Friends of Misery Bay unveil plaque honouring provincial park supporters

The Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB) honoured the memory of five people who were integral to the development of Misery Bay Provincial Park including Doreen Bailey, Ellie Moore, Jim and Mary Hastings and Steve Hall this past Sunday. From left is Bonnie Bailey, Mindy Kerr and Marilyn Trick.

MISERY BAY – The Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB) honoured several people who were integral to the development of the Misery Bay Provincial Park in a special ceremony and unveiling of a plaque in their honour this past Sunday.

“I would like to welcome everyone here today. This is a very special day for family and friends,” said Gaynor Orford of FOMB at the ceremony.  She explained  in 2016 “several significant players in the establishment of the park passed away.”

Those who were honoured include Doreen Bailey, Steve Hall, Jim and Mary Hastings and Ellie Moore. 

“Doreen Bailey. Without Doreen we would not be here, she was the driving force for everything here, the park, the building and the driveway into the park,”  said Ms. Orford. 

“Steve Hall made significant contributions, even in the early days if there was anything going on out here he was involved in it,” said Ms. Orford.  “He was on the original board of directors for the park; and he was our go-to person because of his wealth of knowledge on things like plants and trees here. He had a phenomenal memory; he could see a plant he hadn’t seen in four year and recognize it right away. He provided a lot of information that we still use in the park.”

“Jim and Mary Hastings brought their vast expertise here,” continued Ms. Orford. “They came on board in the early 2000s and were involved in using the GPS for all the Misery Bay trails so that we could indicate these trails on our trail maps. They provided and trained our volunteers on use of the ham radio we have here and Mary took visitors on interpretive hikes of the park once a week. Jim and Mary Hastings donated many materials for the visitors centre and researched information on Ned Saunders and on historical information.”

“Ellie Moore had strong ties to the property (she was the daughter of Cal and Eunice Sifferd who had owned the property and turned it over to the FOMB) to establish the park,” said Ms. Orford. “Her passion was shown in how she would welcome everyone here as a volunteer. She helped recruit, train and organize volunteers who worked at the visitors centre on weekends and organized the procedures manual FOMB volunteers still use.” 

“The spirit of those five people is still here in the trails and the building,” continued Ms. Orford. She noted family members of Mr. Hall, Ms. Bailey and Ms. Moore were all in attendance; while unfortunately, despite several attempts to contact family members, there were no family representatives for the Hastings in attendance. 

Erwin Thompson performed the ceremony for the dedication of the plaque for these early volunteers of Misery Bay Provincial Park, first giving the call to dedication. “We come today as Friends of Misery Bay to honour and remember the following people for their contribution of gifts, talents and energy to the early forming of Misery Bay Provincial Park: Doreen Bailey, Steve Hall, Jim and Mary Hastings and Ellie Moore. We dedicate this plaque with love and thanksgiving for all they have accomplished and taught us in protecting this special part of creation on the western end of Manitoulin Island.”

Ms. Orford encouraged a representative of each of the families Bonnie Bailey (daughter of Doreen Bailey), Mindy Kerr (daughter of Ellie Moore) and Marilyn Trick (daughter of Steve) Hall to come forward for the unveiling of the statue bearing the five persons names.

Mr. Thompson then provided the dedication prayer. “God of Creation and all good gifts, It is by your power that all things are made holy. We give you thanks for your marvelous wonders, And for the work of human hands. Be with us now as we dedicate this plaque for the wonderful works by Doreen Bailey, Steve Hall, Jim and Mary Hastings and Ellie Moore in the formation of Misery Bay Provincial Park. With thankful hearts we honour their work. May their work never be forgotten and be an example of protecting your Creation for generations to come. Amen.”

“You are the Friends of Misery Bay, a protected part of the Province of Ontario. As we end this dedication and go forward, may your commitment to the Creation in which we live be renewed,” added Mr. Thompson.

The plaque listing the five names was placed on the rock near the plaque with the names of Cal and Eunice Sifferd on it at the park.