Sainte-Marie among the Hurons Blacksmith

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons Blacksmith forge was built 1642, as one of the keys to creating a self-sustaining community in Huronia.  With the forge up and running, the people living at Sainte-Marie could custom build the items that they needed.  The only other option was waiting for supplies to arrive from Quebec. The trip from Quebec to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons took thirty days one way, by canoe, which made custom manufacturing iron goods that much more important. Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons BlacksmithThe primary Blacksmith at Sainte-Marie was a Jesuit lay brother by the name of Louis Gauber. He was charged with the task of making iron tools, hinges, spikes, nails, and other structural items used to assist in the construction of not only Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, but other structures throughout Huronia that the Jesuits were involved with. Gauber would have also created items that were used for trade such as awls and fishhooks. Gauber worked the forge at Sainte-Marie from 1642 until the settlement was ultimately abandoned in 1650.

Mining operations had not begun in New France in the 1640's therefore iron was brought to the New World from established mines in France. Iron would have been transported in various forms, from large bars known as ingots, to flat, round, or square rods, in various weights and dimensions. The ingots would have been used to create larger items such as tools. The rods would have been used for smaller items like nails, or hinges. During times when iron was scarce, items around Sainte-Marie that were deemed nonessential could have been repurposed and turned into need supplies like nails.

Most people are familiar with a typical one hearth forge in which a blacksmith uses coal to heat the metal they are going to work with. Sainte-Marie among the Hurons forge is not unique but is a less common type of forge that uses two hearths. The black smith uses the first hearth to burn hardwood and produce hot wood coals. Once enough wood coal is available the Blacksmith scoops the hot wood coal out of the first hearth and places them in the second hearth. The second hearth would have a set of bellows attached, that allow the blacksmith to pump a large amount of oxygen in to the bottom of the coals, providing a perfect place to heat metal to a temperature at which it can be worked.

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Many special events take place at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons throughout the year, so be sure to check out their special events calendar.

Additional Resources


Ontario Rodeo Association Finals 2011

Alliston played host to the Ontario Rodeo Association Finals 2011 from September 30th to October 2nd.  The rodeo was held inside the Alliston Memorial Arena, with capacity crowds each of the three days.

Ontario Rodeo Association Finals 2011 - Cowboy getting ready to ride

The top 7 contestants in each category from the previous 14 Ontario Rodeo Association events qualified to be a part of the finals.

Categories included...

  • Bareback Bronc Riders
  • Saddle Bronc Riders
  • Steer Wrestlers
  • Team Ropers
  • Breakaway Ropers
  • Tiedown Ropers
  • Barrel Racers
  • Junior Bull Riders
  • Junior Barrel Racers
  • Bull Riders

Stephen Leacock's Summer House

In 1928 a new house was built, on the shore lines of Old Brewery Bay and Barnfield Bay, both part of Lake Couchiching.  This new house was to become the summer home of Stephen Leacock and his family. Stephen Leacock House

Stephen Leacock is perhaps one of Canada's most celebrated writers of the 20th Century.  After Leacock's death in 1944, the  Stephen Leacock Memorial Committee was founded in 1946.  One of the committees highest priority's was to establish a medal in Leacock's honour for humorous writing.  The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal was first awarded to Harry L. Symons for Ojibway Melody in 1947, and continues to be awarded to this day.

In 1957 the City of Orillia purchased the former Leacock property (approximately 9.5 acres) with the intent of turning it into a Museum, which it has been ever since.  The Main Floor of Leacock House features a portfolio of original signed portraits by the master photographer Yosuf Karsh, taken of Stephen Leacock at Old Brewery Bay in 1941, along with personal possessions, and books.  The secondy floor houses the the Art of Writing Galleries, which until 2001 had been guest rooms.

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In 1992 Leacocks summer home became a national historic site, two years later the plaque was unveiled.