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Paying Tribute to Ontario's Francophone History Along the Heritage Walkway at Rotary Champlain Wendat Park

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Paying Tribute to Ontario's Francophone History Along the Heritage Walkway at Rotary Champlain Wendat Park

Ministry of Francophone Affairs


The first European appeared in the Penetanguishene area around 1610. Samuel de Champlain, governor of New France, dispatched eighteen-year-old Étienne Brulé a French voyageur to explore Georgian Bay. Brulé travelled from Quebec to learn the ways and language of the Huron-Wendat Nation and establish fur-trading contacts from Penetanguishene to Quebec. Brulé's youth, bravery and adventurous outlook contributed to his discovery of three of the Great Lakes and helped established French roots in Penetanguishene. Brulé became the first permanent French representative in this region, and adopted some of the Aboriginal customs that suited him. In 1629, while war was waging between France and England, Brulé betrayed Champlain, and guided the English fleet up the St. Lawrence River where the English and Iroquois captured Champlain and Quebec. It is speculated that Brulé's treason and other indiscretions caused the Huron-Wendat to turn on him, killing him in 1633.



In the early 1600s, the shores of Penetanguishene were the land of the Huron-Wendat Confederacy. The Huron-Wendat were a nation of farmers, hunters and traders who lived in large communal groups of up to two thousand people in several long houses. They were a matrilineal society who traced their descent and inheritance through the female line. The women were responsible for the majority of the farming which sustained the people as they grew three-quarters of their food. By 1615, the Huron-Wendat had forged a formal trade alliance with the French and befriended Champlain. The Huron-Wendat society would undergo profound change as a result of this relationship. Today the Huron Wendat live in Wendake near Quebec City.


Prior to Canada becoming a nation, a new Aboriginal people emerged as a result of unions between  Native women and European men. These initial offspring were of mixed ancestry and were the beginning of a new Aboriginal people with a distinct identity and culture in west central North America - the Métis Nation. These Métis people were connected through the fur trade network, extensive kinship and a collective identity. In Ontario, historic Métis settlements emerged along rivers and watersheds surrounding the Great Lakes and throughout to the northwest of the province. One of these settlements was a vibrant community in Huronia. In fact, Métis were among the region's earliest settlers to Penetanguishene with the Drummond Island Migration of 1828 to 1829.

Father Laboureau (1837-1904)

Theophilus Francois Laboureau was born in 1837 in France and was appointed to St. Ann's Church in Penetanguishene in 1873. He felt that his small church should be replaced with a fitting memorial church to commemorate the deeds of Canada's heroic missionaries and deep history of Penetanguishene. For the next few years, Father Laboureau travelled through Europe securing funds to build St. Ann's church. In 1886, the cornerstone was laid, and the "Cathedral of the North" was completed in 1902.

Father Le Caron (1586 - 1632)

Joseph Le Caron is one of four pioneer missionaries of Canada and the second European to land in Huronia. Born in 1586, Le Caron was a Catholic Priest who arrived in Huronia in 1615, shortly before Samuel de Champlain, establishing a relationship Huron Wendat. On August 12, 1615, he held the first Catholic mass in Ontario at Carhagouha, just outside of present day Penetanguishene.

Father Murray (1892-1975)

Father Athol Murray, future member of the Order of Canada and Hockey Hall of Fame, came to St. Ann's Church in Penetanguishene in 1918, shortly after his ordination. Father Murray was instrumental in the 300 year celebrations of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain that took place in 1921 known as the Old Home Week Celebrations, including a massive re-enactment and the erection of the Angels of Good Intentions at the entrance to town.


The three plaques unveiled in the commemorative park during the closing ceremony of the 400th echoes the one given by the government of Ontario to the City of Honfleur, on October 12 2015. The plaques depict the story of Champlain's visit in Ontario in 1615 in English, French, Anishinabe, Montagnais-Innu, Mohawk and Wendat, the languages spoken by the four First Nations that Champlain met during his first stay. This is the text which can be found on the plaques:

Champlain in Ontario, 1615

In April 1615, Samuel de Champlain (c.1574-1635) embarked from Honfleur, upon his seventh voyage to New France. Upon arrival in Quebec, Champlain was informed of increasing tensions with the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) the traditional rival of his Anishinabe (Algonquian) and Wendat (Huron)allies. He travelled west to Huronia on a diplomatic and military expedition where he visited several villages including Cahiagué, a large and important Wendat settlement. With a mixed force of 400-500 First Nations warriors and a few Europeans, Champlain travelled southeast along the Trent River system, crossed Lake Ontario and attacked a fortified Haudenosaunee village in present-day New York State. Lacking reinforcements, facing a formidable enemy and an early winter, the allies withdrew to Cahiagué with the wounded Champlain. During his recovery in Huronia he visited nearby Anishinabe and Tionontati (Petun)settlements. Although later European contact brought epidemics and escalating conflict that had a profound impact on indigenous peoples, the alliances that Champlain helped establish survived. He returned to France the following August and later published important detailed descriptions of the peoples, societies and landscapes of what would become Ontario.

This following texts are written in the language spoken by First Nation people whom Champlain encountered in 1615:

Champlain gaagii ayaaj Ontario, 1615 (Anishinabe)

Megwaa apii Niki'giizis 1615, Samuel de Champlain (megwaa 1574-1635 e'gikinowiniwak) Honfleur gii'onjigabaa, azha niizhwaswaa bidagoshin New France. Apii gii'bidagoshing Quebec, Champlain giiwiindamawaganiwi enibimi maanzhi wiijiwidiwaaj Haudenosaunee gaye me'onzha gaa'gii pii'onji mawineshkaadinij gaawiijiwaaj Anishinabe gaye Wendat. Nengaabii'anong giizhimaajaa e'pabaa maawadishiwej dazhiikewinan dago Cahiagué, e'michaag e'kichiinendaagwak Wendat dazhiikewin. Niiwaak akonaag naanwaak anishinaabeg dago aanind agaamakiiwininiwag, Champlain o'gii' wiijiiwigoon zhaawanong waabanong naani Trent ziibiing, gii'aazho'amoog Ontario Gichi'zaaga'iganing e'gii ando mawinewawaaj Haudenosaunee anishinaabe'i noongom New York Gichi'mookomaanagiing ijigaade. Giinoode boonichigewag idash, gii'inaamowag Cahiagué egii'maaki'aganiwij Champlain. Megwaa gii'ani minoyaaj imaa Huronia o'gii maawadisaan besho giidaanij Anishinabe gaye Tionontati dazhiikewinan. Gagii'ani baatiinowaaj agaamakiiwininiwag e'gii piidoowaaj aakoziwin gaye miigaazowin, niibiwa gii'onji maanzhisewag anishinaabeg, ogo gaagii wiiji'igoj Champlain omaajitaawin gii'onji zhaabwiiwag. Gii'an kiiwe agaamakiing France apii Adidemini'giizisoon gaye giitibaajimobii'ige egii tazhimaaj wenenag, gaa'izhinaagwak aki biinish noongom Ontario aki gaagii aniizhinikaadeg.

Champlain anite tiat Ontario, 1615 mishta-atshitashun (Montagnais-Innu)

Ne napeu, Samuel de Champlain, kaishinikatanit nikatimushipan utenam Honfleur kaishinikatenit uta shiship-pishimu 1615.  Champlain kainiut 1574 nuash nete 1635 kanipat. Eukuanu nishuasht tatuau tshipa ishpanu anite New France.  Tekushanit ute Kuepek, Champlain uiatimuakanit eka minupananit nenu innu kaishinikatakaniti Haudenosaunee mak nenu uitsheuan, Anishinabe kie Wendat. Ekue itutekue nete Huronia tshemupat mitshet utenau kie nenu peiku kaishinikatenanit Cahiague, eukuan ne meshat kie eshpitenitakuak Wendat utenau. Uiesh neu-tatumitashumitannu mak patetat-tatumitashumitannu itashut innuat kashimakanishishat kie passe akaneshauat teshapanit, ekue tshiatutet nete Trent Shipit etuet.  Tashkaimeimut nenu shipinu Ontario shipu ekute natupanut anite Haudenoseaune kaishinikatenanit utenanu.  Ekuan ne anutshish keishinikateua New York State. Apu mitshetikuenit uinuau kie mishta shutshinishipan nenu nutshikuat kie shash peshinakushinipan tshetshi pipunanit. Nenu uitsheuan nete ituteshipanit Cahiague kie ushikuianishipan ne Champlain. Mekuat minu-enniut ne Champlain anite Huronia eku mupishtueshan pessish utenau kauitshananit Anishinabe mak Tionontati. Ekue, etatu takushinanit kataku Akaneshuat ekuan petakanit akushunu kie etatu natupannanu. Ekuta mishta matshipananit mitshet innuat muk tshika inniunu nenu uitsheuan ne Champlain kauitshukut. Nete tshiauet Champlain kau France uta upau-pishimu ekuanu meshineitshekue.  Eku uiauitak nenu pet ka eitit kie innu uiauinat kie nenu uiatak assinu eshinakunanit kie eshinniunanit auennu.  Ekuanu nenu assinu ka uauitak  ekuan ne anutshish Ontario keishinikateua.      

1615  Iahárawe  Champlain  ne  Ontario (Mohawk)

Ne  Onerahtókha  1615  Honfleur  tahahtén:ti  ne  Samuel  de  Champlain  (c  1574-1635),  né:ne  tsatáhkhaton  shahakwátho  ne  New  France.  Tsi  iahárawe  ne  Quebec,  wahonwahró:ri  ne  Champlain  tsi  na'tehotiri:wate  ne  Haudenosaunee  tánon  ne  raónha  thonatenróhon  Anishinabe  tánon  Wendat .  Wa'thathaháhkwe  é:neken  Huronia  nonkwá:ti  sotahr  wahón:ne,  tsi  kanataién:ton  iahakwatóhseron,  ó:ni  tsi  nón:we  ratí:teron  Wendat,  Cahiagué  konwá:iats.  Nia'tehá:ti  Onkwehón:we  wahonwanatia'táhrhase  400-500  nihá:ti,  tohkara'k  nihá:ti  ne  Ohontsakaionhró:non.  Éntie  nonkwá:ti  ne  nàkon  niahá:re  ne  Champlain  kaniataraktóntie  ne  Trent,  wa'thaiáia'ke  ne  Ontario  Kaniataráhere  tánon  iahshakotinataká:ri  tsi  ronatená:taien  ne  Haudenosaunee  ne  nón:wa  ne  New  York  wahstonhronón:ke.  Iah  tshiekaiéri  tsi  niahaonkwè:taien  tánon  wa'thontatken  ne  ratihseróhen,  ónen  ni'ó:ni  waohserá:te.  Ne  thonwáhnhes  Cahiagué  nionsahón:ni  skatne  ne  rokarewahtonhá:tie  Champlain.  Tsi  nikarí:wes  aonsahatkwatá:ko  ne  Huronia  nonkwá:ti  iashakotke'totháse  ne  Anishinabe  tánon  Tionóntati  tsi  ratí:teron.  Ronhá:tien  tsi  ohna'kén:ke  ne  Ohontsakaionhró:non  tahatíhawe  ne  nia'tekahnrá:ke  tánon  ne  teka'nikonhrhá:ra  ne  ki'sháka  ia'thóntieste  ne  Onkwehón:we,  tsi  nikáien  ne  tahonténrohwe  ne  Champlain  iah  thénon  tehotiia'tawén:en.  O'seronnio'nwé:ne  nieshawé:non  ne  Seskehkó:wa  enhni'tà:ke,  ohna'kénke  wahahiá:ton  washakotharáhkwe  ne  Onkwehón:we  rotitiohkwaiénton  tánon  tsi  niiohontsó:ten  ne  Ontario  ieiotón:o'n. 

Yenten  ontarionde, sangwat wahia enniot iwasen asen wich iskare (Wendat)

D'onne ahaon d'aƟochingota, sangwat wahia enniot iwasen asen wich iskare, Tsawer de Yenten (sangwat wich iwasen tsutare ndak iskare dinde sangwat wahia enniot achienk iwasen wich iskare) aharaskwa etioreyenchata.  Tsutare arati aharaskwat dex'ondechate. D'onnen ahaont teyiatontarie, Yenten ahariharony hontatrio d'hotinnionchiondi dinde hatichrawata honriskon de Wendat.  Ehawehti atawatukwahs Wendake. TehandaƟareson ondatonnion.  Skandatat Kahiaye  ondataywannen.  Hondakiwanhation hotiskenrayehta ndak enniot iwasen din wich enniot iwasen onywe d'onywe dinde Ɵora Hatinnionyenhak.  Hatiyawe ekandate, hatindiuhon Ontario dinde tehatindataton Hotinnonchiondi hatindatawan hendondechawan de Skandetatironnon.   Hotiskenrayehta teshation, hontatrio hontieronkwa dinde tioskenia onne ontayochaƟe.  Honriskon ahonraskwat  onsahondet Kahiaye. Ɵo honatenhaon ondaie Yenten hondatatrio ahonasterayi.  Onne etihandare hayondaƟaron Hondatawat dinde Etionnontateronnon. Aweskwak Hatinnionyenhak hatinnrokawi dinde hontatriochenhaon.  Oten Yenten hondatsi  harihwanditi. Ɵo Yenten onsahret  Yannionhake  onnenhondia.  Aaharihwandotonnion onywe d'onywe dinde hendondechawan, d'ondechate aaiatias "Ontario."

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