972 Highway RR # 1,
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Ontario Tourism Region : Bruce Peninsula, Southern Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe
- Pop. 335. In Oro T., Simcoe C., on the N shore of Kempenfelt Bay off L. Simcoe and Rds. 20 & 57,13 km NE of Barrie.
- The community was founded by Col. Edward G. O'Brien, a government land agent commissioned to locate a group of escaped slaves in Oro T. about 1830.
- In the course of his duties, Col. O'Brien decided to settle in the township and acquired a grant of 400 acres (162 ha) on Kempenfelt Bay.
- Other settlers, some of them half-pay British officers, also took up land at the site, living in rude shelters while building more substantial homes.
- (Half-pay officers received half pay as pensions because they had been wounded or because they remained available for recall to active service).
- It was the appearance of these shanties against the sparkling waters of L. Simcoe that led O'Brien to call the place Shanty Bay. St. Thomas' Church was built by local parishioners using a construction technique known as ''rammed earth.'
- Wet clay mixed with straw was compacted into wooden moulds and left to harden. When dry, the mud walls were reinforced with a coating of plaster to protect them from the elements.
- The church still stands and is one of the few surviving structures of its kind in Ontario.
- In 1908 a government dock was built, and passenger service to points around the lake was made available on the steamers Geneva and Islay.
Address of this page: http://www.stirling.ruralroutes.com/shantybay