Great Canadian Parks / Ontario

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The Parks / Ontario / Bruce Peninsula National Park




The shipping industry around Tobermory was well underway during the 1850’s, when demand for lumber in the southern cities of Ontario and some of the border states was at its peak. Wasteful logging inhibited the growth of many trees, especially pine, leaving tree stumps and forests charred by fire. Settlements and roads were determined by the logging industry and the first lumbermill was built in Tobermory in 1881. Three lighthouses were constructed to guide ships: at Cove Island in 1858, Big Tub in 1885 and Flowerpot in 1897, in response to the alarming frequency of shipwrecks. By the 1890’s propeller driven steamers were replacing the two- and three-masted schooners on the Great Lakes. The steamers also carried passengers to the little towns along the shore when travel overland was slow and difficult. Eventually the service evolved from these early vessels to today’s Chi-Cheemaun, the largest vessel of its kind on the Great Lakes. Commercial fishing developed in the mid-1800’s and flourished with the advent of steam-powered fishing tugs. Ice taken from the bay and kept year-round in icehouses was used to preserve the fish. In 1932, the lamprey eel entered the Great Lakes through the newly completed Welland Canal. Overfishing of some species, in combination with the devastating effect of the eel preying on the Lake Trout, led to the decline of the fishery.

 

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