Historical Plaques of
Algoma District

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Many thanks to Mary Crandall for sending in the next 2 plaques


Location: At the canal locks, Sault Ste Marie



In May 1870, Col. Garnet Wolsey arrived here with an expeditionary force of British regulars and Canadian militia aboard the steamer 'Chicora'. They were travelling to Fort Garry on the Red River to put down an uprising led by Louis Riel. The canal at the Sault was then on American territory, and Wolsey was compelled to debark and transport his troops and military supplies overland on the Ontario side. The 'Chicora' was then permitted to traverse the canal and take aboard her passengers and cargo. This incident promoted the construction of a Canadian canal which was completed in 1895.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: At the canal locks, Sault Ste Marie

To Etienne Brule and Companion Grenolle who were the first white men to see St. Mary's rapids and Lake Superior.


Location: At the junction of H-Way 108 & Hillsdale Dr. S., Elliot Lake

Evidence of radioactive ore prompted Aimê Breton and Karl Gunterman to stake claims south of here near Lauzon Lake in Long Township in 1948. Geologist Franc R. Joubin became interested and persuaded mining financier Joseph H. Hirshhorn to fund drilling operations. In 1953 they located the ore body that became the Pronto Uranium Mine. The discovery of further uranium deposits near Quirke and Elliot lakes led to a mining boom. The town of Elliot Lake flourished until the U.S. stopped buying Canadian uranium in 1959. By the late 1960s, non-military uses for uranium were being developed, and mining activity revived. By 1970 the Elliot Lake camp had produced uranium oxide worth $1.3 billion.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture,
Tourism and Recreation


Location: Lakeside Park, H-Way 17B & Stanley St., Thessalon

Some 25 miles southwest of here lies the Detour Passage between Drummond Island and Michigan's upper peninsula. In August, 1814, it was occupied by the armed U.S. schooners "Tigress" and "Scorpion", whose intention it was to prevent supplies reaching the British garrison at Michilimackinac. On September 1 a British force of seamen, soldiers and Indians under Lieutenants Miller Worsley, R.N., and Andrew Bulger left Michilimackinac in small boats to attack the enemy. The "Tigress" was boarded on September 3 under cover of darkness. Two days later the "Scorpion" came to anchor nearby and, unaware of her sister ship's capture allowed her to come alongside. Taken by surprise, the "Scorpion" was captured after a sharp fight.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: Bruce Mines Museum, 85 Taylor St., Bruce Mines

The original claim to the Bruce Mine location was filed in September, 1846 by James Cuthbertson. It was acquired the following year by the Montreal Mining Company, and production commenced in 1847-48 at what became the first commercially successful copper mine in Canada. Employing skilled Cornish workers, the company operated the mine until 1865 when it was purchased by the West Canada Mining Company. That firm had leased part of the property in 1853 and opened the nearby Wellington and Copper Bay Mines. Though the Bruce Mines were among the most productive on the continent, declining profits forced them to close in 1876, and subsequent attempts to resume operations met with limited success.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


At the Locks, Sault Ste. Marie



The French explorers who first reached this favoured Ojibway hunting and fishing ground were soon followed by fur traders and missionaries who built a post and mission. By 1762 the region had come under British control and the trade eventually fell into the hands of the North West Company. Canoes and larger boats were towed through the rapids, sometimes by oxen, until 1797-8 when the Company built a canal with a wooden lock sufficiently large to admit a Montréal canoe. The lock was destroyed by American troops in 1814.

Les marchands et les missionnaires suivirent de près les explorateurs français dans cette région où les Saut??? aimaient faire la pêche et la chasse, et ils y établirent un comptoir et une mission. Vers 1762, la région, dominée par les Britanniques, vil le commerce des fourrures passer à la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest. Canots et bateaux étaient halés, parfois par des boeufs, à travers les rapides, mais en 1797-1798, la Compagnie aménagea un canal doté d'une écluse de bois assez grande pour y admettre un canot de maître. L'écluse fut détruite par les troupes américaines en 1814.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: At the Locks, Sault Ste. Marie

This is a restoration of the first Bateau
Lock 38 feet long 9 feet wide built by the
North West Company in 1798.
It was part of the first canal between Lake
Huron and Lake Superior. A tow path
extended from this lock west along the
canal bank to the upper St. Mary's River.


Location: At the Locks, Sault Ste. Marie

Travellers on the canoe route to the West had to make a portage around the St. Mary's rapids. The North West Company established a fur-trading post south of the river by 1791. After the British abandoned their occupation of the American midwest, the company moved its post here in 1797. The depot eventually included storehouses, a canal and lock, a sawmill, and a portage road. Wharves were built at either end of the rapids for boats to unload supplies. An American invasion fleet razed the site in 1814, but the Nor'Westers rebuilt it almost immediately. It became a Hudson's Bay Company post following the union of the two rival fur trading companies in 1821.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: 1540 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie

Shingwauk Hall was erected in 1935 to house a residential training school established in 1873 by the Reverend Edward F. Wilson. Under this Anglican missionary's tutelage the institution, named after the well-known Ojibway Chief Augustin Shingwauk (Little Pine), provided Indian children with religious instruction, occupational training and homemaking skills. The first frame structure, located at the nearby Garden River Reserve, was destroyed by fire within six days of its completion, and the foundation stone for a new three-storey stone building was laid here in 1874 by the Earl of Dufferin, the Governor-General of Canada. Other buildings were added, but of these the Bishop Fauquier Chapel, completed in 1883, is the sole remaining structure.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation


Location: 778 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie

This church was constructed in 1875 and dedicated in 1876 as the Parish Church of The Sacred Heart by Bishop Jean-Francois Jamot. It replaced a wooden building constructed in 1846 which had served as a Jesuit missionary post for this region. Built of local red-gray sandstone, it was designed in the Gothic Revival style with a single nave, tall lancet windows, and an imposing tower and slate roof. In 1901 transepts were added and in 1930 a new vestry was built. Both additions adhere to the original style. The Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie was created by the Holy See in 1904 and this church was selected as the Diocesan Cathedral. It was renamed the Cathedral of the Precious Blood in 1936.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation


Location: Near the Duck Pond, Bellvue Park off Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie


1796 - 1870

Here, on a portion of his former estate, is buried Col. Prince who emigrated from England in 1833 and settled at Sandwich, Upper Canada. As commanding officer of the Essex Militia, he stirred up a violent controversy by ordering the summary execution of four members of an armed force sympathizing with Mackenzie's Rebellion which invaded the Windsor area from Detroit in December, 1838. He represented Essex in the legislative assembly 1836-40 and 1841-54. Prince was appointed the first judge of the Algoma District in 1860. Colourful and eccentric, he became one of early Sault Ste. Marie's best known citizens.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: St. Mary's River Rd., west of the Holiday Inn, Sault Ste. Marie

ANNA JAMESON 1794 - 1860
Born in Dublin, Ireland, and raised in London, this famous 19th century author, illustrator and social reformer joined her husband, Robert Jameson, Attorney General of Upper Canada, at Toronto in 1836. The following June, unescorted, Mrs. Jameson travelled to Port Talbot, Detroit, and Mackinaw. From there she journeyed by bateau to Sault Ste. Marie, descended the rapids, and attended an Indian Assembly at Manitoulin. She travelled on to Toronto by way of Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. Upon her return to England in 1838, Mrs. Jameson published an account of her tour entitled "Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada". This book became an invaluable historical source for the life and personalities of the period. Therafter Mrs. Jameson devoted much time to social and educational reform for English women.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Recreation


Location: St. Mary's River Rd., west of the Holiday Inn, Sault Ste. Marie
(The plaque is located on a statue of him and 2 of his dogs)

Billy "O" was a well known citizen, musher and legend in this area. Over the years he entered many dog sled races, including the 1992 Alaskan Iditarod, not to win, but to compete for himself and his dogs. Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, October 13, 1943, Bill met his untimely death February 19, 1994, doing what he loved best. Bill went through the ice in Little Bay De Noe in Escanaba, Michigan, attempting to save his 9 beloved dogs. He managed to save 2 before he succumbed to the icy waters of Lake Michigan.
September, 1997


Location: Goulais River Cemetery, Goulais River

1878 - 1978
On its Centennial, the Community of Goulais River commemorates the gift of the land for this Cemetery by Captain Frederick Tilley and his wife Sarah in 1889. The first white settlers in this area, the Tilleys arrived here by sailboat from Kincardine, Ontario in May 1878 and established their homestead near this site.
To their memory and that of the
courageous Pioneers of the past 100 years
we dedicate this plaque.


Location: On a Cairn near Chippewa Falls, H-Way 17, Batchawan Bay

This plaque stands approximately at the halfway point of the Trans-Canada Highway, which runs from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia. The highway's construction, in conjunction with the provinces, was authorized by the federal parliament in 1949. The official opening for through traffic of this 4,860 mile route, of which about 1,453 miles are within Ontario, took place on September 3, 1962. However, with a completion of a section of Highway 11 between Longlac and Hearst in 1944, it had been possible previously to cross Ontairo from Quebec to Manitoba. The opening of the Trans-Canada Highway provided a shorter first-class route drawing together widely separated regions of Ontario.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: In small park beside H-Way 17 at Michipicoten River Crossing, Wawa

The nearby Michipicoten River formed an important link in the canoe route from Lake Superior to James Bay via the Michipicoten, Missinaibi and Moose Rivers. The route was probably explored at an early date by the French fur traders who maintained a post at Michipicoten. However the first recorded journeys were not made until the 1770's when the Hudson's Bay Company began to establish fur-trading posts along this route inland from Moose Fort. In 1781 Philip Turnor, the Company's first full-time surveyor, made a detailed investigation of the waterway. Considerable improvements were made to the portages along the route which, after 1821, became the Hudson's Bay Company's supply-line for its Lake Superior District.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: Near the rock outcropping, Highway 17, about 2.5 km west of Desbarats
and 4 km east of Highway 548

The ripple marks on the adjacent rock face were made some two billion years ago by waves in a shallow body of water. Buried by later desposition of silt and then subjected to great pressure, the rippled sand became sandstone. The formation was subsequently tilted 60 degrees from the horizontal by crumpling of the Earth's crust. This exceptional feature is of particular interest in that there are at least three distinct beds of sandstone, two of them with ripple-marks oriented almost at right angles to each other. This implies an abrupt change in the direction either of the shoreline of of the current.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: At the St. Marys River beach, off Pointe Aux Pins Road near the early launching site,
Pointe Aux Pins - southwest of Sault Ste. Marie

The first decked vessel to sail Lake Superior was constructed near this site on Pointe aux Pins in 1734-35. It was used by Louis Denis, Sieur de la Ronde, during an unsuccessful attempt to establish copper mines on the southern shore of the lake. Alexander Henry, one of the leading fur traders during the early years of the British regime, built a barge of 13 tonnes in 1770 and in August, 1772, launched a sloop of 36 tonnes. These vessels transported supplies to a short-lived copper mine developed by Henry and his associates near Point Mamainse.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board


Location: The City of Sault Ste. Marie, inside the paid area of the
Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, 50 Pim Street

In 1924, the government of Ontario set up a provincial air service to replace forest fire detection by canoe and foot patrols. Based at Sault Ste. Marie, the service's aircraft became known as the "Yellowbirds" because of their yellow and black colours. The Yellowbirds detected fire, transporting fire fighters and supplies and, from the 1950s on, pioneered the use of water bombers in battling wilderness blazes. Over the years the service also provided aerial support for mapping, wildlife management, regulatory compliance and other provincial programs. In performing so many functions across a vast territory, the Yellowbirds grew into one of the largest non-commercial air services in the world.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On a stone cairn on St. Thomas Street just west of
Pim Street south of Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie

This house, built between 1814 and 1823 by Charles Ermatinger of the North West Company, is the oldest surviving house in northwestern Ontario. Constructed when Sault Ste. Marie was still a small fur trading post on the Upper Lakes, this fine house soon became the centre of the district's business and social life, and was noted by such visitors as Lord Selkirk, Anna Jameson, Sir John Richardson, Paul Kane and George Catlin.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: After crossing the bridge (Highway 548) from Highway 17 follow the Parks Canada
beaver signs along the 37 km drive to Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site

When the British withdrew from Michilimackinac in 1796 they moved to this island, where they build the most westerly of the British military posts. The troops were accompanied by officers of the Indian Department, who here held councils and distributed presents to Britain's Indian allies. As traders sought the protection of the fort, a small village grew up around it. Here Captain Charles Roberts organized the expedition, which captured Michilimackinac on 17 July 1812. Subsequently Fort St. Joseph was abandoned and in July 1814 it was burned by the Americans.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: On the east side of Canal Drive at the end of the waterfront trail, Sault Ste. Marie

A Maine-born promoter, Clergue transformed Sault Ste. Marie into a major industrial centre. He purchased an unfinished hydroelectric station and canal at the Sault in 1894; then, lacking markets for his electric power, he created his own interdependent industries, which included Sault Ste. Marie Pulp and Paper (now St. Mary's Paper), Canadian Copper Company (now part of INCO), Algoma Steel and Algoma Central Railway. Clergue rebuilt the North West Company magazine as a blockhouse and used it as his residence and office during his early years in Sault Ste. Marie.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: In Clergue Park just to the west of the Art Gallery of Algoma at
the south end of East Street, Sault Ste. Marie

ca. 1644-1717
Explorer, interpreter, fur trader and diplomat, French-born Perrot played an important role in the establishment and protection of New France's western frontier during the last four decades of the 17th century. In 1671 he was with Saint-Lusson at Sault Ste. Marie to take formal possession of the upper lakes region for France and he later established a French presence in the upper Mississippi Valley. He wielded considerable influence among the Indian nations of these regions and on a number of occasions was able to enlist their support in defence of New France against the Iroquois.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: On Foster Drive, just west of the foot of Spring Street, Sault Ste. Marie

Until the mid-20th century, passenger and packet freighters were the most efficient means for transporting goods and people to and from isolated communities of the Upper Great Lakes. Essential to early regional development and instrumental in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, these vessels became key components of Canada's transcontinental transportation system. Over time, the construction and refitting of "packets" destined for service on the Upper Great lakes, such as the MS Norgoma, contributed to the development of a shipbuilding industry in the region, particularly at Georgian Bay.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: Beside the canal off Canal Drive, Sault Ste. Marie

Completed in 1895, this canal formed the last link in an all-Canadian navigation system stretching from the St. Lawrence River to Lake Superior. Designed and built by Canadians, the canal incorporated several engineering innovations. It was the world's longest lock and the first to operate with electrical power. It was also novel in using an emergency swing bridge dam to protect the lock in case of accident. Electricity was generated on site in the powerhouse. Closed in 1987 owing to a lock wall failure, the canal was equipped with a modern lock and opened for recreational use in 1998.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada