Last of the log rafts, and Paddling into the sunset

This short clip was published in 1938 in Blackwood’s Magazine in the U.K., in an article by A.H. Lightbourn of Toronto about sailing his 20-foot sloop up the Trent-Severn Waterway to Georgian Bay and north to Pointe aux Baril in 1937 or earlier.

They had moored overnight at an island on the Inside Passage “…and it was over an oily sea that we resumed our voyage early next morning. Five miles away, and directly on our course, we could see a small steamer. At first we thought she must be in difficulties, for she was apparently stationary, although smoke was pouring from her funnel. As we got nearer we saw that she had in tow an enormous raft of logs, an acre or more in extent.

“These rafts, rarely seen now, for most of the Georgian Bay coast is a forest preserve, are not really rafts at all but booms composed of logs chained together, the two ends being joined to form a circle within the circumference of which the other logs float loose. In rough weather, of course, many are washed over or under the boom, and many find their way into the construction of some settler’s shack or dock.”

That night found them in an anchorage at Parry Sound. Noting that Parry Island is a First Nation Reserve, “…we watched the [native women] returning from their marketing in the town. Into the sunset they paddled with the quick, effortless stroke that few white men have succeeded in copying, their canoes filled with provisions, and the quill baskets and beaded moccasins they had been unable to sell; into the sunset, and vanished, as their race is vanishing before the march of intolerant civilization.”

Footnote: That last is a perceptive observation for the 1930s. Different generations now, but at last First Nations are more determined to prevent their vanishing into the sunset.

One thought on “Last of the log rafts, and Paddling into the sunset

  1. When we paddle around the little bays up the west shore of Parry Island, we can still see many huge logs lying on the bottom, escapees from the log booms of 100 years ago.


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