Origins of Place Names
in the District of Parry Sound

Ahmic Harbor

Situated some 40 km northeast of Parry Sound, this community, on the west side of Ahmic Lake was named in 1881. In Ojibwa "amick" means beaver.

Armour

This Township was named in 1875 for John Douglas Armour, then crown attorney for the united counties of Durham and Northumberland and judge of the court of Queen’s Bench in 1877.

Arnstein

This place, 65 km north of the town of Parry Sound, was named in 1887 by postmaster William Brunne after a village in Bavaria, Germany, 20 km north of Wurzburg.

Bethune

This Township, part of the Town of Kearney since 1990, was named in 1877 for James Bethune, member for Stormont in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 1872-7, and a principal partner of the Toronto legal firm Blake, Kerr and Bethune.

Blair Township

Named in 1878, after Adam Fergusson Blair (1815-67). Member for Waterloo in the Legislative Assembly of the province of Canada, 1849-54, and for Wellington South 1854-7 and was the member for Brock on the Legislative Council, 1860-7. Appointed to the Senate in 1867, he was president of the Privy Council in John A. Macdonald’s first post-Confederation cabinet.

Britt

The post office in this place, located on the north side of Byng Inlet, 62 km north west of Parry Sound, was known as Byng Inlet North from 1885 to 1913. The Canadian Pacific Railway station was first known as Dunlop, but was renamed after Thomas Britt, once the head of the CPR”S fuelling depot in Montreal. The post office was reopened as Britt in 1927.

Brown

This Township was named in 1872 for George brown (1818-1880) founder in 1844 of the Toronto Globe and a leader of the Reform Party in the prominent role in the debates that led to the Confederation of the British North American provinces in 1867. in March 1880 a discharge Globe employee shot Brown in the thigh. Six weeks later the infected wound resulted in Brown’s death at the age of sixty-one.

Burk’s Falls

This village (1890), 37 km north of Huntsville was named for its first permanent David Francis Burk, who arrived from Oshawa in 1876 and lived here until his death in 1901 in his forty-ninth year. Henry Knight was another early settler. When the question of a name arose in 1879, it is sad that they agreed to flip a coin and Burk won the toss.

Burton

This Township was named in 1876 of Sir George William Burton (1818-1901), a leading reformer, judge of the Court of appeal of Ontario From 1874, and chief justice of Ontario, 1897-1901.

Byng Inlet

About 1822 Admiralty surveyor Henry W. Bayfield named the Inlet of Georgian Bay, 62 km northwest of Parry Sound, after Adm John Byng (1704-57), who was court-martialed and executed for cowardice for having failed to take Minorca in the Mediterranean. In Candide (1759), Voltaire Remarked that England thought it well to kill and admiral of time to time ‘pour encourager las auter.’ The community of Byng Inlet, opposite Britt, was named in 1868.

Carling

This Township was named in 1873 for Sir John Carling (1828-1911) the president of London-based Carling Brewing and Malting Company. He held many important cabinet positions; including commissioner of agriculture and public works in Ontario 1867-71 and postmaster general, 1882-5 and minister of agriculture for Canada 1885-92.

Chapman

A township named in 1870 for Edward J. Chapman (1822-1904), professor of mineralogy and geology at the University of Toronto, 1853-95.

Christie

This township was named in 1869 for Robert Christie, Liberal member for Wentworth North in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Conger

This Township, part of the municipal township of the Archipelago since 1980, was named in 1880 for P.D. Conger (1830-85), a Toronto merchant and commissioner of the crowns lands.

Croft

This Township was named in 1871 for Henry Holmes Croft (1820-83), a professor of chemistry and a forensic science at the University of Toronto.

Depot Harbour

Ghost town of abandoned streets and docks in the Big Sound of Parry Sound. Western terminus of the Ottawa and Arnprior railway.

East Burpee

Burpee Township was named in 1876 for Isaac Burpee (1825-85), Liberal member for Saint John, NB, in the House of Commons, 1872-85, and minister of customs in Alexander Mackenzie’s Liberal government, 1873-8. in 1967 I was renamed East Burpee Township to distinguish it from Burpee Township in Manitoulin District.

East Mill

This Township was named in 1876 for David Mills (1831-1903), minister of the interior in the government of Sir Wilfred Laurier, 1897-1902. He represented the province of Ontario in 1884 before the British Privy Council on the northwestern boundary dispute with Manitoba.

Ferguson

This township was named in 1869 for Thomas Robert Ferguson (1818-79), conservative member of Simcoe South in the legislative assembly of the provenience of Canada, 1858-67, and in the legislative assembly of Ontario 1867-73, and member for Cardwell in the House of Commons, 1867-72.

Ferrie

This township was named in 1877 for Adam Ferrie (1777-1868) a Scottish dry-goods merchant who had established an import-export business in Montréal in 1824. He was appointed to the legislative Council of the province of Canada in 1841 and served until his death. An ardent reformer, he had little patience for extremists.

Foley

This Township was named in 1866 for Michael Hamilton Foley (1820-70), a prominent reformer who represented Waterloo North in the Legislative Assembly of the province of Canada 1854-64, and served a postmaster general in three administrations between 1858 and 1864.

Foot’s Bay

On the west side of lake Joseph, in the municipal Township of Muskoka, 33 km south east of Parry Sound, this place was named Foot’s Bay in 1890 after William Edward Foot, who had settled here in 1871. Its post office was called Staney Brae in 1903, but was renamed Footes bay in 1912. It was Officially spelled that way until 1975, when it was changed to reflect the founder’s named.

French River

One of the most prominent geographic names of the French regime in the area of present- day Ontario was Riviere des Francais, for a river with many channels connecting Lake Nipissing with Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. After 1759 it was identified first as the Frenchman’s River on the English maps; it was the only English name used on maps after 1847.

Georgian Bay

This large arm of Lake Huron was named Mer Douce, ‘Fresh Water Sea,’ in 1615 by Samuel de Champlain. In 1815 naval officer William Fitz William Owen called it Lake Manitoulin. It was charted in 1822 by Admiralty surveyor Henry W. Bayfield and named for newly crowned monarch, George IV.

Golden Valley

This place, 65 km northeast of Parry Sound, was named in 1878 by pioneer settler and Huron County native Barnard Fagan. He called to his friends on a hilltop that he was seeing the “golden valley” as he observed it below, ablaze with the golden colours of autumn. The post office was opened ten years later.

Hagerman

This township was named in 1869 for Christopher Alexander Hagerman (1792-1847), a prominent Politician, lawyer and judge during turbulent years in history of Upper Canada and Canada West.

Hardy

This township was named in 1887 for Arthur Sturgis Hardy (1837-1901), provincial secretary, 1877-89, commissioner of crown lands, 1889-96 and premier of Ontario 1896-9.

Harrison

This Township was named in 1876 for Robert Alexander Harrison (1833-78), a Toronto lawyer. He was one of the arbitrators of Ontario’s northwestern Boundary in 1876 and chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench for the Province, 1875-8. Since 1980 Harrison has been of the municipal township of the Archipelago.

Henvey

This Township was called after Henvey Inlet in 1912. Admiralty surveyor named Henry W. Bayfield after Lt. William Henvey, who had served the St. Lawrence in 1815, had named the Inlet in about 1822.

Himsworth North and South

Himsworth Township was named in 1876 for William Alfred Himsworth (1820-80), a native of Trois-Rivieres Que., who was employed in various government offices from 1842, before being appointed clerk of the Queen’s Privy Council 1872-80. it was divided into Himsworth North and Himsworth South in 1886.

Humphrey

Was called Humphrey Township in 1866, when Sir Alexander Campbell was commissioner of crown lands. The name was possibly given for a friend, but no mention is made in official records as to whom that person might have been. The spelling was official changed from Humphry to Humphrey in 1968.

Joly

This Township was named in 1878 for Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lot-biniere (1829-1908), Premier of Quebec 1878-9 and lieutenant governor of British Columbia.

Joseph, Lake

One of the three largest of the Muskoka Lakes, this body of water was named during a 1860-1 survey by John Stroughton Dennis, after his Father living in Weston, Canada west. Joseph Dennis had been captured during the war of 1812, while the captain of a boat on Lake Ontario. In 1822 he moved his family form Kingston to York (Toronto), eight years later he settled in Weston. Although geographer David Thompson Visited the lake in 1837, he didn’t name it, as is claimed in some reports.

Katrine

This place, 30 km north of Huntsville, was named in 1877 by postal inspector Daniel Spry after Loch Katrine in Perthshire, Scotland, because he was struck by the resemblance of the area’s Doe Lake and Little Doe Lake to the Scottish Loch.

Kearney

A town (1907 27 km North of Huntsville; Kearney was settled in 1879 by William Patrick Kearney, and the post office took his name the following year. In 1980 the townships of Bethune and Proudfoot and those parts of Butt and McCraney townships outside Algonquin Provincial Park were added to the area of the town.

Key Harbour

Situated just south of the mouth of the French River, this long, narrow body of water was named Key Inlet by Admiralty surveyor Henry W. Bayfield in 1822 because its shape reminded him of a key. it was shown on a maps and charts as The Key until 1950 when the name was changed to Key Harbour to agree with Key.

Laurier

This township was named in 1878 for Wilfrid (later Sir Wilfrid) Laurier (1841-1919), then minister of inland revenue in Alexander Mackenzie’s government and later prime minister of Canada, 1896-1911.

Loring

see Port Loring

Lount

This Township was named for William Lount (1840-1903) Liberal member for Simcoe North in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 1867-71, and for Toronto Centre in the House of Commons, 1896-7. He was subsequently appointed a judge in the High Court of Ontario. William Lount was a nephew of Samuel Lount, who led the party of reformers in the Rebellion of 1837 and was put to death the following year.

Machar

This township was named by sir Oliver Mowat in 1875 for Rev John Machar (1796-1863), a founder of the Presbyterian Church of Upper Canada in 1831 and of Queen’s College (university) in 1841, where he served as principal, 1843-53. Pronounced ‘ma-KAR.’

Magnetawan

The post office of this place is 47 km northeast of Parry Sound. Was first known as Miller’s Falls after James Miller, the earliest settler here in 1868. It was renamed Magnetawan in 1871 after the Magnetawan River. When the village was incorporated in 1918, its named was spelled to agree with that of the river, established in an 1859 crown lands report. The river rises in Algonquin Park and flows almost due west to empty into Georgian Bay at Byng Inlet, dropping about 245m over a distance of 175 km. The name in Ojibwa means “long open channel,” in reference to the shape of Byng Inlet, at the of the river. Pronounced ‘mag-NET-a-whan.’

McConkey

This township was named in 1878 for Thomas David McConkey (1815-90), Liberal member for Simcoe North in the Legislative Assembly of the province of Canada, 1863-7, and in the House of Commons, 1867-72, after which he was appointed sheriff of Simcoe County.

McDougall

This township was named in 1866 for William McDougall (1822-1905), member of Oxford North in the Legislative Assembly of the province of Canada, 1858-67, provincial secretary, 1864-7, a father of confederation, member for Lanark North in the House of Commons, 1867-82, minister of public works for Canada, 1867-9, and first lieutenant-governor of the North-West Territories, 1869-70.

McKellar

A township named in 1869 for Archibald McKellar (1816-94), member for Kent in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, 1857-67, and for Bothwell in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 1867-75. He served as commissioner of public works, provincial secretary, and commissioner of agriculture. The community of McKellar, 20 km northeast of Parry Sound, was first called Armstrong’s Rapids, before McKellar post office was opened in 1870.

McKenzie

This township was named in 1872 for Alexander Mackenzie (1822-92), prime minister of Canada, 1873-8. A Liberal of high principles and stern bearing, he sat in the Legislative assembly of the province of Canada and the House of Commons for over thirty years.

McMurrich

This township was named in 1870 for John McMurrich (1804-83), member of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada , 1862-4, and Liberal member for York North in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 1867-71.

Monteith

When the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway were extended north over the Driftwood River in 1907; the site of this place was called “Driftwood City”. A year later, Samuel Nelson Monteith, the Ontario minister of agriculture, chose the site for an experimental farm. Monteith post office was open in 1911. Monteith Township in Parry Sound district was named in 1870 for Andrew Monteith (1823-96), Conservative member for Perth north in the legislative Assembly of Ontario, 1867-74, and for Perth North in the House of Commons 1874-9.

Mowat

This Township in 1879 was named for Sir Oliver Mowat (1820-1903), a distinguished Parliamentarian for over forty years who served as premier of Ontario, 1872-96, then as federal minister of justice while a senator, 1869-7, and finally as lieutenant governor of Ontario, 1897-1903. He was also a father of confederation.

Nipissing

The district was named in 1858 after lake Nipissing (832 sq km). The lake took its name from an Algonquin word meaning ‘little body of water’, in reference to its size in comparison with the Great Lakes or in contrast to the vastness of Georgian Bay. Nipissing Township was named in 1879 after the lake, on whose south shore it is located. The community of Nipissing in the township, 25 km south of North Bay, was called Nippissingan in 1870, but its name was changed to Nipissing in 1881.

Nobel

Located 9 km Northwest of Parry Sound, this place was named in 1913 by Canadian Industries Limited for Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-96), the Swedish inventor of dynamite in 1866 and founder of the Nobel prizes for peace, physics, chemistry, medicine, and literature. CIL operated an explosives plant here the post office had been called Ambo in 1911, but the name was changed to Noble two years later. Pronounced, ‘noh-BEL.’

Orrville

Located 21 km east of the Town of Parry Sound, this place was named Hayford in 1879. It was renamed Edgington a year later after the postmaster John Edgington. In 1894 the name was changed again to Orrville after John Orr, the first settler there.

Parry Sound

The District was named in 1870 after the town and harbor of Parry Sound. Admiralty surveyor Henry W Bayfield had named the sound during his 1822-5 survey of Lake Huron after Parry Sound in Northern Canada. The Ojibwa called the harbor Wasaukwasing ‘shining rock’ because when they saw the sun glinting off the rocks of Parry Island. The town (1887) of Parry Sound was developed in the 1860s by William Beatty. The part west of the Seguin River was a temperance community. Governor Beatty included the Beatty Covenant in each of his deeds, prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcohol. In default, the land reverted to the Beatty family. A post office was established in 1865 and town site was laid four years later.

Patterson

This township was named in 1876 for Christopher Salmon Patterson (1823-93), a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal, 1874-88, and of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Perry

This Township was named in 1873 for George Perry (1818-91), Liberal member for Oxford North in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1867 to 187, when he surrendered his seat to the premier Oliver (later Sir Oliver) Mowat and became sheriff of Oxford County.

Pointe au Baril

Located 45 km northwest of Parry Sound, this place was named after a barrel of whisky lost during the era of transporting furs by canoe and found the fallowing spring by a party of French traders. Stranded on an island at the entrance to Point au Baril Channel, they had a prolonged spree before placing the barrel on a pole as a beacon. Samuel Edwards Oldfield (1845-1917), who was appointed the postmaster of Point aux Baril in 1892, informed the chief geographer of Canada in 1905 that the barrel was still there when he passed through then channel in 1873. Pointe au Baril Station post office was opened in 1923 on the Canadian Pacific Railway line to the east of the point.

Port Loring

Is a hamlet 65 km north of Parry Sound, and 3 km south of Loring. Loring was named in 1884 by William Edward O’Brien, Conservative member for Muskoka in the House of Commons, 1882-96, after his wife Elizabeth (Loring) Harris, whom he married in 1864. She was the daughter of Col. R.R. Loring and the widow of J. F. Harris of London, Ont.

Powassan

The name of this town (1904) 25 km south of North Bay, was derived in 1891 from the Ojibwa for ‘bend in river’ as there are several sharp bends in the South River just west of the town. Sawmills and gristmills were established here about 1880, and Northern and Pacific Railway arrived in 1886.

Pringle

This Township was named in 1879 for Robert Roderick Pringle, a Toronto lawyer and close friend of Timothy B. Pardee, Ontario commissioner of crown lands, who named the township.

Proudfoot

This Township, part of the Town of Kearney, was named in 1877 for William Proudfoot (1823-1903), judge of the chancery division of the High Court of Ontario, 1874-90.

Restoule

This place, 30 km west of Powassan, was named in 1878 after Ojibwa Chief Joseph Restoule who was still alive when the postmaster provided details to the chief geographer of Canada in 1905.

Rosseau, Lake

When an agreement was made in 1785 between Chief Yellowheads’s Ojibwa band and the Crown to permit the building of roads and carrying on of trade through their country in Muskoka the interpreter was Jean-Baptist Rosseau (1758-1812), a fur trader who then lived near the mouth of the Humber River, west of Toronto. In 1835 Lt John Carthew of the Royal Navy, a co-leader of an exploration from the Severn River to lake Nipissing, reported that Rosseau’s Lake was a large body of water, studded with beautiful islands. Geologist Alexander Murray called it Lake Rosseau in 1853, and seven years later surveyor Vernon Wadsworth referred to it as Lake Rosseau. The Community of Rosseau on the North shore of the lake was named in 1866. It was incorporated as a village in 1926, but was annexed by the municipal township of Seguin.

Ryerson

This Township was named in 1870 for Egerton Ryerson (1803-82) chief superintendent of education for Canada West and Ontario, 1844-76 and President of the Methodist of Canada, 1874-8.

Seguin River

This River rises Northwest of Huntsville and flows west for 50 km to Parry Sound. The named was derived from the Ojibwa word sigwan, ‘its spring’ and was first recorded in land reports in 1860. The steamship Segwun, based at Gravenhurst since 1973, takes its name from the same Ojibwa word.

Shawanaga

This Township was named in 1877 after a band of Ojibwa who had occupied the land around Shawanaga Bay in 1853. Derived from washauwenega, the name means ‘long strait’ or ‘southern sky’. In 1980 Shawanaga became part of the municipal township of the Archipelago. Pronounced ‘sha-WAHN-a-ga.’

South River

Situated on the South River, which drains into the South Bay of Lake Nipissing 35 km to the north, this village (1882) was named in 1882. The river was called in Ojibwa Namnitigong, ‘Paint River’ because of the minerals stains on the rocks.

Spence

This Township was named in 1871 for Robert Spence (1811-68), postmaster general of the province of Canada, 1854-7, and collector of customs at Toronto, 1858-68.

Sprucedale

This hamlet is located 28 km northwest of Huntsville, named after the extensive spruce woods in the area.

Strong

This Township was named in 1877 for Sir Samuel Henry Strong (1825-1909), Supreme Court justice from 1875, chief justice of Canada, 1892-1902, and first Canadian member of the judicial committee of her Majesty’s Privy Council, 1897.

Sundridge

This village, 52 km north of Huntsville, was settled in the 1870’s. When a post office was requested in 1879, the name Sundridge was suggested by first post master John Paget to described the place’s north position at the north end of Lake Bernard. However, the postal authorities provided Sundridge, possibly after Sundridge in Kent, England, 32 km Southeast of London.

The Archipelago

This Township was created on the 1st of April 1980 through the amalgamation of Georgian Bay North Archipelago (north of the Town of Parry Sound and the Township of Carling) and Georgian Bay South Archipelago (south of Parry Sound), both of which had been made municipal townships on January 1st 1980. The municipal township includes the geographic township of Conger, Cowper, Harrison, and Shawanaga. The numerous islands, part of the Thirty Thousand Island along the east shore of Georgian Bay, provide the source of the municipal name.

Trout Creek

Situated on a tributary of the South River, 37 km south of North Bay, this little town (1913) was first known as Little Bend of South River and Powassan as the big bend. It was called Melbourne after pioneer settlers arrived in 1868, possibly for Melbourne Australia, itself named in 1835 for Lord Melbourne (1779-1848) the British Prime minister in 1834-41. However, its post office was caller Barkerton in 1887. Three years later it was named Trout Creek.

Wahwashkesh Lake

This Lake on the Magnetawan River in the Parry Sound District, 40 km north of Parry Sound, is named after the Ojibwa word wawashkeshi, ‘deer’. Pronounced ‘wah-WASH-kesh.’

Wallbridge

Township was named in 1879 after Lewis Wallbridge (1816-87),a moderate Reformer who was then speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the province of Canada and Chief Justice of Manitoba.

Wilson

This Township was named in 1877 for Sir Adam Wilson (1814-91), a reform politician who became chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, 1878-84, and of the Court of Queen’s Bench, 1884-7.

With thanks to Alan Rayburn, Place Names of Ontario.

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