Kaministiquia River, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
A Major Fur Trade River
Also Kakabeka Falls
October 17, 2013:
The "Kam" River area, at the head of Lake Superior, was important in our history, beginning in the 1600's. The Ojibway First Nation Band
lived along the river and it was the main highway to the northwest country for many generations. This web site (www.bytown.net) is mainly
concerned with the early history of the Ottawa, Canada, area and from the earliest days of European exploration, there developed connections
between what are today, the cities of Thunder Bay and Ottawa, the Capital of Canada.
The voyageurs, explorers and coureurs de bois travelled from the fur trade headquarters in Montreal, along the Ottawa River to Mattawa, Ontario.
From Mattawa they headed west to Lake Nipissing (North Bay, Ontario), into Georgian Bay, then along the shore of Lake Huron (Sault Ste. Marie) to
reach the wild and magnificent northern shore of Lake Superior. Their destination was Grand Portage, which since 1803 has been part of the State of Minnesota.
One idea about the origin of the name Kaministiquia is that it is derived from the Ojibway word meaning "River of Many Islands". The picture below
shows an examply of the sort of long and narrow islands which dot the Kam along it's length. According to the book Life in a Thundering Bay: Voices from Thunder Bay's Past,
a steamship was running from Fort Kmministiquia at Lake Superior inland along the river for ten miles in 1873.
Among the connections of the Ottawa River system and the Thunder Bay area was through the Lumbering industry in the 1800's. The Gillies brothers
from the Ottawa Valley (Arnprior / Braeside) began lumbering along the tributaries of
the Ottawa River in the 1840's. By 1870, they had extended their operations to the Thunder Bay area. Gillies Township there is named for them.
October 18, 2013:
In 1882, Lucius O'Brien, one of the foremost painters in Canada, painted this picture of
Kakabeka Falls, on the Kamanistiquia River (the Northern Niagara)
Source: National Gallery of Canada
E-mail Allan Lewis
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