Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

2004 - Now in our 15th Year - 2019

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The Huron Fish Weirs

Huron Fish Weirs

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted May, 2005

Huron Fish Weirs

Photo by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted December, 2009

Plaque Location

The County of Simcoe
The Township of Ramara
At the Mnjikaning Fish Weirs National Historic Site of Canada
just south of the east end of the Atherley Narrows bridge

Coordinates: N 44 36.213 W 79 22.103


Plaque Text

In the adjacent Narrows joining Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching are the remains of Indian fish weirs. They were noted by Samuel de Champlain when he passed here on September 1, 1605, with a Huron war party en route to attack the Iroquois south of Lake Ontario. The weirs consisted of large numbers of stakes driven into the bottom of the Narrows, with openings at which nets were placed to catch fish. These weirs (claies) caused Lake Simcoe to be named Lac aux Claies during the French regime. Their remains were noted by archaeologists as early as 1887, and their location was partially charted in 1955.

Related Ontario plaque
Champlain's War Party, 1615


First Nations

Ramara Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted October 19, 2008
The national park service estimates these weirs are the "Largest and best preserved wooden fish weirs known in eastern North America, in use from about 3300 B.C." Incredible.
My uncle dove on the site in the mid-1950s as part of the effort to locate the weirs' remains (as noted on the plaque). Under the direction of a professor working on behalf of the province, he and his fellow amateur SCUBA divers tied empty white plastic Javex bottles to each wooden stake they found.
After they surfaced, a surprise. He says the bottles formed distinct V-shaped patterns throughout the Narrows area. My uncle remembers that photos were taken of that, but he's never seen them. If anyone knows where they can be found, please contact me. My uncle and I would both appreciate seeing them. (I've already been in touch with Ontario Heritage Trust, ROM, and Trent University.) Thanks.
While this has been a national historic site since 1982, there is no federal plaque erected.
Wayne Adam

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