GEORGIAN BAY (French : Baie Georgienne) is a large bay of Lake Huron
, located entirely within
Canada . The main body of the bay
lies east of the
Bruce Peninsula and
Manitoulin Island . To its
northwest is the North Channel .
Georgian Bay is surrounded by (listed clockwise ) the districts of
Manitoulin , Sudbury , Parry Sound and Muskoka , as well as the more
populous counties of Simcoe , Grey and Bruce . The Main Channel
Bruce Peninsula from
Manitoulin Island and connects
Georgian Bay to the rest of Lake Huron. The North Channel , located
Manitoulin Island and the Sudbury District, west of Killarney
, was once a popular route for steamships and is now used by a variety
of pleasure craft to travel to and from Georgian Bay.
The shores and waterways of the
Georgian Bay are the traditional
domain of the Anishinaabeg
First Nations peoples to the north and
Petun (Wyandot) to the south. The bay was thus a major
Algonquian -Huron trade route.
Samuel de Champlain , the first
European to explore and map the area in 1615–1616, called it "La Mer
douce" (the calm sea), also a reference to the bay's freshwater. It
was named "Georgian Bay" (after King George IV ) by Lieutenant Henry
Wolsey Bayfield of the
Royal Navy in 1822.
* 1 Geography
* 2 History
* 3 Legend of Kitchikewana
* 4 Settlements
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Main body of
Georgian Bay highlighted on the map of the Great
Georgian Bay is about 190 kilometres (120 mi) long by 80 kilometres
(50 mi) wide. It covers approximately 15,000 square kilometres (5,800
sq mi), making it nearly 80% the size of Lake
Ontario . If Georgian
Bay were considered a lake in its own right, it would be the fourth
largest lake located entirely within
Great Bear Lake
Great Bear Lake ,
Great Slave Lake and
Lake Winnipeg .
Georgian Bay is part of the southern edge of the Canadian
Shield , granite bedrock exposed by the glaciers at the end of the
last ice age , about 11,000 years ago. The granite rock formations and
windswept eastern white pine are characteristic of the islands and
much of the shoreline of the bay. The rugged beauty of the area
inspired landscapes by artists of the Group of Seven . The western
part of the bay, from Collingwood north, and including Manitoulin ,
Drummond , Cockburn and St. Joseph islands, borders the Niagara
Escarpment . Because of its size and narrowness of the straits joining
it with the rest of Lake Huron, which is analogous to if not as
pronounced as the separation of
Lake Huron and Lake Michigan,
Georgian Bay is sometimes called the "sixth Great Lake".
There are tens of thousands of islands in Georgian Bay. Most of these
islands are along the east side of the bay and are collectively known
as the "
Thirty Thousand Islands ", including the larger Parry Island .
Manitoulin Island, lying along the northern side of the bay, is the
world's largest island in a freshwater lake. The Trent–Severn
Georgian Bay to Lake
Ontario , running from Port
Severn in the southeastern corner of
Georgian Bay through Lake Simcoe
Ontario near Trenton . Further north,
Lake Nipissing drains
Georgian Bay through the French River . In October 2004, the
Georgian Bay Littoral
Georgian Bay Littoral was declared a
Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO .
Tom Thomson 's Pine Island,
Archeological records reveal an Aboriginal presence in the southern
regions of the
Canadian Shield dating from 11,000 years ago. Evidence
of later Paleo-Indian settlements have been found on Manitoulin Island
and near Killarney . At the time of European contact , the
First Nations , both of whom call themselves Anishinaabe
(plural: Anishinaabeg), lived along the northern, eastern and western
shores of Georgian Bay. The Huron (or Wendat) and Tionontati inhabited
the lands along the southern coast, having migrated from the northern
shores of Lake Ontario. Names of islands such as "Manitoulin" (from
Gitchi Manitou , the Great Spirit who left the bay as a source of life
for the first people) and "Giant's Tomb" are indicative of the
richness of the cultural history of the area. Aboriginal communities
continue to live on their territories and practise their cultural
The first European to visit this area was likely
Étienne Brûlé ,
who at age less than 20, in 1610 was sent to live as an interpreter
trainee with the Onontchataronon , an Algonquian people of the Ottawa
River . They travelled every winter to live with the Arendarhonon
people of the Huron (Wendat) confederacy at the southern end of
Georgian Bay, in the area now called "Huronia" . Brulé returned to
the Arendarhonon the following year. At the same time another young
interpreter trainee, a youth remembered only as Thomas, who was
employed by the French surgeon and trader Daniel Boyer, also likely
made it to Huronia, in the company of the Onontchataronon, another
member of the confederacy.
In 1615, Brulé's employer, the French explorer
Samuel de Champlain ,
made his own visit to
Georgian Bay and overwintered in Huronia. He was
preceded that summer by a
Récollet missionary ,
Joseph Le Caron , who
would live among the Huron in 1615–1616 and 1623–1624. Another
Récollet missionary, Gabriel Sagard, lived there from 1623–34. The
Jean de Brébeuf
Jean de Brébeuf began a mission in Huronia in 1626. In
1639 he oversaw the building of the mission fort of Sainte-Marie,
Ontario's first European settlement, at what is now the town of
Sainte-Marie among the Hurons
Sainte-Marie among the Hurons , is
now a historic park operated by the province of Ontario. Also nearby
is the Martyrs\' Shrine , a Catholic church dedicated to the Canadian
Martyrs , Jesuits who were killed during
Iroquois warfare against the
Georgian Bay in the 17th century.
Penetanguishene , an
Ojibwe village located at the southern tip of the bay near present-day
Midland, was developed as a naval base in 1793 by
John Graves Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe ,
first Lieutenant Governor of Upper
In 1814, during the
War of 1812
War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United
States, one of the battles was fought in southern Georgian Bay. On
August 17, at the mouth of the
Nottawasaga River near Wasaga Beach,
the British schooner HMS Nancy was sunk by three American vessels.
Several weeks later, Nancy was avenged when British boarding parties
in the De Tour Passage surprised and captured two of the three
Georgian Bay was first charted in 1815 by Captain William Fitzwilliam
Owen , who called it Lake Manitoulin. Captain
Henry Bayfield , who
made more detailed charts of the bay, renamed it in 1822 after King
George IV . His charts are the basis for those in use today.
Canadian Hydrographic Service
Canadian Hydrographic Service traces its history back to 1883,
when it was originally established as the
Georgian Bay Survey, tasked
with charting and improving knowledge of the bay after a steamship
wrecked there the previous year, killing 150 of its passengers.
Over the years, 32 lighthouses were built on Georgian Bay. Six of
them were designed with limestone towers; these were built in the
1850s and are known collectively as the Imperial Towers. Some of the
32 can be toured by the public, some cannot, and some are accessible
only by tour boats or private boat.
LEGEND OF KITCHIKEWANA
The waters between Finger Point and Thumb Point near Cedar
Wyandot legend tells of a god called Kitchikewana, who was large
enough to guard the whole of the Georgian Bay. Kitchikewana was known
for his great temper, and his tribe decided the best way to calm him
was with a wife. They held a grand celebration, and many women came.
Kitchikewana met a woman named Wanakita here. He decided that this was
the woman he wanted to marry, and started planning the wedding
immediately after she left. But when she was invited back, she told
Kitchikewana that she was already engaged. Enraged, Kitchikewana
destroyed all the decorations, running to one end of Beausoleil Island
and grabbing a large ball of earth. Running to the other end, he
tossed it into the Great Lakes. Thus, the 30,000 Islands were created.
The indentations left behind by his fingers form the five bays of
Georgian Bay: Midland Bay, Penetang Bay , Hog Bay, Sturgeon Bay, and
Matchedash Bay . He then lay down to sleep and sleeps there still as
Giant\'s Tomb Island .
The town of
Penetanguishene now has a large statue of Kitchikewana on
its main street. There is a
YMCA summer camp for youth located on
Beausoleil Island, in southern Georgian Bay, named after Kitchikewana.
YMCA Camp Kitchikewana, or Kitchi for short, has been located in
Georgian Bay Islands National Park since 1919. Originally operated by
the Midland YMCA, it is now the residential camp for youth from the
YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.
Georgian Bay Sunset over
Owen Sound is the largest city on the bay, long having served as a
shipping and rail depot for the Upper
Great Lakes . The towns of
Penetanguishene , Port Severn , and Honey Harbour are at the
southeastern end of the bay and are popular sites for summer cottages,
as are the many bays and islands on the eastern coast. Collingwood ,
Meaford , and
Wasaga Beach are located at the southern end of the bay,
Nottawasaga Bay . Owen Sound, Wiarton , and Lion\'s Head are
located on the
Bruce Peninsula along the southern and southwestern
shores of the bay, while Tobermory is located at the northern tip of
Bruce Peninsula on the Main Channel. The passenger ferry MS
Chi-Cheemaun travels from Tobermory across the Main Channel to South
Baymouth on Manitoulin Island. Parry Sound , the world's deepest
freshwater port, is located on the eastern shore of the bay.
There are communities of summer cottages on the north and east shore
and on the adjacent 30,000 Islands. These include areas such as
Cognashene, Wah Wah Taysee, Sans Souci , Pointe au Baril and Byng
Inlet . Most of these cottages are accessible only by water.
Reed's dump beach on
Georgian Bay near the campsite
Christian Island (Ontario)
Christian Island (Ontario)
* Royal eponyms in
True North II
* ^ Matthews, Geoffrey J. (1987). Harris, Cole R., ed. Historical
Atlas of Canada. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press . ISBN
* ^ Ketcheson, Graham. A Brief History of Georgian Bay.
Georgian Bay (bay, Ontario, Canada) - Encyclopædia Britannica.
Britannica.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
Georgian Bay - definition of
Georgian Bay by the Free Online
Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. Thefreedictionary.com.
Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
* ^ "Nearly as large as Lake Ontario, it is one of the world\'s
great bodies of fresh water."
* ^ "
Great Lakes Sensitivity to Climatic Forcing: Hydrological
Models." NOAA, 2006.
* ^ Barry, James P. (1995) . Georgian Bay: The Sixth Great Lake.
Boston Mills Press. ISBN 978-1-55046-172-5 .
OCLC 37863060 .
* ^ "Lighthouse Tour". Visit Georgian Bay.
Georgian Bay Destination
Development Partnership. 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
* ^ The Ouendat (Huron) Indian Legend of Kitchikewana
* ^ "Overnight Camp" on the
YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka website
* Historical Atlas of Canada, Volume I: From the Beginning to 1800.
Edited by R. Cole Harris. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987.
* The Archaeology of Southern
Ontario To 1650. Edited by C. Ellis
and N. Ferris. London Chapter,
Ontario Archaeological Society, 1990.
* Native Languages of the Americas
Ojibwe History" Shultzman, L. 2000.
First Nations Histories.
* Shaped by the West Wind: Nature and History in Georgian Bay.
Claire Elizabeth Campbell. Vancouver: University of British Columbia
Press , 2005. ISBN 0-7748-1098-X