Monday, November 26, 2012

Looking north to Old Sail's winter camp

Photo by Barry Wallace
This is the view north from the North Canal Road in the Holland Marsh, just west of Hwy. 400.   Technically, it's not in King Township at this point, but it does reach into King Township as it meanders south across the Marsh and intersects the Holland River, just inside King's north-western border.   So what, you ask.   Well, imagine if you will, it is the year 1793, and a group of  birch-bark canoes filled with 'Messessagues' (Mississauga) indians and their chief, Old Sail, is paddling north at this very point, after having  greeted and gifting Governor John Graves Simcoe and his party on their way north via the Carrying Place Trail, the Holland River, Lake Simcoe and Lake Huron.   According to Heather Robertson's new book 'Walking into Wilderness", Old sail presented the  Governor with a pair of ducks, some beaver meat and a beaver's tail.   In return, Old sail and his colleagues were given rum and tobacco by Governor Simcoe and they then headed back up-river towards what is now West Gwillimbury.   Paddlers today can put in a canoe at the point pictured above and retrace Old Sail's journey back to his winter camp.   Actually the river does not go very far before it becomes shallow and impassable.   But one easily slips by the bullrushes and trees and shrubs and is transported back 219 years to a spot that probably doesn't look that different now than it did then.
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace


  1. Your posts are always educational. Thank you Barry.

  2. Thanks for your faithful readership, ZZ.
    Happy holidays, Barry