Hunters and gatherers stroll the shores of the Bay as early as 9000 BC. There is confirmation in Killarney that semi-nomadic Plano people set up camp around that time. Woodland Indians moved into the area around 225 BC.
Thousands of years later (around 1640) the natives in the region were detached into to two language groups: Algonkian-speaking people to the north and Iroquoian-speaking to the south. The Huron’s established on the southern shores of Georgian Bay, farming and trading with other tribes.
Alexander Henry arrived in 1761 and soon became one of the most prosperous traders on the Great Lakes. Henry set out traveling west passing Point aux Grondine named “grumbling point” for the constant sound of waves as they hit the shoals. The next day he arrived on an island west of Killarney. Striking a small rock against a boulder inspired him to name the place La Cloche Island (the bell island).
By the 1800s, small villages had developed around the many fur trade posts. Settlers branched out into fishing and lumber operations, prompting the need for railroads and shipyards to transport goods.
By the early 1900’s the new age of tourism arrived in the Great Lakes. Life for these summer migrants was unhurried and simple: sketching, painting, fishing, canoeing, sailing, and swimming. They socialized over a cup of tea or a game of cards at each others camp, cottage, hotel, or private club. Many of today’s Georgian Bay towns still rely mainly on the vacation industry with the many vacationers enjoying the same pleasures for the past 100 years.