FOREVER ON THE FRINGE: SIX STUDIES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MANITOULIN ISLAND
W. R. Wightman.
Volume 12 Number 1
W. R. Wightman is a member of the department of geography at the University of Western Ontario. He has written a first, a volume on Manitoulin Island. There has been little previously published historical research, yet archival catalogues and local records are plentiful.
Forever on the Fringe is a series of six chronologically arranged essays. They trace the island's history from French penetration in the 1600s, through the treaties with the native peoples, the surveying and opening to white settlement, and the various economic schemes and exploitations to present day. Each essay examines a predominating perception of the island's resource potential, accounts for its rise, describes the new pattern or balance in the activities it created, and assesses its impact on the island's human and physical landscape.
The term "fringe" refers to a number of things. Manitoulin is geographically on the "fringe" of Southern Ontario, just a little "too out of the way" for most southern Ontarians. In the nineteenth century, it lay on the fringe of colonial thought and policy. White settlement brought heavy resource exploitation, a boom-and-bust, resulting in the marginal agricultural activities in the pockets of good farmland today. Tourism will never be fully developed: the lakes are too cold, and there are not enough ski hills, and the major clusters of population are too far away. Yet distances are short enough to keep the island on the fringe of Toronto's influence.
The book is illustrated with nineteen black-and-white photos, twenty maps, most of which are drawn from original data, and the text is supplemented with fifty pages of footnotes. The bibliography lists primary and secondary sources, making it invaluable to the historian who wants to delve into particular aspects of the island's history. Although it focuses on Manitoulin, it reflects the major processes and trends that formed the past of numerous rural Shield-fringe communities stretching across Ontario's mid-north.
Algis Tribinevicius, Tehkummah, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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