History Day in Kagawong will focus on shipwrecks of Georgian Bay, as well as a look at the history of Harbour Island

Old Mill Heritage Museum 10th anniversary will also be highlighted

KAGAWONG—The annual History Day event in Kagawong will feature a presentation of the Shipwrecks of Georgian Bay and Harbour Island, which the latter’s owner would like to bring back to its former glory, while a third part of the program will focus on the 10th anniversary of the Old Mill Heritage Museum.

“History in Kagawong will take place on August 8 at the Park Centre (in Kagawong),” said Rick Nelson, curator of the Old Mill Heritage Museum. “Researchers and authors Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg, the authors of the ‘Wreck of the Griffon,’ who were featured in the Discovery Channel program ‘Expedition Unknown’ (searching for the Griffon off the West End of Manitoulin) will be starting things off with a presentation of the Shipwrecks of Georgian Bay.”

“Cris and Joan will be providing a PowerPoint presentation on the Shipwrecks of Georgian Bay, and provide behind the scenes stuff and information from the search for the Griffon last summer,” continued Mr. Nelson. “They will talk about shipwrecks that they are involved in trying to find and which they are hot on the trail of.”

“I’m hoping they will also tell us something about the Asia, a passenger cargo vessel in the late 1800s, which was involved in a shipwreck with the loss of over 150 lives, including one of the Henry Brothers who were the founders of the town Kagawong,” said Mr. Nelson. “To date, the shipwreck of the Asia is the worst maritime disaster that has ever occurred on the Great Lakes.” He pointed out that Mr. Kohl and Ms. Forsberg have a new book coming out on shipwreck boats that they may be selling that day.

After a short intermission, “we’ll talk about the history of Harbour Island with a slideshow,” said Mr. Nelson. “In its heyday it was a famous yachting resort where movie stars, business tycoons, sporting celebrities and politicians including Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson used to hang out.”

“We’re going to be showing in the presentation how Harbour Island looks today with the help of Rob Chandler, the resort’s new owner, who will be bringing the most recent photos of Harbour Island and will talk about his vision for restoration of the island,” explained Mr. Nelson.

“The finale for the night will be a celebration of the Old Mill museum’s 10 years of existence,” said Mr. Nelson. “There will be a slide show presentation featuring many highlights over the 10 years the museum has been involved in, such as the acquisition of artifacts, special exhibits and public events, right up to the nomination from the museum of Austin Hunt on the Order of Canada. This will all be featured in the presentation to finish off the evening.”

The History Day presentations will be presented two times during the day, with a matinee at 3:30 pm and in the evening at 7:30 pm, said Mr. Nelson. Admission is free and no reservations are required. 

In between the two presentations to be held at the Park Centre, a blueberry social will take place at the Kagawong market pavilion. The blueberry social will feature live music by Paul Best, with all the proceeds from the event going toward the Angel Bus.