The fish that inhabit the waters of this region have always been an important part of this area's economy. Consequently, throughout the history of the region the fishing industry has been a source of controversy and change. Your first paragraph ...
Today, sport fishing is a major component of the tourism economy in this region.
However, commercial fishing played an important role in the development of communities along the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron shoreline.
In 1857, the colonial government passed the Fishing Act, which "shifted the commercial fishery from a public right to one vested in the crown".
In 1859, William Gibbard (who, 14 years earlier, had supervised the initial settlement of Meaford) was named to oversee the industry on Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Lake Superior.
Gibbard, not unlike other government officials of that era, ignored the native community's demands to continue their traditional ways.
He issued licenses without their con-sent, believing that they were better off "attending to their farms instead of dabbling in the fisheries."
His actions almost precipitated a violence in the region.
In the 1860s the commercial fishing industry in the area was booming.
The civil war in the United States created a huge demand for fish in that market.
In response to this market demand 800 to 1200 barrels of fish were being shipped by rail from Collingwood in the mid- 1860s.
The growth of the Canadian and American markets meant an increased demand for fresh and salted fish and had a huge impact on the Georgian Bay fishing industry.
Whitefish was the species most in demand in the Canadian market.
Ninety-two percent of the fish taken from Georgian Bay were either Whitefish or Lake Trout.
In 1883 fishermen harvested 1 million pounds of Whitefish and by 1891, due to increased market demand, that total had reached 1.8 million pounds, which was 25% of the entire whitefish catch in Ontario! In 1891 southern Georgian Bay fishing interests caught a total 4.6 million pounds of fish.
While the north channel fisheries reaped a harvest, which totaled almost 3.6 million pounds that year.
While lake trout and whitefish made up a large part of these amounts, pickerel and sturgeon, which were shipped almost exclusively to the United States, also proved to be an important product for fishermen.
To facilitate the demands of the markets the commercial fishing industry in the area experienced immense growth and change during the 1880s and 90s. Steam tugs had been introduced into the industry in the 1870s to meet the demands of the growing market.
By 1884 there were 7 of these vessels in operation on Georgian Bay.
But, by 1893 that number had more than doubled to 18.
In 1883 there were 107 fishing boats in the area, excluding tugs, and more than 200 men involved in an industry that was worth more than $70,000 annually.
Perhaps the most significant statistic that reflects the phenomenal growth in the fishery relates to the use of gill nets.
In 1889, 22,000 fathoms of gill netting was in use. Four years later in 1893 that number had soared to 675,000 fathoms!
Georgian Bay fishing continued to boom well into the twentieth century.
During the last half of the 1900s its impact became less significant.
However, it is probably safe to suggest that the commercial fishing industry was an important part of the early growth of that region.
Recreational Boating on Georgian Bay There is a long tradition of recreational boating on Georgian Bay. Reports indicate that regattas were being held at Owen Sound as early as 1852.
Great Lakes Recreational Boating Great Lakes recreational boating has been a popular pastime in the summertime in the Georgian Bay region for many years.
Yachts on Georgian Bay A history of yachts on Georgian Bay.
Georgian Bay Ferry Boat Service between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island has a history that is more than a century old. Today, the Chi-Cheemaun continues that tradition.
Ferry boat service after 1930 increased in activity between Tobermory at tip of the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island
1867 Election Meant Sailing to the Soo. There was only one polling station in the Georgian Bay region in the first election after Canadian Confederation and that was in Sault Ste. Marie!
A Flowerpot Island boat trip takes you to one of the many Georgian Bay islands dot the landscape of the waters around Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. One island features not only unique landforms and vegetation, but also a mysterious indigenous Romeo and Juliet tale of romance.
Georgian Bay's 1st Pioneer Settler In 1825 or 1826, depending upon the source, a lonely figure in a birch bark canoe could be seen paddling the waters of Georgian Bay.
Chicora the first stage of an 1871 Great Lakes tour aboard a cruise ship on Georgian Bay.
Chicora the final stage of an 1871 cruise a foggy voyage on the Great Lakes.
Historic Vacations: King's Royal Park Historic Vacations: King's Royal Park, opulent adventures for the wealthy of the day. It was the late 19th century and tourism was beginning to bloom.
Sailing the Lake Huron Shoreline is a step back in history and a delightfully scenic trip. But beware of the big waves that can arise anytime!
Sailing Lake Huron Shoreline Part 2 takes us through the most treacherous part of our voyage and also a most interesting part as we visit some unique islands.
Georgian Bay Sailing Georgian Bay Sailing history is a rich tapestry of tales of heroism, tragedy, and exploration. Sailing vessels traversing the rugged waters of Georgian Bay predate the arrival of European explorers and settlers.