Muskoka Post Staff
The history of Algonquin Park begins with the Algonquin First Nations.
Archaeological information indicates that the Ottawa Valley and Algonquin area was inhabited by Indigenous peoples for 8,000 years prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 1500’s. The Algonquin first nation, part of the greater Algonquian group of tribes, inhabited most of the Canadian region south of Hudson Bay between the Rockies and the Atlantic Ocean. The word “Algonquin” means “At the place of spearing fishes and eels”.
The area of present day Algonquin Park was part of the Algonquin hunting and fishing area which stretched from the great lakes up to and just north of the Ottawa River. Algonquin control of this area was unstable at times due to the wars and constant threat of the Iroquois. The Algonquins traded heavily with the French and remained important French allies until the French and Indian War (1755-63) and the summer of 1760.
An act to establish "Algonquin National Park of Ontario" was passed by the Liberal government of Oliver Mowatin the Ontario Legislature on May 23, 1893. Although called a "national park", Algonquin has always been under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. No provincial parks existed until Algonquin. The name was changed to Algonquin Provincial Park in 1913.
Additions since its creation have increased the park to its current size of about 7,653 square kilometres. For comparison purposes, this is larger than the state of Delaware or about one and a half times the size of PEI or about a quarter of the size of Belgium.
Today there are over 1,200 campsites in eight designated campgrounds along Highway 60 in the south end of the park, with almost 100 others in three other campgrounds across the northern and eastern edges.
With files from Wikipedia, The Canadian Encyclopedia.