The TORONTO CARRYING-PLACE TRAIL, also known as the HUMBER PORTAGE
and the TORONTO PASSAGE, was a major portage route in
Canada, linking Lake
Lake Simcoe and the northern Great
Lakes . The name comes from the Mohawk term toron-ten, meaning "the
place where the trees grow over the water", an important landmark on
Lake Simcoe through which the trail passed.
From Lake Ontario, the trail ran northward along the eastern bank of
the Humber River . It forked at Woodbridge , with one path crossing
the east branch of the Humber and running along the west side of the
river to the vicinity of Kleinburg , where it crossed the river again.
This trail was probably used during the seasons when the water was low
enough to ford. The other path of the fork followed the east side of
the river and angled cross-country to King Creek , joining the other
fork before crossing the river near Nobleton , some 50 kilometres (31
mi) north of Lake Ontario. From there it runs north over the Oak
Ridges Moraine to the western branch of the
Holland River , and from
there north-east into
Lake Simcoe some 80 kilometres (50 mi) north.
A second route of the trail runs from Lake
Ontario at the Rouge River
, following the river northwest to the Oak Ridges Moraine. Crossing
the Moraine it met the eastern branch of the
Holland River near
Ontario . This arm appears to have been favoured by the French
explorers in the area, without ever having seen the Humber arm. Near
the mouth of the Rouge River, the Seneca had established a village by
the name of Ganatsekwyagon. The Bead Hill site in Rouge Park is
believed to contain the archaeological remains of the village.
Once into Lake Simcoe, known as Ouentironk among the First Nations
people living in the area, the trail continues north through straits
on the north end of the lake into
Lake Couchiching . These straits, an
important fishing area, gives rise to the name Toronto, as this is
"the place where the trees grow over the water". The First Nations
peoples had planted trees in the narrows between the lakes to act as a
weir to catch fish. From there the trail follows the Severn River into
Georgian Bay . Many of the major
First Nations tribes lived in the
area around and to the north of Lake Simcoe, which were easily
reachable via the many rivers leading to the lake.
It is widely stated that the first European to see the Humber arm was
Étienne Brûlé , who traveled it with a group of twelve Huron in
1615. However it is now believed that this is in error, and he
actually traveled further west, to
Lake Erie .
Further French settlement used the Humber portion of the trail
primarily. Near the mouth of the Humber and along the
was a trading post called
Teiaiagon , where the French and English met
with the locals for trading. The site is marked with a plaque and is
near the heritage Old Mill Inn . This included the construction of
three forts on or near the trail. The first of these, Fort Douville or
Magasin Royal , was built in 1688 about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of
Ontario on the Humber. The second,
Fort Toronto , was built in
1750 only a few hundred metres north of the lake, right on the trail.
The final one,
Fort Rouillé , but also known widely as Fort Toronto,
was built about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the east of the river during
1750 and 1751, and today lies near the bandstand at
Exhibition Place .
The trail was widely used by both French and English fur traders
Toronto started to be permanently settled in the early 19th
century, bringing to a close over a millennium of use. The