Historical Highlights

Grey Owl, one of Canada’s best.


Grey Owl

Grey Owl, one of Canada’s best - known early authors, spell-binding lecturer, and ardent early conservationist started his woodsman’s life in Temagami as Archie Belaney in 1907. He arrived from Temiskaming with Bill Guppy and Bill’s two brothers to work at the new Temagami Inn. In the next six formative years, he developed his love of native people and nature. By the time he moved on to Biscotasing in 1912, he had married Angele Egwuana on Bear Island, learned Ojibway and how to hunt, trap, canoe and survive in the bush.

In 1925, while visiting Temagami again, he met Anahareo, an Iroquois from Mattawa, and soon began his evolution into his role as Grey Owl. His work with beavers earned him a position at Prince Albert Park in Saskatchewan, where several movies were made of his work. He made two long and successful lecture tours in England, the U.S. and Canada in the mid 1930’s. He died shortly before his 50th birthday in 1938. His books, numerous books about him, and the Hollywood movie “Grey Owl” have kept his contribution alive.

The village of Temagami started as a rest stop on the long portage from Snake Lake to Lake Temagami, a route traditionally used by the area’s native people. Dan O’Connor, the founder of Temagami, recognized the unique beauty and potential of the area and with great enthusiasm promoted tourism. Dan brought the lake’s first steamer through the bush from Lake Temiskaming in the winter of 1903 and went on to develop a steamship company and to build the first grand hotel in Temagami, the Ronnoco.

When the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (now Ontario Northland) came through Temagami in 1905 it opened up possibilities for tourism on a grand scale. The Ferguson Highway (now Highway 11) was completed between Temagami and North Bay in 1927.

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