The Historical Influences of the Waterways on Haliburton County


The Historical Influences of the Waterways on Haliburton County


Brigham, Deneen

Supervising Faculty

Wadland, John; Whillans, Tom
Departments: Canadian Studies and Environmental Studies

Reference Number




Location of Document

U-Links Office and online


Haliburton County


Historical influences of lakes and rivers


Haliburton Highlands is noted for its natural beauty with over 555 named lakes. The focus of this paper is an historical overview of these lakes and rivers within the limits of bioregional theory; how the patterns of settlement and the resource development of the area were determined by these physical attributes. Specifically, the author concentrates on those waterways flowing south, draining into the Trent Water System. These include the lakes and tributaries flowing into the Gull and Burnt Rivers, and Eels Brook.

Beginning with a look at native groups within these systems and their use of lakes and rivers for hunting and transportation along with their sense of land stewardship, the paper moves on to the early exploration of the waterways by Europeans as they sought a practical military route between Georgian Bay and Ottawa. With the development of colonization roads, settlement moved forward. The importance of the waterways to the logging industry, which followed, is documented. Concluding that the waterways played a crucial role in the historical development of the region, the paper presents ideas for possible future research.


Trent University



Brigham, Deneen, The Historical Influences of the Waterways on Haliburton County, Trent University, 1990