Provincial plaques commemorate the Anishinaabeg at Lake of Bays

DORSET – Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust, in partnership with the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and the Township of Lake of Bays, unveiled provincial plaques commemorating the Anishinaabeg at Lake of Bays.

The provincial plaque reads as follows:

The Anishinaabeg at Lake of Bays

A water-based people, the Anishinaabeg – the original people of this region – were a hunter-gatherer society that often travelled here to the narrows at Trading Bay (Lake of Bays). The area that is now Dorset was a special, spiritual place abundant in natural resources. For thousands of years the Anishinaabeg set up small camps here harvesting maple syrup and birch bark, fishing and trading in the spring and summer, and hunting and trapping during the fall and winter. Eventually, the Anishinaabeg realized that their hunting and harvesting rights and territory had been lost through a series of treaties. They continued to travel to the region to work as fishing and hunting guides and trading with seasonal tourists and cottagers. The descendants of the Anishinaabeg are members of the seven First Nations of the Williams Treaties (1923), the nearest of which is the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. The legacy of the original inhabitants lives on through the many landmarks, rivers, lakes, and islands that bear Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) place names.


"These provincial plaques recognize the rich history of the Anishinaabeg peoples and the spiritual, cultural and resourceful significance of the land now known as the Township of Lake of Bays. For thousands of years, the Anishinaabeg would travel to this area to harvest food, to hunt, to fish, to trap and to trade. It remains a place of great importance to the descendants of the Anishinaabeg. The Ontario Heritage Trust is honoured to commemorate the Anishinaabeg at Lake of Bays." – Harvey McCue (Waubageshig), Chair, Ontario Heritage Trust

"Today we are marking the legacy and contribution of the Anishinaabeg and their connection to this land. The provincial plaques unveiled today tell an important story about Ontario and the Anishinaabeg peoples that will foster a deeper understanding of our shared heritage. The rich history of the Anishinaabeg at Lake of Bays will continue to inform and shape our knowledge of this region, both today and in the future." – Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

"The Chippewas of Rama First Nation are proud to take part in this ceremony which celebrates our long history in this area. Our ancestors, including Chief Bigwin, travelled through these waters regularly, hunting, harvesting, fishing and trading. In 1923, our traditional rights were taken away through the Williams Treaties. The loss of these resources was devastating to our community as many of our elders, who were children at the time, have shared in their stories. These rights were restored last year as part of our negotiations with the Crowns. Our members are looking forward to practising our traditional rights again and ensuring that future generations find a strong connection to their heritage and history throughout this area." – Chief Rodney Noganosh, Chippewas of Rama First Nation

"The Township of Lake of Bays is honoured to partner with the descendants of the Anishinaabeg in recognizing their historic place in the history of this beautiful land now known as the Township of Lake of Bays. This plaque will inform all of the many visitors to the Township of the long history of the land." – Robert Young, Mayor, Township of Lake of Bays

Quick facts

  • The provincial plaques will be permanently installed at Cedar Narrows Heritage Park in Dorset, Ontario.
  • The plaque text is presented in three languages: English, French and Anishinaabemowin.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust’s Provincial Plaque Program commemorates provincially significant people, places and events in Ontario’s history. Since 1956, 1,282 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

Learn more


For more information about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Provincial Plaque Program, contact Kimberly Murphy at 416-325-5074 or

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario’s heritage.

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