Monday, 21 November 2016


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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

WALLEYE Conclusion

WALLEYE Conclusion

From: The Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for Environment Canada

By: Terry Marshall, Marshall Consulting

March 31, 2013

I am skipping over the next 14 pages of the Report which covers the following topics:

Recent Research, assessment and monitoring studies:

Genetics of stocks

Telemetry studies: seasonal movements and habitat use ( they want to continue this study to see if there really are two distinct spawning populations)

Walleye spawning observations and drift netting Nipigon River

Walleye and Northern Pike abundance: Lake Helen

Fish Community assessment Lake Helen

Electrofishing surveys: Nipigon Bay and River

Fish Community Index Netting: Nipigon Bay

Walleye Population assessment: Nipigon Bay


Reference sites

Recovery of collapsed populations

In all cases, rainbow smelt were also present in these water bodies which is an important consideration  if making comparisons.  The Nipigon Bay East area has the greatest biomass of rainbow smelt documented in Canadian Waters of Lake Superior (Yule et al 2008).  The species was also found to be generally of larger body size in this part of the lake.  The presence of a large and abundant prey such as rainbow smelt has a positive influence on walleye growth energetics.  In Western U.S. reservoirs, growth rate increases once rainbow smelt became a large part of walleye diet [Johnson and Goetti 1999; Groeb et all 2008]. On the other hand, rainbow smelt may also compete with and prey on age-0 walleye which in some instances can significantly reduce their density [Mercedes-Silva et al 2007].




Walleye Population status

1.       Abundance remains low – approx. 5000 Lake Helen

2.       Density is increasing

3.       Growth rates are very high

4.       Mortality is very low


Walleye Habitat status


Information needs ;

Genetic analysis of stocks

Population monitoring and assessment


If genetic analysis determines that two discrete populations exist, the size of each must be determined independently.



There have been many changes in the 50+ years since Ryder’s [1956] early studies and the collapse of the walleye fishery in Nipigon Bay.  There have been drastic shifts in the composition of the aquatic community, along with significant improvements to nearshore habitat within the Bay, and recent changes to the thermal properties of the area brought about by climate warming.  Together , these present a new environment for walleye to which they continue to adapt. This process appears to have promoted the development of two separate stocks of walleye in the Nipigon system.


We have a new  population [or two] of walleye here today, different from the historic population in terms of its genetics, its spawning behaviour, and its annual movement patterns and use of habitat.  This population is thought to be at a relatively low level of abundance compared with historic estimates, but quite healthy in all other respects.  Growth rates are rapid and mortality is low.  Together these traits suggest that large, rapidly maturing fish are present and have the potential to produce quantities of offspring in the future.  Clean, high quality substrate is available in unobstructed spawning areas in both Nipigon and Jackfish rivers and it not constraining recovery.


On the basis of this evidence, it is recommended that the BUI status of the walleye population and their habitat in the Nipigon Bay AOC be updated to “ Not impaired”.


The 40,000 fish target for Walleye recovery may never be achieved in light of all the changes observed in this ecosystem [Colby 2007].  All that can be done to accomplish this has been done.  Maintaining fishing mortality at a low level will help the walleye population expand to achieve its new equilibrium.

Friday, 28 October 2016

WALLEYE Rehabilitation Efforts

WALLEYE Rehabilitation Efforts

From The Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for Environment Canada

By Terry Marshall, Marshall Consulting

March 313, 2013

In 1991, the historic loss and continued low abundance of walleye in Nipigon Bay was identified as a Beneficial Use Impairment [BUI] in the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan [RAP] Stage 1 document [Cullis et al 1991].  Through the RAP process, multiple actions were identified and implemented in an effort to restore walleye in the Nipigon River including the stocking of adult walleye [Cullis et al 1995]. The Nipigon River walleye stock was later recognized as one of 14 priority areas for walleye rehabilitation around Lake Superior in “ A Rehabilitation Plan for Walleye Populations and Habitats in Lake Superior” [Hoff 2002].


A stocking plan was initiated in 1978 as an approach to rehabilitate the walleye population of Nipigon Bay and continued until 1992 [Wilson 1991]. Initially eggs were stocked, then fingerlings and fry, and finally adult walleye were transferred into the bay.

The source of eggs for the stocking program varied through the years, but included Current River, Onaman Lake, and Lake Nipigon.  Stocking sites included Jackfish River, Condon Island and three sites on the Nipigon River: the Lake Helen access, the highway bridge, and the river mouth.

An adult stocking program began in 1986, with 2,686 fish transferred from Savanne Lake over a four year period.  A further 12,100 fish were obtained from Lac des Mille Lac, Georgia Lake and Lake Nipigon and stocked in the bay from 1990 to 1992 [Wilson et al 2007]. ( and Trapnarrows Lake )



There has been considerable progress in addressing environmental concerns in the Nipigon Bay AOC.  This has included the development of a bioengineered marina at  Red Rock, which features armour stone breakwalls that provide public access and fish and wildlife habitat; the development and implementation of the Nipigon River Water Management Plan, which has provided a workable solution to water use conflicts arising from regulated flows;  and the realignment of Clearwater Creek and Kama Creek, which restored valuable brook trout habitat in the AOC.  The “historic” spawning grounds and the “Old Mill Site” wetland on the lower river were rehabilitated through removal of logs, pilings and debris.  Domtar Packaging Ltd. Upgraded its treatment technology in 1995 to improve the quality of wastewater discharged to Nipigon Bay ( and ceased operation in 2006).  In 2012, the township of Nipigon incorporated secondary treatment to its water pollution control plant.

In 2004, Environment Canada completed an assessment of the sediment contaminants in Nipigon Bay.  The findings suggest that the soil contamination near the vicinity of the pulp and paper mill have reduced to a point that the concentrations are suspected to have no or limited impact on the benthos [Richman 2004].

A recent inventory of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in the Nipigon system suggests a high quality habitat indicative of a highly oxygenated, unimpaired environment [Deacon 2011].

Thursday, 27 October 2016

WALLEYE Decline - the Sea Lamprey Control Factor

From The Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for Environment Canada
By: Terry Marshall, Marshall Consulting
March 31, 2013

Sea Lamprey Control


An electric barrier on the Jackfish River was operated by the Sea Lamprey Control Center for three years beginning in 1959.  Besides restricting walleye and other fish from moving up the river, it also caused direct mortality with an estimate of 700 walleye killed during its first year of operation alone [R. Ryder pers. Comm., cited in Wilson 1991]

It is unknown how the use of lampricide in later years affected walleye, although there were reports of significant mortality of many different species of fish in the Nipigon and Jackfish rivers following lampricide treatments in the 1960s and 1970s [Wilson 1991]. While early life stages of walleye are thought to be considerably more resistant than sea lamprey ammocoetes to TFM lampricide [Seelye et al 1987]. Recent kills of post spawning adult walleye have been reported following TFM treatment [McChesney 2008; Preddice 2009].

WALLEYE - Habitat degradation

WALLEYE – Habitat Degradation factor

From The Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for Environment Canada  by Terry Marshall  Marshall Consulting  March 31,2013

Factors related to the Walleye decline in Nipigon Bay

Habitat degradation

In a historical review of Nipigon Bay Walleye, Wilson[1991] detailed the many habitat alterations that affected this population.  The logging industry contributed through damming, deforestation, sedimentation, the accumulation of wood fibre, bark, and other organic matter from historic log drives, and DDT contamination.  The creation of hydroelectric generating stations segmented the Nipigon River isolating fish populations and the altered flow regimes affected stream bank stability, sediment load and the quality of fish and wildlife habitat.  Effluent discharges from municipal sewage treatment plants and a kraft pulp and paper mill were also implicated in the demise of the walleye fishery [Ryder 1968]

WALLEYE : suggested factors for decline

WALLEYE, Factors suggested for Decline

From: The Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for: Environment Canada

By: Terry Marshall

March 31, 2013

There has been much debate over what was responsible for the dramatic decline in the walleye population in Nipigon Bay.

A number of factors have been suggested, including overfishing and habitat degradation [Ryder 1968, Wilson et al 2007].  Sea Lamprey control may also have played a role.  Kelso and Cullis [1996] provide a detailed timeline of these various perturbations.


At the time of collapse of the walleye population in Nipigon Bay, less was understood about the dangers of overfishing, with the feeling that fish populations were able to compensate for large reductions in their abundance.  In 1956, in a review of walleye dynamics in the Nipigon River during the peak of commercial harvest, Ryder [1956] reported “… the commercial catch has increased immensely over the past two years, thus reducing the competitive factor among pickerel themselves.  The drastic reduction of Lake Trout … removes a competitive factor making more food available to the pickerel.  It might be concluded then, that the present rate of exploitation is far below the maximum catch that could be taken to improve the quality of  the population… the harvest has not yet approached the point where optimal benefits to the pickerel population and subsequently to the angler are received.”

This proved to be false, as the walleye population rapidly declined over the next few years.

In Nipigon Bay, the commercial harvest was a classic example of fishing a stock down to insignificance.

Within this Bay, walleye were very concentrated post-spawn, and gillnet and poundnet operations targeted them very effectively.  The gillnet catch-per-unit-effort [CUE] remained extremely high through the latter period [1959-63] of reduced abundance, revealing the efficiency of the fishermen as they became more attuned to the fish’s seasonal movements [Ryder 1968]. In addition , a substantial angling fishery also existed [Schram et al 1991]

The walleye catch in Nipigon Bay from all commercial gear during the eight peak years of harvest prior to the collapse [1951-1959, 1956 excluded]  totalled 97,245 kg.  The average weight of walleye in the catch can be assumed to be similar to that reported for the Black Bay harvest , which was 0.87kg [P. Addison, pers. Comm.].  This then translates into an annual harvest of about 14,000 walleye which when related to the estimated population size of 41,000 mature fish [Ryder 1968] implies an annual exploitation rate of 34% [or higher, including the angling harvest].  While this high of an exploitation rate may arguably be sustainable in more southern locales [ Schmalz et al 2011], it has never proven to be the case in the colder waters of Ontario [Baccante and Colby 1996]

Nipigon Bay and the Nipigon River were closed to commercial fishing for walleye in 1984 and to angling in 1989, along with the Jackfish River.



From the Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for: Environment Canada by: Terry Marshall, Marshall Consulting,

 March 31, 2013


Nipigon Bay was designated an Area of Concern (AOC) in 1987 under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

The degradation of fish populations and the loss of fish habitat were beneficial use impairments (BUI) identified in Stage One of the Remedial Action Plan (RAP).

One of the fish populations that had been greatly reduced in numbers is that of Walleye (Sander vitreus).  Overharvesting, degraded habitat, pollution and the construction of dams have been identified as possible factors.

There have been a number of research and assessment studies in recent years supported by the RAP process to learn more about Walleye and their use of existing habitat and to monitor their population recovery.  Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) Nipigon District, OMNR Upper Great Lakes Management Unit, OMNR Aquatic Research and Development Section, Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre and the Red Rock Indian Band have all contributed to this field work.

A Brief Overview of the Walleye Stocks in Lake Superior

The Walleye populations of Lake Superior have always been relatively small and widely scattered due to limited amounts of available habitat [Schneider and Leach 1977].  Within this lake they are confined to shallow embayments and the estuaries of moderate to large rivers which afford suitable conditions for spawning and the protection of juvenile fish.

Historically, the three largest stocks of walleye were found in Black Bay and Nipigon Bay, Ontario, and in the St. Louis River at Duluth, Minnesota [MacCallum and Selgeby 1987].

Smaller populations occur elsewhere around the lake, where smaller rivers and protected bays provide appropriate habitat.

Exploitation has been an ongoing source of stress to these walleye populations, with commercial harvest records going back to about 1870.  In the early years, most of the harvest came from Michigan and Wisconsin waters, but from about 1920 onward harvest was largely from Ontario, with Black Bay contributing about 90% of the yield until the collapse of its walleye fishery in 1968 [Schneider and Leach 1977; Schram et al 1991]. In Nipigon Bay, an increase in the commercial walleye harvest occurred in the late 1940s as lake trout stocks declined through overexploitation and sea lamprey predation [Lawrie and Rahrer 1972].

Following a number of years of high harvest in the 1950s, the walleye population declined catastrophically with no harvest reported from 1966 onward.  The Whitefish Bay stocks were also fished commercially at the Goulais River and in Batchewana Bay until their decline in the early 1970s [Schram et al 1991].

As a result of these intense fisheries, along with pervasive habitat degradation, walleye fisheries declined across Canada at this time.  Country-wide, the annual catch of walleye fell from 9,090,909 kg in 1955 to about 2,954,500 kg in 1971 [Hartman 2009]

The populations that persisted all lacked a commercial fishery.  This included the smaller Thunder Bay populations near the mouths of the Current, Kaministiquia, Pine and Pigeon rivers.  Schram et al [1991] reported these to have been only lightly fished by anglers with all populations appearing stable, although habitat loss has subsequently been identified as an issue [ Solec 2012].  The St. Louis population was the only large stock of walleye to survive this period and continue to be one of the healthiest stocks in the lake [Solec 2012]. Interestingly, it too was not commercially fished as the walleye had an objectionable flavour attributed to chlorophenolic products released from upstream paper mills [Margenau and Schram 1982; MacCallum and Selgeby 1987].

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


2:24 pm
September 21, 2016
Someone, from United States of America or Germany became the 100,000th viewer!
If you were reading about the De la Ronde Letters; Death Records 4; The De la Ronde Title; or Law of the Land then it could have been YOU.
I have been checking every couple hours and at noon today we still had 13 Pageviews to go.
This is the Woodland Art of Isadore Wadow.
It is a happy picture.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Nipigon Bay - 1876


Written for the Thunder Bay Sentinel newspaper by A. Walpole Roland, November 13, 1876

SIR—In consequence of the early closing of Navigation I was unable to forward the promised sketch of the Nipigon Lake and River district before the departure of our first winter mail, which leaves here “weather permitting” on the 14th proximo.  Of the River as a famous trout stream, little remains to be said that is not tolerably well known to most of your readers,  but of the district, generally, it may be said to afford a rare example of the economy of nature in grouping together --- the useful and the beautiful.

Rock and River --- tinged with Amethyst, half seen, half hidden, by the hazy mist.”

Of the native grandeur of the surrounding scenery there can be no question; and that the soil is in many places as rich and good as any in the lower Provinces is fairly admitted by competent and impartial judges;  and of its mineral wealth, etc., more anon.

The River is the largest and clearest water flowing into Lake Superior --- and the Harbour entrance with bald ridges of columnar trap, and red rock, rising from the water edge to a perpendicular height of nearly 500 feet is very picturesque.  At this point the River measures about two thousand yards but gradually opens out on the west side, where the high saddle-back headland runs due west, giving place to a rich belt of splendid land carrying north east to the River’s mouth and forming a perfectly secure Harbour with sufficient depth of water for vessels of any class.  A steamboat channel runs nearly straight and due north to the H.B. Co.’s Post, Red Rock, a distance of three and a half miles from entrance to the Harbour, where navigation by steamer , may be said to end.

Then the Hudson’s Bay Company held an important trading post and Depot for their interior supplies, and one of the finest docks west of Montreal, measuring over 130 yards, with a depth of from 11 to 14 feet of water at all seasons.

 Many improvements have been made in this district, and within the last few years Townships and town lots have been surveyed and disposed of to eager and ENTERPRISING speculators, at a time when hopes were fondly entertained, of this becoming the Lake Superior terminus of the coming railroad.

Nipigon , however, like your own magnificent Thunder Bay, lacked the necessary natural qualifications, that is, an “old sand bar,” consequently the scheme was abandoned and the terminus “moved on” – to a more favoured location.

The Nipigon it is true, can boast of a small “sand bar” of her own, as one or two Lake Superior Captains can testify with regret.  But why did they attempt the impossible feat of making a short portage instead of coming by the old route?  In a previous letter I gave a brief description of the “Co.’s” Post etc., so that excepting  an additional “exploratory line” there is nothing new and really , judging from the number of C.P.R. lines together with the absence of any real engineering difficulty we may yet see this portion of the railroad in progress.  But until the financial difficulties are bridged over, we cannot reasonable hope of, ever hearing of the discovery of a practicable route.

Going Up The River

Near the H.B.Co.’s dock , commences one of the swiftest currents on the River, sweeping downwards from the Lake Helen rapids with a velocity of 5 knots per hour.  Lake Helen, a beautiful sheet of deep, clearly blue water, is nine miles long,  two broad and one mile from steam boat dock.  The River enters this lake from the west side, and its upward course is N.N.W. to camp Alexander, a distance of five miles, where the current is again pretty stiff to the Alexander rapids, when another portage is made by canoeing up Portage Brook for one mile, and where a portage of two miles connects to Lake Jessie.  Opposite Portage Brook is Cameron’s Pool, “Pectorabus Sacrum,” where Mr. Cameron of Cincinnati , and the Isaac Walton of the Nipigon, has for 15 successive seasons, landed speckled trout that would rather astonish the author of the “Complete Angler.” Lake Jessie or Minor Lake is a very pretty bit of water, -- with numerous small islands, and separated from Lake Maria by the Narrows, where the River measures no more than 100 yards across.  The entire distance over both lakes including “ the Narrows,” is about 6 miles, the next portage is “Split Rock”, and is but a short one. The scenery here is very fine and continues to improve as we ascend , the River being here bounded on both banks, by high ridges of black traprock.  A little higher up Island Portage is made ( or run by a small canal) by curving over a small rocky Island in centre of the River.

One miles brings us to the foot of Pine, or “One Mile Portage”. Another mile from the head of Pine Portage is a rather dangerous fall, or rapid, where the water comes flowing down as they do at “Ladore.”  Near this fall is Little Flat Rock Portage, where the H.B.Co.’s  canoe route branches off, running West through Lake Emma and Hanna and reaching Lake Nipigon by an easier and more direct route than that of the River, when rapids increase in number and velocity between Lake Emma, Camps Victoria and Minor, to the Grand Fall, or head waters of the River St. Lawrence.  We now stand on the South Shore of Nipigon Lake, and about 350 feet above the level of the mouth of the River and distant about 33 miles.

This spot may be called the Ultima Thule of tourists and sportsmen all in this direction: few caring to advance beyond the Falls from whence a very fine view of many of the islands is obtained, bounded in the west, by the pale blue mountains, and in the far away north by the sky. This great inland sea measures nearly 70 x 50 miles, with over 1,000 islands of various dimensions;  and a coast line of over 500 miles.  Among the many natural features worthy of special mention an “Echo Rock” and the Inner and Outer Barn, the latter rising from the surface of the Lake almost perpendicularly, to a height of over 600 feet, with tons of over-hanging masses of rock apparently ready to come tumbling down upon the slightest provocation;  while higher yet the hardy fir and mountain ash flourishing luxuriantly and waves defiance to the winds. How truly are these subjects worthy of the magic touch of the artist’s pencil. Never have I witnessed more equitable changes of light and shade, not more striking contrasts of the bold and beautiful.  As I close this hurried sketch the “Indian Summer” sun is fast disappearing behind the lofty Mount St. John with a brilliant glow of fiery red, that brings back pleasant memories of sunsets in Oriental claims:

Is there not in yonder glorious scene,

A beauty and a grandeur not of earth

A glory breaking from yon cloudy screen;

Revealing to the (…) its nobler berth!

The Nipigon region has been thoroughly explored by Captain G. B. Weeks, with his Surveyors and assistant, (under the direction of Professor Campbell of N. York,) with the most satisfactory results.  Captain W. is at present supt. one of his latest discoveries, “The Victoria” and when last heard from had out “150 tons good ore, with 300 of low grade concentrating ---and shaft 30 feet.”

At a more convenient time I shall have much pleasure in giving particulars of current events.  Mining, I am assured, will go ahead here lively, bye and bye.  “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” you know.

-          A. W. R.




Wednesday, 7 September 2016

PAGEVIEWS : 99,030

Bursting with excitement.

Golf Nipigon, 2016

North Shore Golf Course, Nipigon, September 7, 2016
Still open for business.
Looking at the Clubhouse/restaurant.
Looking across the 6th fairway.
In its previous "life" this was a dairy farm.
Hard to see in this photo but a flock of geese are "playing through"
the 2nd Fairway behind the trees.
This is the new entrance/exit to Golf Course Road being created
 to join the "Twinned" highway 11/17 -
 that "twinning" also under construction.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

FUR TRADE: The French regime

FUR TRADE : The French Regime

One of the best writers for the “feel” of the Fur Trade was Louise Phelps Kellogg, Research Associate of State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

The French Regime in Wisconsin and the Northwest”, published by The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, 1925


L.M. “Buzz” Lein found the following pages to have information relating to our “Nipigon”  history;

Pages: 96, 154, 226, 237, 313, 336, 382 and 114.

Page 154, describes Allouez’ plans for a journey to visit the Nipissing Indians in retreat North of Lake Nipigon, 1667.

Page 237, has Duluth’s brother, la Tourette at his post on Lake Nipigon, circa 1688, (Ombabika Bay area) “ tapping for the French the greatest fur-bearing country on the continent.”

Page 313, Prior to 1750 the French were bent on opening a route to the Western Ocean, “Therefore they maintained posts on Lake Nipigon and Kaministiquia.”

Page 336, When la Verendrye was in charge of his post on the Nipigon he heard  local tales of “a great salt water in the West.” They even drew him a map which he and his sons used as they started west in 1731.

Pages 381-382, Wherein the “Posts of the Nipigon” were on the list of “Most important” for the French Fur Trade.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

FUR TRADE : The French Advance

FUR TRADE:  Memorandum from Chief Justice Draper, 1857

Excerpt from page 230  ? (Buzz’s notes)

Control of “Canada” was it political or just for the Fur trade?

“ The French Government , it appears, would not agree to the proposal which would have  limited them to the 49th parallel. Colonel Bladen, one of the British Commissioners under the Treaty of Utrecht, wrote in 1719 in reference thereto, “ I already see some difficulty in the execution of this affair, there being at least the difference of two degrees between the best French maps and that which the Company delivered us.”  No settlement of the boundary could be arrived at.”

“If the later claim of territorial limits had been advanced during this negotiation, there can be no doubt it would have been resisted even more strenuously than the effort to make the 49th parallel the boundary was, not merely by contending that the territory so claimed formed part of Canada, and had been treated as such by the French long before 1670,  but also that the French King had exercised an act of disposition of them, of the same nature as that under which the Hudson’s Bay Company claim, by making them the subject of a Charter of a Company under the Sieur de Caen’s name, and after the dissolution of that Company had, in 1627, organized a new Company, to which he conceded the entire country called Canada.  And this was before the Treaty of St. Germain-en Laye, by which the English restored Canada to the French. In 1663, this Company surrendered their Charter, and the King, by an edict of March in that year, established a council for administration of affairs in the colony, and nominated a Governor;  and about 1665, Monsieur Talon, the Intendant of Canada, dispatched parties to penetrate into and explore the country to the west and north-west, and in 1671 he reported from Quebec that the “Sieur du Lusson is returned , after having advanced as far as 500 leagues from here, and planted the cross, and set up the King’s arms in presence of 17 Indian nations assembled on the occasion from all parts , all of whom voluntarily submitted themselves to the domination of His Majesty, whom alone they regard as their sovereign protector.”

French Advance

The French kept continually advancing forts and trading posts in the country, which they claimed to be part of Canada: not merely up the Saguenay River towards James’ Bay, but towards and into the territory now in question,  in parts and places to which the Hudson’s Bay Company had not penetrated when Canada was ceded to Great Britain in 1763, nor for many years afterwards.  They had posts at Lake St. Anne, called by the older geographers Alenimipigon;  at the Lake of the Woods; Lake Winnipeg; and two, it is believed, on the Saskatchewan, which are referred to by Sir Alexander McKenzie in his account of his discoveries.”

 Hudson’s Bay Company

Enough, it is hoped, has been stated to show that the limits of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s territory are as open to question now as they have ever been, and that when called upon to define them in the last century, they did not advance th claim now set up by them;  and that even when they were defining the boundary which they desired to obtain under the Treaty of Utrecht, at a period most favourable for them, they designated one inconsistent with their present pretensions, and which, if it had been accepted by France, would have left no trifling portion of the territory as part of the Province of Canada.”

So far as has been ascertained, the claim to all the country the waters of which ran into Hudson’s Bay, was not advanced until the time that the Company took the opinion of the late Sir Samual Romilly, Messrs. Cruise, Holroyd, Scarlet, and Bell.”

Friday, 2 September 2016

The Forsaken by Duncan Campbell Scott, 1905

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)

The Forsaken

              Once in the winter

              Out on a lake

              In the heart of the north-land,

              Far from the Fort

              And far from the hunters,

              A Chippewa woman

              With her sick baby,

              Crouched in the last hours

              Of a great storm.

            Frozen and hungry,

            She fished through the ice

            With a line of the twisted

            Bark of the cedar,

            And a rabbit-bone hook

            Polished and barbed;

            Fished with the bare hook

            All through the wild day,

            Fished and caught nothing;

            While the young chieftain

            Tugged at her breasts,

            Or slept in the lacings

            Of the warm tikanagan.

            All the lake-surface

            Streamed with the hissing

            Of millions of iceflakes

            Hurled by the wind;

            Behind her the round

            Of a lonely island

            Roared like a fire

            With the voice of the storm

            In the deeps of the cedars.

            Valiant, unshaken,

            She took of her own flesh,

            Baited the fish-hook,

            Drew in a gray-trout,

            Drew in his fellows,

            Heaped them beside her,

            Dead in the snow.

            Valiant, unshaken,

            She faced the long distance,

            Wolf-haunted and lonely,

            Sure of her goal

            And the life of her dear one:

            Tramped for two days,

            On the third in the morning,

            Saw the strong bulk

            Of the Fort by the river,

            Saw the wood-smoke

            Hand soft in the spruces,

            Heard the keen yelp

            Of the ravenous huskies

            Fighting for whitefish:

            Then she had rest.


            Years and years after,

            When she was old and withered,

            When her son was an old man

            And his children filled with vigour,

            They came in their northern tour on the verge of winter,

            To an island in a lonely lake.

            There one night they camped, and on the morrow

            Gathered their kettles and birch-bark

            Their rabbit-skin robes and their mink-traps,

            Launched their canoes and slunk away through the islands,

            Left her alone forever,

            Without a word of farewell,

            Because she was old and useless,

            Like a paddle broken and warped,

            Or a pole that was splintered.

            Then, without a sigh,

            Valiant, unshaken,

            She smoothed her dark locks under her kerchief,

            Composed her shawl in state,

            Then folded her hands ridged with sinews and corded with veins,

            Folded them across her breasts spent with the nourishment of children,

            Gazed at the sky past the tops of the cedars,

            Saw two spangled nights arise out of the twilight,

            Saw two days go by filled with the tranquil sunshine,

            Saw, without pain, or dread, or even a moment of longing:

            Then on the third great night there came thronging and thronging

            Millions of snowflakes out of a windless cloud;

           They covered her close with a beautiful crystal shroud,

            Covered her deep and silent.

            But in the frost of the dawn,

            Up from the life below,

            Rose a column of breath

            Through a tiny cleft in the snow,

            Fragile, delicately drawn,

            Wavering with its own weakness,

            In the wilderness a sign of the spirit,

            Persisting still in the sight of the sun

            Till day was done.

            Then all light was gathered up by the hand of God and hid in His breast,

            Then there was born a silence deeper than silence,

            Then she had rest.

Published 1905

Based on a story of an abandoned woman who survived a winter at Deer Lake that he heard at Nipigon House, Lake Nipigon.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Fur Trade - French Posts

Fur Trade – French Posts

From: Ontario Historical Society article…excerpts from page 132 – 134+


By: The Honourable William Renwick Riddell,  L.L.D., D.C.L., Etc.

The “Bulletin” found a copy of the document in the Public Archives of Canada at Ottawa.

-          “It was published at Paris in Les Archives de la Marine.  It is destitute of signature, date and address; and the author, date, occasion and purpose are all equally unknown.”

(They are guessing the date of circa 1763, after the Treaty of Paris)

Of interest to Nipigon history are these five posts



Is a Post dependent upon Temiskamingue;  it is a hundred and twenty leagues towards Hudson’s Bay – there may be a hundred men in these two Posts who do not cultivate the soil, who have no village  and who live by the chase and fishing.  The whole country is mountainous and but little fertile.

There come from this Post annually about a hundred and twenty bales of beaver, sable, otter, porcupine carcajou, lynx and cariboo.



A Fort of piles situate on the strait leading from Lake Superior to Lake Huron.  This Post was established in 1750, and, to encourage the establishment, the King granted the trade to the Commandant gratis – there is a fee of three hundred livres taken for Michilimakinac upon which this Post depends.

The Saulteux do their trading there – there come from it about a hundred bales annually.


A privileged Post situated on the north-east of Lake Superior – the Saulteux come there to trade – it supplies fifty to sixty bales.


Post established to the north of Lake Superior, which comprehends the Lake a la Carpe, situated still further to the north.  The Commandant is the concessionaire, paying three thousand livres:  the Indians who come there to trade are the Saulteux, and from it come annually from eighty to one hundred bales.


Or Three Rivers, a Post situated to the north-west of Lake Superior, farmed out of four thousand livres until 1758 – now there are neither presents nor licensees.
The Saulteux still trade at this Post from which come annually from sixty to seventy bales