Georgian Bay

What the Bay Saw: Poetry and Photography Video

Even though we knew this project was happening, it caught us by surprise this summer to see the new wind farm at Henvey Inlet First Nation. I’ve spent my summers among these islands my whole life. Our family picnics were in this area. The photo at the top of this post is taken just across the water from the lighthouse where my grandfather lived as a child.

The visual of seeing one or two windmills is very different than seeing a whole wind farm, especially in a landscape I know so well. In the summer of 2018 there was a worrisome fire in this area and for the first time I realized I take this landscape for granted. I assume it will always stay the same because it was always the same. It was difficult to watch the effects of fire.

It was difficult to see 87 wind turbines, rows and rows of structures in an area that has seemed so untouched in Northeastern Georgian Bay for my lifetime. But then I started looking for other signs of footprints left behind that have started to fade into what we know. Rings and pegs from the logging era piercing through rock. Buildings and docks and boats. Ghosts of buildings now abandoned, rubble among the bush. Railway tracks. Oil boats.

Each generation brings something different. An invasion to the natural world that makes our lives more convenient. Most of this summer our Internet was horrible there. We decided that it was likely interference from the wind farm. We want the luxuries of the city without the structures or the changes to our environment.

My aunt Pat wrote a story years ago about the day electricity came to Britt in 1951. She remembers church bells clanging in the middle of the day and the whole town making their way into the street to watch the light outside the Post Office turn on for the first time. Homes transforming from the glow of gaslight to the buzz of electricity.

I thought this relationship with the landscape would be interesting to explore in a multi-media poetry project. This video includes four poems written by me exploring energy and the environment with photos taken by me.

We crave change, yet resist disturbance.

This video was premiered at the Words on a Wire event at the Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts on October 26, 2019 in Cobourg, Ontario.


  • Mickey Johnston

    I’ve really enjoyed your webpage, and reading the stories about Britt. My mother, grandparents and great-grandparents lived across the river in Byng Inlet. Im 75 years old, and am doing the research to get my Metis card. I have always treasured my heritage, but thought it would be impossible to trace my ancestry back, but with I think its possible. My grandfather is/was Albert Normandin, son of David Normandin, son of Scholastique Berger. Im having trouble establishing a link between David and Scholastique, and wonder if you have any documentation that could help me. Thanks if you do. I appreciate all the help I can get.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.