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Georgian Bay

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Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay at Cabot Head
Basin countries Canada
Max. length 320 km (200 mi)
Max. width 80 km (50 mi)
Surface area 15,000 km2 (5,800 sq mi)
Average depth 150 feet (46 m) near the shoreline of Cabot Head
Islands 30,000+
Settlements Owen Sound
Parry Sound

Georgian Bay (Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, 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 North Channel, located between 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 Henry Wolsey Bayfield of the Royal Navy in 1822.[2]


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Legend of Kitchikewana 3
  • Settlements 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Main body of Georgian Bay highlighted on the map of the Great Lakes

Georgian Bay is about 190 kilometres (120 mi) long by 80 kilometres (50 mi) wide.[3] It covers approximately 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 sq mi), making it nearly 80% as large as [7]

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 UNESCO.


Tom Thomson's Pine Island, Georgian Bay

Archeological records reveal an 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 traditions.

The first "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 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 French Jesuit 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 Midland.

The reconstructed Jesuit mission, 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, first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.

In 1814, during 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 American vessels.

Georgian Bay was first charted in 1815 by Captain King George IV. His charts are the basis of those in use today.

Legend of Kitchikewana

The waters between Finger Point and Thumb Point near Cedar Springs, Beausoleil Island

Penetang Bay, Hog Bay, Sturgeon Bay, and Matchedash Bay.[8] 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.[9] 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.


Shoreline of Georgian Bay
Sunset over Georgian Bay

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, around 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 the 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.

See also



  1. ^ Matthews, Geoffrey J. (1987). Harris, Cole R., ed. Historical Atlas of Canada. Toronto:  
  2. ^ Ketcheson, Graham. A Brief History of Georgian Bay.
  3. ^ Georgian Bay (bay, Ontario, Canada) - Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  4. ^ Georgian Bay - definition of Georgian Bay by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  5. ^ "Nearly as large as Lake Ontario, it is one of the world's great bodies of fresh water."
  6. ^ "Great Lakes Sensitivity to Climatic Forcing: Hydrological Models." NOAA, 2006.
  7. ^ James P. Barry (1995) [1968]. Georgian Bay: The Sixth Great Lake. Boston Mills Press.  
  8. ^ The Ouendat (Huron) Indian Legend of Kitchikewana
  9. ^ "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. ISBN 0-8020-2495-5
  • The Archaeology of Southern Ontario To 1650. Edited by C. Ellis and N. Ferris. London Chapter, Ontario Archaeological Society, 1990. ISBN 0-919350-13-5
  • Native Languages of the Americas
  • "Ojibwe History" Shultzman, L. 2000. First Nations Histories. Accessed: 2006-03-28.
  • 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

External links

  • (English), (French) Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada, on the Government of Canada Site
  • Georgian Bay Association
  • Georgian Bay Forever
  • Georgian Bay Land Trust
  • Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
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