By Sandy Richardson

This spring I found some interesting additional information about the fishing station on Main Station Island. I offer it here as an addendum to the article
that appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Qayaq.

In late May I participated in an event at the Huron Fringe Birding Festival called “The Bruce Re-Beckons”. It was a day-long “quest to rediscover Sherwood Fox’s Bruce Peninsula, based on his landmark 1952 book, The Bruce Beckons.” Leader Willy Waterton, a local photographer and author, led participants to a number of sites Fox wrote about to see how things had changed or stayed the same over the last 60 years. At each stop he gave a brief talk and presented interesting information from The Bruce Beckons and other sources.

At Oliphant, Willy talked about the Fishing Islands and showed us, among other things, an 1836 report, including a map, by John MacDonald D.P.S. on Captain Alexander MacGregor’s Huron Fishing Company that a friend of Willy’s found in an archive in the United Kingdom. Following the event, Willy graciously provided me with copies of the report and the map.

The map and notes suggest that the fishing station on Principal Island as it was called, now Main Station Island, was a much more substantial operation and settlement than either Norman Robertson in History of the County of Bruce (1906) or Sherwood Fox in The Bruce Beckons (1952) indicates. Beyond the large stone building described by Robertson and Fox, and whose ruins I found, the map shows 5 buildings and the notes in the report list 11. (Perhaps the map does not show the residences.)

The map shown here has, as many maps at the time did, north at the bottom. The notes describe the fishing station on Principal Island (None of the dimensions match those of the building given by Fox?).

No archaeological investigations have been done on the site, but this information suggests such research might prove very interesting.

Fishing Station 1836 mapThere are upon this Island, the following buildings, viz.:
4 Log Houses, inhabited by fishermen’s families.
1 Small Frame House for Superintendent.
1 Large Log House for Fishermen.
1 Cooper’s Shop.
1 Cook House.
1 Large Stone Store House, 40 ft. by 24 ft.
1       ”           ”        walled Shed, 50 ft. by 40 ft. for packing fish.
1       ”           ”             ”               ”     64 ft. by 20 ft. for gutting fish.
A wharf from the packing shed into 11 feet water, 150 ft. by 20 ft.
2 Large nets on reels.
4 Boats on the beach.


by Sandy Richardson


The Fishing Islands are a group of roughly 80-90, mostly small, rocky islands stretching about 15 kilometres from Oliphant north to Howdenvale off the west coast of the Bruce Peninsula. The shallow waters around these islands, with numerous shoals and sandbanks, have long formed a treacherous barrier for ships between the mainland and the open water of Lake Huron. In the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th a number of ships met a watery grave among these islands, either blown onto an outer reef by a Lake Huron storm, or wrecked while seeking safe passage through the island’s narrow channels. The bones of many of these wrecks lie in waters shallow enough to tempt the curious kayaker. Continue reading


Stephen Trelkeld 1924-2014
Stephen Trelkeld 1924-2014

by Sandy Richardson
” Cheers to a long life, well lived.”
Founding member and former GLSKA President, Stephen Trelkeld, died in Hamilton on January 10, 2014.
Stephen was born in the U.K., December 27, 1924. During WWII, he was in the Home Guard and the RAF. After the War, he worked as a shepherd on Ex-moor (Devon, U.K.) before immigrating to Illinois where he managed a sheep farm. He later completed a BSc and MSc at the University of Alberta and PhD at the University of Cambridge before joining the Department of Biology, McMaster University, as a geneticist in 1961, eventually becoming head of the department. Throughout much of his tenure at McMaster, he also ran a working farm, which included sheep and cattle breeding.
Following his retirement in 1991, he became a published poet, painter, garden steam model railway enthusiast, a hobbyist of remote-controlled model planes, boats and helicopters while continuing his passion for science, philosophy and the arts – among other things! He lived a fully engaged life to the end.

Stephen Threlkeld launching from a beach in Toronto for A Winter Solstice trip
Stephen Threlkeld launching from a beach in Toronto for a Winter Solstice trip.

Having grown up by the sea, Stephen was a life-long lover of water sports and was an avid swimmer, scuba diver, canoeist, wind-surfer, sailor and kayaker. He was a founding member of the Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Association and remained an active member of the club until 2002. He served on the original Board of Directors in 1989, remaining on the board until 1992. He took a year off, and then returned to the board from 1993 through 1997 serving as president from 1994-1997. He was an active trip participant, and organized many club trips over the years, including his much-loved early spring paddles through Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise, followed by a barbecue at his home in Hamilton; he also served as Trip Coordinator from 1991-1992. He led many workshops over the years at Rendezvous, beginning with the first one in 1989; and (endearing himself to the editor) wrote over 20 articles for Qayaq. Thank you Stephen.

Stephen Threlkeld
Stephen Threlkeld (right) participating in GLSKA’s first club trip

A celebration of Stephen’s life was held in the Great Hall at the Faculty Club of McMaster University in Hamilton, on January 17. GLSKA has made a donation to the World Wildlife Fund (as suggested by his family) in Stephen’s memory.

Kayaking and History

by Bert Millar

I like to paddle kayaks. I like to paddle on creeks, rivers and big water. I enjoy flat water and l love to kayak in monster seas. I like to kayak camp, hike, explore and watch nature. I like to maintain, repair and modify kayaks. I like to mess around in kayaks, go upside down, do rolls, rescues and get wet. I like to read about kayaks and sit in a coffee shop with other paddlers and BS about kayaking. Enough said …we all like that stuff too, don’t we?

But there is another aspect or by-product of kayaking I enjoy and that is observing the history of areas we visit. Continue reading

Toonoonok Dreamin’


 Ghosts of Northern Exploration

Ghosts of Northern Exploration

by Erik Antons

When you enter Nunavut, be prepared for an adventure beyond compare, in one the most scenic, historic and remote parts of the world. The Arctic Circle, at roughly 66 degrees N latitude, marks the northernmost point at which the sun can be seen at the winter solstice and the southernmost point of the northern polar regions at which the midnight sun is still visible in summer. Continue reading