46345Playterson Lake Simcoe Portage Location
- Dec 11, 2012North Gwillimbury grew up around four centres: Roche's Point, Keswick, Jersey, Belhaven. Historically, Lake Simcoe and the Holland River formed the principle communication route from the north to the south of Upper Canada, and North Gwillimbury held a beneficial position along this route. "Upper Canoe Landing," in early days, was a site much used by Natives engaged in bartering with the fur traders. A mile and a half further down from the Upper was the "Lower Landing." Here, where the Holland River is about 25 feet wide, was "Pine Fort" also known as "Gwillimbury Fort."
In 1793, Governor John Graves Simcoe discovered what would be the future site of Holland Landing, originally known as St. Albans, and believed this area would make an ideal shipping and defense point between York (now Toronto) and Georgian Bay. In 1797, Yonge Street was completed to Holland Landing, providing an overland route from York. During the war of 1812, a pine fort is said to have been built by Simcoe near Soldier's Bay to protect against a possible American attack from the north.
To skirt American naval supremacy on Lake Erie, the British took advantage of an overland route from York (Toronto) to Lake Huron, used for centuries by Natives and fur traders. The route lay overland from Fort York up to the Humber River, which was followed north to Fort Gwillimbury (modern day Holland Landing). From there, supplies and personnel would transfer into boats to traverse the Holland River to Lake Simcoe, and then across to Kempenfelt Bay (Barrie). There, the Nine Mile Portage led through the wilderness to Willow Creek, which fed into the Nottawasaga River and hence into Lake Huron at Wasaga.
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