I was explaining to someone at an event in Innisfil why Lake Simcoe deserves to be designated as the first Heritage Lake in Canada.
Our First Nations People used it as a trade route. The Carrying Place Trail has been marked from Toronto to Holland Landing. The Trail follows the Humber River with many portages along the way. The natives fished and lived along the shores of the Lake. They farmed the wild rice and their “three sisters” squash, corn and beans.
The Hudson Bay and Northwest Company canoes used the Lake to go further into the interior of our great country looking to trade furs with the First Nation tribes. The first settlers to Canada used the Trail and then travelled by boat to many parts of the Lake to clear the land for farming.
There were many years where the lumber industry thrived on the Lake. There are places around the Lake where huge pine trees were taken to make the masts for the sailing ships built in England.
Then the ice industry began and Lake Simcoe ice was shipped by rail to Toronto and part of the United States.
All this time the Lake was being settled by farmers who felled the trees and worked the land. The era of steamships came along. They were seen plying the waters of the Lake taking mail, settlers, farm equipment and supplies to the settlements around the Lake.
As the roads were improving, cottages were beginning to be popular as getaways for people to enjoy on weekends and holidays. The steamers became excursion boats for a night of dinner and dancing or a picnic on an island.
Fishing winter and summer has always been very popular and quite lucrative on the Lake.
Nowadays, there is very little lake front land to purchase on the Lake. The cottages are disappearing and year around homes are springing up everywhere. Times change and not always for the best. Unfortunately, the Lake is stressed and the Lake Simcoe Protection Act has been put into place to help take care of the Lake. We all must do our part to help the Lake survive and then we will be able to continue to enjoy it.
If you have ever seen a sun set or sun rise by the Lake, if you have ever heard a loon cry in the night, if you have ever seen a heron fly low over the water looking for dinner, if you have ever jumped into the refreshing water, if you have ever built a sand castle on the beach, if you have ever sat by the fire at the edge of the lake and watched the moon come up, then you know why Lake Simcoe is important and why we must designate OUR LAKE as the FIRST HERITAGE LAKE IN CANADA and give OUR LAKE SIMCOE the RECOGNITION IT DESERVES!