||June 19, 2009
Some North Bay Heritage
I have had several inquiries recently
about sources of information about the history/heritage of
North Bay. Community Voices has only been
delivered to North Bay for the last year (to those
who don’t get the Nugget) as compared to its 10th year elsewhere, so
my greater interest in North Bay has only been recent. The following are some
sources general and specific I have used on occasion.
The North Bay Public Library has
excellent material on its shelves both in general circulation and in their
reference and archives sections. They have a large audio visual section and
lots of computers available for online searches. You can see The Nugget etc. on
microfilm and you can print material for a small fee.
Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has a library on the second floor
next to the francophone library with volunteer staff available to help access on
some afternoons their large general collection of interesting material. You
don’t have to be a member.
If you are a member of an area
library you can get a free membership in the Nipissing University Library which
has a wide range of resources. Back copies of the Globe and Mail (online) and
the Nugget (microfilm) are available on request. Materials can be borrowed and
copying is available.
The history department at
Nipissing has some excellent material available on
line and on file from their courses in Community Studies and Oral History.
The North Bay Mattawa Conservation
Authority has a good accumulation of material related to their jurisdiction
although material cannot be borrowed – only referenced and copied.
Quints Museum has Quint material and the Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace
Defence has material related to their mandate. Discovery North Bay Museum has
some excellent general material but accessibility is a problem. Their bookstore
is excellent and other local bookstores are usually well worth a look.
My accumulation of books on
North Bay provides a wide variety of information and
most of them are available in the libraries mentioned. 2009 is the centennial
of North Bay’s oldest reference book The Gateway to
Silverland written by Anson Gard in 1909. A
copy is available in the North Bay Public Library and online at
www.ourroots.ca where it can be referenced and copied if desired. It is a
unique book that plays up the successful men and events in North Bay’s early
history. The book talks about the Georgian Bay Ship Canal as if it was a fait
accompli. There is little reference to women. Gard
had many patrons who ended up in the book. There are some excellent old
photographs. The book also has a large section on Cobalt. There are rumours
that the North Bay section may be reproduced as a Centennial project for sale
this fall. A real keepsake.
First house with shingled roof in
North Bay 1883. All from Gateway to
Silverland book 1909
John Ferguson who came to
North Bay in 1882 and pioneered North Bay
development and his home
Cover of Anson
Gard book 1909
The 1925 Old Home Week Book provides
an update and additional information on North
Bay after Gard’s 1909 effort. Numerous photographs
and reports on every phase of North Bay life are profiled.
W.K.P. Kennedy wrote the fact packed
300 page book called North Bay in 1961. It is long out of print but some copies
are available in libraries. It was not indexed but a man by the name of Robert
Graham did an excellent index in 2000 and it is available.
Leatherdale’s From Nipissing
From Brule to Booth (1975) provides an excellent
overview of the pre settlement days of the
North Bay area.
In 1982 Michael Barnes edited a book
of columns by newspaper columnist Hartley Trussler
which has some interesting insights. The same year Barnes also published The
Gateway City: The North Bay Story which is an excellent read. Barnes also wrote
a later book (1997) called North Bay: Northern Gateway – this time with many
Bill Steer, newspaper columnist and
historian wrote a book Boosting the Bay in 1994 with
his own focus and many photos. Bill, who is now Director of the Ecology
Centre has produced several useful maps including
North Bay’s Heritage and Tourism Map which
provides some excellent general information especially for people with GPS
a retired librarian at Nipissing University has
produced several North Bay books of general and specific interest. Using direct
references to newspaper reports and local interviews he has created a picture of
North Bay ‘s early years, The Lean Years 1929 – 1939, and North Bay The War
Years Before, During and After World War 2 are examples.
The computer is the most important
resource now with a remarkable amount of reading material on almost every topic
simply by Googling the topic. The Anson
Gard and the W.K.P. Kennedy books are online at
www.ourroots.ca which is a great place to start. Roy Summers has some
interesting material online on North Bays
geographical and geological history and its impact on settlement. There are
several of my North Bay related Heritage Perspective printable articles among
the 330 online including 3 on the Manitou
Islands. Happy Hunting!
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