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With the naval balance on the upper lakes shifted after the disastrous battle of Lake Erie in 1813 in which Oliver Hazzard Perry's American forces humbled Barclay's fleet, the English protectors of Upper Canada realized the need for a new navy strong hold and although Turkey Point on Lake Erie was considered, Penetanguishene on Georgian Bay was settled on and in the winter of 1814, construction began.

By March of 1815, construction was halted after the peace treaty was signed the previous Christmas.

Having learned a hard lesson, the harbour and defenses were built up during the years 1816 - 1821. These were the fortifications peak times.

Now called "Discovery Harbour" and restored to the 1840s period, it's home to the restored (actually, reproductions,) schooners Bee, Tecumseth and Perseverance which still sail the bay. Guides in period costumes show visitors around the complex. There may also be one unexpected guide (of sorts,) that's not officially on the list of things to see at the site.

Way back on New Years Eve in 1839, a private named James Drury unfortunately froze to death inside the kitchen at the rear of one of the buildings. Today, curators report that possibly this private is responsible for wine glasses that disappear, strange noises and also the appearance of "someone sitting on the beds" (dents in the bedding and mattresses,) although no one is there.

Now everyone loves celebrating the turning of a new year but to be still celebrating more than a century and a half later is a bit much! Who knows if it is the private or indeed if the entity is celebrating but one things for sure, there may be more to discover at Discovery Harbour.

We are hoping to have a look around Discovery Harbour sometime in the new year... If you have any experiences around the Penetang area, please e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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