South West of Killarney, on the opposite side of Georgian Bay in Wikwemikong is the ancestral home of the Odawa on what is known as Odawa Mnis or “Manitoulin Island”. In 1968, an amalgamation took place between the Manitoulin Island Indian Reserve, South Bay West Band, and Point Grondine Band to form what is now the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. Point Grondine was used seasonally for harvesting berries, wild rice, and game but also had a permanent settlement along the Beaverstone River. Logging camps at Collins Inlet were a primary source of employment for families living in the Beaverstone village. Upon closing of the mills in the early 1900’s, families had vacated the territory and moved to Wikwemikong and other neighboring communities.
We visited Misery Bay on the South Western side of the Island. A number of visitors have taken the wrong road to try to get to Misery Bay. Do NOT take Little Lake Huron Rd. (if coming from Meldrum Bay). There is no legal access to Misery Bay provincial park from that road. Misery Bay Rd. is a short 2km road off of the main highway. We had no trouble finding it. We took the trail to #7 on the map:
We left Manitoulin Island for Tobermory by ferry. The Chi Cheemaun. It was quite exhilarating to cross the water of Georgian Bay.
At long last we were able to complete the circle. I am glad that we had to wait so long before we eventually made this trip. A lot has happened in the past thirty years- our children are adults now, we have become more environmentally aware and we also know a lot more about the First Nation people who lived here long before the Europeans arrived…