History Buff's Guide

Entrench yourself in the rich history in the Heart of Georgian Bay! We are so fortunate to contain multiple historic sites, landmarks and areas within our region that people come from all over the world to learn about and be immersed within the culture. From the Indigenous, Huron Wendat people to the French and English explorers, this area has a story that no history buff would want to pass on!
Every history junkie needs to experience it for themselves and this guide highlights the perfect areas for you to check out while in the Heart of Georgian Bay. 

MIDLAND

The Huronia Museum

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549 Little Lake Park Rd, Midland

Featuring a replica of a “pre-contact” Huron/Ouendat village you cannot miss this place when on a historical tour through North Simcoe. The museum itself also contains tens of thousands of historic artifacts ranging from photographs, native archeology and art by the Group of Seven, and so much more.

Midland Mural Tour

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Downtown Midland 

The streets of Downtown Midland are filled with breathtaking murals that depict stories of Midland’s rich history. Come and spend some time soaking up all of this beautiful art work. One of the most well known murals is painted on the grain elevator in Midland Harbour. Measuring 80ft high and 250ft wide this gorgeous mural is showing Jean de Brebeuf and a Huron Indigenous person at Sainte-Marie Among the Huron.

TAY TOWNSHIP

Martyrs’ Shrine

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16163 Highway 12 West, Tay
The Martyrs’ Shrine is a National Shrine to the Canadian Martyrs. It honors eight Jesuit Saints who lived, worked and died there over 350 years ago. The holy relics within the Shrine are from St. Jean de Brebeuf and St. Gabriel Lalemant who were heavily involved with the Huron Wendat, the Indigenous people of North Simcoe, and spreading catholicism to the world.

Mission of St.Ignace

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1611 Rosemount Rd, Waubaushene
The Mission of St.Ignace is located in what was once Huron Wendat land. The significance behind this site contributes to the end of the Jean de Brebeuf story. This is the location where Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant were killed by the Iroquois after being captured at Saint-Louis Mission. The attack of the Iroquois lead to the fleeing of the Huron Wendat people. 

Sainte-Louis Mission

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The corner of Granny White Sideroad and Reeves Rd, Tay
This significant historic site also adds to the Jean de Brebeuf story, this being the site of where him and Gabriel Lalemant were captured by the Iroquois people, which lead to their inevitable fate. The capture of these men are what began the end of the Huron Wendat people occupying the Huronia area. 

Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons

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16164 Highway 12 East, Midland 
The story of Sainte-Marie Among the Huron dates back almost 400 years and began as the homeland of the Huron Wendat people. This site was also where the French Jesuit Priests operated from when trying to spread Catholicism throughout the world. Sainte-Marie Among the Huron is widely known around the world due to being the final resting spot of Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant. 

S.S. Keewatin

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311 Talbot St, Port McNicoll
This ship was one of five owned by Canadian Pacific and partially responsible for populating Western Canada while also boosting the economic development of Alberta and Saskatchewan. This ship was designed with comfort, class and beauty in mind and is now on display for all to see! Travel back in time aboard the S.S. Keewatin and see what it would have been like to be a passenger on this ship in early to mid 1900s. 

PENETANGUISHENE

Discovery Harbour 

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93 Jury Drive, Penetanguishene
The history at this site spans over three centuries and is every History Buffs’ heaven. The roots of Discovery Harbour date back to 1793 when Sir John Graves Simcoe scouted Penetang Bay as a strategic site for a navel base. Since then the site has been home to a Naval Establishment, a Military Establishment and more in the last 300 years.

Parc Penetanguishene Rotary

Champlain Wendat Park

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90 acres located along the waterfront in
Penetanguishene Harbour 
Throughout this magnificent park there are a multitude of statues and plaques that commemorate local histories and stories. One statue in particular is named ‘The Meeting’ that depicts Samuel de Champlain and Chief Aenon, the chief of the village of Toanche, meeting for the first time.

Penetanguishene Centennial

Museum and Archives

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13 Burke St, Penetanguishene
Displaying one of the most historic towns in Ontario, the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum and Archives is located in the original General Store and Lumber Office. You will be really entrenching yourself in history as you walk through the original buildings while looking at the large numbers of artifacts and archives.
 

TINY TOWNSHIP

Caraghouha

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Cedar Point Rd. and the 18th Concession, down the dirt road
(44.7671793, -80.0882419)
Two crosses occupy this site and they are worth the trip. This was the location of the first Catholic mass in Ontario. The inscription on the cross says “The First Mass in Ontario, August 12, 1615, ‘Champlain and fourteen men plus Father LeCaron Recollet” Present for this mass by Father LeCaron Recollet was Samuel de Champlain, his men and the Huron peoples.

The Calvary Cross

East of the village of Lafontaine on the north side of the
16th Concession 
This cross has an interesting story of how it came to be erected on this site. Being on the farm land of Louis Deschenaux, the first settler in the area. The Parish Priest at the time had a cross made to closely resemble the one Jesus was crucified on and carried it on his back as far as he could from the doors of the church. The site of the cross is where he fell. 

The Randolf Cross

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The corner of County Rd 6 and the 15th Concession 
This cross is used to mark the site of a small Anglican Church that was relocated across the road from St. James on the Lines in Penetanguishene. Although it is made of wood the Randolf Cross has held up well as a result of the good care is has received.