Manitowaning is located in Assiginack Township, on Manitoulin Island. It is one of the earliest European settlements on the island.
In 1836, on the orders of Sir Francis Bond Head, the Governor General of Upper Canada a small community was built to entice the native people to relocate from areas around the Bruce Peninsula and Lake Huron to Manitoulin Island. A community was established and buildings erected.
Tradesmen such as carpenters, masons and blacksmiths were hired by the government to teach skills to the native population. Most continued native traditions such as fishing and hunting and the community which was initially designed as a farming community was never successful.
Numbering the Indians, Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island (Ontario), 16-August-1856
Courtesy of Toronto Public Library
In 1843 the government ceased it's funding, yet the tiny settlement on Manitowaning Bay continued to flourish. European settlers began to arrive in the 1870's and used the settlement as a commercial base. The natural harbour became a port for steamers and schooners that plied the Great Lakes.
The S.S.Norisle was a steam powered ferry that sailed from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island from 1946 until 1974, when she was replaced by the much larger and more modern MS Chi-Cheemaun. The wharf is now part of the Manitowaning Heritage Complex, where the S.S. Norisle is docked. The S.S. Norisle Heritage Park is also located here and has a public boat launch and a wonderful sandy beach.
St. Paul's Anglican Church, built in 1849 is the oldest Anglican parish church in Northern Ontario. The lighthouse, located behind the church overlooking Manitowaning Bay was built in 1885.
Region 1: Southwest Ontario • Region 2: Niagara Canada • Region 3: Hamilton, Halton and Brant • Region 4: Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington • Region 5: Greater Toronto Area • Region 6: York, Durham and the Hills of Headwaters • Region 7: Bruce Peninsula, Southern Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe • Region 8: Kawarthas and Northumberland • Region 9: South Eastern Ontario • Region 10: Ottawa and Countryside • Region 11: Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley • Region 12: Muskoka, Parry Sound and Algonquin Park • Region 13a: North Eastern Ontario • Region 13b: Sault Ste. Marie – Algoma • Region 13c: Northwest Ontario