Songs of Georgian BayShare. Create. Educate. Perform.

Picture this, the year is 1866 and you are standing on the wharf in Collingwood on a cold November evening. There’s a bustle of activity as restless livestock and freight is being put aboard the waiting steamship. The dark sky above the smokestack is sparkling with a red glow of fire below, being stoked with local maple and ash, heating the boiler to provide the steam that will shortly power the large paddlewheels. The smoke coming out of the stack is black as ink and the soot falls like charcoal snowflakes from the sky.

After spending the best part of the day on the train from Toronto, you’ve paid the Purser the $7 fare to take you the rest of the way to the Soo and he is now urging you to get onboard quickly as the shriek of the whistle drowns out the protests of the livestock now secured below deck. As you make your way to the crowded common stateroom you head for a space on a simple wooden bench along the wall. The lines are cast off the dock and with another deafening shriek of the whistle, the giant paddlewheels begin to turn and the ship disappears into the darkness of Georgian Bay.

Such was the experience of travellers heading towards the promise of prosperity they had been told was waiting for them along the northern shores of Georgian Bay and beyond.

However, not always did those travellers reach their destinations. The unpredictable waters and sudden storms sometimes cut short their lives.

These are the “Songs of Georgian Bay”.

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