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Elise von Koerber and Swiss Settlement
Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted May, 2005
Photo by contributor Albert Joseph - Posted August, 2011
The District of Parry Sound
The Municipality of Magnetawan
In a park on the south side of Highway 520
east of Bridge Street, street number 4135
Coordinates: N 45 39.969 W 79 38.340
In 1873 a small group of Swiss immigrants arrived in the Parry Sound District and formed the basis for a Swiss colony. The settlement was organized and directed by Elise von Koerber, a native of Baden, Germany, who had been living in Canada for some sixteen years. Appointed immigration agent by the federal government in 1872, she actively promoted immigration as an outlet for poor and socially dislocated persons and by 1877 had brought several hundred Swiss to Canada. With her encouragement and assistance many of these settled in her colony in Parry Sound. Most of the German-speaking settled at Magnetawan while the French-speaking chose the Doe Lake area. Although the hardships of settlement discouraged many, in 1881 about 200 Swiss remained in this region.
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