Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Fishing Islands

On the shores of Lake Huron, part of the South Bruce Peninsula
The mainland of the Peninsula opposite the Islands is mostly low lying and sandy,forming in several places small sand-dunes. 

The area between the shore and the Islands has been filled in with sand, leaving large areas of shallow water, miles in extent, over which people may walk or     drive. At low water great stretches of sand show their rippled, yellow surfaces; and some of the islands become attached to the mainland or to each other. 
So it is, that a definition of an island at Oliphant is “a piece of land with    sand all around it.” 

The Islands in all number over seventy and vary in size from a mere shoal of     flat rock with a few currant bushes growing thereon, to the largest, Cranberry,       containing one hundred and twenty-four acres.
Just north of Hawksnest Island, a picturesque spot, at times a part of the       mainland and at times an island, the “Diagonal Road” from Wiarton enters by way  of Marie Street. The town-plot of Oliphant, laid out at the time of the Rankin      Survey in 1855, reaches from this street northward one mile. Here it was expected that a commercial centre would have sprung up, a hope which has never been real- ized and which has doubtless long since passed away. Point au Rock is a small    peninsula stretching outward from the centre of the town-plot. Westward from it  is a marshy formation of reeds, through which the far-famed Gut Channel passes,  forming the  key of inside navigation between the North and South. The name is   far from being attractive, but it is time-honoured, and will doubtless remain    for all time.
In the few years of Oliphant’s existence as a summering place, it has grown up   rapidly. Pretty little summer houses have been erected here and there along the  shore and islands, some hidden amongst the ever-greens, 
others out in the open sunshine, some on the well protected islands, and others away out where the
great storms of Lake Huron break and almost tear away their moorings. In all there are more than a hundred and fifty camps scattered over the region, and there is scarcely a town in Western Ontario that is not represented in their population.
We may sum up Oliphant’s     varied charms in just a      few  words. It is a place         romantic, historic, and      beautiful; it has many       islands, channels, and by-   ways to explore amongst; it  has some of the finest bass  fishing in the Great Lakes;   it has bathing that for      warmth of temperature can    scarcely be equalled; it     has splendid boating —       sailing, rowing, paddling,   and motor-boating; 
it has an annual Regatta where strength and skill of body and craft are displayed to advantage; it has three athletic grounds, one on mainland, one on Rabbit      Island, and one on Frog Island, the scenes of many ball games and field sports;  it has a church, a government dock now lighted, a spring that never runs dry, and may we add, a post office which brings, let us trust, many joys; it has never had a fatality or serious accident, to mar its sense of pleasure; and above all its  inhabitants are of a high standard of citizenship, from which emanates a spirit  of helpfulness and sociability so necessary in the life of people seeking health, comfort, and happiness. 
The first gathering of the campers was in the form of a picnic held in 1903 at Cranberry, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Cross. The next year it was held at Hawksnest Island. In 1907 the picnic was changed to a regatta and held at the Government Dock built the year before. The Regatta has proved an extremely popular annual event in which aquatic sports are keenly contested by all classes of campers old and young.




A walk around the Oliphant Government Dock and Marina for Restless Jo
accompanied by a 1912 description of the area


  1. ...another place to put on my to see list.

  2. It looks a very tricky place for walking, Violet, but I love the name Cranberry for an island. Happy days! Many thanks to you for the share. :)

    1. yes, well, I didn't include a picture of the very long docks from which I took these photos. that part was easy walking!

  3. An unusual, but lovely landscape. Maybe a bit wet underfoot......

  4. Looks like a lovely place to take a stroll and get some great photos as you did.
    Enjoy your week,

    1. thank you. and it was an enchanting walk. every time I've been it has looked so different due to the water levels changing.


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