Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

2004 - Now in our 15th Year - 2019

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The Grand Portage

The Grand Portage

Photo by contributor Dave Fernie - Posted October, 2005

Plaque Location

The District of Thunder Bay
The Municipality of Neebing
In Pigeon River Provincial Park
across the river from the site of the former portage
off Highway 593, 1.6 km west of Highway 61

Coordinates: N 48 01.910 W 89 36.653


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Plaque Text

Circumventing 34 km of falls and rapids, this portage ran some 14 km from Lake Superior to a point upstream on the opposite side of the Pigeon River. It was first mentioned in 1722 by a French trader named Jean Pachot. Following its use in 1732 by La Vérendrye, it replaced the Kaministiquia Route as the canoe route to the West. About 1767 the Grand Portage became a rendezvous for Canadian fur traders and, after 1778, the North West Company's inland headquarters. By the Treaty of Paris, 1783, the Portage fell within American territory. In 1803, the Company moved its headquarters to Fort Kaministiquia (Fort William), and the Pigeon River route was then abandoned.

Related Ontario plaques
The Grand Portage
Sieur de La Vérendrye 1685-1749
Great Dog Portage
The North West Company
The Kaministikwia Route
Fort William
Fort Kaministiquia 1717


Fur Trade

Neebing Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted October 17, 2013
We saw this plaque on October 1, 2013. It is located in Pigeon River Provincial Park (formerly Middle Falls Provincial Park) but the campground in which it stands is closed and getting quite overgrown. To access this former campground, drive along Highway 593, 1.6 kilometres past its intersection with Highway 61 and turn in at what used to be the campground entrance (close to where the Pigeon River begins to run along Highway 593). Drive another 30 metres, keeping to your right and park your vehicle. Walk past the closed gate for no more than 5 to 10 minutes. You will pass a couple of observation platforms and a picnic shelter. The plaque is on the banks of the river, just a few metres beyond the picnic shelter. We didn't see any ghosts while we were there but it sure felt weird walking in an abandoned campground where you could still make out where the roads once ran and where the campsites once stood! I don't know if the Highway 593 entrance will remain open for much longer, so I would recommend you visit this site as soon as you possibly can.
Albert Joseph

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