Summary by Barbara Spyropoulos of March 23, 2015 planning meeting regarding Étienne Brûlé and Wendat Project

View of history display, related to the journeys of Samuel de Champlain, at Étienne Brûlé Park by the Humber River. Jaan Pill photo

View of history display, related to the journeys of Samuel de Champlain, at Étienne Brûlé Park by the Humber River. Jaan Pill photo

An earlier post provides a back story regarding the Étienne Brûlé and Wendat Project:

The year 2015 marks the 400th anniversary of Étienne Brûlé’s expedition from Orillia to Lake Ontario in 1615


View of Étienne Brûlé Park. Jaan Pill photo

The following text – which has been prepared by Barbara Spyropoulos of 12 Division, Toronto Police Service – can also be accessed as a Word file:

Click on image to enlarge it. Click again to enlarge it further.

Display at Étienne Brûlé Park. Jaan Pill photo


Next meeting is on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 10:00 am at 12 Division, Toronto Police Service


Detail from display

Detail from display. Jaan Pill photo

Following text is from Barbara Spyropoulos:

SUMMARY OF ETIENNE BRULE TEAM MEETING                                                         

Detail from display.

Detail from display. Jaan Pill photo

Humber River. On the right is Étienne Brûlé Park. Jaan Pill photo

Humber River. On the right is Étienne Brûlé Park. Jaan Pill photo

MARCH 23, 2014

Old Mill Toronto is located on the west side of the Humber River across from  Étienne Brûlé Park. Jaan Pill photo

Old Mill Toronto is located on the west side of the Humber River across from Étienne Brûlé Park. Jaan Pill photo


  • La Société d’histoire de Toronto Report
  • Crest
  • Route
  • Events September 11 – 13
  • Associated activities
  • Education
  • Tree Caching
  • Historic Plaques
  • Funding news
  • Exhibitions
  • To Do List
  • Next meeting

La Société d’histoire de Toronto Report

  1. La Société has created a crest for the anniversary celebrations that will be shared electronically with the group.
  1. The Route:
    1. Orillia – Champlain Park
    2. The Narrows
    3. Newmarket – Old Town Hall
    4. Aurora
    5. King City
    6. Kleinburg
    7. Vaughan
    8. Toronto
      1. Weston
      2. Etienne Brule Park
  • Riverside – Lucy Maud Montgomery Park
  1. September 11: Start point of the celebrations in Orillia. Focus on Champlain statue in Champlain Park. Participation by First Nations, Barrie Canoe and Kayaking Club (who will provide a North and a Montreal canoe for the event), students from Rama School and a School in Scarborough.
  1. September 12:
    1. Group 1 will canoe through The Narrows from Lake Couchiching into Lake Simcoe. There will be a sunrise drumming ceremony by First Nations. The Narrows is a designated historic place as it was a First Nations weir for fish. This would have been Brule’s route.
    2. Since the original route would have taken 15 – 20 hours, there will be a take-out point because of time line.
    3. Group 2 will consist of a hiking group that will start to the north of Newmarket/East Gwillimbury at the Green Lane GO station (East Gwillimbury) at 9:30 AM. At 10:00 AM, the hikers (and any community members who wish to join them) will proceed to the Old Town Hall in Newmarket, arriving at approximately 11:00 AM.
    4. The Newmarket Historical Society will create a re-enactment of a First Nations encampment and will offer cedar tea to the hikers in the traditional manner of hospitality.
    5. Celebrations in Newmarket will include the York Region French Association Choir and the Newmarket Citizens Band. The site is near the Newmarket Farmers Market which is near the old First Nations Trading Tree.
    6. At noon, the core group of 16 hikers and any who wish to join them will travel down the Nokiidaa Trail to Aurora where there will be similar festivities as in Newmarket.
    7. They will take the Oak Ridges Moraine trail to King City and perhaps stop at the Toronto Carrying Place trail plaque at 16th Side Road and Weston Road.
    8. The day will end having accomplished a 37 km hike.
  1. September 13:
    1. The hike will resume at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg at 8:30 AM.
    2. By noon, the hikers should reach Toronto.
    3. Celebrations will take place in and around Cruikshank Park/ Weston Lions Park/ Little Avenue Park/Raymore Park which are all proximal. Details of these events will be worked out by the Weston/Mt Dennis groups who will report back to the Brule team.
    4. The hikers hope to reach Etienne Brule Park by 3:30. However, since the park has been booked for several other events, the end point of the hike may be in Riverside at the Lucy Maud Montgomery Park which is within a kilometer of the Etienne Brule Park.
    5. Swansea Historical Society is arranging for permits to close part of Riverside Drive and to use the Park for their part of the event that will be themed “A Walk Through History”. They have plans for at least 20 period costumes that will range from the Brule era through to the time of Anne of Green Gables.

Associated Activities:

  1. Education:
    1. ACER has produced a pamphlet for distribution to schools and groups wishing to participate in the celebrations around the Brule history. An electronic version will be distributed to the Team for evaluation. They encourage feedback BUT NEED FEEDBACK BEFORE THIS THURSDAY MARCH 26.
    2. They are looking for a better picture and want to include the La Société d’histoire de Toronto event crest. Michael’s (the creator) joke is that he used Courier as the font!
    3. ACER suggests that once the pamphlet is finalized that it be turned over to La Société d’histoire de Toronto for translation to French.
    4. Alice Casselman requested that the account of the Brule expedition by Alexander Henry (1764) be forwarded to the Team.
  1. Tree Caching:
    1. ACER has offered to do tree caching in loops around the trails associated with community events relating to the Brule celebrations. Tree caching is the labelling of trees with Quick Recognition Codes (QRC) that allows the observer to access information (historical, biological, interesting facts) about the tree by directing the person to the ACER site. Communities can choose which trees to cache as well as customize the information surrounding that tree in a “Did You Know” section.
    2. Trees that have been cached can be used in activities such as scavenger hunts for the celebrations. Their site tracks hits/tree.
    3. The ACER site includes maps where trees have been cached, including the Humber College Arboretum. The site also includes information on how to establish trails.
    4. They are prepared to establish four more sites thanks to funds provided by TRCA.
  1. Historic Plaques
    1. Kasey Livingstone suggests that there be an unveiling of the Carrying Place Trail Plaque at the corner of Dundas and Old Dundas at the bridge over the Humber River. He would like to coordinate the unveiling with the walkers but doesn’t want to slow them down.
    2. Marylou Ashton would like the historical plaque at Little Avenue Park to be part of the Weston/Mt Dennis celebrations and suggests a tree planting to commemorate the Brule Anniversary. Alice Casselman suggests that multiple trees be planted to ensure the survival of at least one. Details will be worked out by the Weston/Mt Dennis team.
  1. Funding News.

Conference on Etienne Brule. Good news from Hugh Barnett. Etobicoke Historical Society has received a $16,000 grant from the Pan Am Committee. This money will be used in conjunction with the Swansea Historical Society and the Junction West Historical Society. They will report back on their plans for a conference on Etienne Brule and the history of the Toronto Carrying Place that will take place September 26.

Heritage York will feature an exhibition that focuses on Etienne Brule at Lampton House during the month of September.


  1. 12 Division will create a Facebook page or other on-line presence that will list all the activities surrounding the Brule event.
  2. ACER will help with the page by providing a map that will feature ‘balloons’ that will give information on events happening along the Brule expedition route.
  3. The page will also feature a collection of historical information (such as the Alexander Henry account and the ACER pamphlet).
  4. Team members will report back to their groups and solidify preparations. They will also contact area schools and organizations to solicit their participation in the celebrations.
  5. Team members will create a resource list that will give the location of restrooms in their areas as well as details regarding parking and public transportation as well as contact information for the lead person at each site.
  6. Team members will acquire permits for all parks or street closures that they anticipate using.


Excerpt of additional text from Barbara Spyropoulos:

Hi Folks,

Arin and Alice from ACER have created the map we spoke of at Monday’s meeting regarding providing a visual of the many events that are planned for the Brule celebrations.

Please take a look at it – you can access it on the ACER website:

Use the wheel on your mouse to make the map larger or smaller and click on the balloons to get the details for that site.


4 replies
  1. Mary
    Mary says:

    I’m trying to follow the information in the papers and online. Is there any canoe event on the Humber River for the event? We would be interested.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Here’s the answer, Mary:

    Hi Jaan.

    There was a couple of attempts to have a canoe event along the Humber but they all bottomed out for a variety of reasons. So I guess the short answer to Mary’s question would be ‘no’. The only water-connected activity will be in Orillia on the Friday but that’s not the Humber.

    Best regards,


    Barbara Spyropoulos
    CPLC 12 Division
    Toronto Police Service

  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I can add that, from the meetings I’ve attended (I attended some at the start of the 400th Anniversary planning process, then went back to my current focus which is the planning of a high school reunion taking place at Old Mill Toronto in October 2015), a number of people noted that you can canoe between the mouth of the Humber River and the small bridge that crosses the Humber River at Old Mill Road near Old Mill Toronto. To the north of the bridge, however, the water doesn’t offer a suitable environment for canoeing, as I understand.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *