|This area of Ontario is covered by Manitoulin District GenWeb. The information presented below is merely an outline of the district and does not include what is available for genealogical research for this area. For information on genealogical research of this area please visit Manitoulin District GenWeb.|
Manitoulin District was established in 1888 from Algoma District. Manitoulin is also the "world's largest island (2,776 sq km) in a freshwater lake, this island took its name from Ojibwa, Algonquin, and Ottawa concept of the great spirit Manitou, the master of life and ruler of all things."5
The District also "includes the islands of Manitoulin, Cockburn, Fitzwilliam, Great Cloche, and some lesser islands, as well as a portion of the mainland."2
Originally the land belonged to the Ottawa Indians. In 1615 they met Samuel de Champlain and were later visited by Jesuit missionaries who had a mission established on the main land. It was destroyed by Iroquois in 1650.
A treaty signed in 1836 'gave' the island to the Ottawa and Potawatomi Indians. It was hoped that other native tribes would move to the island so Europeans could settle on the main land. However, white settlers also wanted to live on Manitoulin Island and a new treaty was proposed. Some Indians were okay with this new treaty but those in the East were not. "As a result of their determination, the Manitoulin Unceded Reserve, Wikwemikong, exists today."2
"In 1838 surveys were begun and European settlement on the island commenced. Manitowaning was the first white settlement in the district."2
In 1863 surveys of townships and lumber began. During this same year, the land became available to non-Indian settlers.
"The vast acreages of evergreen and hardwood forest gave rise to a profitable lumber industry, which, along with fishing, farming, and the production of maple sugar, provided a livelihood for the earliest settlers."2
As the lumber was cleared, farming began. By the 1870's 15% of the population were farmers, mostly those who had settled in Manitoulin from southern Ontario.
"In 1869 the Provincial Judicial District of Manitoulin was created by the Ontario Legislature and Gore Bay was chosen as the judicial seat. In 1902 part of the mainland was included and the Electoral District of Manitoulin was born."2
"Population 3,000 in 1871 and 7,144 in 1980."3
Manitoulin District is located in Lake Huron
Prior to 1888 - part of Algoma District
More maps of this area
Questions & Answers
2 Places In Ontario by Nick & Helma Mika, 1977
3 Place Names of Ontario by Floreen Carter, 1984
4 Smith's Canadian Gazetteer by W.H. Smith, 1846
5 Place Names of Ontario by Alan Rayburn, 1997