Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Access to current Huronia Chapter activities.

 It has been a full year since the Huronia Chapter has been able to host in person meeting due to COVID 19 restrictions.

Since then the chapter has adapted to online meeting meetings, some hosted by the chapter but most by joining the online archaeological community of Ontario, across Canada and around the world.

To be kept appraised of what the chapter is up to and participate in the online forums please connect with the chapter in its Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/Huronia.chapter

 Will we go back to person to person meetings? The world has changed with COVID protocols. Some of those changes may be good and stay with us - Others? Perhaps a highbred form of meeting may evolve.

Whatever happens - Stay Safe.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Cancellation of May and June meetings.

Due to the ongoing issues caused by the Covid-19 virus, the executive of the Huronia chapter of the OAS has cancelled our May and June members meetings.
We will be reviewing our dates for members meetings moving forward at our executive meeting in May.
Stay safe and stay well.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A History of Wyebridge

   Presented by Bonnie Reynolds           

at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 11th in the Thompson Rm.
of the North Simcoe Recreation Centre, Midland, Ontario

Bonnie Reynolds was born and raised on the family farm located just north of Wyebridge. Her ancestors moved to the area in 1868 and were active members in the Tiny Township community.  Bonnie continues this tradition. She graduated from university with a History major, worked for the MNR on local historical projects and recently retired, after 37 years, as librarian in the Children’ s section of the Midland Public Library. She is an award winning historian and gifted storyteller whose extensive knowledge of Tiny Township continues to be a valuable resource for those researching local history and genealogy.

Open to the public   -   No admission charge

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Bridging the Narrows

Please join us for a presentation on the

Mnijikaning Fish Weirs
with Janet Turner & Elder Mark Douglas

 7 pm on Wednesday, February 12th  
in the Thompson Room

of the North Simcoe Recreation Centre,
Midland, Ontario

Janet Turner is an educator with the S.C.D.S.B. and a former
 avocational archaeologist. Mark Douglas is an elder at the Rama First Nations. Together they will present archaeological, historical and aboriginal stories of this millennia old National Historical Site located at Atherley Narrows in Orillia. As well, they will discuss the preservation and  protection of the 1000s of wooden stakes embedded in the silt and a proposed interpretive centre and bridge at ‘The Narrows’ that will foster awareness of the site’s spiritual and cultural importance to the Huron and Anishnabek who harvested fish there.

Open to the public   -   No admission charge

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Rock art at Killbear Provincial Park

Rock art at Killbear Provincial Park
Please join us for a presentation by Orillia resident,
  Paul Campbell
as he reveals previously unknown rock art at Killbear Provincial Park, Killarney, ON. Using D-Stretch technology, enhanced images hidden in these petroglyphs aid him as he relates his research into rock art, early First Nations’ knowledge of our world and its hidden nature.

Wednesday, November 13th at 7pm in the Thompson Room of the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, Midland     Open to the public – No admission charge

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Council Rock (Pieces of the Puzzle)

Art Duval Researches the origin of “Council Rock” found in Awenda Park area.  

Following local rumours about a rock relating to Treaty 5, also known as the Penetang purchase has led to research that will be presented at the October 9th Meeting.

Art Duval, a local researcher, will be delving into his discoveries about the history and origin of the inscribed rock found in Awenda Park. 

The questions he addresses are: 

Is there a rock with names on it that relate to the Penetang Purchase?
Is it located in a logical place of historical significance?
Are the described names historicaly accurate?
What was the historical significance of the inscription?
What does it represent?
Who made it?
How was it made?
What does the archaeology say?

Please join us while we explore these questions with Art  at the North Simcoe Recreation Center in Midland at 7PM on Wednesday October 9th.

The public is welcome to join us at no charge.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Research into the evolution of the three earliest buildings of Sainte Marie.

Please join us for a presentation by
Jim Shropshire
on his research into the evolution of the three earliest buildings at the Jesuit mission of Sainte Marie I, based on Kenneth Kidd’s archaeological excavations of the site from 1940 to 1941.

Jim Shropshire's interest in archaeology began in the early 1960's when he was living in Creemore.  Jim met local farmers who often turned up artifacts in their fields and archaeologists visiting the area.  Eventually, with his local knowledge as an asset, he worked for the Ministry of Lands and Forests, later the Ministry of Citizenship & Culture and on various archaeological sites in Huronia and southern Ontario. He's been a long-time member of the OAS, and served as President of the Toronto Chapter in the 1990's. He is currently a Huronia Chapter member and is presently conducting research at Sainte Marie I.

At 7pm on Wednesday, September 11th in the Thompson Room at the North Simcoe Recreation and Sports Centre, Midland, Ontario.
Open to the public – No admission charge

Sunday, July 14, 2019

“In Search of a Homestead”

Please join us for a talk by John Raynor on

“In Search of a Homestead”
A few of months ago the Huronia chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society embarked on a quest to find one of the original homesteads of a Metis/Voyager families that came from Drummond Island to the Naval and Military Establishments at the head of Penetanguishene Bay.

My assumption, when we began this search, was that most of these families that arrived here, stayed here and settled on the military reserve lots set aside for the loyalist Metis on the west side of Penetanguishene Bay opposite to the Establishments.

Tonight, we will explore that assumption and get a broader view of where these families went.

At 7pm on Wednesday, August 14th in the Thompson Room at the North Simcoe Recreation Centre, Midland, Ontario.

Open to public - No admission charge.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

“Flesh Reborn” by Dr. Jean-François Lozier

Please join us for a talk be the author on the book
“Flesh Reborn” by Dr. Jean-François Lozier

Winner of the French Colonial Historical Society’s Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Book Prize and finalist for the Canadian Historical Association’s Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize. 

          Département d'histoire / Department of History, Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa

“By foregrounding Indigenous mission settlements of the Saint Lawrence valley, Flesh Reborn challenges conventional histories of New France and early Canada.”

At 7pm on Wednesday, July 10th in the Thompson Room at the North Simcoe Recreation Centre, Midland, Ontario.
Open to public - No admission charge.
Drawing on a range of ethnohistorical sources, Flesh Reborn reconstructs the early history of seventeenth-century mission settlements and of their Algonquin, Innu, Wendat, Iroquois, and Wabanaki founders. Far from straightforward by-products of colonialist ambitions, these communities arose out of an entanglement of armed conflict, diplomacy, migration, subsistence patterns, religion, kinship, leadership, community-building, and identity formation. The violence and trauma of war, even as it tore populations apart and from their ancestral lands, brought together a great human diversity.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Labatte Homestead Rendezvous

This event includes a tour of the historic homestead of the Labatte family who settled on Thunder Beach in 1834. Members of the Huronia chapter will be onsite at the home to welcome guests and provided some of the historical background of the family, what brought them to Thunder Beach and the log home that they built.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

What is collaborative research? Working together to investigate Huron Wendat ceramic traditions.

Dr. Alicia Hawkins at work in Huronia

Please join us for a presentation by
Dr. Alicia Hawkins on –

What is collaborative research? Working together to investigate Huron Wendat ceramic traditions.

Huron-Wendat oral traditions clearly indicate a long-standing relationship between the Huron-Wendat people and places in eastern Canada. However, archaeologists have focussed on the Huron-Wendat presence in Ontario. While there are many basic similarities in material culture, subsistence and settlement across the lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence valley, archaeologists have focussed on a few differences in material culture to define different "archaeological cultures."

 Our research project takes a different approach to investigation of the Huron-Wendat past. We examine ceramic artifacts from the perspective of "communities of practice," or groups of people who share knowledge and learning. Using a series of high-tech but minimally destructive or non destructive techniques, we consider the sources of clays, the recipes for making a workable clay body and the gestures used to produce pottery across a large swath of Ontario and Quebec before European contact. 

This project was conceived of by the Huron Wendat nation, and developed as a partnership between members of the Nation and archaeological researchers.

Co authored by - Alicia Hawkins, Louis Lesage, Amy St. John, Greg Braun, Joe Petrus

Our June 12th meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Thompson Room of the North Simcoe Recreation Centre in Midland.
Open to the public at no charge.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

In Search of a Homestead

Engraving of Penetanguishine Military Base and ships sailing in harbour, 1818A couple of months ago the Huronia chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society embarked on a quest to find one of the original homesteads of a Metis/Voyager family that came from Drummond Island to the Naval and Military Establishments at the head of Penetanguishene Bay.
My assumption, when we began this search, was that most of these families that arrived here, stayed here and settled on the military reserve lots set aside for the loyalist Metis on the west side of Penetanguishene Bay opposite to the Establishments. 

 It is interesting to note that not all who arrived here, stayed here. Some returned to what was now US territory and others to areas around the Sault that had remained under British rule. Some went to points south like Holland Landing and even York (now Toronto). Others went up the shore to places like Byng Inlet and the area around Parry Sound. But most stayed around Penetang or at least in northern Simcoe County. 

So now we can focus our search on north Simcoe. The records indicate that 40 plus families acquired Park lots that were, for the most part, on the west shore of Penetang Bay with some showing properties in what by 1840 was rapidly developing into the village of Penetang at the south end of the bay. But, where did the others go? Were there other Metis communities developing besides Penetang?

It is also clear from the record that some 11 families seem to have developed their homesteads close to the mouth of the Wye river on or close to the “old Fort”. This clearly references the ruins of Ste. Marie among the Hurons build by the Jesuits in 1639 and abandoned and burnt down in the spring of 1649. These families salvaged much of the stonework from this site and recycled it for use in their homes. One entrepreneur by the name of Baptiste Bruneau attempted to establish an organized subdivision of lots that became the first such plan to be registered in the township of Tay. Being close to the river mouth and bordered by what is now the Wye Marsh, this was prime land for those who wanted to continue in their lives as hunters, fishers and trappers. 
The families that are recorded as settling at “old Fort” are: Bareille, Bellval, Bruneau, Fortin, Martin, Oreille, Quebec, Rondeau, St. Amand and Thibault.

Another group of people who most likely shared the same interests as those on the Wye settled close to what the Huron/Wendat knew as Cranberry Lake, now known as the Tiny Marsh, on lots between the 1st and 3rd concessions of Tiny township.

The family names of Metis settlers at Cranberry Lake are Adam, Descheneau, Gerroux, Goderoi, LeGris, Lépine, Peltier, Payette, Pricour and Roy.

A few families appear to have acquired land more suitable to farming. Some of these properties can be found on lots that front on what was the military road, soon to become known as the Penetang road. This is now closely aligned with County Road 93 between Waverly and Penetang.

The family names who appears to have settled on the military road are Corbier, Corbière, Leduc, Legris, Vasseur.

Another few families went further east towards Orillia and settled on land on the shores of Matchedash Bay that would develop into the villages of Victoria Harbour, Waubashene and Coldwater.

The family names of Metis who settled near the shores of Matchedash Bay are Barbou, Berger, Craddock, Deschambault, Dusang, Labatte, Paradis, Parissien, Prousse.

The largest group of settlers to seek out homesteads away from Penrtang Bay were those who acquired land on lots in and around St Croix, soon to be renamed Lafontaine. These properties were in the 15th, 16th and 17th concessions of Tiny township most of which fronted on what we now know as Rue Lafontaine between Simcoe County Road 6 and Cedar Point Road.

Family names associated with the Metis settlement of Lafontaine include Amiotte, Boucher, Coté, Corbiere, Descheneau, Labatte, LaCroix, Lafreniere, Larammee, Mecier, Messier, Pombird, Precourt, Thibault, Vasseur.

In addition to those families with homesteads associated with the village of Lafontaine there were also some outliers to the north of the village on the roads and trails leading to and on the beach of Thunder Bay itself. The only Metis homestead of that time that was built on the beach in 1834 was that of the Labatte’s. That family arrived in Thunder Bay by accident when they were shipwrecked on their way to Meaford.

For more information on the Labatte homestead and the family who lived there drop into the “Labatte Homestead Rendezvous” Saturday June 22nd at the beach.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Clayton Samuel King on family/doodem relationships

Please join us for a talk on Wednesday May 1st by

Clayton will be speaking as the Heritage and Culture Coordinator for Beausoleil First Nation. His presentation will focus on the family/doodem relationships that he has uncovered through his ten years of research. This presentation explores the written clan signatures in Treaties, petitions, requisitions, nominal roles and oral history regarding BFN and the Chippewa Tri -Council.

This meeting will be held in the Assembly Room on the lower level of the Midland Public Library starting at 7:00 PM 
- Open to the public at no charge.

Friday, April 12, 2019


While doing research regarding historical/archaeological sites that might be threatened by a change to the cultural landscape as a result of the proposed development of some industrial land across the Wye River from the Shrine and Ste. Marie I came across references to the settlement of Bruneauville. Bruneauville was a registered plan of subdivision for a village on the west side of the Wye River in the west 1/2 of lot 16 con 3 of Tay Township.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

“Alt-Wrong: Archaeology vs. the Populist Right”

Please join us for a talk by Paul Racher on
“Alt-Wrong: Archaeology Versus the Populist Right”
A look at the role of archaeologists as Canada and Ontario grapple with right wing populism.

At 7pm on Wednesday, April 10th in the Thompson Room at the North Simcoe Recreation Centre, Midland, Ontario
Open to public - No admission charge

Paul Racher is Vice-President, Operations of Archaeological Research Associates and teaches Cultural Resource Management at Wilfrid Laurier University. He has a B.A. in Prehistoric Archaeology from Wilfrid Laurier University and an M.A. in anthropology from McMaster University. He began his career as a heritage professional in 1986. Over the two and a half decades since, he has overseen the completion of several hundred archaeological and cultural heritage contracts. He holds professional licence #P-007 with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport (MTCS). Paul is an Associate at the Heritage Resources Centre, a heritage think tank at the University of Waterloo, and a professional member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP). He also holds memberships in the Association of Professional Archaeologists (APA), and the past president of Ontario Archaeological Society (OAS).

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Métis History and Culture beyond Discovery Harbour

Join us for a presentation of
 Chapter meeting: Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
Where: North Simcoe Sports & Recreation Centre
Thompson Room - Time: 7 PM

  Chapter meetings are open to the public at no charge.
Join us for a presentation of
Métis History and Culture beyond Discovery Harbour
We will explore the historic and contemporary Métis through music and a presentation by the Red Hot Stove Pipe Band. The two founding members of this band, Basil Lafreniere and Marg Raynor, are descendants of Metis, Louis George Labatte & Julie Francoise Grouette, who migrated from Drummond Island to this area in 1828 and settled on the shores of Thunder Bay Beach. Family artifacts will be highlighted.

                                      Family artifacts will be highlighted.

   Labatte homestead, Built on Thunder Bay Beach in 1834 


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Karolyn Smardz Frost to speak on African Canadian History.

In recognition of Black History Month and Simcoe County’s own Black Heritage, the Huronia chapter is pleased welcome Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost to speak at our February 27th members meeting.
Our meeting will be held at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, Midland starting at 7: PM.
Our meetings are open to the general public at no charge.
Black church in Oro township

Karolyn Smardz Frost 

Both an archaeologist and an historian, Karolyn Smardz Frost explores North America's rich African American and African Canadian heritage and specializes in studying and teaching the Underground Railroad in the Great Lakes basin. She is an adjunct professor at both Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, and is consulting historical archaeologist for the Cataract House hotel excavations in Niagara Falls, New York.
She is also an accomplished author of lively and intriguing narrative non-fiction. In 2007 Karolyn won the Governor General's Award for I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad.  Her co-edited A Fluid Frontier: Slavery, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad in the Detroit River Borderland (2016), won the Historical Society of Michigan Book Award.
Karolyn's newest volume, Steal Away Home (HarperCollins Canada 2016) tells the story of Cecelia Jane Reynolds, who at the age of fifteen fled her Kentucky by way of the Cataract House hotel at Niagara Falls NY. Reaching Toronto she learned to write and began a correspondence with Fanny, the woman who had once owned her body, asking the price of her own family's freedom. Thus began a twenty-year correspondence between a freedom-seeker and her former mistress that has no parallel in the annals of American slavery.
A finalist for the Atlantic Book and Heritage Toronto Awards, Steal Away Home won the Speaker's Award for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the J.J. Talman Award for the best book in Ontario history over the past three years. The most exciting news yet is that Steal Away Home has been optioned for a five-part mini-series by Conquering Lion Pictures, which produced the Book of Negroes for television! Karolyn will speak about the archaeology of the Underground Railroad, and tell the tale of not one but two excavations illuminating the life of freedom-seeker Cecelia Jane Reynolds.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Artifacts transferred to Simcoe County Museum.

Jeff Monague, a resident of Christian Island, Pipe Carrier and representative from the Culture and; Heritage Committee of the Beausoleil First Nation.

On Feb. 1st, six members of the Huronia Chapter of the O.A.S attended a Pipe Ceremony held at the Simcoe County District School Board's Education Centre in Midhurst, Ontario. Two of the Huronia Chapter's attendees were Janet Turner and Jim Shropshire , both of whom were part of the archaeological team that excavated the Molson Site from May to October, 1985.
Hosting the event was Corry Van Nispen of the SCDSB and Darryl Wines of the Collections Department of the Simcoe County Museum.
The ceremony was conducted by Jeff Monague, a resident of Christian Island, Pipe Carrier and representative from the Culture and Heritage Committee of the Beausoleil First Nation.  A member of the chapter presented a gift of tobacco to Mr. Monague, paying honour and due respect to him at this occasion.
After the 1985 salvage excavation of the Molson Site, a 400+ year old Protohistoric settlement in south Barrie, many significant artifacts found there became part of an extensive display at the board office. Space at the board office is now at a premium and the decision was made that the best place for the artifacts, display cases and written information would be directly across the road at the Simcoe County Museum to expand its First Nation exhibit. The ceremonial offering which connects the physical and spiritual worlds, was observed to give thanks to and seek blessing from the Ancestors as the artifacts begin this journey.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

When Archaeological Sites Are Offered For Sale

Archaeological sites and Real Estate.

Question: Should archaeological sites be registered on property title?

As one whose interest in archaeology started when I was still practicing real estate, I have always been curious as to why archaeological sites are not automatically registered on a property’s title papers.
As an archaeologist, I see part of our job as acting as custodians of the past, protectors of archaeological sites and educators of the public about the footprints of history that lie beneath their feet.
When I have asked this question before, the real estate agent in me would say “would this registration not have an impact on property values, and what about property rights? Would those be limited?
When I have reflected on this as an archaeologist, I say, “So what?”
As a real estate agent with an increasing knowledge of archaeology that includes the location of sites within my area, I found myself conflicted. I was bound by real estate law to fully disclose whatever I knew or had been made aware of about any property that I either listed or sold. As an archaeologist, there is an unwritten code of secrecy when it comes to revealing site locations and municipal planning authorities are strongly discouraged or forbidden to reveal the location of sites within their jurisdiction unless a development plan proposal has been put before them.
This process seems a little ass-backwards to me. If a developer sees a property within a designated growth area or they choose to speculate on rural property on the edge of town, they may put in an offer of purchase and then approach the planning authorities with a draft plan. That property purchase, along with the costs incurred for the preparation of a draft plan and a possible zoning change will require a significant financial investment on behalf of the developer.
It is only at this point that an environmental assessment is triggered, and as part of the process, an archaeological assessment may also be required.
As a real estate professional who was aware of archaeological sites being located on properties listed for sale, did I have the obligation to disclose this information? What would be the ramifications of either informing or not informing my clients of knowledge that I had about the property? Am I opening myself up to a lawsuit?
Archaeological surveys and site report have been made available to municipalities in my area since the 1890s, yet my experience has been that most, if not all, of the planners that I met were unaware of, and frankly somewhat disinterested in the existence of, let alone, the content of these reports. They believed that the checklist indicating whether a property had archaeological potential was all that they needed. They were not interested in, or felt the need for, an inventory or list of sites within the municipalities they worked for.
Back to the potential for a lawsuit. As that conflicted licensed real estate agent who also held an archaeological license, I was waiting for the day when a developer sued a municipality for negligence for failure to disclose pertinent information that could render their development plan useless or less profitable than anticipated. The developer not only faced the cost of the assessment, but he may also be informed that a significant portion of the land that he had purchased could not be built on. His claim would be that the municipality failed to disclose information that they knew or “should have known” prior to his purchase of the property. Fortunately, the only lawsuits that I was threatened with came from a developer who did not want me informing residents of sites within that development and a CRM company that did not want me to divulge information about potential ossuaries within their contracted area that they had chosen not to investigate or report, even though they had been indicated in a site survey and a previous CRM stage 2 report. As a result, I lost my avocational licence for allegedly interfering with a CRM professional contract, but I felt vindicated when one of those ossuaries was dug up in the process of grading a lot for a home, and the other noticed and brought to my attention by a property owner, who attended a public meeting, who was curious about a strange depression in a greenbelt area not 20 ft from the back of their yard.
So, in conclusion, for the sake of full disclosure and our desire to protect sites, I would like to suggest that we as archaeologists, through whatever organizations we belong to advocate for archaeological sites to be placed on property title. They do it for dump sites and contaminated soil sites, but not for ossuaries or other sites that we and others see as important markers of sacredness and history.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Ontario Bill 66 and its possible impact on archaeology in Ontario

Dear OAS member,
In the last president's message I called your attention to Bill 66 and some of the impacts it could have to archaeological heritage and Indigenous rights (as well as environmental protections) in Ontario. I indicated that comment on the bill could be sent to Ken Peterson at planningconsultation@ontario.ca by today, Jan. 20.
Since that message, our past president, Paul Racher, has attended two consultations sessions with the Ontario government on behalf of the OAS. While at one of these, he learned about the government's plan to increase housing supply: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page20902.aspx
While the specifics of this plan are not yet fully understood, the rhetoric that is being used suggests that the government wants to make approval processes faster through "streamlining." They state that "The various regulatory requirements and approvals were established to serve specific public interests, policy objectives of government goals. Efforts to streamline these requirements need to balance these multiple goals."
As an organization, the OAS is committed to speaking out to protect archaeological heritage. We have had representation at the consultation meetings we have been invited to. We have submitted comment on Bill 66 and we will submit comment on the proposed Housing Supply Action Plan. We have, and will continue to frame this in terms of language that we hope the current government will understand: that adhering to Official Plans, the Provincial Policy Statement (2014), and Archaeological Master Plans decreases risk, cost, and duplication for municipalities and developers because it allows for identification of archaeological sites early in the approval process.
We have been in touch with a number of organizations who we believe might also have concerns about both Bill 66 and the Housing Supply Action Plan. This includes Indigenous organizations and other heritage organizations.
Should you wish to assist the OAS in advocacy efforts you have a several options.
1. You can comment on the Housing Supply Action Plan here until Jan. 25 (http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page20905.aspx).
2. You can contact your municipality, as several OAS members have already done, as it is at the municipal level that many decisions about planning are made.
3. You can assist the OAS by volunteering to help with advocacy efforts. Members have made a number of suggestions about what the OAS could do - ranging from issuing press releases to networking with various heritage organizations. As a volunteer organization, we can always use assistance in such efforts.
Alicia Hawkins