Parks Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

A Brief History of Canada's National Parks

Chapter 3
Parks of Eastern Canada (1904 to 1981)


Although the first components of Canada's national park system were situated in the Rocky and Selkirk Mountains regions of western Canada, action to extend these public reservations to eastern provinces was taken early in the 20th century. A major factor in the establishment of the earlier parks in the mountain and prairie regions of Canada was the existence of large areas of undeveloped public lands, which were administered by the various branches of the Department of the Interior. Moreover, park legislation in force from 1911 until 1930 facilitated the creation of new parks. A strong recommendation from the Minister of the Interior to the Governor General in Council, with support from Cabinet colleagues, was the essential requirement. Following the enactment of the National Parks Act in 1930, however, the merits of prospective parks were subject to parliamentary debate, as each addition to the park system required an amendment to the National Parks Act or, alternatively, a separate act of Parliament.

The first national parks established in Eastern Canada — St. Lawrence Islands, Point Pelee, and Georgian Bay Islands, — comprised lands held in trust for Indians which were purchased, or, in the case of Point Pelee, former Admiralty land administered by the Department of the Interior. After 1930, however, title to almost all unalienated public lands previously under the Department's control had passed to the provinces, and new procedures became necessary. For the next 40 years, additional national parks came into being through co-operative action by the federal and provincial governments. The selection of sites for new parks was made following joint inspections. Subsequently, the province concerned conveyed to the federal Government, under authority of appropriate legislation, a clear title to the land selected. In turn, the federal Government undertook to meet the costs of developing and maintaining the new area.

In the pages following, historical sketches of the national parks established in eastern Canada between 1904 and 1971 will be found. In comparison with their western counterparts, only three of the parks in eastern Canada exceed 550 km2 in area. None contains a townsite or a major visitor services centre, in which municipal and visitor services normally are concentrated. Consequently, details of development undertaken by the National Parks administration and by private enterprise have been outlined in greater detail than was done in previous chapters.

Pavilion and campground
Pavilion and campground, Point Pelee National Park, 1930s

Camping on the shore
Camping on the shore, Georgian Bay Islands National Park

St. Lawrence Islands National Park

One of the most beautiful examples of river landscape on the North American continent is the picturesque stretch of the St. Lawrence River between Lake Ontario and Brockville. Along this section of the great inland waterway, the river is studded with upwards of 1,700 islands, ranging in size from tiny rocks or islets to areas of several square kilometres. Growths of pine, oak, maple and birch rise above bluffs of gneiss and granite or sweep down to the river's edge and cast darker shadows of colour across the blue-green waters. Known to the earliest explorers as "Les Milles Iles", the Thousand Islands have formed a holiday retreat and summer playground for more than a century. This superb island group lies between Canada and the United States, and the International Boundary threads in a meandering line through the archipelago. The boundary line, however, which is mainly invisible, presents no aesthetic barrier, for the beauty of the river and the opportunities it provides for outdoor sport and enjoyment have long been shared by the peoples of both nations.

Early Island Parks

The Thousand Islands within Canada at one time formed Indian lands. After their surrender by the Indians under treaty, the islands were held in trust by the Government of Canada. By the end of the 19th century, many of the larger islands had been sold as sites for summer homes, many of which were erected on palatial lines. On the mainland, which was privately owned, visitor resorts, complete with large hotels, gradually were developed. Fortunately, some of the larger islands were reserved from disposal early in the present century for private use, and these formed the nucleus of the St. Lawrence Islands National Park. The initial steps in the establishment of the park were taken in 1904 when nine islands fronting on the Townships of Leeds, Landsdowne and Yonge were reserved for park purposes. The islands had been designated for sale but strong representations made by local residents to the federal Government urging that they be reserved for public use resulted in their retention. On September 20, 1904, they were formally transferred from the administration and control of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs to that of the Minister of the Interior "for park purposes".1

The islands included Aubrey, Mermaid, Beau Rivage, Camelot, Endymion, and Gordon near Gananoque; Georgina and Constance near Ivy Lea; and Adelaide near Mallorytown Landing. The Department of the Interior paid the minimum valuation placed on the islands, $9,150, and the funds were credited to the Mississauga Band of Alnwick. Previously, in June, 1904, five members of the Mallory family, whose name is commemorated in the Village of Mallorytown, donated to the Government of Canada for park purposes a small island and an adjoining mainland area at Mallorytown Landing, containing about 1.6 ha.2 In 1905, the park was enlarged by the purchase of Stovin or Picnic Island west of Brockville, and a two-hectare parcel at the western end of the Grenadier Island just east of Rockport. These acquisitions also came from Indian lands held in trust by the Department of Indian Affairs.3

In the initial purchase of nine islands, the Department of the Interior undoubtedly obtained a bargain, for their initial development had been instituted by the Department of Indian Affairs. In April, 1904, a contract had been let to J.D. Warwick of Brockville for the construction of pavilions, steamboat wharves and boat landings, and the provision of tables, benches and outdoor stoves for the convenience of persons using the islands. The initial contract, which included improvements on the parcel of land donated by the Mallory family, was extended to incorporate additional items, and on completion the contractor was paid $16,482.4 The islands on which improvements had been made were then placed in charge of a caretaker who resided in Gananoque. He was paid at the rate of $10 per month.

Administration Transferred

Early in 1908, the island parks, together with other representative units in the federal parks system, were placed under the administration of the Forestry Branch of the Department of the Interior. An inspection of the island parks made by the Superintendent of Forestry in June of that year revealed that some of the pavilions had been poorly designed, and had either collapsed or lost their roofs during heavy winds which swept the river. Effective repairs were made by the Department of Public Works and the pavilions provided an essential public service for many years. In 1911, the recently-formed Dominion Parks Branch took over the administration of the park islands and regular maintenance was inaugurated. Caretakers for the larger islands or for groups of islands were engaged on a seasonal basis, and periodical inspections by members of the Park Branch staff at Ottawa were initiated. It was not until December, 1914, that the twelve island units existing at that time were formally established as national parks under the Dominion Forest Reserves and Parks Act.5

Park Extensions

The island park system was extended in 1919, when Canada or Doran's Island, an attractive area of eight hectares facing the Town of Morrisburg, was obtained for national park purposes. The island had formed part of the St. Regis Indian Reserve, and a long-term lease granted by the Indian chiefs had expired. Its acquisition for park purposes, subject to payment of an amount to be fixed by valuation, was authorized by an order in council under the Indian Act. Later, it developed that the island could not be expropriated for park purposes under the Indian Act, and it was necessary to amend the Forest Reserves and Parks Act to permit the acquisition of Indian lands under that authority. This legislation was passed in June, 1919.6 After the necessary expropriation was carried out under authority of the new legislation, the island was proclaimed Broder Island Park, after Andrew Broder, who had represented the constituency of Grenville-Dundas for many years in the House of Commons.7

The two-hectare parcel adjoining the lighthouse property at the west end of Grenadier Island was enlarged in January, 1924, when the Department of Marine and Fisheries transferred to the Department of the Interior for park purposes an additional two hectares from the lighthouse reserve. The enlarged area of four hectares was proclaimed as Grenadier Island Park.8 In July, 1924, another valuable addition was made to the park. Cedar Island, located opposite Fort Henry in the St. Lawrence River, two kilometres east of the City of Kingston, had been in the custody of the Department of National Defence for many years following its transfer to Canada by the Imperial Government in 1870. Its transfer to the Department of the Interior in 1924 resulted in the creation of an attractive island park at the western end of the park system, incorporating an interesting relic of early defence construction in the form of a martello tower, which had been erected as an outpost of Fort Henry in 1846.9 These acquisitions, which brought to fourteen the number of island parks, were the last to be incorporated in St. Lawrence Islands National Park prior to the enactment of the National Parks Act in 1930.

Historical Associations

The St. Lawrence River is linked firmly with the early history of Canada. Following the first ascent of the river by Jacques Cartier in 1535 to the site of Montreal, it gradually developed into a water highway to the west, and along its course travelled the early explorers, fur-traders, and missionaries, followed by settlers and commerce. The native population of the upper portion of the river in early days was composed principally of members of the Iroquois confederacy, as the south bank of the St. Lawrence marked the northern boundary of territory occupied by the Mohawks, Oneidas, and Onandagas. To the north and northwest of the river were the Hurons, and farther north again the Algonquin tribes. The island region was known to them as "Manitoana," or Garden of the Great Spirit, and Indian associations with the islands have given birth to numerous legends.

The Thousand Islands stretch of the St. Lawrence witnessed in turn the struggle of the French and English for the control of North America, which ended in 1763; the War of the American Revolution; the War of 1812-14; and the so-called Patriot War of 1837-38, which terminated shortly after an unsuccessful invasion of Canada from Ogdensburg was repulsed. Memories of the War of 1812-14 are preserved in the names of several of the national park islands, which were given by Captain William Fitzwilliam Owen, who made a survey of the St. Lawrence River following the end of hostilities.10 Endymion, Camelot and Mermaid Islands were named after gunboats which operated on the Great Lakes; Gordon Island after Commander James A. Gordon; Stovin Island after Major-General Richard Stovin; and Grenadier Island after the famous British regiment.

The Thousand Islands also provided the setting for the story of the "Lost Channel," referred to in J. Feniinore Cooper's famous novel "The Pathfinder". The name of this passage in the islands had its origin from an incident which occurred in 1760, during the Seven Years War. On the way from Oswego to Montreal, a British force under Lord Amherst, transported by two vessels, the Onandaga and the Mohawk, was ambushed in the islands by a group of French and Indians. During the skirmish, the crew of one of the boats lowered from the Onandaga became confused by the myriad of channels, and the boat was lost.11

First Visitors

It is believed that a Jesuit missionary, Father Poncet, was the first European to visit, in 1653, the St. Lawrence Islands.12 Count de Frontenac, appointed Governor of French Canada in 1672, ascended the St. Lawrence from Lachine in July, 1673, with a flotilla of 120 canoes and two flat-boats, carrying 400 men, including some Indians. His mission was to establish a fortified post at the mouth of Cataraqui River which later was to be known as Fort Frontenac and eventually as Kingston, Ontario. Frontenac left a vivid description of his journey through the upper St. Lawrence.

On the 4th (July) we pursued our journey and came to the most beautiful piece of country that can be imagined, the river being strewn with islands, the trees of which are all either oak or other kinds of hardwood, while the soil is admirable. The banks on both sides of the river are not less charming, the trees, which are very high, standing out distinctly and forming as fine groves as you could see in France.13

The islands between Kingston and Brockville were surrendered by the Mississauga Indians of Alnwick by Treaty No. 77, dated June 19, 1856. The first sale of units in the Thousand Island group was made on May 18, 1868. The earliest plans of survey in the custody of the Indian Affairs Branch are dated April 30, 1893, from surveys carried out by Unwin and McNaughton in 1874, and Beatty in 1892. Descriptions of the islands now forming the national park are based mainly on plans of survey dated January 23, 1912.

For nearly 40 years after their proclamation as national parks, the federally-owned islands in the St. Lawrence River provided summer visitors with opportunities for picnicking, bathing, and camping. The original wharves were gradually replaced as they became obsolete and some of the early pavilions gave way to more functional kitchen shelters. Annual attendance based on estimates provided by the islands' caretakers rarely exceeded 15,000 up to the year 1948. General supervision of the islands and their part-time caretakers was undertaken by officers of the National Parks Branch at Ottawa, who functioned as acting superintendents.

St. Lawrence Islands Bridge

A significant event in the history of the St. Lawrence Island Parks was the opening on August 18, 1938, of the Thousand Islands International Bridge near Ivy Lea. Dedication addresses were delivered by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable W.L. Mackenzie King, and the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The company responsible for the erection and maintenance of the bridge had been incorporated in 1934, and subsequently obtained permission by federal order in council to erect piers supporting the bridge on Georgina and Constance Park Islands.14 A rental agreement, effective April 1, 1938, authorized the use of park lands for the lifetime of the bridge.

The new bridge was located to function as a connecting link between Collins Landing in the State of New York and Ivy Lea, Ontario. On the Canadian side, access was provided by a new provincial highway originally designated Number 401, and now designated Number 28, which followed the St. Lawrence River from a point west of Brockville to Gananoque. The right-of-way crossed the national park area at Mallorytown Landing and its construction at this point was facilitated by an exchange of lands between Canada and the province in 1939 which had the effect of extending the park waterfront area.

Superintendent Appointed

A growing automobile traffic along the scenic highway soon was reflected in an increase in visitors, especially at Mallorytown Landing. In 1949, a labour foreman was appointed to supervise maintenance of the park's island units in the vicinity. In August, 1952, the Superintendent of Georgian Bay and Point Pelee National Park, J.C. Browne, was also placed in charge of the St. Lawrence Islands Parks with the title of Superintendent. Subsequent inspections of the park revealed that the prevailing practice of employing part-time caretakers on the islands was unsatisfactory and in 1954 the park was placed under the immediate supervision of a resident park warden with headquarters at Mallorytown Landing. The new post was filled by Frank Jervis, an experienced park warden from Prince Albert National Park.

In 1953, an area of about one hectare of farm land bordering the park north of provincial highway 401 had been purchased to facilitate the extension of camping and picnicking amenities. This area provided a site for a combination residence and office erected in 1954 for the new warden. The following year, a stores and workshop building was added to the park establishment. The park warden now functioned as a local superintendent and with the aid of a seasonal staff initiated a program of development and expansion required to meet the increasing use of the island parks. With the aid of new patrol boats and a large steel scow, regular refuse collections on the park islands were instituted, many new wharves and kitchen shelters were constructed, change-houses for bathers were provided on islands having suitable natural attractions, and picnic sites were enlarged and improved by the provision of outdoor stoves, tables and benches. The repair and maintenance of park boats was facilitated by the construction in 1960 of a large three-bay boathouse at Mallorytown Landing. On January 1, 1968, the title of Chief Park Warden was changed to that of Park Superintendent.

Broder Park Withdrawn

The establishment of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority in 1951 by the Parliament of Canada and reciprocal legislation by the Congress of the United States in 1954 led to the development of an International Deep Waterway with remarkable changes in the geography of the St. Lawrence River Valley. Canadian national park units in the upper section of the river were not affected, but Broder Island, the most easterly park unit, was destined for serious defacement. As early as 1940, it had been known that the island, located in the International Rapids section of the proposed waterway, would be wholly or partially submerged in any international power development scheme. An examination of the island carried out by officers of the National Parks Service determined what improvements could be salvaged and in March, 1955, legislation providing for the withdrawal of the island from the national parks system was prepared. This was accomplished by an amendment to the National Parks Act. Considerable portable equipment was removed for use elsewhere, but improvements having replacement value of more than $20,000 had to be abandoned. An unsuccessful effort was made to obtain another island in exchange. In 1957, the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario offered to return what was left of Broder Island after some land-fill and landscaping had been undertaken. As the island had been bisected by the new ship channel and all natural vegetation removed, the offer was rejected. Eventually, a cash settlement was obtained from the Commission, and title to Broder Island, required by the International Rapids Power Development Act, was transferred by order in council in 1959.15

Additional Land Required

The loss of this island, coupled with an ever-increasing use of existing park islands, confirmed the need for additional land acquisition for park purposes along the river between Brockville and Kingston. In 1956, an opportunity to purchase a parcel of farm land comprising 34 ha north of provincial highway 401 at Mallorytown Landing was presented. Title to the property was obtained in 1957, and made possible the extension of the headquarters area. Its acquisition also removed the threat of undesirable commercial development in the immediate vicinity of the park. Additional property at Mallorytown was purchased in 1958 in the form of two cottage lots facing the river front which had been excepted from the original grant by the Mallory family in 1904. A remaining lot was acquired in 1970.

Although land purchases at Mallorytown Landing had provided additional space for mainland developments, the existing island parks which offered picnic and camping amenities were suffering from over-use. This situation resulted from an amazing increase in private boating activity which strained the capacity of docks and mooring areas and put a premium on space in areas favoured by visitors. By 1960, actual counts by park employees disclosed that up to 500 boats were using park docks each week. Unfair practices of private boat owners in monopolizing available dock space embarrassed the captains of commercial tour boats from nearby towns and cities. Some improvement in the situation was effected by the adoption of regulations which restricted periods of tie-up to 48 hours. Offshore mooring in congested areas was facilitated by the installation of additional mooring buoys, and tour boats were accommodated by the reservation of designated sections of park docks for that class of boat.

The purchase of suitable island property presented difficulties as almost all large islands other than those reserved for park or other public purposes had been sold years before. Consequently, islands of acceptable standard and in suitable locations could be acquired only on the open market at prices determined by negotiation after appraisal. An exception was a group of 82 islets and rocks scattered throughout the island system which represented the balance of the ungranted Indian lands held in trust by Indian Affairs administration. While of no great scenic or recreational value, many of these islands were located near or in the vicinity of park islands and their purchase in 1965 removed any possibility of their sale and development under private ownership to the detriment of the national park.

Islands are Purchased

In 1966, an area of 85 ha in the central part of Grenadier Island was purchased. Additional parcels on the same island, totalling some 50.6 ha, later were acquired in 1968, 1969 and 1970. A small group of adjacent islands including Squaw, Car, and Shoe was bought in 1967. These additions permitted the development of plans of a visitor centre on Grenadier Island, which will provide opportunities for bathing, picnicking, and camping. Other notable island areas acquired for park purposes between 1967 and 1970 included three large islands accessible from Gananoque. They included Thwartway or Leek Island containing 36 ha; Mulcaster Island containing 5 ha; and the major part of McDonald Island containing 14 ha. The purchase of Milton or Pitcairn Island east of Kingston Harbour in 1960 established a new western outpost in the chain of island parks.

An ever-increasing demand for recreational amenities associated with picnicking, camping and boating activity led the National and Historic Parks Branch in 1966 to make a reconnaissance survey of the current and future potentialities of the park. From the studies undertaken, a provisional master plan was prepared for the orderly development of the St. Lawrence Islands Parks. The plan provided for the use of the mainland area as a highway visitor services centre, and the development of intensive use areas on Grenadier Island and on another large island to be acquired. The plan also contemplated the development of nature and hiking trails on large islands together with facilities for docking, picnicking and bathing. Other islands would remain in an undeveloped state to reinforce the natural environment. The development of a visitor centre on Grenadier Island has since been undertaken, and further implementation of development plans will be possible as additional island parks are acquired.


1. Order in Council P.C. 1904-1725, 20 Sept., 1904.

2. National Parks Branch File St. L. 2 (documents).

3. Order in Council P.C. 1905-1927, 3 Nov., 1905.

4. National Parks Branch File St. L. 2, vol. I.

5. Order in Council P.C. 1914-3081, 10 Dec., 1914.

6. Statutes of Canada, 9-10 George V, Chapter 17, 6 June, 1919.

7. Order in Council P.C. 1919-2428, 3 Dec., 1919.

8. Order in Council P.C. 1924-122, 25 Jan., 1924.

9. Order in Council P.C. 1924-1194, 11 July, 1924.

10. Encyclopedia Canadiana, vol. 10, p. 77.

11. J.A. Haddock, The Picturesque St. Lawrence River (Albany, N.Y.: Weed-Parsons Publishing Company, 1896).

12. Encyclopedia Canadiana, vol. 10, p. 76.

13. W.D. LeSueur, Count Frontenac (Makers of Canada) (Toronto: Morang and Company, 1906).

14. Order in Council P.C. 1936-937, 20 April, 1936.

15. Order in Council P.C. 1959-356, 25 March, 1959.

Point Pelee National Park

Pointing southerly like a long finger into the western end of Lake Erie, Point Pelee contains one of Canada's smallest but most unusual national parks. It takes the form of a huge inverted triangle, ten kilometres long and five kilometres wide at its base. Its sides are formed by broad beaches built up by wind and wave action, which terminate at their extremities in a slender spit that changes its position and form as currents and winds dictate. The southern portion of the park supports, by reason of its geographical position and climate, trees, plants and bird life normally found in more southerly latitudes. The northern portion of the park is principally marshland containing large ponds, which provides food and shelter for waterfowl, muskrat and numerous other aquatic species. Located on one of the main routes followed by birds during their spring and autumn migrations, the park offers unequalled opportunities for the study and observation of birds. The unique natural attractions of the park have been made more accessible through the provision of man-made amenities and attract large concentrations of visitors during the summer months. The park boundaries enclose an area of about 15.5 km2 or 1,554 ha. Of this area, fewer than 445 ha form dry land, the balance being made up of marshland interspersed by ponds.

Early History

Point Pelee owes its name to the French word 'pelee', meaning bare, presumably from the long treeless spit that forms its tip.1 It was known from the earliest days of exploration, and the portage across the beaches through the intervening ponds was frequently used in early navigation on Lake Erie. A bronze tablet, mounted on a stone cairn, was erected at the western end of the portage in 1927 by the National Parks Branch to commemorate events in Canadian history associated with Point Pelee.2 In the course of their notable explorations of 1669-1670, the Sulpician priests Fathers Dollier and Galinee encamped on the east beach in April, 1670. Here, an overnight storm carried off part of their luggage. During the Pontiac conspiracy or war, a detachment of Royal Americans and Queens Rangers under Lieutenant Abraham Cuyler suffered severe losses during a surprise attack by Wyandot Indians on May 28, 1873. In the war of 1812-1814, a British expedition under General Isaac Brock landed on the Point on August 12, 1812, four days before the capture of Detroit and General Hull's army. The tablet also commemorates the Battle of Pelee Island fought on March 3, 1838, during the Upper Canada Rebellion.

Naval Reserve Established

The southerly two-thirds of Point Pelee was set aside as the Point Pelee Naval Reserve during the first half of the 19th century — one of several established on the Great Lakes. It is doubtful if the point ever functioned in naval operations, for on December 2, 1871, the reserve was transferred by the British Admiralty to Canada. Four years later, it was deemed to be no longer required for naval purposes, and on March 28, 1875, the reserve was placed in custody of the Department of the Interior for administration as Ordnance and Admiralty Lands.3 Its earliest human occupation was probably by Chippewa Indians, who subsisted mainly by hunting and fishing. They also grew crops of Indian corn on small clearings. In 1842, the band numbered about 250, but by 1856 the Indian population had shrunk to less than 60. Members of the band had a tendency to roam and many moved in 1847 to Walpole Island in Lake St. Clair.4

First Legal Survey

The early occupation of the point was shared by white squatters, mostly fishermen, the first of whom arrived about 1830. Although an inspecting officer of the Department of the Interior reported in 1881 that the land had no agricultural value, the squatters grew vegetables and planted small orchards. A condition of the transfer of the naval reserve to Canada in 1871 stipulated that, in the administration of the public lands, the rights of the squatters were to be protected. By 1881, the presence of a small settlement, and the unauthorized cutting of trees on the point by the squatters, became a matter of concern to the Department of the Interior. That year, Peter Conover of Leamington was appointed caretaker of the reserve, and steps were taken to provide the squatters with a title to their holdings.5 A survey of the reserve was carried out on the instructions of the Surveyor General by Alex. Baird, P.L.S., in 1882.

Unfortunately, details of the plan of survey were insufficient to permit the preparation of land grants and a second survey of the squatters' holdings was carried out in 1889 by George McPhillips, D.L.S. His plan formed the basis for all subsequent surveys in the Naval Reserve. After the claims of the squatters had been investigated and substantiated, titles were granted in 1892 and 1893 to the occupants of 20 individual parcels or lots. The squatters obtained in effect a free title, for the only charge made was a share of the cost of the survey, which amounted to $1.70 per acre (0.4047 ha).6

Gun Club Lease

After it assumed control of the Naval Reserve, the Department of the Interior proved to be an indulgent custodian, as it sanctioned systematic exploitation of the natural resources. The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty had consented in 1873 to the issue of a licence of land in the reserve "for the preservation of game". Action on the Admiralty's consent was deferred until May, 1884, when tenders were called for the right to lease 1,291 ha of the reserve, excluding the squatters' holdings. The successful applicants comprised a group of sportsmen from Leamington and St. Catharines. They incorporated as the "South Essex Gun Club" and were granted a lease for a term of 21 years from April 6, 1885, at a yearly rental of $400.7 The exclusive use of most of the Naval Reserve for "the preservation and purposes of game only" did not meet with the approval of the permanent residents, who, by petition, claimed interference with their rights. Their objections, however, were over-ruled, and the lease remained in force until 1902, when it was cancelled for non-payment of rent.8

Natural Resources Exploited

Destruction of the abundant stands of red cedar or juniper on the Naval Reserve was threatened in 1893, when a resident of Leamington, Everett Wigle, obtained the right to cut and remove for fence posts all cedar on the reserve having a butt of 127 mm or more in diameter. This operation, authorized by order in council, was sanctioned on the presumption that removal of the larger trees would result in their replacement by thousands of smaller ones.9 Although provision was made for a clean-up of brush, and the retention of sufficient larger trees to form an effective wind-break on the point, strong protests were registered with the Department. These came not only from residents and members of the gun club, but also from officers of the merchant marine sailing Lake Erie. By March, 1894, when the concession was cancelled, Mr. Wigle had been able to harvest 11,400 fence posts and a large number of logs from overage or decaying black walnut trees.

Although unrestricted use of the lands in the reserve, exclusive of the squatters' grants, was not authorized by the Admiralty until 1911, additional concessions had been granted by the Interior Department. During the term of the gun club's lease, applications for the right to carry on natural gas and petroleum exploration had been refused. On the termination of the club's privileges in 1902, a lease permitting drilling was authorized. Although the lessee held this right for three years, no drilling was carried on. Four separate leases for the removal of sand from the reserve were issued between 1910 and 1913.10 One lease, covering 16.5 ha at the end of the point, was cancelled in 1915, when the land was transferred by request to the Canadian Naval Service, for the purposes of a life-saving station. The other leases remained in force until the national park was established in 1918.

Scientific Studies

Before the end of the century, the unusual opportunities for the study of bird and plant life began to attract the attention of naturalists. Among these were W.E. Saunders of London, Ontario, and P.A. Taverner of Ottawa, both well known ornithologists. Conservation groups also became interested in preserving the habitat of waterfowl. In its annual report for 1915, the Commission of Conservation at Ottawa published a report by Taverner, recommending the creation of a national park at Point Pelee.11 A zoologist on the staff of the National Museum of Canada, Taverner had carried on observations in the Naval Reserve since 1905. His report also described the variety of fauna and flora found there.

Point Pelee is the most southerly point of the Dominion, biologically as well as geographically, and thus we find a fauna intruding from the south that occurs in no other part of Canada in so marked a manner. Such trees and plants as the paw-paw, prickly pear, sassafras, sycamore, black walnut, hackberry, wahoo, red mulberry and other strictly southern forms thrive there. Birds like the cardinal, Carolina wren, yellow-breasted chat, blue-grey gnat-catcher, and golden-winged warbler are common residents or regular migrants ... . Point Pelee is a place of unusual and peculiar beauty, resembling strongly in many particulars the landscape of the Bermuda Islands.

The paper also called attention to the serious erosion of the point which Taverner believed to be the result of off-shore removal of sand by dredges for use in the United States. In the period between 1905 and 1913, Taverner had seen the point recede in length by almost 800 m. Operations in 1913 alone, he stated, had accounted for sufficient sand to cover six hectares to a depth of 61 cm.

National Park Endorsed

The Government of Canada had established an interdepartmental Advisory Board on Wildlife Protection in December, 1916. The Board included representatives of the Commission of Conservation, the Department of Indian Affairs, the National Museum of Canada and the National Parks Branch of the Department of the Interior. A fifth member of the Board, Dr. C. Gordon Hewitt, Dominion Entomologist of the Department of Agriculture, served as secretary. Resolutions submitted to the government by several groups interested in the preservation of Point Pelee as a wildlife sanctuary were referred to the new board. Included were those from the Essex County Wild Life Protective Association, the Essex County Game Protective Association, and the Canadian Society for the Protection of Birds.

Dr. Hewitt undertook an inspection of the Naval Reserve and interviewed a number of the residents. Later he had discussions with executives of the Essex County protective associations among whom were Forest Conover, a son of the first caretaker of the Naval Reserve, and Jack Miner, who had successfully developed a private migratory bird sanctuary at Kingsville, Ontario. The results of these consultations were then reviewed with the Commissioner of National Parks, J.B. Harkin, and with Dr. R.M. Anderson and P.A. Taverner of the National Museum of Canada. On May 30, 1917, the Advisory Board forwarded a strongly-worded resolution to the Deputy Minister of the Interior, recommending that the Naval Reserve be created a national park. The submission received sympathetic consideration, and the proposal was approved by the Minister of the Interior, Dr. W.J. Roche.12

The co-operation of the Province of Ontario was then sought in the enactment of provincial regulations that would effectively control shooting on privately-owned lands, should the proposed park materialize. This co-operation was obtained, together with agreement that the cancellation of permits authorizing underwater sand removal was desirable. By the spring of 1918, a decision had been reached that all unalienated land in the Naval Reserve should be included in the proposed Point Pelee park, and its establishment was confirmed by order in council on May 29, 1918.13 In deference to sportsmen who for years had hunted waterfowl in the marshes of Point Pelee, the order in council provided for the shooting of wild duck under permit from the Commissioner of National Parks, during a season to be decided by the Governor in Council.

Administrator Appointed

Following the establishment of the park steps were taken to protect its natural features and install facilities that would promote its public use and enjoyment. An honorary superintendent, Forest Conover, was appointed, a park warden was engaged, and a general clean-up of the park undertaken. Suitable areas for camping and picknicking were designated, wells drilled, and outdoor stoves, tables and benches made available. Later developments included the erection of pavilions and shelters, and a change-house for bathers. The main road into the park was improved, a rustic arch erected at the entrance, and efforts made to control erosion of the beaches. As the park's attractions became better known, visitor use increased and, by 1925, the annual attendance was estimated to be 50,000.

Unfortunately, much of the best land in the park was privately owned, for 30 years earlier, 212 ha had been Crown-granted to the squatters. As visitor use of the park increased, property-owners began to sell portions of their land, and many of the original lots were subdivided for cottage sites. Eventually, privately-owned property in the park was owned by several hundred persons, many of them residents of the United States.

Real Estate Promotion

One of the most ambitious real estate developments in the park got under way in 1921. The Point Pelee Company Limited, backed by promoters from Detroit, Michigan, purchased 69 ha in the southern part of the park from J.W. Post, an original grantee who had acquired other holdings. The company wished to include in its development about eight hectares of park land along the eastern shore. On the understanding that the company would carry out certain works beneficial to the park, and would permit extension of the park regulations to its property, the Minister of the Interior entered into an agreement with the company.14 The terms of the agreement provided for an exchange of lands, the development of a landscaped park area, and the posting of a performance bond by the company. The initial subdivision consisting of 351 lots was widely advertised, but the company experienced financial difficulties and was unable to carry out the terms of its agreement with the Department. Later the company defaulted in its mortgage commitments to the vendor, and the land reverted to Mr. Post. In 1937, the park superintendent reported that the property might be purchased from the estate of Mr. Post. After negotiation with the executors, and an appraisal of the land, the Department obtained title to 69 ha for $45,000. Fortunately, the developers had sold only three lots in the subdivision. Two of these lots were acquired by the Department at a tax sale, and the third by expropriation.

This purchase not only extended the public land in the park but provided an area of great ecological value. It incorporated a portion of the point that had remained quite primitive and undeveloped, sustaining examples of the trees, shrubs, vines, plants and mosses which contributed to the unique character of the park.

Roads Taken Over

In 1938, the National Parks Branch instituted an entrance fee on vehicles entering the park. Roads within the park, however, in accordance with subdivision law, were vested in the Township of Mersea, and considerable discretion was exercised in collecting fees from permanent residents. The existence of road allowances on the subdivision plan of the recently acquired Post property led to discussion with township officials, which in turn led to the transfer of all roads and road allowances within the park to the Crown. In January, 1929, the Township Council, by resolution, indicated its willingness to surrender its rights to all road allowances, provided the rights of residents were recognized. Legal difficulties in the proposed transfer were solved, with the approval of Township officials, by the expropriation of all roads and road allowances shown on the Plan of Squatters' Holdings of 1889, and the plan of the Point Pelee Company's subdivision. The order in council authorizing the expropriation was approved on September 21, 1939, and made provision for the free use of the park roads by all vehicles owned by permanent residents of the park, their families, servants, agents and assigns.15

Encroachments on Land

After the park was established, officers responsible for its administration found that, in addition to developments which had occurred on the privately-owned lands granted in the 1890's, encroachments had been made without authority at various points along the park beaches. Most of these were fishery establishments incorporating boat houses, ice-houses, stables, dwelling and tar vats, which presented untidy and unsightly intrusions on the landscape. In full knowledge that the claims of the original squatters had been satisfied following the McPhillips survey of 1889, the Commissioner of National Parks in 1919 offered to the fishermen leases covering the areas occupied by buildings. The offers were ignored or refused and, although agents of the Minister of Justice were appointed in 1921 and 1922 to negotiate agreements, efforts to have leases accepted were ineffectual. A final effort made by the Commissioner in 1934 to enforce a settlement ended when advice was received from the Deputy Minister that "the matter might be allowed to remain in abeyance at the present time".16

Eventually, a number of the more unsightly or objectionable buildings were removed or disappeared, and in 1941 the owner of one fishery accepted a permit of occupation. Similar documents were issued by the Park Superintendent in 1943 and 1950 for the two fishery sites remaining. In 1950, all three fishermen were requested to obtain licences required by the National Parks Business Regulations and, in 1951, to accept licences of occupation in lieu of permits. Two operators complied, but the third, William Krause, refused. This fisherman claimed property rights by prescription, on grounds that the land he occupied had been used continuously by predecessors and himself for more than 60 years.

Crown's Title Confirmed

After all attempts to negotiate a lease had failed, the Attorney General of Canada in 1953 instituted action in the Supreme Court of Ontario to establish the right of the Crown to the lands in the park occupied by the Krause fishery. The action was heard at Windsor, Ontario, in December, 1954, and judgment was given in 1955 in favour of the defendant. The decision was reversed in the Court of Appeal in 1956 by unanimous opinion of the presiding judges, and the Crown's right to the foreshore of the park was established for all time. On payment of all arrears of rental and licence fees, Krause was granted a licence of occupation for his fishery site and he continued operations for several years. By 1970, all licences authorizing occupation of sites in the park for fishery operations had been surrendered or had expired.

Park Development

For many years after its establishment, Point Pelee was a "poor relation" in the national park family. Appropriations voted for its administration were small and, although they had assistance from a park warden, early superintendents held office in an honorary capacity only. In 1937, R.J. Grant, who had been both honorary superintendent and labour foreman, was appointed superintendent on a permanent basis, and the warden position was dropped. Also in 1937, the first administration building was erected at the northern boundary. It combined a gateway and park offices. This structure functioned until 1961, when the superintendent and staff moved into a new building sited a short distance south of the boundary. New entrance lanes were laid out and traffic controlled from kiosks. The original work compound was developed from a group of buildings erected in 1932 during unemployment relief operations. Some of these were replaced in 1954 by a new warehouse and stores building. In 1951, J.C. Browne was appointed superintendent and his duties were expanded to include supervision of Georgian Bay Islands and St. Lawrence Islands National Parks. A park warden position was reestablished and filled by C.E. Doak. A warden's residence was built in 1954 and following the appointment of Chief Warden McCarron as Park Superintendent in 1957 the building became the superintendent's residence. Other members of the staff were accommodated in dwellings located on properties acquired for park use.

Most of the park buildings constructed since 1954 have taken the form of campground and picnic shelters, bath houses, and public service buildings equipped with washrooms and toilet facilities. They have been located principally at the south end of the park on both the east and west beaches, and at strategic points served by the main park roads. A modern refreshment booth erected in 1959 at the southeast beach supplanted earlier structures situated in less advantageous locations. It was leased to a concessionnaire by tender.

Park Planning

The acquisition of private property in 1938 led officers of the National Parks Branch to undertake studies which it was hoped would facilitate planning for a better use of available park lands. In May, 1939, a team of scientists which included Dr. H.F. Lewis, Dr. H.A. Senn, and W.E.D. Halliday investigated administrative problems generated by an increasing patronage of the park. Their report recommended the reservation of areas as nature sanctuaries accessible by walking trail only; the employment of a nature guide; improved measures for control of beach erosion; the consolidation of camping areas; the rehabilitation of areas suffering from over use; and the provision of adequate car-parking.17

The outbreak of war in 1939 and reductions in park appropriations postponed many desirable improvements, but some of the team's recommendations were implemented. A portion of the former Post property was fenced as a nature preserve, indiscriminate camping along the park highway was curtailed, and designated areas were opened for use by campers and picnickers. Post-war developments in the park were instituted in 1948, when the main road was paved. Earlier measures taken in 1937 and 1938 to control beach erosion were reinstituted in 1949, and continued for several years. Much of the work undertaken involved the installation of large concrete crosses designed to build up sand deposits along the beaches during heavy wave action.

For some years after the purchase of the Post property in 1938, opportunities for acquiring privately-owned land in the park were negligible. By 1954, however, the number of visitors to the park was exceeding half a million, placing demands on usable space which could not be met. A study of administrative problems undertaken that year by the Chief Engineer of the National Parks Branch, G.L. Scott, and Dr. D.A. Munro, of the Canadian Wildlife Service, led to the recommendation that all remaining privately-owned land in the park be acquired.18 In 1956, an intensive program of land acquisition got under way with the purchase of 80 lots in a registered subdivision. Another substantial purchase of free-hold land in 1957 was approved by the Treasury Board of Canada on condition that a special study would be devoted to the acquisition of all alienated land in the park.

Land Acquisition Program

Later that year, an inspection and appraisal of the private land holdings in the park was undertaken for the National Parks Branch by officers of the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. It disclosed the existence of approximately 255 individual holdings having an estimated value of $1,500,000. In 1959, Treasury Board approval was obtained for the proposed land acquisition program, phased over a 10-year period, with individual consideration to be given by the Board to each transaction.

In years following, excellent progress was made in recapturing title to land within the park boundaries. Notable acquisitions included those involving the Tilden garden properties in 1960 and 1970 and the Point Pelee Orchard lands in 1966. These transactions accounted for 63.5 ha. An impetus to land sales was provided by an announcement made in 1967, at a public presentation of a proposed development plan for Point Pelee National Park, that its implementation was contingent on the acquisition of all remaining privately-owned land in the park. By the end of 1970, agreements for sale had yet to be reached with fewer than 80 property owners.

Additional Conservation Measures

By 1952, park administrators realized that open camping was destroying the forest cover and prohibiting regeneration of shrubs, plants, and trees. Steps were taken to consolidate camping in a special area, and development of a suitable site was commenced. A new serviced campground was opened on May 1, 1955, making available to campers modern kitchen shelters, toilet buildings with laundry facilities, a water supply and a large number of outdoor stoves. Picnic areas, complemented by suitable service buildings and parking areas, also were developed at the southern end of the park and along the northwest beach.

Additional studies undertaken between 1942 and 1954 had stressed the need for a nature trail and the employment of nature guides. A start on a nature interpretation program was made in 1954 when a woodland trail through the nature reserve was located by Dr. G.M. Stirrett of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Development of the trail was completed in 1956, with plants, trees, shrubs and vines along the route identified by labels. Ready observation of the interesting wildlife in the park marsh was assured following the construction of a board walk for a distance of about one kilometre into the marsh in 1963. An elevated platform built at the end of the walk permitted views of the entire marsh. The inception of an Education and Interpretation Division of the National Parks Branch in 1959 and the appointment of Dr. Stirrett as chief park naturalist was followed by the development of a detailed interpretation program at Point Pelee.

In 1960, an attendant was engaged for the nature trail. A seasonal park naturalist was appointed in 1961, and a full-time naturalist was engaged in 1965. The success of the nature program pointed out the need for a Nature Centre which would combine the functions of a natural history museum, lecture hall and headquarters for the naturalist service. By 1965, the construction of a suitable building was under way and it was formally opened on August 19, 1966, by the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Development, the Honourable Arthur Laing. It contained a theatre, library, and information centre, and permitted the display of exhibits calling attention to the unusual flora and fauna of the park.

Park Planning Progress

Progress made in the purchase of alienated land within the park, and the impairment of the landscape by an ever-increasing number of visitors, called attention to the need for additional studies related to future park development. Following the end of World War II, visitor attendance at Point Pelee Park increased rapidly. From annual visits of 200,000 in 1950, attendance by 1955 had reached 600,000. In the years following, the annual increase was slower until a peak of 745,500 was recorded in 1959. In 1960, it was evident that, if the natural values of the park were to be protected for future generations, both visitor control and planning for the future should be instituted.

In 1962, the Planning Division of the National Parks Branch produced an interim development plan. Its contents reflected the belief that the nature and extent of public use of the park, and the developments required, should be so planned that they would not encroach upon or be in conflict with the requirements for protection and preservation of the native flora and fauna in its natural state. Through appropriate zoning of park land, it was proposed to make provision for recreation, camping, bathing, picnicking, and for the reservation of certain areas as nature preserves.

In 1964, a firm of consulting landscape architects, Sasaki, Strong and Associates of Toronto, was engaged to develop a working plan for future land use. The consultants' report was completed in 1966 and presented at a public hearing held in the park in November, 1967. Its recommendations included relocation and extension of camping areas, reorientation of recreational and picnic areas, extensive relocation of the park road system, and the banning of public motor vehicle traffic in the southern part of the park.

Acceptance of some of the consultant's recommendations, especially those related to new road patterns and the relocation of major public use areas, would have necessitated substantial clearing of valuable wooded areas. Objections raised by park officers, the local advisory council and others led to modification of the proposals and the preparation by the Planning Division of a revised provisional master plan for the park.

The three main functions of the new development plan which received formal approval in April, 1972, were the conservation of natural resources, park and nature interpretation, and the provision of day use recreation. Realization of these objectives would entail radical changes in park land use. Involved were the eventual elimination of overnight family camping in the park, a greater emphasis on the development of day use facilities, and a gradual reduction, by phases, of motor vehicle use in the park. The new concept in the park's administration was forecast in February, 1971, by the Park Superintendent in a press release which received a wide circulation.

Implementation of the new development plan actually began in 1971. In May of that year, a very substantial increase in the fees for an annual park motor licence and for one-day admission to the park was instituted.19 Motor traffic on the park highway southerly from the Nature Centre to the southerly loop was prohibited for the period May 1 to September 30, and an alternative form of transportation was provided free to visitors. This took the form of trackless tractor trains operated on a schedule during the summer visitor season. Plans call for further curtailment in the use of private vehicles, extensions in the routes covered by the tractor train transportation, and eventual relocation of vehicle parking to a site outside the park's north boundary.

Sites available for family camping in the park were reduced in 1971 from 152 to 55, and the campground was closed to use at the end of the visitor season. Provision for the accommodation of youth and other groups desiring limited camping facilities has been continued.

A change in the operation of refreshment concessions was made in 1971, when mobile food canteens were licensed. Their operation was facilitated by the construction, at various day-use recreational areas, of concrete pads from which the canteens are permitted to conduct business. The operation of a permanent refreshment stand at the East Point Beach was discontinued at the close of the 1971 season, when the term of the operator's licence of occupation expired.

Opportunities for healthful outdoor recreation were enhanced by the granting of a concession for the rental of bicycles and of row-boats for use in the park marsh.

Expansion of the park interpretation program is expected, and nature trails will be utilized to provide pedestrian access to areas of interpretive interest. The observation of the unique marine life in the park marshes has been facilitated by the construction of a floating extension to the previously existing marsh boardwalk. Public amenities at the main park beaches are being improved, and a new bath-house or change-house was opened at Black Willow Beach on the west side of the park in 1972.

Duck-hunting Permitted

A long-standing anomaly in the administration of the park remained unsettled in 1973. The legislation which established the park in 1918 also made provision for duck-hunting during a season to be fixed by the Governor in Council. Despite recommendations from park administrators and protests from numerous organizations devoted to the conservation of wildlife, this controversial activity within the park has not been abolished. The duck-hunting sportsmen of southwestern Ontario, represented largely by the Green Head Duck Club, have, over the years, maintained a forceful lobby against curtailment of their hunting privileges. Although legal officers of the Crown have offered the opinion that duck-hunting within the park can be terminated by an order of the Governor in Council, successive ministers of the Department have not yet decided to initiate such action.


l. Geographic Board of Canada, 18th Report (Ottawa: King's Printer, 1924).

2. National Parks Branch File H.S. 6-11-9.

3. Order in Council P.C. 1975-264, 25 March, 1975.

4. Report of a Commission Appointed in 1856 to Investigate Indian Affairs in Canada (Toronto: Queen's Printer, 1858).

5. Department of the Interior (Ordnance Lands) File 1694, vol. I.

6. Ibid., vol. III.

7. Order in Council P.C. 1885-2340, 6 April, 1885.

8. Department of the Interior (Ordnance Lands) File 1694, vol. II. (Order in Council P.C. 1902-4164, 31 Oct., 1902).

9. Order in Council P.C. 1893-3055, 29 Nov., 1893.

10. Department of the Interior (Ordnance Lands) File 2235.

11. Commission of Conservation, "Annual Report", 1915, appendix III.

12. National Parks Branch File P.2., vol. I.

13. Order in Council P.C. 1918-1264, 29 May, 1918.

14. National Parks Branch File P.16-6, June 1, 1923.

15. Order in Council P.C. 1939-2795, 21 Sept., 1939.

16. Memorandum, January 6, 1934; National Parks Branch File P.16, vol. 4.

17. Canadian Wildlife Service, Report no. 895, 1939.

18. Canadian Wildlife Service, Report no. 149, April 29, 1955.

19. Order in Council P.C. 1971-940, May 18, 1971.

Georgian Bay Islands National Park

Since the early days of the Twentieth Century, the Georgian Bay region of Ontario has formed an outstanding holiday resort. Its cool blue waters, jutting capes, and an unbelievable variety of picturesque islands have combined to attract increasing numbers of cottagers, campers, boating enthusiasts, sport fishermen and artists. Along its northeastern and northern shores, Nature was lavish in the provision of islands, which form an archipelago believed to contain at least 30,000 units. Like many other parts of Canada, the waterfront areas of Georgian Bay, including the islands, have passed largely to private ownership. Through commendable foresight, however, a small segment of this vacation wonderland was preserved for public use as a national park. In December, 1929, title to Beausoleil Island, containing 1,097 ha, and 29 other islands opposite the Townships of Freeman, Baxter and Gibson was acquired by the Department of the Interior for the establishment of Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The following year, Flowerpot Island, situated in the mouth of Georgian Bay off the head of Bruce Peninsula, was added to the new park.

Indian Occupation

The park lies within the region of Ontario known as Huronia, once the home of the Huron Indian nation, which was practically obliterated by the ruthless attacks of invading Iroquois. Years later, the former Huron territory including the islands in Georgian Bay was occupied by the Ojibwa or Chippewa Indians. Eventually, the march of settlement, and an influx of white settlers, resulted in the withdrawal of the native population, as the Indian lands were successively surrendered under treaty. The islands forming the park were among those surrendered by the Chippewa chiefs in January, 1856, to be held in trust by the Department of Indian Affairs.

Explorers and Missionaries

Etienne Brulé, a youthful protégé of Samuel de Champlain, was the first European to reach Georgian Bay. In 1610, at Champlain's request, Brulé accompanied an Algonquin chief and a party of Indians from the St. Lawrence River to Huron territory, where he spent the following winter and learned the Huron language.1 In 1615, Champlain, accompanied by Brulé, retraced the latter's route of 1610 up the Ottawa, Mattawa, and French Rivers to Georgian Bay. Here in Huronia, Champlain carried out extensive exploration, and was persuaded to join the Hurons in an invasion of Iroquois country south of Lake Ontario, which ended in disastrous retreat. Champlain spent the winter of 1615-16 in the Indian village of Cahiague near the present site of Orillia, and visited a number of Indian villages including those of the Tobacco or Petun Nation to the west.2

Missionary work among the Indians of Huronia began in 1615. Following his arrival at Quebec with Champlain that year, Father Joseph Le Caron of the Récollet Order preceded Champlain up the Ottawa River route, and celebrated his first mass at the Indian village of Carhagouha in August.3 Father Le Caron left for France the following year, but returned in 1623 accompanied by two associates. The Récollets, however, found the field of endeavour beyond the competence of the order, and the Jesuits were invited to assist. Father Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit, entered the Huron country in 1626. His work was interrupted by the fall of Quebec to the English under Kirke in 1629. Following the restoration of Quebec to France in 1632, Brébeuf returned to Huronia in 1634, and with the assistance of other priests built several mission stations including Ossossané, St. Joseph and St. Ignace.4 Brébeuf was succeeded in 1638 by Father Jérôme Lalemant as Superior of the Huron mission, and in 1639 Sainte-Marie on the Wye River was established as the central residence of the mission.

Iroquois Invasions

Meanwhile, conflict between the Hurons and the Iroquois had intensified. The Iroquois trade with the Dutch had been impaired by the decline of fur-bearing animals in their territory. The Hurons controlled superior fur-trading routes, and became middlemen, gathering furs from distant points and transporting them to French settlements on the St. Lawrence. Raids by the Iroquois into Huron territory and the ambush of fur-laden flotillas on the Ottawa and St. Lawrence were followed in the late 1630's by an all-out war of extermination. In July, 1648, the Iroquois swept into St. Joseph II, the most southerly of the Jesuit missions. Father Daniel was murdered, the village destroyed, and several hundred prisoners were taken away for torture. In March, 1649, St. Ignace on the Sturgeon River and St. Louis to the west were overwhelmed. Father Brébeuf and his assistant, Gabriel Lalemant, were tortured to death at St. Ignace. In the face of the Iroquois attack, the Hurons fled the vicinity, many of them to St. Joseph Island. In June, Father Paul Ragueneau evacuated Ste. Marie, after setting it on fire. At the urgent request of the Hurons, he led the remaining clergy to St. Joseph, now known as Christian Island, where a new and well fortified Ste. Marie II was constructed. The winter following was one of disease and starvation and by spring half the natives had died. On June 10, 1650, the survivors of the Huron mission, consisting of about 60 Frenchmen and 300 Indians, left for Quebec, carrying with them the bones of the martyred Brébeuf and Lalemant.5

Archaeological Research

A period of nearly 150 years ensued before a positive interest in locating the sites of the early missionary endeavours was evident. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) gradually stimulated interest in archaeological investigation, involving officers of the federal and Ontario governments and the University of Western Ontario. The sites of Ste. Marie I, St. Louis and St. Ignace II were definitely established. A restoration of Ste. Marie I on the Wye River east of Midland, Ontario, has been completed by the Government of Ontario, under the direction of an outstanding Canadian archaeologist, Dr. Wilfrid Jury of the University of Western Ontario. The Martyrs' Shrine, a large stone church built in 1926 overlooking the site of Ste. Marie I, commemorates the brave souls who, more than 300 years earlier, gave their lives for the Christian faith.

Beausoleil, the largest island in the national park, was believed by local historians to have formed a temporary refuge for Hurons fleeing from the Iroquois attacks of 1648 and 1649. The remains of stone construction, located west of the YMCA camp near the centre of the island and known as "The Chimneys", attracted attention in the early 1920's. The ruins appeared to be the foundations of fireplaces and chimneys equally spaced and built of flat stones without mortar. A.C. Osborne of Penetanguishene, Ontario, referred to them in 1921 as follows:

At one time there were three well-defined stone foundations with partially demolished chimneys situated in line on a natural terrace about three feet in height. An instrument for moulding wafers for communion service was found there which I think was taken to England, also a double cross which was presented to the late Father Labourou.6

However, much of the stone later disappeared, having been removed by campers on the island for the construction of fireplaces and other purposes. The remains of excavations nearby, which are known locally as the "treasure pits", reflect the activities of treasure hunters, but no records remain of any valuable discoveries.

Beausoleil Island Settled

A more acceptable explanation of the existence of the "chimneys" is that they were the remains of a much later occupation by the Chippewa Indians of Lakes Huron and Simcoe. These nomadic Indians, who had sporadically occupied various lands along Georgian Bay, were settled in 1830 by Sir John Colborne on an area of 3,966 ha between Coldwater and Lake Simcoe. This tract was surrendered in 1836 by treaty, and two of the three bands were resettled in 1838 in the Township of Rama and on Snake Island in Lake Simcoe. The third band from the Coldwater area, under Chief John Aissance, eventually moved to Beausoleil Island.7 In 1841, the Indian office at Toronto arranged for the construction of six houses and two barns on the island for the use of the band.8 The report of a commission appointed in 1856 to investigate Indian affairs in Canada disclosed that the band, then consisting of 232 Chippewas, had moved to the island in 1842. In 1857, the settlement contained 20 houses and a school house. The soil on Beausoleil Island was found to be unproductive, and by 1849 the Indians were contemplating a move to the Christian Islands to the west. However, it was not until 1856, when Beausoleil and other islands in Georgian Bay were surrendered by treaty, that the move was possible. Meanwhile, the Beausoleil band had established a reputation for industry. The report of the Commission disclosed that in 1857 the harvest had included 1,200 bushels of corn and 1,000 bushels of potatoes, in addition to 5,000 pounds of maple sugar and 150 barrels of cured fish.9 Much of the produce, however, had been grown on islands other than Beausoleil, including those comprising the Christian group.

By 1857, the Beausoleil settlement was on decline. As the Commissioners reported, "The village is gradually falling into decay and the band having surrendered this island, contemplate removing to the Christian Islands which have been reserved for their permanent occupation, and which are estimated to contain 10,000 acres".10 The final move was probably made about 1858. A few Chippewas probably remained on Beausoleil Island as squatters, for in 1929, when the park was established, three Indian families were in residence. They were resettled on the mainland by the Department of Indian Affairs. Evidence of this early settlement remains in the form of a well preserved Indian cemetery west of park headquarters, and the site of another burial ground and a church near the "chimneys".

Indian Legends

Indian legends concerning the islands forming the park have been passed down through generations. One of the most interesting concerned Kitchi-Kiwana, a Great Wendigo or Rockman who lies buried on Giant's Tomb Island. According to the legend, Kitchi-Kiwana was a giant three kilometres in height, the last of a race of giants to survive internal wars in the region of Hudson Bay. Alone, Kitchi-Kiwana stepped overland to Lake Huron where, for amusement, he tossed boulders around. These are still visible along the north shore of Georgian Bay. One day, while walking with a mountain in his arms, he slipped and fell. The mountain shattered into pieces which are now visible as the 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay. Kitchi-Kiwana slept each night on Beausoleil Island and even today the marks of his shoulders are visible. Eventually, Kitchi-Kiwana became ill and could not reach his favourite island. He lay down on the most accessible one and died. The Indians of the region were unable to move him so they covered his remains with rocks and sand. Thus the island became the Giant's Tomb. The high flat rock on the island is said to cover his head and the flickering of the northern lights on the horizon presage a visit of his spirit to the island, for the great Manitou is lighting the fires to guide the spirit on its way.11

National Park Advocated

The establishment of a park in Georgian Bay stemmed from a recommendation received in 1920 by the Commissioner of National Parks, J.B. Harkin, from Dr. C.B. Orr, Director of the Provincial Museum of Toronto. Dr. Orr, who had been engaged in archaeological work at Penetanguishene Bay, called attention to the attractions of Beausoleil Island, the largest island remaining unsold by the trustees of the former Indian lands, which he believed warranted reservation as a park.12 Consultation with the Department of Indian Affairs revealed that although about 61 ha of the island had been leased for the purposes of a summer camp its acquisition for national park purposes was possible. Support for the creation of a park was given by Senator W.H. Bennett of Midland. In a letter to the Minister of the Interior, the Honourable Charles Stewart, Senator Bennett expressed great interest in the proposal which he believed not only would result in recreational benefits to the community, but also would stimulate the tourist industry of the region.

An examination of Beausoleil Island was undertaken in August, 1921, for the National Parks Branch by Brigadier-General E.A. Cruikshank, then chairman of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. General Cruikshank's report confirmed the suitability of the island for the purposes of a national park. The possibility of expanding the proposed park by the inclusion of additional islands was then explored. On request, the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs furnished the Commissioner of Parks with a list of islands and portions of islands located south of Moose Deer Point which remained unsold. A review of the list, which incorporated descriptions of each unit and their estimated value, disclosed that, of 75 islands available, about 28 met national park requirements. By January, 1923, Commissioner Harkin was in a position to recommend the purchase of Beausoleil Island at a cost of $25,000 and the reservation of the smaller islands for further examination.

In a submission to the Minister, the Commissioner recalled a somewhat parallel situation which had existed about twenty years earlier, when the timely acquisition of a group of large islands in the Thousand Islands section of the St. Lawrence River had made possible the establishment of a national park. The wisdom of that step, Mr. Harkin asserted, was confirmed in the knowledge that all the large islands and every foot of the St. Lawrence River mainland were now privately owned.

Island Park Established

The proposed purchase of Beausoleil Island received Departmental approval on January 10, 1923, and the necessary reservations were confirmed with the Indian Affairs Department. By October, 1924, a favourable decision had been reached by national parks officers on the 28 additional islands desired for inclusion in the proposed park, and approval for their purchase was obtained from the Minister. The transfer of title, however, was to be deferred for several years. Although the funds required to complete the transaction were included annually in National Parks estimates, they were systematically deleted. Finally, in August, 1928, the Department of Indian Affairs informed the Commissioner of Parks that several applications for the purchase of land on Beausoleil Island had been received, and it would be necessary to exercise the existing option or the lands would be disposed of for the benefit of the Indians. This advice had the desired result and, during the 1929 session of Parliament, the required appropriation was voted. The purchase of the Beausoleil and 28 additional islands and their transfer to the Department of the Interior for parks purposes were authorized by order in council on December 3, 1929.13 Later, on December 28, 1929, a proclamation in The Canada Gazette established the islands as the "Georgian Bay Islands National Park".

Park Development

Beausoleil, the largest and most attractive island in the park, was selected as the site for the local administrative headquarters. Known to the early Hurons as "Schiondekiaria", it was later named Prince William Henry on a British Admiralty chart. The current name, "Beausoleil", was derived from an early resident of that name who arrived at Beausoleil Point, the island's southern extremity, from Drummond Island in 1819.14 Initial development was commenced in 1931 following the appointment of a park warden, George Lynn. Limited appropriations made available permitted the construction of a warden's residence, the clearing of several campsites along the shore of Beausoleil Island, and the construction of docks and wharves to facilitate boat landings. Between 1932 and 1934 the system of small campsites equipped with outdoor stoves, benches and tables was extended, sanitary features provided, and the development of a system of walking trails undertaken. In 1934, a change-house for bathers was erected at the beach in front of park headquarters. It was replaced in 1951. Until 1940, general supervision of the island was extended by officers of the National Parks Branch at Ottawa who made periodical inspections and provided direction to the park warden. In 1941, Mr. Lynn resigned and J.C. Browne of Ottawa was appointed officer in charge of the park. Later he was confirmed as Park Superintendent.

In 1951, J.C. Browne was appointed superintendent of all three national parks in Ontario, and during the summer season he resided on Beausoleil Island. On his retirement in 1957, the duties of superintendent of Georgian Bay Islands Park were assumed by the Superintendent of Point Pelee Park, who made regular inspections from there. From 1957 until 1968, the local administration of Beausoleil and other islands was supervised by a chief park warden. In 1968, J.A. Hodges became the first resident superintendent having exclusive supervision of Georgian Bay Islands National Park. He was succeeded in 1970 by E.B. Wilson. In November, 1972, Mr. Wilson was transferred to Jasper Park and D.G. Harris became park superintendent.

Post-war Activity

For the duration of World War II, little development was possible, but in 1950 increased appropriations permitted the extension of visitor amenities. During that year, 13 new campsites were brought into use, five permanent campsite shelters were erected, a new wharf was built at Toby's beach near park headquarters, and additional docks installed at new campsites. Regular patrols of the islands were facilitated by the purchase in 1950 of a new boat designed for rough water.

A notable improvement made during the winter of 1950-51 was the reconstruction of the main dock at Park Headquarters by the Department of Public Works. This was accomplished by driving steel sheet piling, nine metres long, around the existing wharves, and removing the superstructure of the original installations. The entire area enclosed by piling was then filled with gravel and decked with planking, providing a dock area 61 in long and 23 in wide. In 1952 and 1953, a new gravel-filled approach to the dock was constructed by park forces, and suitably landscaped. The north side of the approach later was contained by a masonry wall. In 1953, the Hydroelectric Power Commission of Ontario extended its power line from the mainland to Beausoleil Island permitting the use of electricity in park workshops, headquarters buildings and in camp developments sponsored by private enterprise.

Park administrative quarters were contained in the warden station on Beausoleil Island until 1954, when an administration building was constructed near the headquarters dock. In 1955, the original warden's cabin was replaced by a modern dwelling and in 1959 a second residence for occupation by the park caretaker was built. Local administration was facilitated by the construction of a carpenter shop, store house and a combined bunkhouse and cookhouse in the headquarters area.

Campground Extension

Up to 1957, campers were accommodated in relatively small areas containing space for from five to 15 tents. A steadily increasing volume of visitors, particularly at Toby's Beach, emphasized the need for improved camping accommodation. A start was made in 1957 on the development of a semi-serviced campground at this location by the erection of a modern kitchen shelter. The following year a combination laundry and toilet building was added and, in 1959, four additional kitchen shelters and a second toilet building were erected. The construction of additional docks, the clearing of additional tent pads, and the development of an outdoor amphitheatre broadened the attractions of the new campground, now known as Cedar Spring, which accommodates 125 tents. By 1970, 20 outlying campgrounds, nearly all equipped with kitchen shelters, docks and other facilities, were located at strategic points on the island. Of these sites, one at Christian beach on the western shore and one at Beausoleil Point at the southern tip of the island were designated for group camping. Visitors requiring day-use accommodation were directed to a large picnic area near the Cedar Spring campground and to other picnic-grounds on the island.

Youth Camp Development

Following its inclusion in the national park, Beausoleil Island became a favoured site for youth camps sponsored by organizations such as boy scouts, YMCAs and churches. When title to the island was obtained in 1929, one of the best sites, situated immediately north of Tonch Point on the eastern shore, was under lease to the Midland, Ontario, YMCA for summer camp purposes. The lease expired June 1, 1929, but contained provision for renewal. Existing park policy then permitted occupation of park lands under permit for groups engaged in youth training activities, and continued occupation of the site was authorized. The Midland "Y" camp, known as "Kitchi-Kiwana", consisted of a central building used for administration and dining hall purposes and a number of tents in which campers were accommodated. With assistance from private benefactors, the camp buildings were greatly improved and extended. The most notable improvements were the replacement of the main building in 1948 by a large well-equipped structure, and the gradual phasing out of tent accommodation which was replaced by permanent cabins.

A second camp, accommodating senior members of the Cincinnati, Ohio, YMCA began operations in 1932 at Simmonds Beach near the site of the former Indian village. Accommodation was provided by tents and a large marquee until 1937, when the sponsors constructed a central building which served as an auditorium, dining hall and kitchen. By 1960, interest in the camp had waned, and a surrender of the site was accepted. The camp building was razed and the area formerly utilized was converted to a group camping site.

Several other organizations obtained permission to develop youth camps on Beausoleil Island. In 1938, the Lions Club of Toronto was granted a campsite on the west side of the island at Turtle Bay and erected a main building that year. Later, the camp was expanded by the erection of cabins, staff quarters and accessory buildings. In 1962 the camp administration was taken over by the Toronto Metropolitan YMCA. The Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA undertook development of a camp on Frying Pan Bay at the north end of the island in 1940, and the Navy League of Canada erected a well planned camp to accommodate sea scouts in 1942. After eight camping seasons, the sea scout operations were transferred to another site in the Georgian Bay region, and the licence of occupation covering the campsite was assigned in 1952 to the London YMCA and YWCA.

Camp Manitomono, developed by Calvary Baptist Church of Toronto, came into use in 1940. Its site at the northwest extremity of the island covered much of Cogawa Point east of Pirates Cove. In the 1930's, several boy scout troops were granted permits for tent camps at suitable sites but after one or two seasons the scouts transferred their activities to sites outside the park. In the early days of their development, these youth camps received considerable assistance from the park administration. Most of the docks and wharfs located on the waterfront of the campsites were installed by the park superintendent and maintained by him for some years thereafter. Later, the camp sponsors were requested to assume the obligations of maintaining all facilities on their leaseholds.

It is unlikely that additional campsites for exclusive use by groups or organizations will be sanctioned. The future of group camping in national parks was affected profoundly by the adoption of a national park policy in 1964. The new policy precludes the leasing of land and the construction of permanent buildings for group camps by private organizations. Instead, adopted policy requires group camping areas to be designed, developed and maintained by the National Parks administration and made available to suitable groups. In keeping with the new policy, all organizations occupying private campsites on Beausoleil Island were notified in 1967 that leases presently held would, on expiration, be renewed for a further term of five years. On expiration of such leases in 1975, occupation would then be permitted on a year-to-year basis, consistent with the requirements of the park administration for suitable sites on which group camping amenities might be developed.

Representations made to the Department by the organizations operating youth camps on Beausoleil Island, coupled with the anticipated inability of the National Parks administration to provide by 1975 alternative facilities to those provided in the existing youth camps, led to a reappraisal of the program under which the operation of private camps would be discontinued. In May, 1972, the various organizations operating youth camps were notified that following the expiry of existing leases in 1975 the Department would be prepared to consider a further extension of 10 years in the lease term. Such an extension, it was believed, would permit the operators of camps to plan future activities with a reasonable measure of certainty and continuity.

Meanwhile, the campsite formerly occupied by the Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA was surrendered voluntarily following a fire which, in August, 1970, destroyed the main camp building. Another group, the Calvary-Baptist Church of Toronto, decided to relocate the site of its camp operation, and offered to sell its buildings, which could not be moved economically, to the Department. The offer was accepted and the transaction was completed in January, 1974. Later in April, 1974, the Department entered into an agreement with the church trustees whereby the camp buildings might be occupied during the months of July and August for the next five years.

Flowerpot Island

The inclusion of Flowerpot Island in a national park was first advocated in July, 1921, by Harry Tucker, a barrister of Owen Sound, Ontario. Mr. Tucker called attention to the remarkable features of the island which included a series of caves and the rock formations from which the island received its name. These take the form of large limestone pillars formed by the erosion of the adjacent cliffs on the southeastern shore. Growths of bushes and plants on the tops and in crevices of the columns have accentuated their resemblance to flowerpots.

A possibility that Flowerpot Island might have historic or prehistoric significance was drawn to the attention of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1923. The Board offered no opinion pending further investigation. In February, 1924, the Department of Indian Affairs advised the Commissioner of National Parks that the sale of the island was under consideration. At that time, Beausoleil Island was under reservation for the purposes of a park, and the Indian Affairs Department evidently considered that the "flowerpots" on Flowerpot Island also were worthy of preservation in a park. The island was then reserved from sale, but definite steps to acquire title were withheld until 1929 when the Commissioner of Parks learned that the flowerpots were in danger of toppling if erosion from wave action was not controlled. An inspection of Flowerpot Island undertaken in August, 1930, by the Deputy Commissioner of Parks was followed by its acquisition. Authority for the purchase of the island as an extension to Georgian Bay Islands Park for $165 was obtained by order in council on December 6, 1930.15 The transfer of title to the island, which contains an area of 202 ha, excluded 10 ha held as a lighthouse site by the Department of Transport. Little time was lost in preserving the flowerpots from further disintegration. A park engineer was assigned early in 1931 to supervise remedial work which would preserve the eroding stems of the pillars while retaining their existing contour and appearance. Cavities were filled with cement, fissures were grouted, and the bases of the flowerpots were built up so that water would be directed from seams in the rock. In 1933, additional preservation work was carried out when a large crack in the smaller flowerpot was filled with cement and a portion of the top covered with a concrete cap. The base of the taller pillar was reinforced with concrete and veneered with rock. Additional repairs to the larger flowerpot were necessary in 1956, when a fissure in the top was filled and capped with concrete.

The appointment of a non-resident caretaker in 1931 ensured patrols of the island and maintenance of visitor amenities which included a small campsite equipped with outdoor stoves. Approach to the island was normally made on the southeast side where a small harbour located within a reef provides good anchorage. In 1935, the channel into this harbour was deepened to permit easier access in periods of low water, and a landing dock was built. A small pavilion or shelter was erected near the dock in 1936 and trails on the island were opened up and additional improvements made to the entrance channel.

Caves Investigated

The existence of caves on Flowerpot Island which are located high on the cliffs of the northern and southeastern sides had been known for years. Trails to some of these caves were opened soon after the park was established. Concern for the safety of visitors prompted an examination of the caves in July, 1938. This was undertaken by Dr. J.F. Caley of the Geological Survey of Canada, and disclosed that seven caves on the island were sufficiently large for entry at elevations of from 10 to 30 m above the lake level.16 The largest cave extended inward from the entrance for a distance of 61 m and was accessible by two openings separated by a rock pillar. It was determined that the caves were formed by ground water circulation and are very old. In only one cave was there any evidence of falling blocks of stone with fresh surfaces and consequently the caves were considered to be reasonably safe. Later, two caves in which fallen rock was observed were closed to public entry.

For many years before the park was established, Beausoleil Island was located on the passenger steamer route which followed the "inside" channel of Georgian Bay from Midland and Penetang to Parry Sound. The improvement of the early motor roads, and increased volume of automobile travel, however, resulted in a dwindling patronage for steamers, and regular stops at the headquarters wharf on Beausoleil Island terminated about 1950. One of the last of the old passenger steamers, the "Midland City", continued to call at Beausoleil Island on cruise trips until 1958, when its last stop was made. Cruise boat service supplied by smaller craft, however, results in regular calls at the park wharf.

The nearest mainland point for mail and supplies is Honey Harbour and the most direct approach for small boats from that point to the park headquarters is through Little Dog or Big Dog Channels which separate Beausoleil, Little Beausoleil, and Roberts Islands. Periods of low water, which recur regularly on the Great Lakes, make passage through these channels difficult. Representations by local tourist associations and from the National Parks Branch have resulted in assistance from the federal Department of Public Works, which periodically has undertaken dredging and rock removal operations. These improvements date back to 1913, when Little Dog Channel was first dredged. The latest channel improvement work was undertaken in 1965.

By 1957, an increasing visitor use of Georgian Bay Islands National Park, and Beausoleil Island in particular, brought to attention the need for extensions to the park. As all large islands in the vicinity had long since passed to private ownership, the only source of additional land lay in the real estate market. In 1957, an offer to sell Quarry Island was received from the owner. This island, located a few kilometres southeast of Beausoleil Island and containing about 59 ha, possessed features worthy of its consideration as a park unit. The value placed on it by the owner, however, was considered excessive, and its purchase was declined. A number of small islands in the immediate vicinity of Beausoleil, some of them barely more than rocks, were acquired between 1958 and 1970. Their principal value, however, was mainly aesthetic, and lay in their preservation in a primitive state.

A reconnaissance of large islands in the general area of the park undertaken in 1966 revealed the potential for park use of Giant's Tomb Island, located a few kilometres west of Beausoleil Island. An examination of the island, containing about 566.5 ha, confirmed its suitability for the development of a recreational program including bathing, boating, hiking and camping. Negotiations were entered into with the owners of the largest undeveloped portion of the island, consisting of about 506 ha, and a firm price for an unencumbered title was obtained. However, because of budgetary considerations, statutory authority for its purchase is still under consideration.

During the period of more than 40 years since its establishment, Georgian Bay Islands Park has brought recreation and pleasure to many Canadians. It has also served to perpetuate as a public possession outstanding units of a scenic archipelago — one of the largest in North America. Development of the park for recreational use, however, has almost reached the point where further encroachment on the primitive landscape will impair its natural beauty and its ecology. Further expansion therefore appears possible only by the acquisition of additional lands either in the form of islands or as a mainland area. It is to be hoped that ways and means can be found to accomplish this most desirable end.


l. C.W. Butterfield, History of Brulé's Discoveries and Explorations (Cleveland: Helman-Taylor Company, 1898).

2. J.H. Cranston, H. Huronia, Cradle of Ontario's History (Midland: Huronia Historic Sites and Tourist Association, 1960).

3. Fred Landon, Lake Huron (N.Y.: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1944).

4. W.S. Fox, St. Ignace, Canada's Altar of Martyrdom (Toronto: McClelland-Stewart, 1949).

5. J.G. Shaw, Saints Lived Here (Midland: Martyrs' Shrine, 1960).

6. Letter to Commissioner of National Parks, July 25, 1921, National Parks Branch File G.B.2.

7. Report of the Special Committee appointed on the 8th September, 1856, to Investigate Indian Affairs in Canada (Toronto: Queen's Printer, 1858).

8. Letter from Superintendent, Indian Affairs, Toronto, to Chief John Aisance, 10 Feb., 1841, Indian Affairs and Northern Development Library, Ottawa.

9. Report of the Special Committee, p. 83. See above, note 7.

10. Ibid.

11. Toronto Star, July 26, 1921.

12. Letter, Sept. 20, 1920, National Parks Branch File G.B.2.

13. Order in Council P.C. 1929-2355, 3 Dec., 1929.

14. James White, Place Names in Georgian Bay (Toronto: Ontario Historical Society, 1913).

15. Order in Council P.C. 1930-2834, 6 Dec., 1930.

16. Memorandum, August 27, 1938, National Parks Branch File G.B.F. 324.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The creation of Cape Breton Highlands National Park in 1936 reserved for the use of Canadians in perpetuity an exceptionally scenic region. The island of Cape Breton presents attractions that are unique in North America. Although separated from the mainland of Nova Scotia by the deep and narrow Strait of Canso, it is easily accessible from the mainland by causeway. The coastline, rugged and picturesque, is broken by bays and inlets which offer shelter for small sea-going craft. Rising abruptly from the water are rugged hills and mountains which sweep back, particularly in the north and west, to form a broad plateau. From the ocean may be seen panoramas of hillside, cliff, bay and valley; from the land, equally beautiful vistas of sandy cove, rocky cape and jagged tide-worn rocks, against the blue background of the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The National Park stretches across the northern part of Cape Breton Island from the Atlantic to the Gulf and contains an area of 950.5 km2. Along its western shore, steep hills rise almost precipitately from the Gulf to a height of 427 m. The upper slopes are forested and to their rugged sides clings the Cabot Trail, a modern motor highway that encircles much of the park. The eastern shores are also rocky, but with numerous coves at the mouths of valleys that recede to the highland plateau forming the interior of the park. In the soft roll of hill and vale, the scenery is reminiscent of the highlands of Scotland. In the vicinity of the park, but outside its boundaries, are numerous little villages inhabited mainly by fishermen of highland Scottish, Irish and Acadian ancestry. For generations, these people have made a livelihood from fishing, supplemented by small agricultural operations carried on in the vicinity. These small settlements, some of which contain visitor accommodation, lend an unusual interest to the park.

National Park Promoted

The establishment of Cape Breton Highlands National Park rewarded the efforts of prominent citizens of Nova Scotia who, over a period of 22 years, had advocated the reservation of a suitable area in the province for park purposes. The earliest representations, made in 1914, suggested the use of an area in the vicinity of the Bras d'Or Lakes. Later it was proposed that Fort Beauséjour near Amherst be made a national park. This objective was realized in 1926,1 but the size and characteristics of this historic area in no way met the criteria of a representative national reservation. The first proposal that a national park be established on Cape Breton Island was made in 1928.2 It was followed in 1930 by strong recommendations that Cape Blomidon, a prominent feature overlooking Minas Basin at the head of the Bay of Fundy, be considered as a future national park. By 1932, however, economic conditions had forced the Government of Canada to suspend, temporarily, action on proposals to establish new national parks in any of the provinces.

By January, 1934, a new movement directed to the creation of a national park in Nova Scotia had been generated by the Yarmouth Fish and Game Protective Association. This group, headed by Seymour Baker, received support from other conservation-minded organizations. Mr. Baker induced the Minister of the Interior to sponsor a series of talks on the advantages of national parks, which were given in several cities and large towns in Nova Scotia by an officer of the National Parks Service, J.C. Campbell. Additional support for the park cause was provided in April, 1934, when F.W. Baldwin, Member for Victoria, advocated, in the Provincial Legislature, the extension of Canada's park system to Nova Scotia.3 The following month, Premier Angus Macdonald requested the Hon. T.G. Murphy, Minister of the Interior at Ottawa, to have an inspection made of areas in the province which might meet the requirements of a national park. After an exchange of letters in which the formalities leading to the creation of a park were explained by Mr. Murphy, Premier Macdonald on August 17, 1934, made a formal request for the examination of three sites in Nova Scotia, one at Cape Blomidon, one in Yarmouth County, and a third in northern Cape Breton Island.4 The inspection was undertaken by R.W. Cautley, D.L.S., of Ottawa. He was accompanied by the Inspecting Engineer of the Nova Scotia Highways Department, H.F. Laurence. The inspection team carefully examined possibilities of all three areas, and Mr. Cautley's report strongly advocated the selection of a site in northern Cape Breton.5

In February, 1935, Premier Macdonald confirmed that the Government of Nova Scotia was prepared to grant to Canada, for park purposes, a clear title to lands which would be mutually satisfactory to both governments.6 The province, in May of that year, enacted legislation authorizing the acquisition of lands not exceeding 1,036 km2 in area.7 By March, 1936, agreement had been reached between Premier Macdonald and the Hon. T.A. Crerar, now Minister of the Interior, that the choice of the Cape Breton site was mutually satisfactory. The Premier also agreed to the preparation of an agreement that would set out in detail the responsibilities of the two governments concerned in the establishment and operation of the proposed park. This agreement later was completed and signed.

Cape Breton Park Established

The transfer of title from Nova Scotia to Canada covering the lands agreed upon was made by deed on June 15, 1936, and the park was established by proclamation under authority of the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island National Parks Act.8 This legislation had received assent in Ottawa on June 23, 1936. The new park was named "Cape Breton Highlands National Park" with the concurrence of Premier Macdonald. Not only was Cape Breton Highlands the first national park to be formed of land not previously owned or controlled by the Government of Canada, but it also was the first having an area of more than a few square kilometres to be established east of Manitoba.

The lands selected for park purposes were described in the enacting federal government legislation as comprising two parcels. The larger parcel, containing 1,186 km2, exceeded the area imposed by provincial legislation. It included the northern portion of Inverness County extending northerly from an irregular line south of Cheticamp River to Cape St. Lawrence. The parcel also incorporated a substantial area in Victoria County between the Cabot Trail on the north and a line drawn westerly from North Ingonish on the south. The second parcel constituted a corridor 122 m in width enclosing 16 km of the Cabot Trail between its junction with the road to White Point and the westerly crossing of the North Aspy River. The area of this parcel was 199 ha.

Adjustment of Boundaries

The western portion of the park in the vicinity of Pleasant Bay contained a substantial settlement of small free-hold properties. In planning future development, park administrators began to question the wisdom of retaining in the park an area which might assume the proportions of a townsite on which excessive expenditures might have to be made. In turn, the province was learning, with dismay, the prospect of having to settle what it considered to be exorbitant claims for private lands included in the highway corridor. Examinations of the area west of Ingonish Bay by the acting park superintendent, James Smart, and the Controller of the National Parks Bureau, F.H.H. Williamson, led to a proposal that the Middlehead Peninsula, together with the watershed of Clyburn Brook, be acquired for inclusion in the park. Later, agreement was reached with the provincial government after discussion and correspondence that a revision of the park boundaries was desirable. This action involved the withdrawal from the park of nearly 192 km2 of land in Inverness County north of the Cabot Trail, and six other parcels, including the corridor enclosing 16 km of the Cabot Trail. These reductions would be compensated for by the inclusion in the park of an area of 88 km2 west of Ingonish Bay, including Middlehead, and lands near Neil Harbour and along the south boundary of the park. Surveys of the various parcels of land to be withdrawn from, or added to, the park were made by John Russell, D.L.S., and legislation giving effect to the withdrawals was authorized by the National Parks Amendment Act, 1937.9 The Province of Nova Scotia then expropriated and transferred to Canada the lands obtained in the exchange. These additions were incorporated in the park by proclamation as provided for in the 1936 legislation. On completion of the boundary revisions, the area of the park was 1,010 km2.

Further adjustments in the park boundaries were made some years later. In 1956, an area in the southwestern section of the park south of Cheticamp River was withdrawn at the request of the province to facilitate mineral development.10 Again, in 1958, land in the vicinity of Cheticamp Lake was withdrawn from the park to facilitate hydro-electric development sponsored by the Province of Nova Scotia.11 These reductions left the park with an area of 950.5 km2.

Early History

The early history of Cape Breton Island is clouded and inconclusive. Historical references to voyages by Norsemen along its shores in the 10th century have long existed. John Cabot, who discovered the mainland of North America in June, 1497, is believed by some historians to have made his landfall off the northeast coast of Cape Breton. His memory is perpetuated by the Cabot Trail, a spectacular highway that girdles the northern part of the island. The shores of Cape Breton were glimpsed by Verrazano in 1524, and by Jacques Cartier on the homeward leg of his voyage to North America in 1535-36. The fisheries of the nearby waters attracted English, French, Spanish and Portuguese with resulting early settlements at English Harbour, now known as Louisbourg; Ste. Ann's; St. Peter's; Baie D'Espagnol, now Sydney; and Niganis or Inganiche, presently known as Ingonish. An early attempt at settlement in 1629 by Lord Ochiltree of Scotland at Baleine on the eastern coast of Cape Breton was terminated the same year by a French naval squadron under Captain Daniel.12 A French settlement existed at Inganiche in 1729.13 The site of an early burying-ground was discovered there in 1938, during the construction of the national park golf course.

Following the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, when Cape Breton was ceded by the English to France, the walled city and fortress of Louisbourg was constructed. Around this stronghold revolved a long struggle for supremacy in North America. Its final capture by the English in 1758 was followed by the capture of Quebec in 1759 and the end of French rule in Canada. Settlement of parts of the island by Acadians from Nova Scotia, notably at Cheticamp, about 1775, was followed by extensive Scottish immigration from 1791 to 1828. Descendants of these early pioneers still constitute a large proportion of the island's present population.

Park Development

The task of converting a sparsely-settled and primitive area to a condition which would encourage visitors was commenced in July, 1936. James Smart, who had been largely responsible for the development of Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, was appointed Acting Superintendent in June. He established a temporary administrative quarters at North Ingonish and engaged the nucleus of an administrative staff. A park warden service for the protection of forests and game was organized, and radio telephone communication installed at park headquarters and in the warden stations. Much of the early appropriations made available were devoted to the improvement of the Cabot Trail, the erection of administrative and maintenance buildings, and to provision of amenities which would facilitate visitor use of the new park.

In 1938, when the original boundaries of the park had been altered to include the Ingonish area, plans were made for a permanent park headquarters near Ingonish Beach. The park addition included not only the peninsula of Middlehead, which extended into Ingonish Bay for nearly two kilometres. It also embraced an area to the west, a small portion of which about 200 years earlier had formed part of the French settlement of Inganiche. Middlehead, prior to its acquisition by the Government of Nova Scotia for national park purposes, had been owned by the widow of H.C. Corson, a wealthy industrialist of Akron, Ohio. The Corsons had occupied property there since the end of the 19th century, and had developed their summer estate to include a livestock operation. In addition to a 17-room dwelling, the property also provided sites for a farmhouse, two barns, a carriage house, a six-room boathouse, and several minor structures. Their holdings included an ocean frontage containing one of the finest beaches in the vicinity and most of what is known as Freshwater Lake.

The site chosen for the Park Administration Building and a superintendent's residence overlooked the freshwater lake, which was cut off from the Atlantic by a wide bar or "barrachois," built of boulders by the action of the sea. These buildings were completed in 1939. An information and registration building was erected a few metres to the south on the Cabot Trail. Faced with stone masonry, and topped by a thatched roof, it imparted a highland Scottish character to the eastern park entrance. Visitor amenities were not overlooked. A change-house for bathers was erected on a site overlooking Ingonish Beach, which stretches southerly for several hundred metres from Middlehead. Development of a sand beach on Freshwater Lake provided visitors with the unusual opportunity of both salt-water and fresh-water bathing, within a distance of 183 m. Adjacent to the beach, a large open area was converted to an athletic field complete with an oval track. Near the sports field, tennis courts were built and surrounded by a suitable fence. A parking area and a picnic ground rounded out the early development program in the vicinity.

The Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail, named after John and Sebastian Cabot, was originally constructed by the Province of Nova Scotia. Commencing and ending at Baddeck on Bras D'Or Lake, it encircled the northern part of Cape Breton Island providing access to Pleasant Bay, Neil Harbour and the Ingonish settlements. Inspections of the route by park officers in 1934 had revealed that the road, completed in 1932, was below the standard of national park highways. Excessive grades, which reached 17 per cent in crossing French Mountain, gave timid motorists a bad time. A program of reconstruction was undertaken in 1936 and carried on for the next four years. The work entailed major revisions in the route at Cap Rouge, French Mountain and McKenzie Mountain on the western side of the park. The elimination of the tortuous climb over French Mountain in favour of a new route up the valley of Jumping Brook was a major achievement. The grade down McKenzie Mountain to Pleasant Bay also was modified, and a lookout established near the summit. Improvements to a three-kilometre stretch of road north of the park boundary at Ingonish Beach improved the entrance to the park. Revisions of the park boundary in 1938 left sections of the highway at Pleasant Bay and near the settlement of Cape North outside the park, and their maintenance and improvement was undertaken by the Provincial Department of Highways.

Unfortunately, World War II commenced shortly after development of the new park got under way, and, after 1941, appropriations for new work were quite limited for several years. Funds, however, were provided to complete some important undertakings. Second only to the improvement of the Cabot Trail was the completion of the park golf course. It was designed and built under contract by Stanley Thompson, a leading Canadian landscape architect. Although Thompson started and ended the layout on Middlehead, a number of holes were constructed west of the highway up the picturesque valley of Clyburn Brook. Of Celtic origin, Thompson emphasized the highland character of the park by giving Scottish names to many of the 18 holes. As a temporary measure, a barn from the former Corson estate was relocated and renovated as a golf clubhouse. Incorporating dressing-rooms, a small lounge, and a pro-shop, it functioned for more than 30 years. Although the course was completed and opened for play in 1940, its formal opening was deferred until July 1, 1941. On this date, the park was "officially opened" by the Minister of Mines and Resources, the Honourable T.A. Crerar, with the assistance of the Honourable A.S. MacMillan, Premier of Nova Scotia. The ceremonies, held at Ingonish beach, were featured by highland games and dancing, a bagpipe contest, and the driving of a ball off the first tee of the golf course by Mr. Crerar.

Post-War Development

Development of the park was resumed in 1947. Administrative and park warden staff had been required to provide their own quarters or had occupied buildings acquired by the Department when the park was established. Staff residences in the vicinity of the park headquarters at Ingonish were built in 1947, 1949 and 1954. New warden stations were completed at North Ingonish and at Big Intervale in 1953, and at the Cheticamp entrance in 1959. A warehouse erected in 1942 formed the nucleus of a park industrial compound at Ingonish Beach, to which was added a garage and workshop in 1947. This complex was expanded later by a trades shop in 1952, an additional warehouse in 1956, a wardens' equipment building in 1963 and stores buildings in 1966. A maintenance compound was developed near the park entrance at Cheticamp in 1941 from a nucleus of buildings left on the site by a highway contractor. These structures were replaced by a new warehouse in 1953, a vehicle garage in 1957, and equipment and storage buildings in 1961. Requests for information from visitors at the Cheticamp or western park entrance led to the construction of a reception and information bureau adjacent to the Cabot Trail in 1954.

Auxiliary services essential to the public interest also received assistance from the park administration. A detachment building was built at Ingonish Beach in 1949 for the use of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1953, a site within the park near Neil Harbour was made available for the construction of a community hospital. Electric power requirements for park headquarters were first provided from a small generating plant put into operation in 1939. The following year, the Nova Scotia Power Commission installed a diesel-powered generating station in an area adjoining the park compound at Ingonish. The commission was permitted in 1950 to extend its power line through the park to serve communities near Dingwall, and later to Pleasant Bay. Power also was brought to Cheticamp campground in 1959 from Belle Marche. In 1960, the Nova Scotia Power Commission hooked up its lines in the eastern section of the park to the provincial power grid, permitting discontinuation of the power plant at Ingonish Beach. The building, however, was retained for some years on a standby basis.

A water supply essential for park headquarters, the Ingonish Beach campground, and Keltic Lodge was obtained for several years from wells, the largest of which was located adjacent to the golf course. An increasing demand, including Keltic Lodge requirements, led to the development of a new source of supply from Cann and MacDougall Lakes, located about three kilometres northwest of park headquarters. A gravity system, supplemented by two large woodstave tanks, came into operation in 1948. Seasons of low precipitation greatly lessened the storage capacity of the lakes, and in 1964 an investigation was undertaken to locate a more satisfactory source of supply. Eventually Clyburn Brook was selected, and by 1969 a new water supply system had been developed at a cost of $400,000. This outlay was shared in part by the Government of Nova Scotia under an agreement which made provision for the water requirements of Keltic Lodge.

Highway Improvement

Post-war road and highway improvement was inaugurated in 1946 by the construction of a new approach road from the Cabot Trail to Keltic Lodge on Middlehead. The same year, access to Warren Lake west of North Ingonish, a popular picnic and fishing spot, was made possible by construction of a gravelled road. A major project was undertaken in 1948 involving reconstruction of 18 km of the Cabot Trail between North Ingonish and Neil Harbour. The new routes, located as closely to the ocean as feasible, provided motorists on its completion in 1949 with new vistas of the Atlantic and its picturesque coastline. The new route also made possible, in later years, the development of attractive picnic and campground areas at Black Brook Cove and Broad Cove. Completion of the highway program in 1951 resulted in a greatly improved Cabot Trail from Neil Harbour to Effies Brook, from Big Intervale over North Mountain to Pleasant Bay, and over a section in Jumping Brook Valley which was widened. The eastern leg of the highway from Ingonish to Effies Brook was paved in 1954 and 1955.

Further improvement to the Cabot Trail was commenced in 1956 under the National Park Trunk Highway Program. This phase of reconstruction involved a major diversion in the western section of the park, from a point near the head of Jumping Brook to Fishing Cove River, eliminating a winding stretch on the plateau of French Mountain. By 1961, the route from the western boundary at Cheticamp River through Pleasant Bay to Big Intervale had been rebuilt and hard-surfaced. The project was completed with the widening and repaving of portions of the highway from Effies Brook to Neil Harbour in 1962.

Visitor Accommodation

When the park was established, overnight accommodation was limited to a few small hotels and guest houses in the adjoining settlements. Efforts made by the National Parks Service and the Government of Nova Scotia to have a hotel erected by private enterprise in the Ingonish area were unsuccessful. Eventually, following discussions and correspondence, the Province of Nova Scotia agreed to develop accommodation on Middlehead peninsula, provided a lease of the site was granted by the federal Government, and an adequate fresh-water supply was provided. The offer was accepted, and development of what is now called Keltic Lodge was undertaken in 1940. The former Corson residence was remodelled to accommodate administrative quarters, a lounge, dining room and kitchen. Guests were accommodated in commodious four-room and eight-room bungalows, heated from a central system. The first units were opened to public use in July, 1940, and additional cabins were constructed in 1941 and subsequent years.

A growing patronage of the hotel prompted the province to demolish the old central building and replace it in 1952 with a modern three-storey building incorporating a large dining room, lounge, gift shop and 32 bedrooms. The hotel management added a large recreational building to its complex in 1948 for the use of guests, and in 1963 installed an outdoor swimming pool and cabana on the north side of the hotel. Accommodation was augmented in 1968 by a large motel building, designed for winter operation. A new building, combining a coffee shop and gift shop, was opened in 1970 and the space vacated by the former coffee shop in the hotel was remodelled to accommodate a cocktail lounge.

Cape Breton Highlands Park shared the experiment of the National Parks Service in providing low cost bungalow cabin accommodation in three of the Atlantic Region parks. In 1950, the first 10 units of a cabin development were constructed under contract. An additional 15 cabins, together with a central administration building containing a snack bar and small store, were added in 1951. The development was completed in 1952, with the erection of a small building providing refrigerated lockers for the use of guests. The entire development was leased to concessionnaires following a public call for tenders. Eventually, the buildings were sold to the operator, who was granted a lease covering the site which overlooks Freshwater Lake at Ingonish Beach. Gradually, additional accommodation was provided by private enterprise at Ingonish Beach, Ingonish Centre, North Ingonish and at Cheticamp. Much of this accommodation took the form of motels or cabins, supplemented in some cases by dining facilities and souvenir shops.

Campground Development

Like its companion parks in the Atlantic provinces, Cape Breton Highlands has shared in the phenomenal popularity and growth of camping. The park's four major campgrounds border the ocean, and this characteristic along with other maritime attractions have contributed to their popularity. The first campground was developed in 1939 at Ingonish Beach on the site of a camp utilized in the National Forestry Program. Its first buildings were a kitchen shelter and basic sanitary conveniences. During World War II, camping activity was at a low ebb, but a post-war patronage necessitated expansion. In 1948, a campground water system, connected with the park headquarters main, was installed. An extension to the campground was developed in 1951 and opened to visitors in 1952. New kitchen shelters were erected in 1953, 1957 and 1958, and combined toilet and laundry buildings constructed in 1952, 1958 and 1960. Expansion of the site necessitated an extension to the water system in 1957. Sewage disposal was improved in 1961 by the development of a sewage lagoon.

On the western side of the park, a small campground had been laid out near the mouth of Cheticamp River in 1941. A new kitchen shelter and two sanitary buildings were erected in 1951. By 1955, the need for a new campground had been established and a suitable area was surveyed that year. Site development was undertaken in 1956 and the following year three kitchen shelters and two combined laundry-toilet buildings were built. Nearby Robert Brook assured an ample supply of water. During the period from 1959 to 1966, several additional service buildings were erected, four large kitchen shelters added, a new checking station constructed, and electrical, water and sewage systems installed in the campground. This period also saw the development of a trailer section, to which 38 lots were added in 1966. An increasing use of the Cabot Trail influenced further expansion of the Cheticamp campground. Work on an extension, located west of the highway along Cheticamp River, was undertaken in 1968. It was designed to provide an additional 116 campsites. By September, 1970, all service buildings had been completed, a new access road from the Cabot Trail constructed and paved, and a pedestrian overpass installed. The new campground extension was opened to public use in 1971.

By 1958, officers of the National Parks Branch had recognized the need for more campground accommodation in the park. Statistics had revealed that campers' use of available space had risen more than 250 percent over that for 1956. Consequently, in December, 1958, an eight-hectare site at Broad Cove, about five kilometres northeast of North Ingonish was surveyed for campground purposes. Development was commenced in January, 1959, and by June, 1963, it was possible to open the first stage of the campground. Incorporating many improved features including electrical, water and sewage systems, the campground accommodated 17,556 campers in its first season of operation. Completion of a trailer park area in 1966 provided 34 serviced lots or sites. In 1967, 34 tent lots were added. Early in its history, this campground suffered severe damage during a storm which hit the area in December, 1963. Several buildings were damaged, and a great many trees, mostly spruce, were blown down.

Another major campground development was undertaken in 1963 at Black Brook on the Cabot Trail. In the vicinity, fronting on a delightful sandy beach, a small camping and picnic ground had gradually developed. The newly developed area, south of Black Brook, was opened for use on July 15, 1966, with more than 80 campsites available. The amenities provided included four combination kitchen and toilet buildings, water and sewage systems, and a small registration building or kiosk. More camping space was made available in July, 1968, when 105 individual sites were added. An extension to this campground, on the west side of the Cabot Trail, was opened for use in 1969. The original site on the beach north of Black Brook was restricted to day use activity.

Additional campgrounds, developed on a less pretentious style, were opened for use at Corney Brook on the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1951, at Macintosh Brook in Grande Anse River Valley in 1957, and at Big Intervale in the Upper North Aspy River Valley in 1951. Day use areas, which provide automobile parking, picnic accommodation, playground equipment for children, and, at some points, facilities for bathing, also were developed at suitable points along the Cabot Trail.

The Lone Shieling

One of the most interesting picnic sites in the park along the Cabot Trail is the Lone Shieling, situated about six kilometres east of Pleasant Bay on the Cabot Trail. Here in the valley of the Grande Anse River, the National Parks Service in 1942 erected a replica of the type of shelter used by crofters on their shielings in the Scottish highlands while pasturing their livestock in the summer. The "shieling," or "bothan" as it is known, was constructed of heavy masonry with a thatched roof and an open hearth on the floor. Accommodation provided by the building was supplemented by tables, benches, washrooms and a water supply outside the structure.

In 1947, the Lone Shieling was formally opened at a ceremony attended by Premier Macdonald of Nova Scotia, and the hereditary chieftain of the Clan MacLeod from the Island of Skye, Scotland, Mrs. Flora MacLeod. She unveiled a tablet to the memory of Professor D.S. Macintosh, a native of Pleasant Bay, who had donated 40 ha of land to the Government of Nova Scotia for park purposes, with the expressed hope that it provide a site for a shieling. Part of the inscription on the tablet, taken from a poem ascribed to John Galt, reflects the origin of many of the early settlers of the Island of Cape Breton:

From the lone shieling of the misty island,
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas —
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides!

Wildlife Repopulation

The area constituting the park at one time supported a substantial wildlife population including moose and woodland caribou. However, this important natural resource was dissipated by indiscriminate slaughter, and long before the park was established these species were extinct. An attempt to restore the moose population in the park was made in June, 1947, when eight head were transported by railway from Elk Island National Park, Alberta, to Cape Breton Island. They were released in the park in mid-August. In June of the year following, an additional 10 moose — five male and five female — were brought from the same source and transported from Bras D'Or Station to the park by truck for release in Roper's Brook Valley.

A second experiment in the restoration of wildlife was commenced in 1965. Range studies were undertaken in the park by a mammalogist of the Canadian Wildlife Service to select a site suitable for the reintroduction of woodland caribou. This species had not been seen in Cape Breton for 40 years. A suitable range was located and in March, 1938, 18 caribou were flown from Laurentides Provincial Park, Quebec, to Sydney, and transported from that point to the park for release. In March, 1969, the experiment was repeated, again with the co-operation of the Department of Tourism, Fish and Game of the Province of Quebec. A shipment of 40 caribou, captured 241 km northwest of Sept Îles, was flown to Sydney and later released in the park. Success attended both experiments, and, in the case of the caribou, several calves were born to adult animals the year following their arrival.

Winter Recreation

Although essentially a summer park, Cape Breton Highlands offers many attractions in the winter. The extension of highway maintenance programs during the winter seasons by the provincial and federal governments led to proposals by ski organizations that ski areas be opened to public use. In 1961, the National Parks Service sponsored a survey of potential ski areas in the park which was undertaken by Franz Baier, an expert on the engineering staff at Ottawa. An additional study, undertaken by a research company from Montreal in 1967, confirmed a site on South Mountain northwest of Neil Harbour as the most promising. A public call for tenders for the right to develop a lift and a day lodge in that area was issued in October, 1968, but no bids were received. The aspirations of skiers, however, were realized when a group of sportsmen, incorporated as Cape Smokey Development Corporation Limited, cleared a hill and built a chairlift on the northern slopes of Cape Smokey across the harbour from Ingonish Beach in 1970. The development included a large lodge building incorporating dressing-rooms, ski shop, cafeteria and dining lounge.

Future Extensions

A steadily increasing use of the park, together with studies related to its future development, had emphasized by the mid-1960's the need for additional lands suitable for the purposes of recreation. The popularity of the main bathing area at Ingonish Beach, which in some years is impaired by storms, led to the proposal that beach lands on North Ingonish Bay be acquired. By 1972, agreements had been reached with several property owners, and title to 17 ha of choice waterfront property had been obtained. Negotiations for other lands also were proceeding.

A provisional master plan for future development of the park was unveiled at a public hearing in Sydney, Nova Scotia, in June, 1970. The primary purpose of the hearing was to acquaint the public with the development proposals, and to solicit comment on their appropriateness. The plan called attention to the potential for national park purposes of an area of some 207 km2 in Inverness County which was withdrawn from the park in 1938. The possibility of extending park boundaries to re-include this spectacular region remains a matter for consideration, as it would involve participation by both federal and provincial governments. It is planned to continue investigations in the area, following which future policy may be determined.


l. Order in Council P.C. 1926-901, June 10, 1926.

2. National Parks Branch File C.B.H. 2, vol. 1, June 27, 1931.

3. Halifax Herald, April 5, 1934.

4. National Parks Branch File C.B.H. 2, vol. 1.

5. R.W. Cautley, "Report of an Examination of Sites for a National Park in the Province of Nova Scotia", Dec., 1934, library of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa.

6. National Parks Branch File C.B.H. 2, vol. 1, Feb., 14, 1935.

7. Statutes of Nova Scotia, 25-26 George V, chapter 11 (1935).

8. Statutes of Canada, 1 Edward VIII, chapter 43 (1936).

9. Statutes of Canada, 1 George VI, chapter 35 (1937).

10. Statutes of Canada, 4-5 Elizabeth II, chapter 31 (1956).

11. Statutes of Canada, 7 Elizabeth II, chapter 8 (1958).

12. J.G. Bourinot, Cape Breton and its Memorials (Montreal: W. Foster Brown, 1892).

13. Ibid.

Cape Smokey
Cape Smokey from the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Green Gables Golf Course
Green Gables Golf Course, Prince Edward Island National Park

Prince Edward Island National Park

The creation of Prince Edward Island National Park in 1937 provided an unusual yet interesting area for the use and benefit of Canadians. Comprising a coastline strip extending for nearly 40 km along the north shore of the island, it includes some of the finest salt-water beaches in Canada. Reddish in colour, and beaten smooth and broad by the surf, they permit bathing in water that is warmer than at many points along the Atlantic coast to the south. Landward from the beaches, sand dunes and red sandstone cliffs rise to considerable heights. Deep harbours or bays divide the park into three main sections, all of which front on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In the Cavendish and Stanhope sections, the park extends southerly from the sea for some distance, affording examples of the pastoral landscape that has earned for the province the title of "Garden of the Gulf".

Public interest in the establishment of a national park in Prince Edward Island was first displayed in 1923, when the Member of Parliament for Queens, D.A. Mackinnon, wrote to the Commissioner of National Parks about the desirability of having a park established in his province. Although the proposal was received with sympathetic interest, a lack of funds in the National Parks Branch appropriation deferred any positive action. In 1930, the proposal was revived by the Honourable Justice A.E. Arsenault, President of the Provincial Publicity Association. He was supported by A.C. MacLean, Member for Prince. The Honourable Charles Stewart, Minister of the Interior, informed Mr. MacLean that "it is our hope that eventually there will be a national park in each province of the Dominion and there is no reason why Prince Edward Island should not be so favoured, provided the local authorities are prepared to transfer to the Dominion, unencumbered land for that purpose".1

During the next few years, negotiations leading to the establishment of national parks in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had taken form. This activity generated a new proposal for a park in Prince Edward Island. Premier Thane Campbell in February, 1936, advised the Honourable C.D. Howe, Minister of Transport, that his government had under consideration the steps necessary to have a national park established in the province during the coming year. Mr. Campbell requested that an item for the establishment of a park be included in the federal government estimates for the coming year.2 Exchanges of letters between Premier Campbell and the Minister of the Interior, the Honourable T.A. Crerar, followed and, by the end of March, agreement was reached that funds would be included in the estimates of the Department of the Interior for the establishment of the park. Also confirmed were proposals that officers of the Department would make an inspection of potential park sites in the province, and, provided an area in the vicinity of Dalvay by the Sea was made available, the federal Government would pay for the improvements on the Dalvay property.3 In turn, the legislative program of the province for 1936 included an act providing authority for the expropriation of land required for a national park. The federal Government co-operated by introducing in Parliament legislation which would permit the proclamation of a national park when title to a satisfactory area had been furnished by provincial authorities.

Inspection of Sites

By arrangement, an inspection team composed of the Deputy Commissioner of National Parks, F.H.H. Williamson, and the Chief of the National Parks Architectural and Landscaping Service, W.D. Cromarty, completed an inspection of more than 22 separate areas in June, 1936. The report of the inspection team, which was completed in July, stressed the desirability of including in the proposed park examples of the remarkable sea beaches for which Prince Edward Island was known. The report accordingly recommended the inclusion of nearly 40 km of coastline, extending from New London Bay on the west to Tracadie Bay on the east. The report also recommended the inclusion of lands in the Cavendish area surrounding the farmhouse known as Green Gables, associated with the novels of Lucy M. Montgomery; Rustico or Robinson's Island; a portion of Brackley Point; and an area in the vicinity of Tracadie which would incorporate the well known land-mark known as Dalvay by the Sea.4 In making this recommendation, the inspectors were fully aware that features of the proposed park would be quite different from those of the larger scenic parks already established in Western Canada. It was emphasized that the outstanding characteristic of the proposed area lay in its magnificent beaches, and that, in planning the development of a seaside park, recreational aspects should have a predominant place.

Following consideration of the inspectors' report, the Government of Prince Edward Island, through the Executive Council, approved of the recommendations made with the exception of that relating to the inclusion of the area surrounding Dalvay by the Sea. National Parks officers, however, were most reluctant to have this area omitted from the park. At a hastily-called conference held in Charlottetown and attended by provincial representatives and a member of the National Parks Inspection Team, agreement was reached that a portion of the area selected in the Dalvay-Stanhope area, including that surrounding Dalvay House, would be retained.

Park Establishment

With the component sections of the park agreed upon, steps were taken to have a legal survey made of their proposed boundaries. This action was mandatory, in order that satisfactory descriptions would be available both for the acquisition of the necessary lands and transfer of title to the federal Government. The survey was made in November, 1936, by R.W. Cautley, D.L.S., of Ottawa. Plans of the survey were subsequently registered with the Registrar of Deeds at Charlottetown, and the Province of Prince Edward Island conveyed title to the areas agreed on under authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The new park, containing about 20 km2, was formally established by proclamation in The Canada Gazette on April 24, 1937, under the terms of the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Parks Act, 1936.5

Much of the area selected for national park purposes was settled land and most of the property owners involved were direct descendants of the original settlers. Many objected to parting with portions of their farms and the province resorted to expropriation so that prompt transfer of the land to the federal Government could be made. Where buildings were located on lands acquired, the provincial government permitted the owners, with a few exceptions, to remove them. By today's standards, the compensation paid was low, but in 1937 land values were only a fraction of those prevailing three decades later. Most settlements were made on the basis of $50 per acre (0.4047 ha) for improved farm land and $6 for dune land.6 The boundaries of the park were modified by the withdrawal in 1938, at the request of the province, of five small parcels of land. Several of these adjustments, authorized by the National Parks Amendment Act, 1938, were made to accommodate farmers who objected to moving farm buildings. The Act also confirmed the name of the park as the Prince Edward Island National Park, and reduced the area to 18 km2.7

Early History

The history of Prince Edward Island goes back to the sixteenth century. On his first voyage in 1534, Jacques Cartier sailed along the north shores of the island and made a few landings by long boat. His journal for June 30 in that year records some of his impressions. "All this coast is low and flat, but the finest land one can see and full of beautiful trees and meadows . . . the shore is low and skirted all along with sand-banks and the water is shallow".8 The first known inhabitants of the island were the Micmac Indians who called it "Epagwit", meaning "resting on the waves".9 This Indian name is also spelled "Abegweit". The island later was settled by emigrants from France, and later still by Acadians. Prior to the fall of Louisbourg in 1758, Île St. Jean, as it was known, had a population of more than 4,500. Most of the French inhabitants were deported during the two years following by the British, but a few Acadian families remained around Malpeque, Rustico and Rollo Bay. Ceded to Britain by France in 1763, the island was called St. John until 1799, when it was named Prince Edward Island after the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria. In 1765, the entire island was surveyed by Captain Samuel Holland into counties and lots, and British emigration followed. Covehead was settled about 1770, and immigrants arrived later at New London, Stanhope and Rustico. Many of the names of features and places on the island appear on Holland's map. Rustico owes its name to an early French settler, Rene Ressicot, from Avranches, Normandy.10 Cavendish was named by William Winter, an army officer and settler, after his commanding officer, Field Marshal Lord Frederick Cavendish. Brackley bears the name of an early resident who arrived there in 1770, and Stanhope commemorates William Stanhope, Viscount Petersham.11

From the early days of settlement, many residents of the province have gained a livelihood from agriculture and by fishing the abundant waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Small fleets of fishing boats still operate from their home ports in the picturesque villages which lie within the bays and inlets. Occasionally, storms have taken their toll of the hardy fishermen, and the infamous "Yankee gale" of October 3-4, 1851, was long remembered. About 70 fishing vessels caught in the fury of the storm were lost in the Gulf. Many of the bodies of those drowned were washed ashore and buried in a small cemetery now situated within the park boundaries near Stanhope.

Shipwrecks along the coast also occurred. Notable was that of the famous Marco Polo, which foundered off Cape Cavendish in August, 1883. Built at Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1851 for the lumber trade, the Marco Polo was sold in England and converted there for passenger and freight service to Australia. On her first voyage to Melbourne and return, she set a new and incredible record of 76 days for each of the outward and homeward voyages. Her inglorious end came after 32 years of service when caught in an August storm while heavily laden with timber.12

First Developments

Development of the new park was commenced in 1937. A labour foreman was appointed, administration offices established in Dalvay House, and a limited program of works commenced. Exterior repairs were made to Dalvay House; a start made on a road from the eastern boundary of the park near Dalvay House along the coast toward Covehead Inlet; several kilometres of boundary fence were erected, and construction of bath or change-houses was commenced at Dalvay and Cavendish beaches. Supervision was extended by officers of the National Parks Bureau at Ottawa and a Departmental engineer. A permanent park superintendent, E.A. Smith, was appointed in 1938. A dwelling on the Dalvay House property originally occupied by a caretaker was renovated and designated as the superintendent's residence in 1939. A maintenance compound was established in the Dalvay section of park in 1939 with the erection of a combined work-shop, stores and garage building. Brackley Beach was made accessible from the park boundary by road. Primitive campgrounds, equipped with shelters, were developed at Dalvay, Brackley and Cavendish Beaches. Repairs also were made to the Green Gables farm house at Cavendish. Extensive landscaping was undertaken in areas where improvements had been made.

Development plans for the park included an 18-hole golf course in the Cavendish area. Stanley Thompson, a well-known landscape architect, designed and built the Green Gables course under contract. It extended from the dune land along the sea to the southern limits of the park. Thompson made the most of the rolling land which was coursed by a meandering brook, and named many of the holes after features associated with or described in the novels of L.M. Montgomery. Consequently, the names of Anne Shirley, Matthew's Field, Haunted Wood, Shining Waters, and Avonlea have been perpetuated. The first nine holes were opened for play in July, 1939, and the second nine in August, 1940. Construction of a golf clubhouse, containing lounge, locker, shower and washrooms, was commenced in 1939 and completed in 1940. Tennis courts were constructed for public use at Dalvay House in 1940 and at Green Gables and Brackley Beach in 1949. A bowling green was installed on the lawn of Dalvay House in 1947.

Dalvay by the Sea

Dalvay by the Sea, or Dalvay House as it is generally known, was to become both an asset and a liability of the National Parks Service in years to come. It represented a splendid example of the large summer homes erected by opulent citizens in an era when land and building costs were relatively low and income taxes were non-existent. The site was acquired in 1895 and the original portion of the building was erected in 1896 by Alexander MacDonald of Cincinnati, a director of Standard Oil. MacDonald's investment followed a visit to the Tracadie area in 1895, where he was a guest at the long-vanished Acadian Hotel. An addition to the building, which contains the present drawing room, was made in 1909.

The MacDonald family occupied their summer home for about 15 years after its construction, and entertained on a large scale. Part of the property, containing about 65 ha, was cultivated, and accessory buildings included a farmhouse occupied by a caretaker, a barn, stable, bowling alley, poultry house and stores buildings. After MacDonald's death in 1910, family use of the property declined, and the annual visits ended in 1915 when a final one was made by one of the former owner's grandchildren, Princess Rosspigliosi of Italy, and her family.13

The property eventually was acquired by the former caretaker, William Hughes, who later sold it to William O'Brien of Montreal. In 1932, it was purchased by Captain Edward Dicks, who operated it for a few years as a summer hotel. Although Dicks developed a nine-hole golf course on the property, and spent a substantial sum on furniture and improvements, the operation proved unprofitable. The buildings and land were next sold to the Honourable George DeBlois, of Charlottetown, who owned property nearby. In 1937, the Government of Prince Edward Island acquired title to the buildings and surrounding property for inclusion in the national park. By prior agreement, the federal Government reimbursed the province for the actual cost of the main and accessory buildings in the amount of $15,000.14

Before title to Dalvay House was obtained, officers of the National Parks Service had hoped to interest the Canadian National Railways in operating it as a summer hotel. Negotiations were opened with the railway company early in 1937 through the Minister of Transport, but after a thorough inspection the general manager of the railway company's hotel system, Joseph Van Wyck, rejected the proposal. In his opinion, the building was too old and too small for profitable operation.15 In 1940, the building, with the exception of space occupied by Park offices, was leased to the North Shore Hotels Company Limited, which also operated Stanhope Beach Inn. In 1947, the park superintendent and staff moved to offices created in his residence and Dalvay House was leased to Wendell Worth of Charlottetown. Worth operated the hotel from 1947 to the end of the 1958 season, and died early in 1959. Dalvay House was next leased in May, 1959, to Raoul Reymond of Charlottetown, following a public call for tenders. Reymond had acquired title to Stanhope Beach Inn in 1948, and brought to the operation a wide experience in the provision of visitor accommodation.

Over the years, Dalvay House has required a great deal of maintenance and improvement. Some repairs, especially kitchen and plumbing improvement, were undertaken by tenants, but much of the work has been the responsibility of the park superintendent. Improvements have included a new kitchen wing, extension of the main dining room, substantial plumbing and bathroom installations, reconstruction of verandahs and the porte cochère, replacement of roofs, and installation of a fire-deterrent sprinkler system. In addition, successive concessionnaires have made substantial expenditures on furnishings. Although the total outlay on maintenance and improvements has exceeded by many times the original cost, the preservation of the building has been considered desirable. It forms a landmark in the eastern portion of the park; it provides an interesting relic of Victorian architecture and opulence; and, most important, it makes available a valuable service to park visitors.

Green Gables

Long before it was incorporated in the national park, Green Gables had become a point of interest in the Cavendish area. The farmhouse, which is believed to have been erected about the mid-1850's, had a literary connection with the novels of Lucy Maud Montgomery, who, in 1911, married the Reverend Ewan MacDonald. Following the publication of "Anne of Green Gables" in 1908, the white farmhouse, trimmed in green, attracted an increasing number of visitors, many of whom assumed that the principal characters of Miss Montgomery's early books, Anne Shirley and her adopted parents, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, had actually existed and lived there.

When the property, then owned by E.C. Webb, was acquired for national park purposes in 1937, the province was compensated by the federal Government for the value of the buildings.16 Mr. Webb was engaged as a park employee and permitted to occupy the dwelling on a rental basis. Green Gables was vacated by the Webb family in 1946 and remained empty until 1949. In that year, furnishings believed to be contemporary with those utilized around the turn of the century were purchased by the National Parks Service, with the assistance of the local Women's Institute. In 1950, the building was opened to the public in the charge of a hostess. This employee was granted the privilege of operating a tea room in Green Gables, selling souvenirs, and serving refreshments in the adjoining golf club-house.

Originally these services were performed under contract, and later under the terms of a concession granted following a public call for tenders. By 1963, it had become obvious to the park administration that the continued operation of Green Gables in the dual character of a concession and a period museum was undesirable, and that a more authentic interpretation of Green Gables and its relationship to the imaginary "Anne" was imperative.

Steps to effect this change were taken late in 1967 when substantial alterations and improvements were made to the golf club-house. The tea room and souvenir concession was transferred to that building in 1968. Improvements to Green Gables required to reflect a more accurate image of a late 19th century farmhouse in the tradition of the "Anne" stories, including the purchase of additional furnishings, are now under consideration. Meanwhile, the building has been open to visitors under the supervision of a guide service since 1968.

Inquiring visitors are informed that neither the fictional heroine Anne, nor her creator, Lucy Maud Montgomery, ever resided at Green Gables. Lucy Maud's mother, Mrs. Hugh Montgomery, died when her daughter was less than two years old, and the child lived for many years with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander MacNeill. Their home was located within a few hundred metres of Green Gables. Lucy Maud was a frequent visitor to the home of her older cousins, David and Margaret MacNeill, now known as Green Gables. As a child, she wandered at will over the farm, traversing paths in the adjoining woods and exploring its brook and ponds. Later in life, as Mrs. MacDonald, she frequently visited Green Gables as the guest of Mrs. Webb, a niece of David and Margaret MacNeill. Similarities in the topographical and physical features described in the "Anne" books with those of the Green Gables property give credence to the belief that the old farmhouse and its surroundings may have been envisioned by the author as the home of her story-book heroine.

Administration Building

Administration of the park was facilitated gradually by the erection of additional maintenance buildings and provision of staff accommodation. The original buildings at Dalvay were augmented in 1942 to accommodate staff and supplies. A new garage was completed in 1954 and extended in 1961. A central stores building was added to the work compound at Dalvay in 1961. Maintenance activity in the Cavendish area necessitated the construction of an equipment building in 1940. To this was added a combined workshop and store house in 1951. The first warden's residence was erected in 1947 on the Mayfield Road in the Cavendish area. It was supplemented by a modern structure in 1959. Staff housing was made available in the Dalvay area in 1947, 1959, 1960 and 1962.

A recreational hall built in 1950 at Cavendish Beach permitted the development of a recreational program undertaken on behalf of campers and visitors for several years. In 1965, the building was moved to a site in the vicinity of the new Cavendish campground for use by the park interpretation service. An innovation in 1950 was the erection of bandstands at Cavendish and Stanhope Beaches. Lack of use led to their conversion, a few years later, to refreshment stands for lease to concessionnaires. From 1947 until 1967, the building containing the park administration offices also functioned as the superintendent's residence. In 1967, the superintendent took up residence in Charlottetown, and the vacated space permitted expansion of administrative quarters.

The Gulf Shore Road

Early planning envisioned a highway extending throughout the length of the park, which would not only provide magnificent views of the Gulf but also link together the four western segments of the park. The Tracadie-Stanhope section from the eastern park entrance was the first to be undertaken. By the end of 1939, a gravel highway had been completed to a point east of Covehead Harbour. The following year this stretch was connected with Stanhope Beach. In 1950, the road was completed to Covehead Harbour Inlet and in 1951 the entire section was hard-surfaced. Construction on the longest stretch of the proposed Ocean View Highway, from North Rustico through Cavendish to New London Bay, was commenced in 1948. That year 12 km were graded and gravelled. Hard-surfacing was completed in 1952. A right-of-way which would link Rustico Island and Brackley Beach with the easterly or Stanhope section was surveyed in 1949. Completion of a road would first require bridging or other means of crossing the salt-water inlets at the eastern and western end of Brackley Point. A decision was reached to build a causeway over the Little Harbour Inlet between Rustico Island and Brackley Point and to bridge the inlet at Covehead Harbour. Construction of the causeway was undertaken by the federal Department of Public Works in 1953. By 1955, piling and other works installed had induced accretion of sand by wind and wave action which completely filled in the gap of Little Harbour, joining Rustico Island with Brackley Beach.

In 1955, a major trunk highway program in the National Parks of Canada was authorized. Appropriations were provided in 1956 and subsequent years to permit construction of what is now called the Gulf Shore Road. Existing sections of the Dalvay Stanhope and the Rustico-Cavendish roads were seal-coated and a start made on the Brackley-Rustico Island section. During 1957, a pile trestle bridge over Covehead Harbour Inlet was completed and clearing of a right-of-way on Rustico Island was carried on. Work continued on sections of the road for the next three seasons, and by 1960 the Brackley-Rustico section had been completed and paved.

The Dalvay-Brackley section also was improved and hard-surfaced. The final paving of the Rustico-Cavendish section was finished in 1961. An unfortunate disruption of traffic occurred in December, 1963, when a storm which attained hurricane proportions damaged a section of the Covehead Inlet bridge. Reconstruction of the bridge was carried on throughout 1964 and it was re-opened for traffic in 1965.

The completion of the construction and paving program in 1961 had made possible a continuous drive over the 37-km length of the Gulf Shore Road except for one major break. This was the gap formed by Rustico Harbour, which lies between the Cavendish-New London area to the west and the Rustico Island-Brackley-Stanhope area to the east. A location survey of bridge approaches undertaken by the Department of Public Works in 1948 had determined the most feasible route across the inlet to Rustico Island. The survey also had indicated the need for a model study to assess the tidal and current problems which would affect the design of bridge piers. The closing of the Little Harbour estuary in 1954-55 by the development of the causeway at the eastern end of Rustico Island had affected the channel providing access to Rustico Harbour, and storms had contributed to a severe erosion of the western end of Rustico Island. The results of a study undertaken by the National Research Council in Ottawa has led National Parks authorities to believe that construction of the proposed bridge is not economically feasible. Meanwhile, road connection between the eastern and western sections of the Gulf Shore Road is provided by sections of the provincial highway system outside park boundaries.

Visitor Accommodation

The need for accommodation in the park was met in part by the leasing of Dalvay House for hotel purposes. Available accommodation there was expanded in 1948, when a picnic shelter on the grounds was converted to cabin accommodation, and an additional two-bedroom cabin was erected by the provincial government to accommodate the Governor General and Lady Alexander during an extended visit to the park. This building was purchased in 1960 by the National Parks Service and incorporated in the Dalvay House leasehold. Several summer hotels were in operation on sites outside the park in the Dalvay-Stanhope and Brackley Beach areas. These were supplemented by lodge and cabin accommodation erected by private enterprise.

In the Cavendish area, a small cabin development had been built before 1936 on a site which later was encompassed by the Cavendish Beach picnic grounds. This development was below park standard and park authorities proposed to have the property vacated. The owner, however, objected and eventually was granted a site within the park farther south on Cawnpore Lane. The original buildings were moved in 1940 and improved. The concession, known as Avonlea Lodge, was discontinued following the expiry of its lease in 1973.

In 1949, the National Parks Service obtained appropriations for the construction of low-cost visitor accommodation in Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Highlands, and Fundy National Parks. This took the form of single house-keeping cabins, containing kitchenette and bathroom facilities. In each cabin development a central building containing office space and accommodation for the operator was provided. The first 13 units of Green Gables Bungalow Court were built in 1949 and an additional 12 the following year. The development was opened to the public in 1950, after being leased to a concessionnaire following a call for tenders. Four more units were added in 1952. In 1956, the development was sold to the operator, who later enlarged some units and added others. The new owner also expanded the accommodation by erecting five large cabins on property adjoining, but outside, the park boundary. Additional lodges, cabins, and motels built outside the park by private enterprise helped meet the demand for visitor accommodation in the Cavendish area.


From three small campsites established in 1930, the park campground system was developed to the stage where the major units had the density of small villages. The tendency of Canadians to live 'on wheels' during the summer months is exemplified in Prince Edward Island Park where the campgrounds, having a capacity of nearly 3,600 persons, are filled to capacity during the height of the visitor season. A continued demand for camping space has induced the development of privately-owned campgrounds, adjacent to park boundaries, which help accommodate the park overflow.

Cavendish campground, always popular, was originally located on the beach area near the foot of Cawnpore Lane. Closed and open type kitchen shelters, erected close to a bath or change-house, functioned until 1955 when camping was phased out and the site reserved for picnickers only. Development of a new campground, with a greater potential for expansion, had been commenced in 1953 northwest of Clarke Pond. It was opened for use in 1955. Major expansion of the campground was undertaken in 1959 and continued until 1962. Water and sewer systems were installed, community-type shelters erected and a variety of public service buildings constructed. A trailer park also was developed and provided with water, electricity and sewer services. By 1962, accommodation for 226 tents and 78 trailers was available.

Stanhope campground, the second largest in the park, had its start in 1939. It received moderate patronage until 1950 when its area was extended. Trailer runways were added in 1953, and in 1954 the tenting site was relocated west of the trailer area. The Stanhope picnic area was moved north of the Gulf Shore Road in 1955, when underground electrical installations in the trailer area were completed and a new water system installed. During the next five years, additional shelters, sanitary buildings and complementary services were extended. By 1962, the campground had accommodation for 158 tents and 14 trailers.

Camping amenities were first provided at Brackley Beach in 1939. An additional kitchen shelter was added in 1950. For many years the site accommodated both campers and picnickers, and improvements were made from 1956 to 1960, including a sewage disposal system. Overnight camping privileges were withdrawn in 1961, when the area was restricted to day-use only. Visitor services were expanded, an enlarged parking area made available and re-development of the area completed in 1964, when a new bathers' change-house and service building was built.

Development of camping and picnic areas on Rustico Island was undertaken in 1961 when outdoor stoves, sanitary conveniences, and a water supply were made available. During 1962, all access and camping circles were cleared and grubbed. Sites for 148 tent sites were developed in 1963, water and electrical services installed, and kitchen shelters and toilet buildings erected. The campground was opened for use in 1964 and attracted nearly 9500 campers in its first season of operation.

The development of day-use areas which meet the needs of picnickers has taken the pressure off campgrounds which originally functioned in a dual capacity. Picnic grounds gradually were made available at Dalvay, Stanhope, Brackley and Cavendish Beaches, and at Stanhope Lane, Cape Turner, North Rustico, Rustico Island and New London Bay. In 1970, they had a combined capacity of 5,650 persons. Refreshment pavilions are operated under lease at Cavendish and Stanhope Beaches. The day-use area at Rustico Island contains a combined change-house and canteen which was completed in 1968.

Lifeguard Service

The safety of bathers using the park beaches was enhanced by the provision of a lifeguard service. An unfortunate drowning accident at Cavendish Beach in 1947, involving four victims, led to the appointment of a lifeguard there in 1948. The lifeguard service was extended to Dalvay Beach in 1949. Later these services, maintained from distinctive huts painted in red and white stripes, were extended to all main beaches in the park. Equipment in the form of observation towers, dories, and surfboards is provided at each supervised beach. Bathers are encouraged to stay within safety zones which have been enclosed by ropes suspended from floats.

Erosion Control

Most of the park beaches were formed by the erosion of sandstone cliffs and littoral drift of eroded material. Consequently, the beaches and the dunes behind them are affected by winds, tides and heavy seas, and in places deterioration had occurred during winter storms. Erosion control was first attempted in 1941 when a log sea-wall was installed in front of the Dalvay beach-house. In 1960, and for years following, a program of beach and cliff protection was carried on. The work varied in character from the use of sand-bags to construction of stone walls and the installation of wire baskets filled with field stone. In 1965, an improved type of rock container manufactured commercially and known as a "sea gabion" was employed with satisfactory results. Control of shifting sand dunes also was undertaken by the installation of stone cribs, wood sheet-piling and by brush fences. Erosion control at the western end of Rustico Island was undertaken by the federal Department of Public Works in 1962-63, by the installation of groynes. Stone and clay levees also were installed by this Department in 1966 to close gaps in a line of dunes at the head of New London Bay.

Land Acquisitions

Like many popular vacation areas, Prince Edward Island National Park was subjected to a fantastic increase in visitors which reached a temporary peak in the mid 1960's. From a modest figure of 108,000 in 1951, the annual attendance rose in 1960 to 386,000; in 1961 to 952,000; and in 1962 was estimated to have exceeded one million. This exceptional growth in visitor use continued during the following eight years with exceptions in 1965 and 1967. The demands placed on park facilities, including camp and picnic grounds, by this exceptional patronage led to planning studies which it was hoped would permit maximum land use and yet preserve certain unique features in the park which otherwise might be impaired.

Planning was initiated in 1963 and expanded in 1967. The objectives included the accommodation of the largest possible number of visitors; preserving natural, ecological and wildlife features; and the improvement of traffic patterns. The relatively small area of the park also suggested the acquisition of additional lands, if the proposed plans for development were to be realized. The area of the park had undergone little change since its establishment. A few additions, each restricted to several acres, had been acquired to facilitate highway revisions and bridge construction. Consequently, any major expansion of the park could be assured only by the purchase of additional lands from private owners. Planning studies had indicated that lands adjoining the park in the Cavendish area offered exceptional opportunities for development and a land acquisition program was instituted in 1968. By the end of 1972, the National Parks Service had acquired title to more than 69 ha and had reached agreement with owners of other lands. Additional lands had been examined and found acceptable for park purposes. Much of the land acquired was located east of Cawnpore Lane, which was transferred from the Province to the Government of Canada in 1963. This road, which forms an extension to Highway No. 13, provides the main access to the park from the settlement of Cavendish to Cavendish Beach. Other acquisitions included lands adjoining the golf course west of the Lake of Shining Waters. Additional developments within the park that will help accommodate the ever-increasing flow of visitors may be expected as the land acquisition program is implemented.


l. National Parks Branch File P.E.I. 2, vol. 1, May 17, 1930.

2. Ibid., Feb. 8, 1936.

3. Ibid., March 28, March 31, 1936.

4. Ibid., July 28, 1936.

5. Statutes of Canada, I Edward VIII, chapter 43.

6. National Parks Branch File P.E.I. 2, vol. 5, Oct. 31, 1938.

7. Statutes of Canada, 2 George V, chapter 35.

8. H.P. Biggar, The Voyages of Jacques Cartier (Ottawa: King's Printer, 1924), p. 40.

9. R. Douglas, Place Names in Prince Edward Island (Ottawa: Geographic Board of Canada, King's Printer, 1925).

10. Ibid., p. 45.

11. Ibid., p. 50.

12. R. Wallace, Wooden Ships and Iron Men (Boston: C.E. Lauriat Co., 1937).

13. Charlottetown Guardian, Dec. 31, 1959.

14. Order in Council P.C. 1937-32/693, March 31, 1937.

15. National Parks Branch File P.E.I. 2, vol. 3, March 15, 1937.

16. Order in Council P.C. 1937-32/693, March 31, 1937.

Fundy National Park

The Bay of Fundy, which separates the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, has unusual physical and historical attractions. The bay is remarkable for its tremendous tides, believed to be the highest in the world. Spring tides attain a rise of from 18 to 21 m, while during periods of ordinary flow the tides vary in height from 12 to 15 m. Known to Europeans since the 16th century, the Bay of Fundy was shown on the Cabot map of 1544. It was called La Baie Francaise by Sieur de Monts, who spent a winter on Dochet Island in the St. Croix River in 1604-05, and who later in 1605 established the settlement of Port Royal on Annapolis Basin. By the end of the 16th century, the bay was known as the Bay of Fundy. For many years, it was believed that the name was derived from the Portuguese "fondo" meaning deep. Later research led to the opinion that the name was an English corruption of the French word "fendu", meaning split.1 This name was applied to the cape which guards the entrance to Minas Basin, the southeastern extension of the Bay of Fundy.

An area overlooking the Bay of Fundy was selected in 1947 for the establishment of the first national park in New Brunswick. It incorporates an area of nearly 207 km2 of rolling forested land, rising in steps from the bay. High swift tides, aided by wind and wave action, have carved and sculptured the rugged shoreline into sheltered coves and bold promontories. The rugged grandeur of the park's coastline provides a strong contrast to the sylvan solitude of its well-wooded uplands, which reach a height of about 366 m above sea level. The park area is dotted with numerous small lakes, many of which provide the source of streams which feed its main rivers, the Upper Salmon and the Point Wolfe.

Many of these small streams course steep, narrow valleys, and their waters tumble in musical cascades on their rapid journey to the sea. The forests, which combine a mixture of broad-leaved and evergreen trees, attain a rare beauty in autumn, when the gold and crimson of the deciduous species provide a contrast to the darker shades of the conifers. The name "Fundy" was selected for the new park by the Premier of New Brunswick, the Honourable J.B. McNair, following an essay competition conducted throughout the school system of the province.

Early Representations

Although representations leading to the establishment of a national park in New Brunswick were instituted in 1926, a period of 22 years was to elapse before the park actually was proclaimed. The New Brunswick Fish and Game Protective Association, through its president, Allan G. McAvity of Saint John, spearheaded the lengthy campaign undertaken by conservation societies, boards of trade, and individuals to have a national park established in the province.2 Additional support was forthcoming from the Saint John Board of Trade and the New Brunswick Tourist Association. A national park committee, composed of members of boards of trade and conservation groups throughout the province, was formed following a general meeting held in Moncton in September, 1928. A year later, the committee recommended to the provincial government for consideration six widely separated sites.3 These included an area in Northumberland County incorporating Mount Carleton, and two sites fronting on the Bay of Fundy — one near Lepreau in Charlotte County, and the other in Albert County. The other sites proposed were situated in the vicinity of the Chiputneticook Lakes on the western boundary of the province, on the upper reaches of the Miramichi River, and in the Canaan Game Refuge near Canaan.

The Government of New Brunswick signified its interest when the Honourable C.D. Richards, Minister of Lands and Mines, accompanied by Allan McAvity and Byron Tozer, representing the New Brunswick conservation groups, interviewed the Honourable Charles Stewart, Minister of the Interior at Ottawa on January 16, 1930. After a discussion of the merits of several sites, Mr. Stewart agreed to have an examination made of all proposed sites by a representative of the Department. Later in May, Mr. Stewart announced in the House of Commons that "It is the policy of the Government to develop a national park in each province, provided the province makes available for this purpose, free of charge to the Dominion, and free of encumbrance, a compact area of national park standard."4

Proposed Sites Examined

R.W. Cautley, D.L.S., of Ottawa was selected to carry out the inspection in September, 1930. Mr. Cautley was accompanied by Col. H.H. Ritchie, Chief Game Warden of New Brunswick. The six areas previously mentioned were examined and Mr. Cautley's first choice was a site near Lepreau. The area incorporated an excellent sand beach on the Bay of Fundy near New River. His second choice was an area in Albert County, also fronting on the Bay of Fundy. The Mount Carleton site, in Mr. Cautley's opinion, had no outstanding scenic features and also was the most inaccessible of all the areas examined.5 In March, 1931, the province enacted legislation providing authority for the expropriation of lands for national park purposes and their subsequent transfer to the Government of Canada.6 In April, 1933, Premier Richards of New Brunswick made a formal offer of the Lepreau site, provided the Government of Canada would undertake development of the area during the current year by the construction of roads and buildings, and would compensate the province for the value of improvements in the area.7 The offer was not accepted.

Economic conditions during the early 1930's, in which public expenditures were severely curtailed, had a dampening effect on the park negotiations. Interest, however, was revived in 1936, following changes in the governments of Canada and New Brunswick. In January, 1936, the Honourable F.W. Pirie, now Minister of Lands and Mines for the province, wrote the Honourable T.A. Crerar, Minister of the Interior at Ottawa, recommending the establishment of a park in the vicinity of Mount Carleton. Mr. Pirie was advised in reply that, although an earlier report on the area had not been encouraging, a reexamination of the site would be undertaken. The inspection was carried out by R.W. Cautley, in August and September, 1936. The Albert County site was revisited, and an additional site proposed for park development, located on the Long Reach of the St. John River and incorporating Mount Champlain, was examined in detail. Once again Mr. Cautley recommended against acceptance of the Mount Carleton site. He was, however, enthusiastic over the possibilities of the site encompassing Mount Champlain, and gave it top priority among the areas which he had examined to date. The Lepreau and Albert County sites now formed his second and third choices.8

By 1937, the Government of Canada was prepared to proceed with the establishment of a national park in New Brunswick as soon as agreement was reached with the provincial authorities on a suitable site. Legislation enacted by the Parliament of Canada in April, 1937, authorized the establishment of a park by proclamation, on receipt of a satisfactory title to lands acceptable for park purposes.9 Although anxious to get the national park project under way, New Brunswick authorities were reluctant to accept the recommendations of park officials concerning the three areas given top priority. It was believed that the cost of acquiring the land for the Mount Champlain, Lepreau and Albert County sites would be excessive, and that long-established settlers would resent their removal by expropriation proceedings.

In April, 1937, the Honourable F.W. Pirie requested an inspection of a new site south of Mount Carleton incorporating a number of attractive lakes. This was undertaken by James Smart, Chief Inspector of National Parks, in the company of Mr. Pirie. The examination was made with the aid of a seaplane and included flights over the Lepreau, Mount Champlain and Albert County sites, as well as that south of Mount Carleton. Mr. Smart's report confirmed the Mount Champlain site on the St. John River as the most attractive for national park purposes. In November, 1938, an inspection of yet another site was made by Mr. Smart at Mr. Pire's request. This area, situated in the vicinity of St. Martins on the Bay of Fundy, was found unsuitable for development as a future park.

The Park Established

The outbreak of World War II in 1939 had the effect of suspending all activity relating to the establishment of the proposed park. The proposal was revived in February, 1947, when the Honourable J.A. Glen, Minister of Mines and Resources, was invited by the Honourable R.J. Gill, provincial Minister of Lands and Mines, to send a senior park officer to Fredericton for a discussion. At a meeting held on March 27, the merits of three sites acceptable to the federal Government — those at Mount Champlain, in Albert County, and at Lepreau — were fully reviewed by Mr. Smart with provincial authorities. The meeting led to a final examination of the Albert County site in May, 1947, by Mr. Smart, whose report outlined boundaries which would be acceptable to the federal Government. The selection of an area in Albert County as the first national park in New Brunswick was confirmed by Mr. Gill in a letter to the Honourable C.D. Howe, acting Minister of Mines and Resources.10 A formal grant of title to an area of 206 km2 from the Government of New Brunswick to the federal Government was received by the Controller of National Parks at Ottawa in February, 1948. The new park became a reality when it was formally proclaimed in The Canada Gazette on April 10, 1948, under authority of the National Parks Amendment Act of 1937.

Early History

The earliest visitors to the Bay of Fundy were Sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain, who entered the mouth of the Saint John River on June 24, 1604, and named the river in honour of the feast of St. John the Baptist, which fell on that day. Later de Monts and Champlain returned to St. Croix or Dochet Island where their ill-fated settlement was abandoned the following spring for a more attractive site at Port Royal on Annapolis Basin. This developed into the first permanent settlement by Europeans north of the Gulf of Mexico.

Permanent settlement of the lands north of the Bay of Fundy did not occur until the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists in 1783. A wave of colonization led to the establishment of the Province of New Brunswick in 1784. The City of Saint John was the first to be incorporated in the new province. Albert County, in which the park is situated, was formed in 1846 from Westmorland County. Alma Parish, named after the Battle of Alma in the Crimean War, was created in 1857. The village of Alma, the largest settlement in the vicinity of the park, dates back to 1825, when an army officer named Brown settled near the mouth of the Upper Salmon River. A substantial Irish settlement developed in what is now the northern part of the park along the Shepody Road between 1830 and 1835, when grants to some 25 individuals were made. This settlement, known as New Ireland, has long since disappeared.

Title to much of the land along the Bay of Fundy was obtained through grants by retired army officers. Colonel J. Coffin held title to 405 ha which extended across the mouth of the Upper Salmon River, Salmon Brook and Flat Brook. Another grant was made to Major John Ward at Point Wolfe, southeast of Alma. Lumbering became the main industry and provided employment to many residents of the vicinity for more than 100 years. A sawmill was built at Point Wolfe in 1832 and another was established in the vicinity of what is now Alma in 1836. During the peak years of the lumber trade, three- and four-masted schooners were loaded from wharves at Point Wolfe and Alma, and larger vessels were loaded off-shore from barges. Mills also were operated inland at Hastings, about three kilometres northwest of Alma and at Bennett Lake adjacent to the present Highway No. 114. Shipbuilding also provided employment at Alma for some years.

Eventually the lumber industry waned. The mill at Point Wolfe, which had operated for years and had produced annually as much as several million board feet, was closed in 1948. The site is now occupied by a park picnic ground. The mill at Alma, which also had provided employment for years, was destroyed by fire in 1952 and was not replaced.

When the park was established in 1948, about 50 families occupied small farms or holdings in settlements known as Hastings, Alma West, and Point Wolfe. All freeholds were expropriated by the Government of New Brunswick, and the former inhabitants moved to points outside the park. Interesting mementoes of the former inhabitation remain in the form of small cemeteries, dams and picturesque covered bridges. Vestiges of the once expansive wharves at Point Wolfe also remain below the dam as well as the covered bridge which now provides access to the Point Wolfe Campground. A number of early roads have been retained as fire or secondary roads and others are maintained as trails.

Park Development

Steps to develop essential services in the new park were taken late in 1947, when location surveys were made by park engineers. In March, 1948, E.G. Saunders, an experienced forestry officer, was appointed park superintendent, and contracts were awarded for construction projects in the park. Early operations were concentrated on a park administration and recreation site situated on a rolling bench between the Upper Salmon River and Dickson Brook. Development plans required the removal of a number of buildings owned by former residents, and an extensive earth-moving operation which involved the use of 15,300 m3 of top soil. During 1949, an administration building, superintendent's residence, a large bunkhouse, staff dining room with kitchen, stores, and vehicle repair and storage buildings were erected. Sites were selected for recreational developments, which included a large outdoor swimming pool with adjoining bath-house, tennis courts, a bowling green, and a public campground. A major project undertaken was a nine-hole golf course, which was complemented by a commodious club-house.

An administrative staff was recruited, a park warden service developed, warden staff quarters built at strategic locations and a start made on the reconstruction or improvement of existing roads and trails. By July, 1950, sufficient progress had been made to permit public use of visitor services. The park was formally opened on July 29, 1950, by the Minister of Mines and Resources, the Honourable Robert H. Winters. Distinguished guests at the opening included the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, the Honourable D.L. MacLaren, and the Premier, the Honourable J.B. McNair. The day's program included the official opening of both the park golf course and the outdoor swimming pool.

Expansion of the park administrative staff and additions to the park warden service necessitated additional development. Staff quarters for the park engineer and the chief park warden were constructed in 1952 and 1953. A wardens' equipment building was added to the headquarters complex in 1953. Warden stations were established at Wolfe Lake in 1950, at Point Wolfe in 1952 and at Lake Brook on the eastern boundary in 1956. A vehicle checking station, which doubled for some years as an information bureau, was built at the northwestern entrance in 1950, but its functions later were changed. A building to accommodate various trade shops was added to the work compound area at headquarters in 1961-62. Garages for the storage of park vehicles were built at all warden stations, at the headquarters housing complex, and at the Superintendent's residence. Fire protection in the park was facilitated by the erection of a fire observation tower on the slope of Hastings Hill in 1950. An additional tower was built northwest of Laverty Lake in 1963. Communication between park headquarters and field stations was improved by the installation of a very high frequency radio system, which went into operation in October, 1961.


A major undertaking following establishment of the park was the realignment and reconstruction of Provincial Highway No. 14 (now 114) within the park from the Alma River bridge at the southeastern boundary to the northwestern boundary at Wolfe Lake, then called Lake View. In 1948, this was a winding gravelled road which, over the next three years, was converted to a modern highway. Several major relocations were made, the most notable of which occurred on Hastings Hill. By 1950, the entire 20 km had been rebuilt, gravelled and given a seal coat. Paving was carried out in 1951. Following a relocation of Provincial Highway 114 immediately northwest of the park in 1954, a section of new park road 800 m in length was constructed in 1955, to provide a link between the new provincial and the old park highway. This addition was paved in 1956. A major portion of the Point Wolfe road, one of the most popular drives in the park, was rebuilt between 1948 and 1950. The last 800 m was reconstructed in 1956 and the entire road was improved and hard-surfaced in 1960. A spur road leading from the Point Wolfe road to Herring Cove was relocated in 1950 and widened and reconstructed in 1953-54. It received a seal coat in 1960. Secondary roads in the park, including the Old Shepody and the Forty-five roads, were improved between 1953 and 1956. The Forty-five road crosses the river of that name by means of one of the two picturesque covered bridges remaining in the park.


Several covered bridges existed when the park was established. One, which crossed the outlet of Bennett Lake, was removed in 1955 after Highway 114 was relocated. Those on the Forty-five and the Point Wolfe roads have been preserved and maintained. Major repairs were made to the latter structure in 1957. The longest covered bridge in the vicinity of the park was that providing access from the Village of Alma on Highway 114. It crossed the Upper Salmon River in four spans, three of which were covered, and formed a landmark until it was replaced in 1967.

This bridge had an interesting political history, for title to the structure, including the approach from the east, was vested in the federal Government by a provincial act in 1949. Title, however, was not accepted by the Minister of Resources and Development. As the bridge carried much of the visitor traffic to the park, maintenance was carried on by the park administration for many years, including redecking in 1954 and repainting in 1957.

Reconstruction of the bridge by the province under a Roads to Resources Agreement was contemplated in 1960 but the project failed to materialize. Gradual deterioration of the structure, to the stage where public safety was endangered, led to negotiations between officers of the National Parks Branch and those of the provincial Department of Public Works at a meeting held in Fredericton in September, 1965. Following this meeting, agreement was reached between the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources and the provincial Minister of Public Works that a new bridge would be built. Under the terms of the agreement, the federal Government shared 25 per cent of the cost and absorbed the entire outlay made in constructing a new approach at the western end. The remaining costs were borne by the province. The agreement was signed on May 31, 1966, and the new bridge was completed and opened to traffic in June, 1967. The former dangerous approach to the old bridge from the east was eliminated by re-siting the new structure 91 m downstream. The discarded bridge was demolished in November, 1967, with the cost shared by the federal and provincial governments.

Townsite and Cottage Subdivisions

The provision of sites for buildings providing essential visitor services was made in 1950, when a small subdivision was surveyed in the administrative area. The first lot was leased in 1951 for a small automotive service station. A second lot was made available in 1953 for the erection of a souvenir shop. An essential visitor service — a public restaurant — was lacking for several years, despite the best efforts of the park administration to attract a concessionnaire. A site was widely advertised in 1954 and a concession awarded but the applicant later withdrew. Finally, in 1959, a combination restaurant and supply store was developed in the business subdivision by the operators of a nearby cabin concession. The needs of visitors for dining services was partially met in the meantime by the leasing of space in the golf club-house for a tea-room. This concession was gradually expanded into a full scale restaurant operation.

Before the park was established, a small cottage development existed at Herring Cove on privately-owned land. Owners of buildings were required to vacate their sites following expropriation by the provincial Government. With a view to providing replacement sites for summer homes, the Bayview Subdivision was surveyed by the National Parks Service in 1950, on a ridge overlooking the Bay of Fundy west of the swimming pool. Known locally as the Devil's Half-Acre, the area contained sufficient space for three blocks containing a total of 25 lots. An access road to the subdivision from the Point Wolfe Road was completed in 1952, but plans to lease lots for cottage developments were cancelled owing to the high cost of providing essential water and sewer services. Early in 1956, a site for a bungalow cabin development in the subdivision was advertised but no tenders were received. In 1957, a portion of the subdivision was made available to the New Brunswick School of Arts and Crafts.

Visitor Accommodation

Normally, visitor accommodation in national parks is provided by private enterprise. Because of a lack of interest by the public in meeting the demand, the Department of Resources and Development undertook the construction of bungalow cabin developments in three national parks in the Atlantic Provinces. Plans were developed for a distinctive style of housekeeping cabin in Fundy Park and 14 units were constructed in 1949. These buildings were leased to a concessionnaire in 1950 following a public call for tenders. That year, an additional 15 cabins together with an administration building were added to the development and their use by the lessee authorized. In 1957 the cabins and appurtenant buildings were sold to the operator.

An increasing need for visitor accommodation led the Department to undertake, as an employment measure in the winter of 1957-58, the construction of a 20-unit motel and a 24-unit cabin development on the slopes of Hastings Hill east of Highway 114. Both developments provide magnificent views of the Bay of Fundy. Actual building construction began in February, 1958, and the motel and cabins were completed early in 1959. Concessions for the separate operation under lease of the motel and the bungalow cabin camp were awarded in April, 1959, after a public call for tenders. Later in 1959, an administrative building was added to the cabin development, since known as the Alpine Chalets.


Since its establishment, Fundy National Park has enjoyed an exceptional patronage by campers. The first campground, located on a bench overlooking the Village of Alma and the Upper Salmon River, was opened in 1950. Amenities, including kitchen shelter and service buildings, were added and in 1953 the campground was extended to provide an additional 50 sites. The original campground had space for a few trailers. In 1959, a separate trailer park with essential services was developed and on completion accommodated 29 vehicles. Small satellite camping areas were opened at Lake View (now Wolfe Lake), at Bennett Lake, and at Herring Cove. Later, Herring Cove was restricted to day use, and an unserviced campground was developed at Houston Place, since renamed Mic Mac. It has been utilized for group camping since 1968.

By 1958, the number of campers using park facilities had increased by 3,000 over the total for 1957 and 8,000 over 1956. In 1959, construction of a modern serviced campground at Point Wolfe was commenced. Service buildings erected in this campground were faced with brick. In 1962, 100 camp sites were opened for use and in 1963 an additional 150 sites were in operation. An innovation at this campground was the installation in 1967 of coin-operated shower-stalls in the combination toilet and shower buildings.

Continued camping pressure led to the development of another serviced campground on Highway No. 114 about three kilometres northwest of park headquarters. The campground site, originally known as the Bogle Farm and later changed to Chignecto, had been used to accommodate overflow from other camping areas. Development of the new campground was commenced in 1964 and its design made provision for camping sites on both the north and south sides of the highway. The north side was open for use on July 1, 1967, and during the next nine weeks accommodated 21,800 campers. The southern section of the campground was completed in July, 1968. By the close of the 1968 season, visitor use of the campground had shown an increase of 37.5 per cent over 1967. Plans were made in 1968 to develop an additional serviced campground on the southeast side of Wolfe Lake near the northwest corner of the park. By the end of the year, work was well under way and 200 individual camp sites together with access roads had been cleared. Development of this new campground was continued through 1969 into 1970, when a portion of the area was opened to visitors.

Water Systems

The original water system supplying park headquarters was installed in 1949-50. Its source of supply was Dickson Brook, in which a covered catch-basin was installed. Water was pumped to a hillside reservoir located at an elevation above the golf course. Although the storage capacity was enlarged in 1955, the water supply was inadequate to meet requirements during periods of low precipitation. In order to meet the anticipated demand following construction of additional visitor accommodation, development of a water system was commenced in 1957. During 1958 and 1959 two concrete reservoirs having capacities of 15,911 and 455 hL, together with a valve-house, were constructed on the slopes of Hastings Hill above park headquarters. Water was obtained from the Upper Salmon River by means of a pump-house constructed at the mouth of Kinnie Brook. The new system was brought into operation in April, 1969, and the installation of a new distribution system, which involved the laying of 1,890 m of cast iron pipe, was completed in November, 1960. An adequate water supply for a new campground at Point Wolfe was provided by the construction of a brick pump-house in 1959 and a 9,092-mL concrete reservoir in 1960. Water for the system is drawn from Point Wolfe River. Chignecto campground is supplied by water from the headquarters reservoir, from which it is pumped to a campground reservoir for distribution.

Swimming Pool

A major recreational development in the park was the construction of a large outdoor swimming pool on the shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of Dickson Brook. Construction was commenced in 1948 and completed in 1950. The pool is fed with salt water drawn from the bay which is filtered and heated within the pool building. Incorporated in the structure are dressing rooms for men and women together with administrative quarters. For several seasons after its opening in 1950, a refreshment concession was operated in the building. By 1955, increasing use of the pool necessitated the extension of the men's dressing room. In order to provide the space, the refreshment concession was moved that year to a new building erected on a site adjoining the public parking area. Patrons were given protection from winds off the bay when a glass windbreak was erected around the southern end of the pool in 1957.

Golf Course

The park golf course has been a popular attraction since its completion. Located in the valley of Dickson Brook, the site was selected in 1947 by Stanley Thompson, a well-known Canadian landscape architect. Under contract, Thompson later surveyed the area and prepared a plan for an 18-hole course, together with detailed plans for the immediate development of nine holes. Construction was commenced in 1948 and virtually completed in 1949. The course, which is featured by a number of water hazards, was opened for play in July, 1950. Complementing the course is a large golf club-house built of sandstone containing a lounge, offices, and men's and women's dressing rooms equipped with showers and toilets. In 1953, a tea-room concession in the building was granted after a call for tenders. To meet the visitor need for dining accommodation, the concession was expanded to occupy most of the lounge, after the kitchen and refrigeration facilities had been improved and enlarged. A small professional shop adjacent to the first tee was constructed in 1950 and was replaced by a larger building in 1962. The contract of the golf course consultant also provided for the preparation of plans and specifications for tennis courts and a bowling green. These amenities were constructed in 1950 on a site adjoining the golf club-house and were enclosed by suitable fences. East of the courts and bowling green, a large area was landscaped and made available for outdoor sports.

Other Attractions

Additional amenities for visitors were developed in 1951. Included was a large assembly hall constructed in the vicinity of the park campground at headquarters. This building was designed for community use, conventions and the entertainment of park visitors. Within the headquarters area and overlooking a small lake, McLaren's Pond, an outdoor amphitheatre was developed, capable of seating 800. The plans incorporated a combination bandshell and motion picture screen permitting the staging of a variety of outdoor entertainments.

Sport Fishing

Opportunities for angling in the park are diversified. Speckled and rainbow trout are found in many of the small lakes and streams and Atlantic salmon occur in both the Upper Salmon and Point Wolfe Rivers. Biological studies of park waters were undertaken in 1950 and subsequent years, and the restocking of lakes and streams was carried out with gratifying results. Fishing in Bennett Lake was improved following construction of a dam and spillway at the outlet in 1952, which raised the water level by 1.82 m. This lake and Wolfe Lake have yielded the largest trout taken in the park by anglers.

An attempt to induce salmon to ascend the Point Wolfe River was made in 1953, when the dam near its mouth was opened. This action, however, failed to improve the fishing appreciably, and unfortunately had the effect of draining the picturesque pond above the dam. In 1958, the opening in the dam was closed, and hatches were incorporated to permit the passage of salmon at high tide during the autumn months.

An increase in the salmon run in the Upper Salmon or Alma River was noticeable a few years after a fire which destroyed a mill near Alma in 1952. This improvement was credited to the disappearance of a dam formerly used in the lumbering operation, which was washed out by flood waters. Restocking of the upper waters of the Point Wolfe River and the Upper Salmon River with salmon fingerlings was undertaken in 1967. It is hoped that further studies, complemented by restocking, will help restore the salmon population of these major streams.

Arts and Crafts

Visitors to the park who enjoy hobbies make full use of facilities provided by New Brunswick School of Arts and Crafts, an organization sponsored by the Government of New Brunswick. Following the construction of the park assembly hall at park headquarters in 1951, its temporary use by the school was permitted for several seasons. The main hall was used for the display of handicrafts and the basement was utilized for practical instruction. By 1956, the provincial Department of Industry and Development was in a position to proceed with the construction of workshops. Following a review of possible sites, Block "C" in the Bayview Subdivision overlooking the Bay of Fundy was made available. Two buildings were erected in August, 1956, and three additional workshops were completed in 1957. A summer water service was provided by an extension from the park mains, the cost of which was borne by the provincial authorities. In 1960, the school was given permission to extend the site of its operations and two parcels adjoining the original area were made available following survey. In August, 1960, a sixth building was erected. The school has since become a popular attraction and numerous visitors each year acquire practical instruction in handicrafts including weaving, and leather, wood and metal work. Patrons retain the results of their efforts for their own use.


The park's topographical features, which combine forest, open meadow and picturesque coastline washed by the remarkable tides of the Bay of Fundy, offer an ideal field for nature study. Prior to the initiation of an interpretation program in 1961, a wildlife study of the park had been undertaken in 1948 by an officer of the Canadian Wildlife Service who identified 77 species of birds. A botanical survey undertaken in the summer of 1949 by a seasonal park officer revealed a wealth of flowering plants, of which 200 were collected and later mounted. The first nature trails, along Kinnie Brook and at Dickson Brook Falls, were opened in 1959. A program of guided walks and camp-fire programs was undertaken following the appointment of a seasonal park naturalist in 1961. A permanent naturalist was appointed in 1965 and a seasonal assistant was engaged in 1966. Extension of the nature trail system was accomplished with the opening of the Coppermine Trail in 1960 and the development of the Beaverlodge Trail in 1965. By 1968, the seasonal interpretation program was receiving participation by more than 65,000 visitors. Development of an on-site interpretation exhibit was commenced that year at Herring Cove, to explain the unique tides of the Bay of Fundy. The exhibits, which included a scale model of the bay and four illustrative panels, were installed in 1969. Additional interpretive exhibits are planned at other points in the park to illustrate interesting historical and ecological features of the past and present.

Potato Research Station

An unusual feature in Fundy National Park was a potato research station situated on a high upland west of Herring Cove. Prior to the establishment of the park, the federal Department of Agriculture had been conducting potato-breeding experiments there for some years. Due to its comparative isolation, the area occupied was eminently suited for the purposes of potato-breeding, and continued use of the property for a period of 10 years was authorized in 1947. The cultivation of a small auxiliary field near Herring Cove was discontinued in 1949, and in 1951 the area of the station was extended to include ten hectares. In 1958, the use of an additional six hectares was authorized. Over the years, the station was improved by the construction of new administration and storage buildings. A water supply was obtained by drilling, and the potato fields were enclosed by a wire fence to exclude deer from cultivated areas.

Occupation of the site was condoned as the nature of the research carried on provided a service to Canadians, and was of particular benefit to one of the basic agricultural industries of the province. Although the original deadline for termination of the experimental work in the park was extended indefinitely, planning proposals for park lands eventually brought about a relocation of the research station. Following public hearings in October, 1970, on provisional master plans for the future development of Fundy National Park, the termination of potato-breeding research in the park was arranged by negotiation between officers of Parks Canada and the Department of Agriculture. A new location was obtained by the Department of Agriculture at Benton, New Brunswick, and the site near Herring Cove was evacuated by December 31, 1974.

Future Extensions

Although one of the smaller units of Canada's national park system, Fundy Park rapidly attained a popularity that strained its capacity for public enjoyment. Campgrounds attracted patronage in ever-increasing volume, not only from Canadian sources but also from the eastern United States. In 1950, its first full year of operation, the park had nearly 63,000 visitors. Two years later, the total exceeded 100,000, and by 1960, this figure had more than doubled. The 1960's, however, were to witness a remarkable increase in visitors, with a new record of 753,000 visits established in 1966. During the balance of the decade, the attendance figures were slightly lower, but the yearly average was well over 600,000. In 1971, attendance rose to 760,000.

From time to time, proposals have been made by organizations and citizens of New Brunswick advocating the westerly extension of the park to include land along the Bay of Fundy in Saint John County. One of the objectives of the proposal was the continuation of the park road system westerly to permit construction of a coastal road to be known as the "Fundy Trail". In the absence of any firm proposals by the provincial government, the scheme has made little headway. A small extension to the park, however, was achieved in 1967, when two small parcels adjoining Highway 114 at the northwest corner of the park were purchased to prevent undesirable development along the park boundary. Negotiations leading to the acquisition of additional land in the vicinity bordering Highway 114 and the Old Shepody Road were completed in 1972, when the Crown acquired, from J.D. Irving Limited, title to two parcels having a combined area of 53 ha.

Meanwhile, Fundy National Park functions in many ways for the benefit of Canadians. It preserves as a public heritage a unique example of the national landscape, including the upland plateau of the Caledonian Highlands and the marine environment of the Fundy coastline. The park supports a varied wild life and provides exceptional opportunities for many forms of outdoor recreation. Proposals for future use and development of the park should help expand its value to the nation.


1. J.C. Webster, "An Historical Guide to New Brunswick", New Brunswick Government Bureau of Information and Tourist Travel, 1930.

2. National Parks Branch File F.2, March 12, 1926.

3. Saint John Telegraph Journal, Sept. 27, 1929.

4. Canada, House of Commons, Debates, May 26, 1930.

5. National Parks Branch File F.2, Nov. 12, 1930.

6. Statutes of New Brunswick, 21 George V, chapter LVII (1931).

7. National Parks Branch File F.2, April 21, 1933.

8. Ibid., March 9, 1937.

9. Statutes of Canada, I George VI, chapter 35 (1937).

10. Canada, House of Commons, Debates, July 11, 1947, p. 5592.

Terra Nova National Park

Canada's most easterly national park, Terra Nova forms an outstanding example of Newfoundland's Atlantic coastal region. Situated on Bonavista Bay, about 77 km south of Gander, it presents spectacular panoramas of rocky headlands and a deeply indented shoreline, against a rolling forested background. The park lies between the Northwest Arm of Alexander Bay and Clode Sound, and contains an area of 396 km2. It also incorporates a number of the islands which lie offshore from the eastern extension of the park mainland.

The fords or 'sounds' which border or indent the park's land area are among its distinctive features. Glaciers of the Ice Age sculptured the rock formations and also left behind deposits of sand, gravel and large boulders. Tidal flats at the head of Newman and Clode Sounds are formed of this glacial sand and gravel, while the numerous small freshwater lakes and bogs within the park were formed as depressions gouged out of the surface by the action of the ancient glaciers. The park environment has been influenced by its proximity to the sea. The climate, affected by a branch of the cold Labrador current in the Atlantic, is featured by cool summers, mild winters, and considerable precipitation. Arctic icebergs are frequently seen off-shore in the months of May and June.

The park's forest cover is of a northern type, dominated by black spruce and balsam fir. Stands of white birch and poplar are found throughout the park, interspersed in stream valleys by alder and red maple. Bogs thickly matted with wet, spongy spagnum moss are numerous. One of the largest is the Gros Bog in the southwestern portion of the park. Sprouting from the moss may be found shrubs such as the bog laurel, leatherleaf, pitcher plant and Labrador tea. The variety of wild animal life is limited, mainly by the comparative isolation of the island from the mainland of Canada. The Newfoundland caribou, which once migrated across the island in thousands, is seen occasionally in the vicinity of the park. However, moose, which were introduced to the Colony of Newfoundland in 1878 and again in 1904, are prevalent, and may be observed grazing along the Trans-Canada Highway. Black bear also are found in the park.

Early Park Proposals

The extension of Canada's system of national parks to Newfoundland was first given consideration in 1947. In that year, members of the National Convention of the Crown Colony met with representatives of the Government of Canada in Ottawa to ascertain if a fair and equitable basis of confederation with Canada might exist. The Newfoundland delegation included F.G. Bradley, K.C., as chairman and six other leading citizens including Joseph R. Smallwood. Members of the Canadian Cabinet headed by the Right Honourable Louis S. St. Laurent, Secretary of State for External Affairs, formed the Canadian representation. The meetings were held in the central parliament building from June 25 to September 29. Information on the Canadian constitution and the functions of the various government departments and agencies was made available to the Newfoundland delegation. In turn, information on Newfoundland was provided for the use of the Canadian representatives. At the request of the Newfoundland delegation, special information concerning the establishment of national parks was furnished. In the material provided, it was made clear that the federal Government would consider an offer from any province of an area typical of its best scenic and recreational values for establishment as a national park, provided title was offered free of charge and free of encumbrance or restriction. Details of the steps leading to the establishment of a national park, and the obligations assumed by a provincial government, also were furnished.1

Prior to and following Newfoundland's entry into Confederation on March 31, 1949, discussions between senior officers of the Government of Newfoundland and those of the National Parks Branch of the federal Department of Mines and Resources were held in Ottawa. These talks were followed by a formal request on December 24, 1949, from the Honourable Edward Russell, Minister of Natural Resources, for an examination of several areas in the new province which had been tentatively selected for consideration as the site of a national park.2 The proposal was accepted by the Honourable Colin Gibson, then federal Minister of Mines and Resources, and in May, 1950, James Smart, Director of the National Parks Branch, was detailed to visit and report on the proposed areas.

Mr. Smart first visited St. John's for discussions with provincial authorities. The Chief Game Warden for the Province, Captain H.W. Walters, was assigned to accompany him on the inspections. The sites which had been proposed included the Salmonier River and Placentia Bay areas on the Avalon peninsula, the upper Burin peninsula between Placentia Bay and Fortune Bay, the Bonavista Bay region and an area lying between Trinity Bay and Conception Bay. Criteria adopted for the selection of a suitable park area included its accessibility to concentrated areas of population; scenery typical of the province including sea-coast terrain; a location that would encourage travel from points outside the province; accessibility from the Trans-Canada Highway; and minimum disturbance of permanent settlement in the vicinity.

Mr. Smart's report confirmed the Bonavista Bay site, centred on Newman Sound, as the most satisfactory for park purposes, and recommended its acceptance if offered by the province.3 In his opinion, the area, containing about 647 km2, was representative of the best coastal scenery of the province. The proposed route of the Trans-Canada Highway lay within its western limits and consequently the park would be accessible to St. John's, the largest centre of population in Newfoundland, as well as to Gander airport. Moreover, the area proposed would embody many freshwater lakes and streams, including a section of the Terra Nova River, and thus provide angling for Atlantic salmon and trout. Selection of the area also would result in a minimum of disturbance to permanent settlements or private ownership.

Although the report was forwarded to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources for Canada in February, 1951, for the information of the Minister, its contents were not made available to Newfoundland. Mr. Smart, however, advised Captain Walters on February 13 of his preference for the Bonavista Bay area as the future park site. At the same time, Captain Walters was cautioned that immediate development of any park was doubtful as it was unlikely that the appropriations necessary would be available.

No formal action in the establishment of a park was taken by the province until December 24, 1953, when premier Smallwood advised Prime Minister St. Laurent by letter that the Government of Newfoundland was quite satisfied with the proposed site on Bonavista Bay, and that the Government of Canada would be asked to accept it for the purposes of a national park in Newfoundland. Premier Smallwood also suggested that actual development of the park might be deferred for two or three years, but that in the meantime Canada might consider the construction of an access road to the area which would form a section of the Trans-Canada Highway.4

The Prime Minister informed Premier Smallwood in February, 1954, that following discussions with his colleagues the federal Government had approved of the establishment of a national park in Newfoundland. Mr. St. Laurent also stated that the Government was prepared to introduce legislation in the Canadian Parliament that would authorize the proclamation, as a park, of such lands as the province and Canada agreed were suitable for the purpose, subject to the condition that the province would furnish Canada with a clear title. On receipt of an undertaking that the Government of Newfoundland would convey the area, free of charge and free of all encumbrances to Canada, the required bill would be prepared and introduced in Parliament.5

It also was made clear to Mr. Smallwood that although the federal Government was prepared to seek establishment of the park, it was not the intention to develop it until the necessary appropriations could be made available. This reservation, the Prime Minister stated, did not mean that construction of any part of the Trans-Canada Highway that would pass through the park would have to be postponed unduly.

Boundary Negotiations

Negotiations which would determine the boundaries of the park were initiated in October, 1954, by P.J. Murray, Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources for Newfoundland, in a letter to R.G. Robertson, Deputy Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources. Mr. Murray's letter questioned the choice of the Bonavista Bay-Newman Sound area as the most suitable for a national park, and asked to be informed of the considerations that led to its selection. In his letter, Mr. Murray stressed the value of forest resources to the provincial economy, and the need of conserving for provincial use every available area of good forest land. He suggested that "a forest management policy for the park woodlands based on the maximum sustained yield principle would effectively supply woods employment to our forest workers and raw materials for our industries, and if such policy were followed it would lessen to some degree the disadvantages which we would suffer in passing over this particular area as a national park".6

Mr. Murray also called to attention the urgent need of the province for additional electric power, and stated flatly that he could not recommend the inclusion in the park of the Terra Nova River, unless the right of utilizing its power potential was reserved to the province.

The Director of the National Parks Branch, J.A. Hutchison, was consulted in the preparation of a reply. He explained the limitations imposed by the National Parks Act respecting the use or harvesting of natural resources in the parks. The Director offered the opinion that commercial development of park forests on a sustained yield basis should not be considered. He also observed that hydro-electric power, under the Act, could be developed only for use in the park.

Mr. Robertson's reply was drafted to provide Newfoundland authorities with full explanation of why the Newman Sound area had been given preference as the site for the proposed national park. It also contained a detailed summary of the observations made by James Smart in his report of the various sites inspected. Mr. Robertson explained to Mr. Murray that, with respect to the Terra Nova River watershed, the development of power within a park for export was precluded by the National Parks Act. It was suggested that, of several courses open, one might be to exclude from the proposed park any land that might be affected by water power development. In return, a compensating area might be added. As a possibility, Mr. Robertson mentioned Maccles Lake to the west, which had outstanding scenic attractions and was widely known for its salmon fishing.

Forest Resources Considered

Considerable discussion had developed on the proposal that the forest resources of the park be harvested. The Honourable J.W. Pickersgill, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Member of Parliament for Bonavista Twillingate, who had received a copy of Mr. Murray's letter, and the Dominion Forester, D.A. Macdonald, were consulted. Both favoured a forest management plan for the park. Consequently, the Deputy Minister's reply to Mr. Murray offered a concession that departed from prevailing forestry practices in national parks. The relevant paragraph read:

Under the Act and regulations it would be possible to carry out a fairly extensive programme of cutting in the interest of good forest management and protection. Of course, this would depend on the condition of the forests. However, I would think that after an inventory had been taken of the area, we would be able to adopt a plan of annual cutting which would provide considerable employment and substantial supplies of lumber. I should point out that any cutting under such a plan would have to be done in accordance with the best forestry practices and would be done under the immediate control of the officers of the park. It would be a cutting of trees selected and marked by park officers. Cutting on an ordinary commercial basis even in accordance with forest management principles, is not possible if a forest is to be preserved in a substantially natural state for park purposes.7

In February, 1955, the provincial Minister of Mines and Resources, the Honourable F.W. Rowe, advised the Honourable Jean Lesage, Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, that it would not be possible for the Government of Newfoundland to indicate the limits of the proposed park until his officials had an opportunity of consulting with their federal counterparts. At the same time he expressed the hope that it would be possible for the federal Government to proceed with legislation that would permit establishment of the park, once agreement on boundaries was reached. Later in May, Mr. Rowe visited Ottawa, and arrangements were made for the Chief Engineer of the National Parks Branch, G.L. Scott, to undertake a reconnaissance of potential park lands in Newfoundland.8

Mr. Scott made an inspection of the Burin Peninsula, Bonavista Bay, and adjacent areas from available highways and by helicopter, and had discussions with a number of Newfoundland authorities, including Dr. F.W. Rowe, and his Deputy Minister, P.J. Murray. Mr. Scott found the provincial representatives extremely reluctant to have included, in any national park, forested lands having a potential for commercial development. The report of a Royal Commission on forestry conditions in Newfoundland, recently tabled in the provincial Legislature, had indicated that any expansion of the pulp and paper industry of the province would require full use of the entire productive area of the island.

In the course of his discussions, Mr. Scott suggested that in lieu of lands within the Terra Nova River watershed which now appeared to be withheld for future power development, an area west of Clode Sound be considered. This area, drained by Northwest Brook and other streams had characteristics suitable for the support of wildlife, and also for the enjoyment of sport fishing. The provincial representatives, however, were reluctant to commit themselves on this area until it had been examined for its timber potential.9

Meanwhile, a bill amending the National Parks Act, which contained provision for the establishment of a new park in Newfoundland, was introduced in Parliament. It received assent on June 28, 1955, and authorized the proclamation of the new park when clear title to lands satisfactory to both Canada and the province was transferred to Canada.10

Provincial Reports

On August 31, 1955, Premier Smallwood again wrote Prime Minister St. Laurent concerning the proposed park. He agreed that the most suitable site for the proposed park was on the northeast side of Newfoundland in what is known as the Terra Nova area. There would be, he said, little difficulty in deciding the boundaries and transferring the land, but for two considerations. Firstly, there was a considerable potential for the development of electric power on the Terra Nova River which obviously would be exploited in the not distant future. It was, therefore, important not to include this area within the park. Mr. Smallwood also referred to the report of the Royal Commission on Forestry — generally known as the 'Kennedy' report — which had indicated that there was sufficient timber on the island to warrant the establishment of a third paper mill. Consequently, with his colleagues, he felt that it was essential that land bearing timber that would be required for a third paper mill should not be surrendered to the federal Government for park purposes. The provincial government, however, proposed, with the co-operation of the two existing paper companies, to make a detailed survey of the timber resources of the island, in which the proposed park area would be given early attention.11 The survey was undertaken by Frank Jenkins, a consulting forester.

The next major development occurred in late December, 1955, when Premier Smallwood advised the Honourable J.W. Pickersgill by letter that the 'Jenkins' report on the timber resources of the proposed park area had been received. The report disclosed that about 60 per cent of the area was productive forest land, containing a large amount of merchantable pulpwood. This information, stated the Premier, appeared to rule out the possibility of the land being made available for park purposes unless something could be done to assure that the timber would be made available for the third paper mill, if and when it materialized.12

The contents of this letter were brought to the attention of the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, the Honourable Jean Lesage, and his deputy, R.G. Robertson. The Director of Forestry, D.A. Macdonald, was consulted concerning the possibility of cropping the timber for commercial purposes or the establishment of a forest experiment station within the proposed park. Mr. Macdonald did not favour a forest experiment station, as similar stations already were in existence in Canada in five locations. Forestry Branch officials also found it difficult to give an opinion on timber cropping on the basis of information available at the time.

Matters remained static until October 2, 1956, when Mr. Pickersgill discussed with Mr. Lesage and his deputy, Mr. Robertson, the impasse which had developed in the establishment of the park, mainly over the question of harvesting the forested areas. Mr. Pickersgill expressed the opinion that some slight extension of the formula for forest management in the park which had been set out in Mr. Robertson's letter of October 26, 1954, to Mr. P.J. Murray might be sufficient to secure definite agreement on the park. Mr. Pickersgill proposed that, if and when a third pulp and paper mill was established, consideration be given to the cutting of timber for the purposes of the mill, subject to certain conditions. These would ensure that cutting would be carried out on a scientific and controlled management basis by park authorities; that operations would be confined to areas not visible to visitors; and that timber so cut would be sold to the provincial government or the operators of the paper mill at the full market price.13

After a review of the proposal by his senior staff, Mr. Lesage advised Mr. Pickersgill on October 17 that, in so far as mature and over-mature timber was concerned, the existing formula might be modified by the addition of the following paragraph:

In general, the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources would be prepared to operate on the basis that mature and over-mature timber would be cut up to but not exceeding, the natural increment of the forest — that is, the annual rate of regrowth. Such timber would, in the first instance, be used in so far as necessary for park purposes. Over and above that amount, the Department would be prepared to sell the lumber at commercial rates, a preference being given in such sales to a third pulp and paper mill, if and when one is established in Newfoundland.14

A further stipulation imposed was that the formula would be subject to total exclusion of trees along roads, in the park headquarters district, and in areas of development for tourist use.

Agreement is Reached

Apparently this information was passed on promptly to Mr. Smallwood, for, on November 13, the Premier advised Mr. Lesage that he had been informed that it would be possible to permit the harvesting of mature and over-mature timber in the proposed park up to but not exceeding the natural annual increment of the forest; to sell timber not required for park purposes; and to give preference in such sales to a third mill when one was established in the province. The assurance of these concessions evidently removed the last obstacle to the creation of the park for, as Mr. Smallwood declared,

I have consulted my colleagues and we have come to the conclusion that such an assurance would remove our fears. We are now prepared to have our officials discuss with the officials of your Department the appropriate limits of the park with a view to the earliest possible transfer of the land so that there will be no further delay in the establishment of the park.15

Then followed discussions and correspondence involving officers of the federal and provincial government departments concerned with the administration of national parks and natural resources. Mr. Lesage confirmed by letter to the Honourable W.J. Keough, the provincial Minister of Mines and Resources, the policy that would govern the disposal of mature and over-mature timber in the park.16 A proposal that the park should include an area in the vicinity of Northwest River, west of Clode Sound, collapsed when Mr. Keough reported that the area had hydro-electric power development possibilities. Eventually, on February 14, 1957, Mr. Keough, on behalf of the Province of Newfoundland, offered title to acceptable lands in two parcels, separated by a corridor required to facilitate the development of power from the Terra Nova River system, if undertaken. In his reply, Mr. Lesage suggested that title to the two parcels be transferred without the corridor, but that separate descriptions for each parcel be included. He also proposed that, should the province later require the smaller parcel for power development, the federal Government would, by joint agreement, have it withdrawn from the park by act of Parliament. This proposal was accepted, and agreement on the boundaries of a park was reached in March, 1957.17 The westerly boundary extended in an irregular line southerly from a point east of Traytown on Alexander Bay to a point east of Northwest River on Clode Sound. The area enclosed Newman Sound, the entire northern coastline of Clode Sound, and the adjacent off-shore islands including Swale Island, eight kilometres in length.

By an order of the Executive Council, the Government of Newfoundland on April 2, 1957, transferred to Canada an area of 404 km2 which, by complementary federal order in council, was accepted on April 11, 1957. The proposed agreement providing for the withdrawal from the park of any land required in future by Newfoundland for the development of hydro-electric power was completed by Mr. Keough and Mr. Lesage on March 12, 1957, under authority of the Governor in Council.18 In accordance with legislation enacted in 1955, the new park, later named Terra Nova, was established by proclamation in The Canada Gazette on May 11, 1957. Following a survey of the park boundaries in 1958, the actual area of the park was determined to be 396 km2.

The creation of Terra Nova extended the national park system to the most easterly part of Canada. It reserved as a public possession an impressive and spectacular section of Newfoundland's Atlantic coastline. Nevertheless, its area and characteristics fell short of fulfilling the hopes of the national parks officers who carried out the early field investigations. The park lacked an area capable of sustaining the woodland caribou, a species of the deer family that once inhabited the island in thousands. The possibility of making available to visitors the pleasures of salmon fishing was not realized. Over the park forests hung the spectre of a quasi-commercial cutting operation, destined to absorb their annual growth, should the pulp and paper industry of the province be expanded. As the St. John's Evening Telegram editorialized:

The Newfoundland national park, according to latest Canadian Press reports, has been cut in area from the original 400 or more square miles to 150 square miles on either side of the proposed transinsular highway. The effect of the reduction in area will be to destroy a great deal of the park's value as a wildlife refuge, a place of scientific study and for holiday recreation...

It is a pity that out of 160,000 square miles a mere 400 or 500 could not be found some where for conversion into a national park without putting our whole industrial future in jeopardy. Ottawa has been ready since 1950 to set up a national park in Newfoundland, but the Provincial Government has spent seven years stalling. Their attitude has been that they'd be delighted to set aside an area for a national park provided the Federal Government would allow them to build a pulp mill in the middle of it, or open a mine, or start several sawmills, or build dams and canals for a hydroelectric development...

Readers who recall the glowing articles and superb pictures of the proposed national park area published in The Telegram these past three years and who are familiar at first hand with the beauties, by sea and by land, of Clode Sound, Newman's Sound, and Alexander Bay, will be greatly disappointed that the National Park area could not have been extended to include much of this ideal territory, instead of being chipped down by political chisels to a mere right-of-way for a highroad.19

Early History

Newfoundland was one of the first sections of North America to be discovered by Europeans. Some historians believe that John Cabot made his landfall of Cape Bonavista on May 24, 1497. The provincial capital, St. John's, owes its name to the festival day of St. John the Baptist, celebrated on that date. England's first claim to the island was made in 1583 by Sir Humphrey Gilbert. A Crown or self-governed colony of Great Britain for more than 300 years, Newfoundland became the tenth province of Canada in 1949.

The fisheries of Newfoundland's coastal waters attracted world-wide attention and were responsible for many of the early settlements. The first permanent settlement of the island was attempted at Cupids on Conception Bay in 1610. Permanent occupation of the area in the vicinity of the park is believed to date from the 17th century. R.H. Tait recorded in his history of Newfoundland that Bonavista was one of its oldest settlements, and that the first school on the island was opened there in 1726.20 Salvage, located on Bonavista Bay, also dates from the earliest days, and Happy Adventure, just east of the park boundary, was founded about 1868. Settlement later was extended to the Newman and Clode Sound areas, and is perpetuated in communities bearing such diversified names as Traytown, Sandringham, Eastport, Charlottetown, and Port Blandford.

The use of timber for boat-building led to the development of a lumber industry, and the population, scattered in small communities along the numerous bays and sounds, relied mainly on fishing and lumbering for a livelihood. Much of the area now within the park was cut over extensively in forest operations, and, as late as 1957, several small sawmills were functioning. Most of the mills were operated by steam, generated in wood burning boilers. A few were water-powered. Fires on mill sites were not uncommon, and occasionally surrounding forests were ignited. By 1950, many of the small-mill operators had been forced out of business, partly from a shortage of suitable logs, and also as a result of competition from dealers who imported cheaper lumber from the mainland of Canada. A few of the larger and better organized mill owners were able to continue operations until their sites were acquired for national park purposes in 1957. Among the last mills to close were the Turner mill at the mouth of Salton's Brook and the Lane mill at the head of Newman Sound. Farther east at Minchin's Cove, also on Newman Sound, were the Powell and King mills. One mill remains in operation in Charlottetown, which together with a small surrounding area was excluded from the park on its establishment.

Early Development

Following agreement between Canada and the province on boundaries, development of the new park was commenced in May, 1957. Operations were concentrated at a park headquarters site located at the head of Newman Sound. Acting Park Superintendent, Fred Dunphy, supervised contour surveys for the location of buildings, access roads and visitor accommodation. A temporary work camp was established at Lane's wharf and administrative assistance was recruited. Early supplies and materials were transported from railhead at Alexander Bay to Happy Adventure by road and shipped from there by boat to a wharf at headquarters. By July, 1957, access from the railway to Salton's Brook by highway and road was possible, cutting the water route to less than three kilometres. Temporary buildings erected in 1957 included two bunk houses, a cook-house, wash-house and several small structures. In June, 1958, a permanent superintendent, J.H. Atkinson, was appointed and during that year construction of roads, buildings and visitor services in final locations was accelerated. A park warden service was established under a Chief Park Warden, Ben Roper, and a forest management plan embarked on. Progress made in the construction of the Trans-Canada Highway from the north gradually facilitated its use by vehicles transporting essential supplies.

Park Buildings

The headquarters site selected for the development of a maintenance compound, an administration building, and a staff residence area was located on a bench overlooking Newman Sound and accessible by roads leading from the Trans-Canada Highway. Early permanent buildings erected in 1958 included four single and two duplex staff dwellings, a warehouse, workshop, power house, and lumber storage shed. In 1959, a handsome superintendent's residence overlooking Newman Sound was completed, a new wharf and adjoining boat gear building constructed, and a central garage erected in the maintenance area.

A water system was developed by sinking two wells near the mouth of Big Brook and construction of a 909-hL reservoir served by pumps. A start was made in 1959 on the construction of an administration building, which was completed and brought into use in 1960. During 1961, an information centre located on the road serving the administration building was completed. A concrete ramp ad joining the headquarters wharf was poured in 1962 and a new 13-m patrol boat was built by park staff.

Visitor Accommodation

Early consideration was given to the provision of visitor accommodation in the park. Plans were developed in 1957 for the construction by the National Parks Branch of a bungalow cabin camp on Newman Sound about 800 m south of the park wharf. The first ten cabins, consisting of five single and five double units, were erected in 1958 under a winter work program. An access road to the cabins was completed in 1960 and the buildings were leased that year to a concessionnaire following a public call for tender. In 1961, an additional nine single cabins were added to the concession. During the first two years of operation, one double cabin was allocated to the concessionnaire for administration and staff purposes, but in 1962 a combined administration and services building was added. This structure accommodated a restaurant seating 32 patrons, a grocery and souvenir store, a large kitchen, and living quarters for the manager and his staff.

Official Opening

Progress made in the development of the park by May, 1960, prompted the Honourable Alvin Hamilton, Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, to forecast its formal opening in 1961. The official host at the function, held on July 15, 1961, was, however, the Honourable Walter Dinsdale, who had succeeded Mr. Hamilton as Minister in October, 1960. On 'opening day', the 43 km of the Trans-Canada Highway within the park had been completed and paved, adequate administration, staff, and maintenance buildings had been erected, a start made on the development of a modern serviced campground, and several picnic sites had been provided along the main highway.

The ceremonies were staged in the vicinity of the park wharf on Newman Sound. The Honourable William J. Browne, M.P. for St. John's West and Solicitor General, presided as chairman. Dedication addresses were delivered by Premier Joseph R. Smallwood of Newfoundland, and the Honourable Walter Dinsdale. Premier Smallwood expressed the thanks of the people of Newfoundland for the contribution of the Government of Canada in the development of the park, which he termed "a blessing from Heaven — a gift of God".21 Mr. Dinsdale commented on the choice of the name 'Terra Nova' for the new park. He prophesied that "this park will be new land too, for Canadians, who will throng in increasing numbers to see Newfoundland scenery at its finest, for United States visitors who are finding in your province new vacation vistas, and for Newfoundland expatriates who can now return home to holiday in a superb national park, so truly characteristic of the Island". Mr. Dinsdale concluded the program by unfurling the Canadian ensign.

Highway Development

A dominant feature of the park is the 42-km stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway which traverses almost its entire length. Original plans of the provincial Government called for construction of the highway along a route situated from 1.6 to 8 km east of the Newfoundland railway but, during negotiations leading to the establishment of the park, agreement was reached on a location nearer to Newman Sound. In April, 1955, Premier Smallwood had written to Prime Minister St. Laurent explaining that, by the end of the year, only a comparatively short gap in the trans-island road would remain, much of which would pass through the area proposed for the park. Anxious to have the highway completed, Mr. Smallwood asked for assurance that, if any portion of the right-of-way was included in the park, the federal Government would reimburse the province for the cost of its construction. This request was acceded to, on the understanding that the National Parks Branch was consulted in the selection of the route, and that the national park would be established within a year of the completion of the grading of the road.

The feasibility of an alternative route was determined by a reconnaissance survey undertaken in October, 1955, by G.L. Scott, Chief Engineer of the National Parks Branch. Mr. Scott was accompanied by two officers of the Newfoundland Government and a member of the Canadian Wildlife Service. The route chosen led easterly from a point near Alexander Bay Station almost to the Southwest Arm of Alexander Bay, and thence southerly over high land west of Newman Sound to Charlottetown on Clode Sound. From Charlottetown, the road followed the sound westerly to the park boundary.

A contract for the construction of a section of the highway north of Big Brook was let by the Province of Newfoundland in 1956, but after the park was established in 1957 completion of this stretch and construction of the southern section was supervised by the federal Department of Public Works. A link-up between the northern and southern sections was made in 1959 and, by November, grading of the entire route had been completed. The highway within the park was paved with asphalt in 1960 to a width of 13 m.

Most of the road system in the park headquarters area was constructed between 1958 and 1960. These roads provide access to the maintenance compound, the park wharf, the staff housing area, administrative headquarters and Newman Sound campground and picnic areas. Access roads to fire detection towers at Blue Hill and Ochre Hill were cleared in 1958 and gravelled in 1959, but were not completed to secondary road standard until 1964. In 1958, the federal Government co-operated with the province in the construction of a road providing access to the settlement of Terra Nova from the Trans-Canada Highway. The 3.5-km section in the park later was improved by widening, grading and gravelling between 1959 and 1967. A major secondary road project was undertaken in 1961 by the construction of a link in a new road connecting the Trans-Canada Highway with Eastport. The work within the park involved eight kilometres of difficult construction, including a rock-filled causeway nearly two kilometres in length across the mouth of Broad Cove. This new road was completed in September, 1965, and visitors using it obtain spectacular views of Alexander Bay, Broad Cove and Southwest Arm.

Camping Amenities

Residents of Newfoundland are dedicated enthusiasts for outdoor recreation, and early plans for park development made provision for both campgrounds and picnic areas. The principal campground was located at the head of Newman Sound south of park headquarters, on a site previously occupied by the dwellings of the Lane Sawmill employees. The first section of the campground was cleared in 1959. In 1960, three kitchen shelters were erected and the installation of water, sewage and electrical services was undertaken. Although not officially open, the campground was used in 1960 and 1961 by hardy campers. With the opening of the 1962 season, 100 individual sites were made available and the issue of camping permits was instituted. Additional kitchen shelters, a laundry building and combination toilet and shower buildings were added, and by 1963 the development of Area No. 1 containing 125 campsites had been completed.

The development of Area No. 2, designed to accommodate 210 campsites, was commenced in 1964. At the end of the 1966 season, kitchen shelters, a laundry building, and toilet-shower buildings were available to visitors, bringing the number of campsites to 332. The final development of Newman Sound Campground got under way in 1967 when work on Area No. 3 was undertaken. Following the installation of services and erection of buildings, this section containing 85 campsites was available for use in 1968. During the 1968 season, more than 100,000 campers were accommodated.

Construction of a new campground adjacent to Highway No. 39 on Alexander Bay was undertaken in 1971. It is expected that the campground will be available to visitors in 1974.

A move to provide visitors with camping space in more remote areas was made in 1967, when development of two primitive campsites was commenced on Newman Sound at Minchin's Cove and at South Broad Cove. Both areas were the sites of abandoned sawmill communities, and are reached over water by boat. Wharves were constructed at both sites, and by 1969 the South Broad Cove area was equipped to accommodate visitors. The Minchin's Cove site has yet to be fully developed.

Picnic Areas

Following completion of the Trans-Canada Highway, the Park Superintendent developed several picnic or day-use areas along the roadside to permit rest and lunch stops. In 1960, picnic sites equipped with tables and supplied with fresh water were opened at Cobbler's Brook on Clode Sound, at South West Brook north of park headquarters, and at Burnt Point on the Eastport road, 1.6 km east of Traytown. Between 1961 and 1967, a well-equipped picnic area was developed adjoining the Newman Sound Campground. Another picnic site was developed at the mouth of Salton's Brook in 1962 and made accessible by road from the Trans-Canada Highway. More remote picnic grounds also were laid out at Platters Beach on Clode Sound in 1967 and at the head of South West Arm in 1969. The site at Platters Beach remains accessible only by boat, but that at South West Arm was made accessible from the Trans-Canada Highway in 1969, when a commodious parking lot was completed.

Sandy Pond Day-use Area

Early in 1964, the development of a public recreation area at Sandy Pond, about seven kilometres south-west of park headquarters, was undertaken. Construction of an access road and a parking area, together with a clean-up of proposed beach and picnic areas, was carried on that year. The area was opened to the public in July, 1965, after construction of a change-house and a kitchen shelter and the provision of a water supply and sanitary features. The pond is fringed by a sloping sandy beach which provides safe bathing for both adults and children. Maintenance of a satisfactory water level throughout the summer season was assured by the construction of a temporary wooden dam at the outlet of the pond in August, 1965. This structure was replaced by a concrete dam in 1968. The popularity of the area, which was enhanced by the construction of a board walk along the beach, led in 1969 to the development of an additional parking lot to accommodate the cars of visitors. In 1970, the picnic area was expanded, a new section of artificial beach developed, and both parking lots were paved.

Forest Protection

Action to protect the forests of the park was taken immediately following its establishment. Authority was obtained from Treasury Board to have forest fire protection carried on by the Newfoundland Department of Resources during the fiscal year 1957-58 at cost, pending the organization of a park protective service. In 1958 a park warden service was established, staff dwellings erected at park headquarters, and a warden station built on the Trans-Canada Highway near the Village of Charlottetown. A fire detection tower was erected on Ochre Hill mid-way between Newman Sound and Clode Sound in 1958, and a similar tower overlooking Blue Hill Pond was constructed in 1962. Access to both towers was provided by roads from the Trans-Canada Highway which later were improved. Patrol cabins were built at Dunphy's Pond and at Park Harbour in 1961. The cabin at Dunphy's Pond is accessible by trail from the Trans-Canada Highway and that at Park Harbour by boat.

In 1965, a third fire tower was erected on a site overlooking the west side of Dunphy's Pond. This tower, known as Gros Bog, was put into operation in 1966, having been made accessible from the Terra Nova Road by bombardier trail. Situated at an elevation of 216 m above sea level, it provided a remarkable view of the southwestern portion of the park. During the spring of 1970, an additional fire tower was located on Park Harbour Hill. This building, incorporating a radical new design, was airlifted to the site in sections by helicopter. On completion, it provided an excellent coverage of territory between Newman and Clode Sounds and obviated the need for the Ochre Hill Tower for fire detection purposes. Consequently, the latter structure was made available to the park interpretation service for use in conjunction with the Ochre Hill Nature Trail. The development of a park radio-telephone system, which permitted communication from park headquarters to warden stations, fire towers, and most park vehicles, made the work of protecting the forests much easier.

Water and Power

By 1965, the water supply at park headquarters was inadequate to meet the demand resulting from campground and other developments. Steps were taken that year to obtain water from Rocky Pond by installing a pipe line. Development of the new water system involved construction of a large underground reservoir and a pump house on a site located a short distance from the original wood-stave reservoir. The installation of a new distribution system, designed to provide water to Areas 2 and 3 in the Newman Sound Campground, was commenced early in 1966. The water line from Rocky Pond and the main reservoir structure were completed by late autumn that year but the installation of pumping and chlorinating equipment, testing, and other essential work delayed full operation of the new system until 1967.

An increasing need for electric power, originally developed from a diesel plant in the compound area at park headquarters, led to negotiations in 1965 with the Newfoundland Light and Power Company in order to have its power lines extended from Traytown. Following completion of a franchise agreement in April, 1966, under the terms of which the Government of Canada made a substantial cash contribution to the cost of installation, the company built a three-phase power line to park headquarters, a distance of about 16 km. Clearing of a right of way and installation of the line was carried out in 1966 and the final power hook-up was completed in January, 1967. By the agreement, the company obtained the exclusive right to sell electric power to the federal Government, which in turn retained the right to resell power to customers in the park. A unit of the original diesel power plant was retained for use in emergencies.

Park Interpretation

A national park interpretation program was inaugurated in Terra Nova Park in 1967, when a park naturalist and an assistant naturalist were appointed to the staff. That year, visitors were invited to participate in conducted walks in the Newman Sound area, and to attend talks illustrated with slides and films held in the vicinity of the Newman Sound Campground. The Sandy Point Nature Trail also was developed that year along the shore of Newman Sound north of the park wharf. In 1968, a second nature trail was laid out in the vicinity of the Ochre Hill fire tower, which later was turned over to the Interpretation Service.

The interpretation program was broadened in 1969. Office and laboratory space was made available in the Park Information Centre, and a large trailer was acquired for use in the vicinity as a temporary exhibit centre. Projection equipment installed in the trailer permitted the showing of slides accompanied by a sound narrative. Additions to the seasonal interpretation staff in 1969 resulted in an expanded program. Better accommodation for park visitors attending the talks and film showings arranged by the park naturalists resulted from the completion, early in 1970, of a new outdoor amphitheatre in the vicinity of the Newman Sound picnic area. Equipped with sound projection equipment, it seated an audience of several hundred.

The first of several on-site exhibits planned for the park was installed at the Ochre Hill Tower in 1970. It explains the geological history of the park and the influence of the Ice Age on the landscape as it exists today.

The Future

Although it does not contain all the physical and aesthetic features originally envisioned by its sponsors, Terra Nova National Park has achieved an ever-increasing popularity with residents of, and visitors to, Newfoundland. The Trans-Canada Highway provides access to the park from both the north and the south, and satellite roads lead to numerous points of attraction. In 1960, a year before its formal opening, the park was visited by some 20,000. The following year, with campground and other accommodation available, the park was host to nearly 30,000 visitors. By the end of 1965, the annual attendance had exceeded 100,000, and by 1969 it was more than 300,000.

Newfoundlanders are avid campers and picnickers, and the areas provided for these forms of recreation also received a growing patronage. Between 1963 and 1967, the number of campers in the park quadrupled from 8,000 to 34,000. Currently, the extension of picnic or "day use" areas, which in 1971 could accommodate 1,000 persons, reflected the popularity of this form of amenity.

It seems unlikely that the area of Terra Nova Park will be enlarged in the future. There are, however, many interesting portions of the park that have yet to be made easily accessible. Some of these lend themselves to development as interpretation areas, in which the natural phenomena are explained by on-site exhibits and talks by members of the Park Interpretation service. As access to these areas is made possible by the construction of secondary roads and walking trails, a growing appreciation of the park and its unique geological and physical attractions may be expected.


1. Newfoundland National Convention, Report of meetings between Delegates from the National Convention of Newfoundland and Representatives of the Government of Canada (2 volumes), 1947 National Library, Ottawa.

2. National Parks Branch File T.N. 2 (volume 1).

3. Ibid., Feb. 13, 1951.

4. Ibid., Dec. 24, 1953 (volume 2).

5. Ibid., Feb. 3, 1954 (volume2).

6. Ibid., Oct. 1, 1954.

7. Ibid., Oct. 26, 1954.

8. Ibid., May 2, 1955.

9. Ibid., May 31, 1955.

10. Statutes of Canada, 3-4 Elizabeth II, chap. 37 (1955).

11. National Parks Branch File T.N. 2 (volume 2).

12. Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources File No. 33-11-1 (volume 2), Dec. 28, 1955.

13. National Parks Branch File T.N. 2 (volume 2), Oct. 3, 1956.

14. Ibid., Oct. 17, 1956.

15. Ibid., Nov. 13, 1956.

16. Ibid., Jan. 28, 1957.

17. National Parks Branch File T.N. 2 (volume 3), March 28, 1957.

18. Order in Council P.C. 1957-519, April 11, 1957.

19. St. John's Evening Telegram, April 12, 1957.

20. R.H. Tait, Newfoundland. A Summary of the History and Development of Britain's Oldest Colony from 1497 to 1939 (New York: Harrington Press, 1939).

21. St. John's Evening Telegram, July 17, 1961.

Kejimkujik National Park

Canada's heritage of outstanding wilderness areas was enhanced by the creation of Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. In contrast to the maritime character of Cape Breton Highlands Park, Kejimkujik Park forms an excellent example of inland Nova Scotia. It lies in the western part of the province, approximately midway between Annapolis Royal and Digby on the Annapolis Basin to the northwest and Liverpool on the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. It is accessible from both north and south by Provincial Highway No. 8, which intersects the entrance road to the park just south of Maitland Bridge. Incorporating an area of approximately 375 km2, the park is a land of numerous lakes — many of them dotted with islands — of tumbling streams, and of rocky landscapes having a background of coniferous and hardwood forests. The park takes its name from the largest lake within its boundaries, Kejimkujik, a Micmac word that has been given various translations. One authority has stated that the name, which has several spellings, means 'attempting to escape'. Another has alleged that the meaning is 'swelled parts'.1 A more credible translation, suggested by Thomas Raddall, is 'the stricture passage', given by the Micmacs to the outlet of the lake, when fish weirs constructed by them backed up the water and caused the lake to "swell".2 The spelling, 'Kejimkujik', adopted for the park, was approved by the Geographic Board of Canada on March 18, 1909.

Many of the physical features of the park were sculptured by the last Ice Age in Canada. Thick glaciers and sheets of ice then covered the area, scouring the rocky outcrops and gouging out depressions which now contain shallow lakes. After the climate became warmer and the ice melted, huge granite boulders carried along by the ice were left scattered across the land or in the lakes. The layer of soil left behind after the retreat of the ice is generally thin and rocky. In the eastern part of the park, where the soil has more depth, it was pushed into dome shaped or elongated hills known as drumlins. The western part of the park, which has a higher elevation, is underlain by granite, and is quite rocky.

Kejimkujik Lake is about eight kilometres long and five kilometres wide. It is fed by three rivers and several streams, and is drained by the Mersey River. The Mersey enters Kejimkujik Lake at its northeastern corner and leaves it, through George Lake, at the southeastern end. One area of Kejimkujik Lake is so shallow and boulder-strewn that it is hazardous for boating. Peskawa and Peskowesk Lakes in the southwestern part of the park and Big Dam and Frozen Ocean Lakes in the northwest are among the largest bodies of water. All drain southeasterly into the Mersey River. Grafton Lake is the largest in the eastern portion of the park.

Early Park Proposals

Representations for the establishment of a second national park in Nova Scotia took form as early as 1945. That year, the Annapolis Valley Boards of Trade at a meeting in Kentville sponsored a resolution recommending the creation of a national park on Cape Blomidon, overlooking Minas Basin. The proposal was referred to Premier A.L. Macdonald of Nova Scotia, who, in turn, passed on the recommendation to the federal Minister of Mines and Resources, the Honourable J.A. Glen. Mr. Glen reminded Premier Macdonald that Cape Blomidon had been one of the areas considered as a national park in 1934, when the site had been rejected as it failed to meet national park standards.3 However, a lobby for reconsideration of this area continued, and recurring proposals that Cape Blomidon be made a national park led to a reexamination of the area in May, 1949. This was undertaken by James Smart, Controller of the National Parks Bureau at Ottawa, in the company of E.L. Boulter, Assistant Provincial Forester. Mr. Smart reported that he could not recommend the acceptance of the area for development as a national park.4

In December, 1960, Premier R.L. Stanfield discussed at Ottawa with the Honourable Walter Dinsdale, Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, the establishment of a second national park. Cape Blomidon again was mentioned, but, as Mr. Dinsdale remarked, it had been studied on two previous occasions and considered unsuitable.5 Another area mentioned was one in southwestern Nova Scotia, but no commitments were made. The subject was discussed again by Mr. Stanfield and Mr. Dinsdale in the summer of 1961. In October, Mr. Dinsdale suggested to Mr. Stanfield by letter that the matter of another park might be clarified if the province would make a selection of several areas with park potential that might be studied and reported on. This proposal was accepted, and in May, 1962, arrangements were made for the initial field examination of three proposed areas.6 These included an area around Kejimkujik Lake; an area in Cape Blandford on the southern Atlantic coast west of Halifax; and Cape Blomidon. The study group, consisting of two officers of the National Parks Branch at Ottawa and a representative of the provincial government, reported favourably on the Kejimkujik area after a brief field examination in June. A recommendation that the site be examined in detail was adopted and in September, 1962, it was implemented. The inspection team was composed of two members of the Planning Division of the National Parks Branch at Ottawa, Lloyd Brooks and G.D. Taylor, and the chief park naturalist, Dr. G. Stirrett. The province was represented by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Forests, Dr. G.W.I. Creighton. With the aid of maps, aerial photographs, and land, water and air transportation, the area was thoroughly examined and tentative boundaries were outlined.

A comprehensive report prepared by the participating National Parks officers indicated that an area of about 388 km2 surrounding Kejimkujik Lake would constitute a valuable addition to the national park system. The report also recommended that the park, if established, should include a representative stretch of the provincial coastline, as represented by areas at Cape La Have Island east of Liverpool and Hell Bay at the entrance of Medway Harbour.7

The Park Takes Form

A copy of the report was forwarded to Premier Stanfield on December 28, 1962. In his covering letter, Mr. Dinsdale advised the Premier that if the report was acceptable to Nova Scotia he would recommend to his colleagues that the federal Government accept the obligations involved in developing a second park in Nova Scotia.8 At a meeting in Ottawa on February 25, 1963, Premier Stanfield confirmed that the province was prepared to make the necessary lands available, subject to the delimitation of boundaries and agreement that the water supply for existing hydro developments outside the park would not be impaired by future park development.9 The offer was accepted and a boundary survey proposed. A federal election held in April, 1963, resulted in a change of government. However, Premier Stanfield promptly reaffirmed the desire of the province to proceed with the proposed park. The new federal minister responsible for national parks, the Honourable Arthur Laing, concurred in the proposal and obtained the approval of the Cabinet on June 6, 1963. A press release issued jointly by Mr. Laing and Premier Stanfield on July 24, 1963, committed both the federal and the provincial governments to the establishment of a new park.10

Action to determine the final boundaries of the new park was taken in August, 1963, when officers of the National Parks Branch and those of the Provincial Department of Lands and Forests met in Halifax. Aerial reconnaissance flights were made over Kejimkujik Lake and the coastal areas under consideration. In July, 1964, a formal request was made to the province for an additional 222.5 ha along the proposed northeastern boundary of the Kejimkujik area to facilitate the construction, in the best possible location, of an entrance road from Highway No. 8.

The province commenced acquisition of privately-owned lands in August, 1964. Land assembly was facilitated by an exchange made with a large paper manufacturing company in order to include in the park some 16,188 ha southwest of Kejimkujik Lake. The initial transfer of title by the province to Canada was made in October, 1964. The enacting order in council, however, indicated that the lands had been acquired under the Expropriation Act for a "recreational area". On the recommendation of the Department of Justice, it was suggested to the province that special legislation be enacted authorizing the acquisition of land for the purpose of a national park. This legislation was passed by the province in March, 1965, and opened the way to the acceptance of title to lands by Canada.11 Additional delay occurred when legal officers in Ottawa ruled that the provincial order in council transferring the land to Canada failed to transfer its administration and control without qualification. It was suggested that exclusive jurisdiction including that over mines, minerals, timber, fishing and hunting might be effected by agreement between the province and Canada.12 This information was relayed to the Deputy Minister of Lands and Forests for Nova Scotia, and a draft agreement, drawn along lines of an agreement completed in 1936 between Canada and Nova Scotia respecting the establishment of Cape Breton Highlands Park, was enclosed.

An acceptable transfer of title to the proposed park lands from Nova Scotia to Canada was made in May, 1967, and formal acceptance was authorized by the Governor General in Council on July 26, 1967.13 The order in council also permitted the Government of Canada to enter into the proposed agreement with Nova Scotia. The agreement, signed in August, 1967, on behalf of Canada by the Honourable Arthur Laing, Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, and by the Honourable E.D. Haliburton, Minister of Lands and Forests for Nova Scotia, confirmed the transfer of the lands, including mines and minerals, and gave Canada exclusive jurisdiction to legislate in the management, operation, maintenance and preservation of the lands as a national park. The agreement also provided that neither party would permit the construction of works that, in any way, would alter the flow of or impair the quality of water of the upper Mersey River system flowing through the lands.14

Meanwhile, the formal establishment as a national park of the two areas transferred was delayed. Normally, new national parks were established by proclamation in The Canada Gazette pursuant to statutory authority authorizing the establishment of such park. A bill to amend the National Parks Act was prepared and printed in the spring of 1964, but was not acted on. Legislation which would have provided authority for the establishment of the park was prepared in subsequent years, but, for various reasons, the bills were not proceeded with. Finally, on May 7, 1974, royal assent was given to an amendment to the National Parks Act which authorized including in the Schedule of the Act a description of the lands forming Kejimkujik National Park. Pending this legislation, the protection of game was facilitated by the Province of Nova Scotia in October, 1967, when by Order in Council it established the proposed park area as a game sanctuary.

Indian Occupation

Much of the land now forming the park was once the home of the Micmac Indians. This branch of the Algonquins at one time occupied the entire area of what is now Nova Scotia, as well as the northern part of New Brunswick and all of Prince Edward Island. Evidence of the popularity of Kejimkujik Lake with Indians as a camping spot remains in etchings or petroglyphs found on the slate outcrops along the shores. These 'sketches', which represent drawings of animals such as moose and caribou, hunting and fishing techniques, and Micmac women's headgear, are prominent at the entrance to Fairy Bay, at Peter Point, and at George Lake. Their existence was first noted historically by James More in 1873. Artifacts in the form of arrowheads, spearheads, and tomahawks have been found at former campsites and along canoe routes.

About 1835, some of the Micmacs were encouraged by government officials to abandon their nomadic life and settle on reservations. One such reservation, described by Joseph Howe in 1842 as the "Fairy Lake Indian Reserve", was located within the present park boundaries.15 The most prominent Indian in the settlement was John Jeremy, who, with his family, lived on what is now Jim Charles Point. Altogether, about 40 Indians lived around Fairy or Kejimkujik Lake. Some years later, Jim Charles became a leading member of the Kejimkujik Lake Indian settlement. He registered title to land at Jim Charles Point in 1862, having acquired the holdings of six other Indians. Jim Charles also attained some fame as a discoverer of gold, and although he was considered affluent for a few years he died in poverty. According to Thomas Raddall, the well-known Nova Scotia author, the Jim Charles mineral find lay far to the west of Kejimkujik Lake on the Tusket River. Eventually, it was staked as a claim and developed by others.16

Pioneer Settlement

Early settlement of Queens County moved northerly from Liverpool, which was established in 1764. Caledonia, the largest village near the park, was settled in 1820, and Grafton, Harmony and Kempt about 1821.17 Concurrent with settlement was the development of the lumbering industry, which utilized the Mersey River for spring drives of logs downstream to mills at Milton and other points near Liverpool. Large sawdust piles and accumulations of slabs at various points in the park remain as evidence of a vanished industry. Big Dam Lake and Mill Falls no doubt owe their names to the lumber trade which, about 1842, supported in Queens and adjacent counties nearly 60 sawmills.18 Following the discovery of gold in the vicinity, Caledonia became the centre of a boom that reached its peak in the 1890's. A weekly newspaper, the "Caledonia Gold Hunter", established there in 1888, continued publication, under an expanded name, for nearly 50 years before its plant was destroyed by fire.

The Resort Period

Early in the 20th century, Kejimkujik Lake began to take form as a resort area. In 1908, A.B. Payne described a canoe and fishing trip through the interior of Nova Scotia, which had its start at Jacques Landing on the Mersey River just above its entry to Kejimkujik Lake. The visitor potential of the area was recorded in 1873 by James F. More, who described the attractions of the islands in Kejimkujik Lake — which he called Cegemecaga — and the abundance of game fish.19 Gradually lodge and cabin accommodation was erected, boat and guide services established, and, in years following, vacationers found in the area a quiet and relaxing holiday.

Ked-ge Lodge, the largest of the tourist developments, had its start as a rod and gun club. It was established in 1908 on Jim Charles Point by a group of sportsmen from Annapolis Royal and the eastern United States. Paying guests were accepted from 1909 on, when the original central building was built. Ownership of the lodge and cabins changed hands several times between 1944 and 1964, when the site was expropriated for park purposes. Other developments on the lake included Merrymakedgie, a group of buildings built by the Minard brothers about 1911. The last owner was Arthur Merry, who gave his name to the cabins. Rogers Cabins, located at Jacques Landing on the Mersey River, hosted the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia Guides Association for many years. Baxter's Camp on Indian point, a short-lived development, was operated during the 1920's and later disappeared. A number of privately-owned cottages scattered around the lake also existed for some years before they also were acquired by the Government of Nova Scotia during its assembly of the land that forms the national park.

Park Development

Much thought and effort went into the planning and development of Kejimkujik National Park. In contrast to earlier units of the national park system, it contains no townsites, no overnight accommodation for visitors except campgrounds, and no retail outlets other than small concessions for the sale of food and essentials to campers. Its recreational amenities include no golf course, tennis courts or other features normally associated with urban communities. On the other hand, planning was designed to accentuate opportunities for the enjoyment of a healthful outdoor vacation. Generally, development was directed to the provision of buildings and services that would permit adequate administration of the park and the use by visitors of campsites, picnic areas, beaches, water ways and other features that enhanced its image as a "family" park.

Field studies undertaken in 1964 by National Parks officers led to the preparation of a conceptual or provisional master plan. This was approved, subject to future revision, in January, 1965. The plan, with later amendments, provided for the zoning of the park into areas having four distinctive classes. One class provided scope for the development of outdoor recreation areas, another for wilderness recreation. A third class made provision for natural environment areas, which form a transition zone between development and wilderness areas. A fourth or special class of area is intended to preserve unique ecological features. The development plan also recognized the need for primary and secondary access roads, the development of sites for administration and maintenance buildings, and areas set aside for day use, picnicking, camping and the enjoyment of other forms of outdoor recreation. With the aid of professional planning consultants, details of the development of selected areas were worked out and a phased program was adopted.

Legal complications had helped delay the transfer from Nova Scotia to Canada of a satisfactory title to the lands that would form the park. In order that essential development might be undertaken, the Honourable Arthur Laing requested and obtained early in 1965, from the provincial Minister of Lands and Mines, the Honourable E.D. Haliburton, consent for park forces to enter on the land. This permission cleared the way for the completion of essential surveys for road and site development, clearing of rights of way and sites for buildings, and the demolition of existing buildings surplus to park requirements.

An experienced park superintendent, C.E. Doak, assumed the administration of the park in April, 1965. He carried out the duties of administration from the regional national park headquarters at Halifax until July 6, when he took up permanent residence in the park area. Meanwhile, a park staff was recruited, and a resident engineer, an accountant, a park warden and other staff commenced their duties early in the summer of 1965. A temporary headquarters was established on the site of the former Rogers Cabins development at Jacques Landing on the Mersey River. Several of the buildings formerly used for the accommodation of visitors were converted for use by park forces as an office, carpenter shop, store buildings, and other purposes. A work camp was established by the use of trailers, which provided kitchen and dining, ablution and guest accommodation. Complete water and sewage systems were installed to service the trailers, temporary park headquarters, and the field office of the Department of Public Works. Improved office accommodation was provided by the erection of a pre-fabricated building in February, 1966.

An area for a new headquarters complex about 1.6 km west of the park entrance on Highway No. 8 had been selected late in 1967. Here, sites for an administration building and a large parking lot were surveyed. Construction of this building, which incorporates a visitor information bureau, was commenced in September, 1968. Following installation of essential services it was completed in the spring of 1969. In 1968, the development of a work and service compound in the vicinity of the administration building also was undertaken, and by the end of the year the access road had been completed and water, sewer and other services installed. The compound building was completed and occupied in 1969.

Staff Accommodation

Following the appointment of a park superintendent and staff in 1965, several cottages in the former Merrymakedgie cabin complex on the eastern shore of Kejimkujik Lake were utilized as temporary staff quarters. In the autumn of 1965, a staff trailer area was cleared adjacent to Highway No. 8 and by March, 1966, all temporary staff accommodation had been relocated on this site. In 1967, a decision was reached that park administrative staff, other than park wardens, would be located permanently outside the park. Arrangements were made by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development for the purchase of 12 lots in the Municipality of Caledonia from the Nova Scotia Housing Commission.20 Construction of five houses was commenced in November, 1967, and the buildings were completed and occupied in September, 1968. Three additional staff houses were built in 1969. The departure from the normal practice of providing accommodation within a park was made in order that employees and their families might enjoy the economic, social and educational advantages of living in an urban community. Conversely, dwellings for the park warden staff were erected in the park near the administrative headquarters and the industrial area where warden equipment and vehicles are stored.

Highway Construction

Although tourist accommodation developments and some privately-owned cottages on Kejimkujik Lake had been accessible prior to the establishment of the park, the access roads were relatively primitive and their use was limited at times by seasonal conditions. During the early development of the park, these roads, which branched off from Highway No. 8, were maintained in passable condition. Location surveys for roads envisioned by planning proposals had been instituted in October, 1964, and continued into 1965. By June, 1965, the final location for the main park highway from a point just east of Maitland Bridge on Highway No. 8 to the outlet of Grafton Lake had been confirmed. General locations also had been made for access to Jeremy Bay, Big Dam Lake, Indian Point and Peskowesk Lakes from a proposed road that on completion would encircle Kejimkujik Lake. Work on the main highway from the park entrance was started under contract in March, 1966, and the 11-km stretch was completed in August, 1967.

Second only in importance to the main highway was the provision of an access road to Jeremy Bay, where the first major park campground was to be located. An important factor was the selection of a site for a bridge over the Mersey River. The final location was made in June, 1966, and construction of the bridge and an access road to Jim Charles Point on Jeremy Bay got under way in April, 1967. The main road, together with a short access road to the site of the campground, was completed in July, 1968. Erection of the Mersey River bridge was finished in September, when it was opened to traffic.

Campground Development

A small campground had been operated by the owner of the Merrymakedgie Cabins before the site was acquired for park purposes. In the course of the park development program, this area was tidied, a water supply provided from an existing well, and picnic tables and outdoor fireplaces installed for the accommodation of campers on a temporary basis. During the summer of 1964, the facilities were utilized by 51 camping parties, and the following season over two hundred campers used the area.

The development of the park's first major campground at Jeremy Bay on the northern shore of Kejimkujik Lake was started in 1967. The overall plan called for its phased development in three separate areas, bearing the names of Meadow, Slapfoot and Jim Charles. Work was concentrated on the Slapfoot or central area, and by the end of the year 88 individual camping sites had been laid out, access roads completed, and 44 outdoor concrete fireplaces built. Two service buildings containing washroom and sanitary facilities were completed in 1968, and the area opened for public use early in July. A temporary water service provided in 1968 was replaced the following year when permanent water and sewer services were installed.

Work on Area No. 1 or the Meadow section also was commenced in 1967 and continued during the next two years. Following the erection of service buildings and installation of water, sewer and electric services in 1969, 154 additional campsites were available to visitors. Clearing for the third or Jim Charles area was commenced late in 1968. Individual campsite development, service building construction, and installation of services was carried on throughout 1969, and permitted the opening of 78 camping sites in August, 1970. Development of additional campgrounds planned for sites at Big Dam Lake and on Indian Point will be carried on as funds become available.

Day-use Areas

The master plan for the park also provided for day-use areas which would facilitate the enjoyment of picnicking, bathing, boating and other outdoor recreations. The first day-use area was developed on the eastern shore of Kejimkujik Lake in the vicinity of the former Merrymakedgie cabins. In 1965, one of the tourist cabins was converted to a temporary change-house for bathers. Later the beach fronting the area was improved by hauling and depositing loads of sand. Picnic amenities and sanitary features were provided, and a supply of drinking water made available by drilling a well.

Development of the area according to plan was commenced early in 1968. A contract was awarded for the construction of a large building designed to contain change-rooms for bathers and a concession area for the sale of light refreshments, tobacco and souvenirs. Two kitchen shelters with stoves, benches and tables were erected, and adequate parking for motor vehicles was assured by the clearing and development of four areas. The change-house building was completed late in June, and the operation of the canteen as a concession was commenced in July, 1968. A temporary outdoor amphitheatre constructed in the vicinity permitted an extension of the park interpretation program.

Sites for less elaborate day-use areas were selected and partially developed. These are located at Jacques Landing near the site of the former Rogers Cabins, at Mill Falls, which is accessible by trail from the main park highway, and on the southern end of Jim Charles Point, where the beach of the former Ked-ge Lodge was utilized. The areas at Jacques Landing and Ked-ge Beach provided opportunities for swimming, boating, bathing and picnicking. Development of the Mills Falls area has not been completed.


Kejimkujik Lake and some of the larger streams which flow into it offer fine opportunities for boating and canoeing. A boat launching ramp was installed at Jacques Landing for the convenience of boat-owners. Boats and canoes may be rented from a boat livery operated there. Although boulder-strewn, Kejimkujik Lake is quite navigable, and parts of the lake have been charted and marked for powered boats. Canoeing has been encouraged by the park administration and shelters have been erected for canoeists along two of the popular routes. One of these follows the Little River from Big Dam Lake to Kejimkujik Lake. The other route starts at Jacques Landing and passes through Kejimkujik and George Lakes to the Mersey River.

Forest Protection

A park warden service was inaugurated in June, 1965, when an experienced warden from Cape Breton Highlands Park, Freeman Timmons, was assigned to duty. A chief park warden was appointed late in 1965, and two additional warden positions were created in September, 1966. A VHF park radio system was installed at the temporary park headquarters in February, 1966, and relocated following the completion of the park administration building in 1969. The system affords point to point communication and connection with park officers operating vehicles. Fire prevention equipment, including portable pumps, hose and a pumper, was acquired in 1966, together with a supply of hand tools. Improved quarters, including adequate stores facilities, were made available to the warden service in the new compound building on its completion. The wardens and their families were accommodated in a group of four modern dwellings completed in August, 1970, on a landscaped site east of the park administration building.

Park surveillance was facilitated when a lookout tower was erected in 1968 on a hill about 1.6 km west of Minard Bay on the west shore of Kejimkujik Lake. Access to the site was provided by clearing a trail in 1967 from a point on one of the existing logging roads in the southwestern section of the park. This trail was improved to the status of a secondary road in 1968.

Interpretation Service

Following the appointment of a park naturalist in September, 1967, research of the natural and human history of the park was inaugurated. Early in 1968, slide lectures and talks were given by the park naturalist to clubs and organizations in some of the larger communities near the park. Later, a summer program of conducted walks and evening slide programs was carried on in the park. The park naturalist also instituted the development of a park library, a plant collection, a slide library, and a natural history inventory.

In 1969, a field office and workshop was developed in a building at Jacques Landing formerly utilized as a temporary park administration headquarters. This was augmented by a temporary exhibit centre, located in a large trailer. The exhibit provides an introduction to some of the natural features of the park, and visitors have the opportunity of viewing a nine-minute show of slides in colour depicting some of the more interesting forms of wild life in the park. The staging of evening programs by the park naturalist and his staff was assisted by the completion of a large outdoor amphitheatre at the Jeremy Bay Campground in 1969. Rear-projection equipment and a built-in screen were installed on the site in 1970.

The Fish Hatchery

An interesting feature of the park which pre-dated its establishment is the fish hatchery operated by the Fisheries and Marine Service of Environment Canada. Located on Mill Brook, a short stream that connects Grafton Lake with Kejimkujik Lake, it has been in operation since 1937. The development functioned as a seasonal rearing station until 1952, when a hatchery building was added, permitting operation the year around. A water supply is obtained from a pond on Mill Brook developed by the construction of an earth and log-crib dam, which permits a flow of 11,365 L per minute. The hatchery operations are now confined to the production of Atlantic salmon, and are in the charge of a resident superintendent.

Until the production of trout was terminated in 1968, the hatchery was one of the sources of supply for the stocking of lakes and streams in the area surrounding Kejimkujik Lake. The stocking program, utilizing speckled and brown trout, has been carried on in the park since 1964. The hatchery is located at the terminus of the main park road leading from the park entrance on Highway No. 8 to Kejimkujik Lake. A parking area, constructed by the park administration at the end of the road, facilitates inspection by park visitors of a very interesting operation.

Official Opening

By early summer of 1969, most of the larger projects in the park development plan had been wholly or partly completed. The main access road had been built, a major campground and a day-use area brought into use, and the administrative staff moved to a large new building. This progress in the development of the park permitted its official opening, which was held on August 9, 1969. The Honourable Jean Chrétien, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, declared the park open in a flag-raising ceremony staged in front of the new administrative headquarters. In concluding his remarks, Mr. Chrétien stressed the value of national parks to the nation.

In terms of strengthening the fabric of national unity, national parks play a great role. Our national parks are part of the original face of Canada, inviolable spots which provide sanctuaries for man as well as nature. But it is man who must extend and preserve them. This is the task that lies ahead.

Guest speakers at the opening included the Premier of Nova Scotia, the Honourable G.l. Smith, and the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen, Minister of Manpower and Immigration and Member of Parliament for Inverness-Richmond.

The Future

From its inception, Kejimkujik National Park attracted visitors who came to picnic, camp, fish or merely observe its development. No record of early attendance was maintained, but weekend use of temporary facilities at times taxed their capacity. During 1967, it was estimated that nearly 3,500 bathers alone were accommodated. Throughout the 1968 season, visitors took full advantage of day-use areas and campgrounds, and attendance exceeded 58,000. In 1969, this figure was almost doubled, when 104,000 visitors were recorded, and by 1970 the total had swelled to 125,000.

Public interest in the park and in the preservation of its unique natural features was evident during a public hearing held at Halifax, in April, 1970, to review the park master development plan. Altogether, 62 briefs were received in advance by the National and Historic Sites Branch. They contained numerous recommendations dealing not only with proposed developments but with park policy as well. The briefs also expressed concern about the necessity of protecting and preserving the wilderness character of the area. Following a detailed study of each of the proposals contained in the briefs, some modifications in the provisional master plan were made.

A proposal for the development of a boating centre at Fairy Bay north of the main day-use area was criticized because the area was considered to be ecologically fragile and valuable. Work on the proposed centre was suspended and an alternative site is being sought. Similarly, a decision on the boundaries of proposed zones in the land classification of the park was postponed pending thorough ecological study of the park. Another important decision resulting from the hearing was the indefinite deferment of the construction of a proposed road around Kejimkujik Lake. The decision, however, will not prevent the development of access roads to points northwest of the lake at which campground and day-use areas are proposed.

The inclusion in the park of satellite coastal areas has not yet materialized. Investigations of potential areas by National Parks officers and negotiations carried on with provincial authorities may help achieve this desirable objective.


1. National Parks Branch File Ke. 326, letter of Feb. 11, 1965, from Executive Secretary, Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names, to the Director, National Parks Branch, Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources.

2. Thomas Raddall, Footsteps on Old Floors (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1968).

3. National Parks Branch File U. 2-12, vol. 1, April 9, 1946.

4. Ibid., Dec. 7, 1949.

5. Ibid., Dec. 21, 1960.

6. Ibid., June 7, 1962.

7. G.D. Taylor, "Proposed National Park, Kejimkujik Lake, Nova Scotia", National Parks Branch File Ke. 2, vol. 1, Nov. 14, 1962.

8. National Parks Branch File Ke. 2, vol. 1, Dec. 28, 1962.

9. Ibid., Feb. 25, 1963.

10. Ibid., Ju1y 24, 1963.

11. Statutes of Nova Scotia, 14 Elizabeth II, chapter 10 (1965).

12. National Parks Branch File Ke. 2, vol. 4, May 31, 1965.

13. Order in Council P.C. 1967-1477, July 26, 1967.

14. National Parks Branch File Ke. 2, vol. 6, Aug. 31, 1967.

15. Joseph Howe, Indian Affairs letters, memoranda, plans and descriptions of Indian Reserves, vol. 432, 1843, Nova Scotia Provincial Archives, Halifax.

16. Raddall, p. 214. See above, note 2.

17. James F. More, The History of Queens County, Nova Scotia (Halifax: Nova Scotia Printing Company, 1873).

18. Ibid., p. 89.

19. Ibid., p. 215.

20. Order in Council P.C. 1967-2033, Oct. 26, 1967.

Kouchibouguac National Park

On October 14, 1969, Jean Chrétien and New Brunswick Premier Louis J. Robichaud signed an agreement providing for the establishment of a new national park on New Brunswick's east coast.

The new park is situated on Kouchibouguac Bay along the northern section of the Northumberland Strait near the community of Richibucto, approximately 88 km north of Moncton. It contains about 233 km2.

Economic Stimulus

It was estimated that the federal government would spend approximately $3.2 million on capital development by 1975, when the park's staff would consist of 14 full-time and 30 seasonal employees. Development of the park would also provide substantial employment for contractors and their staffs, and would be a stimulus to the growth of the tourism industry and the economy of the region.

The development plan indicated that certain areas of the park would be maintained as wilderness zones to preserve the land, its wildlife, and plant forms. Other areas would be developed for recreation, with campgrounds, picnic sites, nature trails, roads, and facilities for swimming and boating. The park would also have a nature interpretation program to explain its human and natural history.

Outstanding Sandbars

Kouchibouguac's most outstanding natural feature is the 25-km sweep of off-shore sandbars, which stretch across its entire ocean front. Behind this ribbon of dunes are quiet lagoons and bays that afford excellent protected swimming and boating. The park's inland plain is cut by streams and rivers, and contains both forested regions and large areas of salt and fresh water bogs and marshes.

Plantlife in the park varies from the stunted trees, Labrador tea, pitcher plant, and blueberry bush of the wetlands, to the black and red spruce, pine, and balsam fir of the forested regions.


Black bear, bobcat, white-tailed deer, moose, fox, and squirrel are a few of the animals common to the region, and birdlife includes swamp, field, woodland, and shore species. The sandpiper, wood duck, common eider, ruffed grouse, raven, gull, and heron inhabit the park. Each autumn and spring, migratory waterfowl touch down here to feed and rest.

Rivers, streams, and ocean waters support a large variety of shell-fish and fresh and salt water fish, including lake trout, whitefish, herring, bass, salmon, and lobster.

Kouchibouguac became the second national park for New Brunswick and the sixth for the Atlantic Provinces.

Gros Morne National Park

On October 31, 1970, the Honourable Jean Chrétien and W.R. Callahan, Minister of Mines, Agriculture and Resources for the Province of Newfoundland, signed a memorandum of understanding for a federal-provincial agreement to establish Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland.

Approximately 1,554 km2 in area and located 764 km northwest of St. John's, Gros Morne would become the second national park for Newfoundland and the seventh for the Atlantic Provinces.

The new park contains a most spectacular portion of Newfoundland's Long Range Mountains, as well as scenic coastal areas, numerous lakes, waterfalls, and dense forests of birch, spruce, and fir. It makes an important recreational and ecological contribution to Canada's national parks system.

Regional Benefits

Under the terms of the agreement, the park borders skirted regions around a number of coastal communities including areas from Rocky Harbour to Norris Point, Curzon to Glenburnie, and St. Pauls to Cow Head. This eliminated the necessity to transfer residents to other areas and allowed these regions to benefit from the influx of tourists to the park region.

In addition, the agreement called for the transfer of all Crown lands to the federal government, and the acquisition of private property, leaseholds, timber rights, and other private holdings on a 50-50 federal-provincial cost-sharing basis.

Initial Development

The initial development phase of the park was expected to be completed in six years and to cost the federal government some $10 million, exclusive of land acquisition. An additional $350,000 yearly was slated for the operation of the park.

Planning began immediately to make temporary campgrounds, picnic areas, and other facilities available so that visitors could enjoy some areas of the park while it was still under development.

In the meantime, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development began to develop a management plan suitable for the ecology of the area and for visitors' needs. It would include studies on the park's sport fishing potential and the development of facilities for skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter sports. Development plans also called for the establishment of a protected marine environment area as an underwater component of the park.

Pukaskwa National Park

In July, 1971, Jean Chrétien and the minister of Lands and Forests for Ontario signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of Pukaskwa National Park on the northern shore Lake Superior.

In February, 1978, the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada and the Ontario minister of Natural Resources completed the transfer of 1,878 km2 of land and water for the park from the province to the federal government.

Indian Rights to Continue

Recognizing the Pukaskwa area as the traditional home of the Ojibwa, the federal government confirmed that the traditional rights of the Robinson-Superior Treaty Group would be unchanged by the establishment of the park, and committed itself to ensuring that the park would offer important economic and employment opportunities to the Indians of Pukaskwa.

The federal-provincial agreement also provided that there would be no exploitation of minerals in the park; that Ontario Hydro would be granted a licence to maintain and operate the existing powerline through the park area; that Ontario would provide forest fire protection; and that a few private holdings remaining in the park would be acquired by Ontario and turned over to the federal government.

Superb Wilderness

Pukaskwa National Park is a superb rugged wilderness. The terrain is hilly, broken by ridges, and riddled with rock-rimmed lakes. The 80-km coastline of Lake Superior, with its sheltered bays and massive headlands, is the park's most notable feature.

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