Up Top Sports Shop

Up Top Sports Shop

About Up Top Sports Shop

D.A. Williamson and Sons and the Up Top Sports Shop is your local one stop shopping destination in the heart of beautiful Manitoulin Island. With products for the home, cottage, business, sports or leisure lifestyle – you can find it all at Williamson’s. Stop by and experience over 90 years of family run business tucked into one shop.

Established in 1921 by David (Davy) A. Williamson as the first hardware and grocery store of it’s kind, D.A. Williamson & Sons has proudly remained a trusting family-run business in the heart of downtown Mindemoya. Currently owned and managed by the third generation of Williamson’s, brothers Blaine & Barry, we are known and trusted by locals and tourists alike as “the place to get it all”.

Located on the main floor, the original structure of D.A. Williamson & Sons still stands as Mindemoya’s go to home and hardware retailer. Whether you’re looking for specific parts for that home project you’ve been wanting to finish or simply shopping for a decorative piece to accent your garden, we are always willing to provide you with exactly it is you’re looking for. With services such as key cutting, paint mixing, and a handful of experienced staff to help you along the way – you can get it done at Williamson’s.

Take a stroll upstairs and visit the legendary “Up Top Sports Shop”. Have a chat with our knowledgeable staff who are always eager to help you with your hunting, fishing, and outdoors needs. We offer fishing and hunting licenses in-store for your convenience. Learn about the best lures for your fishing trip, pick up a free map of the island and explore Manitoulin’s ultimate outfitting destination.

Contact Information:

147 King Street, Mindemoya, Ontario

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Neon Raven Art Gallery

Neon Raven Art Gallery

About 
Neon Raven Art Gallery

This unique gallery is located in the heart of M’Chigeeng at 53 Corbiere Road. It’s unique because of its construction: adobe bricks made by the owners from locally sourced clay, just like the large home adjacent. It is also unique because of the art (paintings, prints and sculpture) from three members of the Beam family: Ann, Anong and the late Carl. Some of the artwork is monumental; all of it makes you think. Ann Beam is a charming host and guide with a story to go with every piece. A visit to Neon Raven is a memorable experience. 53 Corbiere Road, M’Chigeeng, Ontario. Telephone 705-377-6088.

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Lillian’s Crafts

Lillian's Crafts

About 
Lillian's Crafts

A big room is arrayed from floor to ceiling in unique pieces of local Anishinaabe art dating back to the 1940s: rare ash baskets woven with consummate dexterity and intricate quill boxes with lifelike animals and plants tufted in quills by artists Anne Pangowish, Rose Williams, Josette Debassige, Mildred and Melanie Aguonie and many others whose work is preserved here for posterity.

The distinctive and highly collectable paintings of Wiikwemkoong artist Leland Bell line the back wall; ceramic bowls, beaded hide moccasins with fur trim and skillful carvings of antler and bone, going back many decades, line glass cases. Lillian’s collection is far reaching but intimate, inviting viewers to appreciate the age-old techniques, materials and designs used in the creation of these cultural treasures.

Lillian’s Museum: 5950 Hwy. 540, M’Chigeeng, Tel.: 705-377-4987. Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm; Saturday 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Admission by donation. http://lilliansindiancrafts.com

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M’Chigeeng First Nation Traditional Powwow

M’Chigeeng First Nation Traditional Powwow

August 31st & September 1st

The powwow at M’Chigeeng First Nation is held each year on Labour Day Weekend, the last of the Island’s powwow season. The community’s powwow grounds are spacious and provide lots of room, not only for dancing around the large arbour, but for visiting and enjoying the large assortment of powwow food and crafts that the vendors have on offer. M’Chigeeng’s powwow grounds are accessed from Highway 551 and share the same entrance as the community’s ballpark.

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Golf

Manitoulin Golfing

If you’re a golfer, by all means pack your clubs and come to Manitoulin Island.

Manitoulin is a large island (the biggest one in fresh water in the world) with a relatively small population (13,000-plus) but there are three golf courses here and each one of them is distinct in its features.

“Manitoulin’s Old Course” is the nine-hole Brookwood Brae Golf Course located not only within 2 km of the busy village of Mindemoya but also on the shoreline of Mindemoya Lake, one of Manitoulin’s larger inland lakes.

The nine hole course comes with its own array of bungalow cottages and is neighbour to three more housekeeping cottage businesses and a motel, all within walking distance of the course.

The course has challenging features and is also a fine course for golfers of every skill, especially those who, following their swing, can look forward to a glimpse of the beautiful lake, the large island called Treasure Island whose profile (an old woman on her hands and knees, according to local Ojibwe legend) will come in and out of your view as you play through, giving you the time to make up your own mind about the legend.

Just outside of the North Channel port town of Gore Bay, the Manitoulin Island Country Club offers golfers nine holes of bucolic beauty. The course, set in the fertile farmland that marks the Gore Bay area, is both gentle and subtly challenging. Manitoulin Island Country Club is Manitoulin’s only municipally-owned golf course; the rural township of Gordon/Barrie Island, although primarily agricultural, besides the golf course, is also the proud host of the Gore Bay-Western Manitoulin Airport and, along its share of the North Channel shoreline, one of Manitoulin’s distinctive and historic lighthouses: Janet Head Light.

We’ve covered the golf courses in Manitoulin’s central region and in its West End.

On Manitoulin’s eastern side, and just outside the historic village of Manitowaning, the Rainbow Ridge Golf Course is Manitoulin Island’s championship 18-hole golf course. It is also unique as it is owned and operated by the neighbouring Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. This challenging course has numerous water features and a clubhouse that enables golfers to play their favourite game year-round, in any weather, at the state-of-the-art virtual golf course that has been installed there. Players can choose to play this way at most of the world’s most famous and challenging courses: suddenly, you’re there, at, for example, St. Andrew’s, and you have to match your play to the giant computer-generated vista before you and you must accommodate its perks and foibles as you play through as the virtual program gives you an extremely realistic experience, course by course.

Golf carts and clubs are available to rent at the pro shops at each course. Each club has dining facilities at its clubhouse and you’ll meet Manitoulin Island golfers as you play through or relax in the clubhouses.

Brookwood Brae
Golf Course

Ketchankooken Trail, Mindemoya

705-377-4979

Rainbow Ridge
Golf Course

Clover Valley Rd, Manitowaning

705-859-2990

Manitoulin 
Golf

25 Golf Course Rd, Gore Bay

705-282-2282

Lillian’s Museum

Lillian's Museum

M'Chigeeng

A stone’s throw from the OCF, around the corner and east on Hwy 540, is the unmissable Lillian’s Museum, a dedicated space attached to Lillian’s Crafts’ large shop that holds owner Lillian Debassige’s prized 70-odd-year-old collection of Anishinaabe arts and crafts.

A big room is arrayed from floor to ceiling in unique pieces of local Anishinaabe art dating back to the 1940s: rare ash baskets woven with consummate dexterity and intricate quill boxes with lifelike animals and plants tufted in quills by artists Anne Pangowish, Rose Williams, Josette Debassige, Mildred and Melanie Aguonie and many others whose work is preserved here for posterity.

The distinctive and highly collectable paintings of Wiikwemkoong artist Leland Bell line the back wall; ceramic bowls, beaded hide moccasins with fur trim and skillful carvings of antler and bone, going back many decades, line glass cases. Lillian’s collection is far reaching but intimate, inviting viewers to appreciate the age-old techniques, materials and designs used in the creation of these cultural treasures.

Lillian’s Museum: 5950 Hwy. 540, M’Chigeeng, Tel.: 705-377-4987. Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm; Saturday 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Admission by donation. http://lilliansindiancrafts.com

Article by

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry is a photographer and writer who has also worked extensively in the field of human rights advocacy. Her photos have been widely exhibited and she has published articles in many magazines; as programmes director and executive director for PEN Canada for twenty years, she worked on behalf of the right to freedom of expression internationally. Now living on Manitoulin Island, Isobel works as a freelance writer and photographer and is a frequent contributor to the weekly Manitoulin Expositor newspaper and the annual This is Manitoulin magazine. Her interests lie at the intersection of arts, culture and human rights.

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Ojibwe Cultural Foundation

Ojibwe Cultural Foundation

M'Chigeeng

The modern architectural form of the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF), fully situated in the present, pays homage to the everlasting traditions of the Anishinaabek–the Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi of Manitoulin Island and the Great Lakes region.

Light permeates the open circular atrium that forms the heart of the entryway and of the building itself. Towering cedar poles buttress the room’s soaring canopy, lifting the spirit in the upward gaze. Activities radiate likes spokes from a wheel in offices, a large workshop and activities area, a Healing Lodge, also circular, that holds a sacred fire for ceremonies, Ojibwe language radio station CHYF-FM and a museum that reflects on the inexorable links between traditional creative expression and modern manifestations of Anishinaabek art.

Upon entering the OCF’s museum, a large dreamcatcher bathed in soft spotlight compels the visitor to consider the meanings it conjures. Originally crafted by Ojibwe mothers to protect sleeping children from harm, the dreamcatcher still acts as a symbolic filter, trapping evil and letting good flow through wherever it is hung. This dreamcatcher, in forged steel by M’Chigeeng steelworker artist Kathryn Corbiere, evokes the traditional uses and construction of this beloved cultural emblem, but seems imbued with even more than the usual resistance in its use of materials, perhaps in response to increasing modern threats to the environment, and thus to identity and way of life. A beautiful work of art, Ms. Corbiere’s Dreamcatcher is hung near the museum’s entry doors, a powerful sentinel, a steely reminder of what endures, its metal web perhaps shredding malevolent spirits to bits, allowing only positivity to pass into the museum experience beyond. It’s immediately the sort of cultural encounter that is repeated throughout the exhibits in myriad inspired forms.

“Anishinaabek art history is one of incorporating new materials, of playing with materials in continually re-interpreting traditional art forms,” says OCF Executive Director Anong Migwans Beam, who is a member of M’Chigeeeng First Nation and a widely exhibited multi-media artist.

We pause before two glass cases, each displaying an elaborately beaded1870s ‘bandolier bag’ gifted to the OCF; with a flat bag in front conceived “to show off a big panel of beaded design,” according to Ms. Beam, the bandolier has a wide beaded strap diagonally crossing the chest to one shoulder.  

Anishinaabe bandolier bags, modeled on rifle bags worn by Europeans, “evolved with increasing trade in the Great Lakes region and the acquisition of new materials such as cotton and wool cloth, beads and ribbons.” The tiny glass ‘seed beads,’ sewn densely in elaborate patterns onto cotton, wool or hide backing by the women, carpeted the bags in symbolic imagery and dazzling colour to be worn ceremonially by the men. “Beads allowed for curves in patterns where before, the use of quills did not,” says Anong Beam. “The signature floral patterns on these bags were made possible by the flexibility of the newly available materials.”

Beyond the antique bags, another bag is displayed close by, ‘beaded’ by contemporary artist Barry Ace, using salvaged computer components and copper wire to form complex floral motifs based on traditional designs. Says the artist: “I am referencing Anishinaabeg beadwork as a metaphor for cultural continuity, bridging the past with the present and the future, and as a demonstrable act of nationhood, resistance and modernity. My contemporary practice intentionally, yet respectfully, transcends and moves forward conventional Anishinaabeg cultural boundaries as a confluence between the historical and contemporary.”

Confluence is felt in all the Museum’s exhibits: in the art of Christian Chapman, entitled ‘Kings and Queens,’ that fuses silkscreen onto Woodlands-style paintings, in the traditional jingle dress side by side with one silkscreened all over in small faces, in the quill box made by Mamie Migwans and designed by Carl Beam (“she was the first to use toned-down colours in quill work,” says Anong) and in the large display of contemporary quill, black ash and textile art by members of today’s community next to a wall-size interactive introduction to Anishinaabe life precepts.

Anong Beam scans the visually evocative space: “With Anishinaabe art, there is a constant push for new expression. The push comes from a desire to build bridges between traditional and contemporary expressions, to show them together in a continuum of creativity.”

Ojibwe Cultural Foundation: 15 Hwy 551, M’Chigeeng, Tel: 705-377-4902. Open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4 pm; Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Admission by donation. https://ojibweculture.ca

Article by

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry is a photographer and writer who has also worked extensively in the field of human rights advocacy. Her photos have been widely exhibited and she has published articles in many magazines; as programmes director and executive director for PEN Canada for twenty years, she worked on behalf of the right to freedom of expression internationally. Now living on Manitoulin Island, Isobel works as a freelance writer and photographer and is a frequent contributor to the weekly Manitoulin Expositor newspaper and the annual This is Manitoulin magazine. Her interests lie at the intersection of arts, culture and human rights.

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Mindemoya’s Pioneer Museum

Pioneer Museum

Mindemoya

On Manitoulin, as each new township was surveyed after the still-controversial 1862 Treaty between the Anishinaabek and the Crown, the first settlers, mostly from the Collingwood and Coldwater areas of Ontario, homesteaded the land of Campbell (1867), Carnarvon (1867-70) and Sandfield (1870), former townships now amalgamated into today’s Municipality of Central Manitoulin.

The pioneer days of Central Manitoulin’s proud heritage of farming, fishing and lumbering are carefully recreated in the historically evocative outdoor settings and local exhibits of the compact Pioneer Museum, conveniently attached to the Welcome Centre on Highway 551 in downtown Mindemoya.

Last fall, the Central Manitoulin Historical Society hired the museum’s first curator, Caty Virostek, on a one year contract, recently graduated from the Museum Management program at Fleming College. Ms. Virostek, who is from the Sarnia area, has been cataloguing the collections and the many artifacts that are held in storage. “There are so many artifacts,” she says, “and no place left to put them. We need extra space.” The curator has re-designed the displays and labels to highlight unique items within organized themes, so that each exhibit has breathing room; a carefully curated selection of artifacts evokes the people, places and events of the early days without overwhelming the visitor.

Local farm histories, photos and mementos of early schools and businesses are evidence of the dynamism of the burgeoning community of the mid-1870s. Wagg’s Creamery, founded by A.J. Wagg in 1907, thrived until 1981, when it was sold to the Farquhar dairy family. The former stone creamery’s cornerstone now stands at the front of the Central Manitoulin Welcome Centre and Pioneer Museum. Inside the museum, a display case dedicated to Wagg’s business holds original butter boxes, milk bottles, a miniature Wagg’s delivery truck and a poster for “homogenized ice cream”; another reminder of the Wagg family is the forested parcel of 42 acres with easy walking trails called Wagg’s Woods, east of the town’s centre, around the corner on Highway 542.

One side of the museum’s bright room displays several survey maps of the first land partitioning, and on the opposite wall hangs a most unusual quilt hand stitched by the late author, activist and artist Marion Seabrook, a replica in cloth of a section of the ‘Landowners of Carnarvon Township Survey Map’ that Ms. Virostek found in storage.

For 40 years, from 1928 until 1968, Marion Seabrook’s parents, Joe and Jean Hodgson, operated a popular tourist resort on Mindemoya Island, Lake Mindemoya’s prominent landmark of Ojibwe legend. The Hodgsons bought the ‘largest freshwater island within an island in the world’ and re-named it Treasure Island. A resort brochure describes the fourteen two-and three-bedroom cottages and boasts of “no mosquitoes or blackflies!” Several histories of Treasure Island were written by this literary family, and are available for browsing: Jean Hodgson’s ‘Treasures from Treasure Island,’ and Marion Seabrook’s story of her grandfather’s arrival on Manitoulin in 1874, entitled ‘One Man’s Journey,’ and ‘Once Upon an Island’ and ‘Touched by an Island.’

In the peaceful, leafy park off the museum’s back deck, a dollhouse-like log cabin built by William and Agnes King in 1867, was donated in 1993 to the Central Manitoulin Historical Society by Jack and Marion Seabrook, who had had it moved first from its original site to their new golf course, Brookwood Brae. They spent four summers in the simply furnished two-storey cabin before bequeathing it to the museum.

A large barn with ‘1921’ emblazoned at its peak displays rare early farm machinery, pulled by oxen or powered later by steam, side by side with vintage examples of a ‘utility’ horse-drawn buggy constructed of plywood, of a more upscale ‘courting’ buggy with upholstered seats, and of a ‘democrat’ with a rear seat to accommodate more passengers, all much in use for chores and travel in the late 1800s; there’s a horse-drawn sleigh carriage in the barn, whose smooth, flat “skis” glided over icy roads and lakes in winter.

Across the way is the blacksmith’s log workshop with anvils and woodstove, walls covered in the old tools of the trade for the forging of horse shoes and iron and steel wagon wheel rims, hoes, rakes, nails, hinges and latches.

A covered bridge holds an open-ended gallery of genealogical histories of the first settler families who secured land grants for farms, established first a general store, then the saw and grist mills, wagon and blacksmith shops, school and churches of the growing community. Here, papering the inside walls of the bridge, are the long lineages of the Love, Kay, Fletcher, Wedgerfield, Galbraith, Hutchinson, Williamson and Bock families and of many other ancestors and descendants of the original folks who settled these swaths of land bordered by magnificent Lake Mindemoya, with a storied island at its heart.

Central Manitoulin Welcome Centre and Pioneer Museum

2207 Hwy. 551, Mindemoya

Tel: 705-377-4383

Open 9 am to 5 pm every day in July and August.

Article by

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry is a photographer and writer who has also worked extensively in the field of human rights advocacy. Her photos have been widely exhibited and she has published articles in many magazines; as programmes director and executive director for PEN Canada for twenty years, she worked on behalf of the right to freedom of expression internationally. Now living on Manitoulin Island, Isobel works as a freelance writer and photographer and is a frequent contributor to the weekly Manitoulin Expositor newspaper and the annual This is Manitoulin magazine. Her interests lie at the intersection of arts, culture and human rights.

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Wagg’s Wood

Wagg's Wood

Difficulty ★★★★    •    Approx. 1 Hour

About 
Wagg's Wood

Right off one of Mindemoya’s main streets, Hwy 542, Wagg’s Woods is located almost directly across the street from the municipal office and library building. Features maple, basswood, birch and ash. Moss climbs the cliffs which are part of the Niagara escarpment. Watch for 15 different species of fern. Allow 1 hour.

You may wish to bring:

Tips from a Local

Manitoulin trails offer something for everyone. Take a look at the difficulty ratings and lengths to find yourself an appropriate hike to suit your needs. It’s better to have a safe and enjoyable time than to get stuck on a trail that’s beyond your comfort level.

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Maja’s

Maja's

Fresh Food • Home Baking • Events

About Maja's

Maja’s is name for the owner-operator whose colourful home and shop in downtown Mindemoya along Highway 542/King Street also feature an ample side lot that over the course of the summer hosts Maja’s Garden Gigs. Wednesdays and Saturdays (but not every week so call first). These events feature food (much of it from the garden) and music. The adjacent store also sells baking and preserves made on-site and, for cycling enthusiast, Maja’s is ground zero for information.

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Contact Information:

6152 King Street