bayfield breeze issue

The Bayfield BreezeIssue 708 Week 06 Vol 14

February 1, 2023


Issue 708 Week 06 Vol 14
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This painting of Louie MacLeod, the captain of the Helen MacLeod II, shown here depicted on a book cover published by the Bayfield Historical Society, was done by well known Canadian painter A. Bruce Stapleton. The artist painted many scenes of Bayfield while summering at the Willock cottage on Bayfield Terrace. (Photo courtesy Bayfield Historical Society)

After 25 years and with some false starts, the Bayfield Historical Society (BHS)  is hoping to give the Helen MacLeod II project one last try with a twist on the original intent. The first meeting regarding the project was held on Jan. 24 at the Bayfield Archives and Heritage Centre.

Eleven members of the BHS have joined the Helen MacLeod II committee. The object of the committee will be to do costing and establish a realistic plan to complete the project without needing fundraising or future expenses. The BHS originally formed a committee in 1997 with the purpose of “restoring/reconstructing” this historic boat but over time this initial idea has evolved into having a place to display the vessel.

At this initial meeting it was decided that the committee will try one last time to complete the project with the object of displaying the remains of the boat if it can be moved intact.

“After discussion, it was decided that a delegation would try again to secure a municipal piece of property appropriate for an enclosed building, resembling a fishing shed,” said Ruth Gibson, past president of the BHS.

The 38 foot schooner is currently sitting on a steel cradle in a shed north of Bayfield.  Before obtaining quotes for the creation of a “fishing shed”, securing a place to put it will be the first hurdle.

“It was felt that all costs could be covered by the donations that are currently in an investment fund,” said Gibson. Over 25 years (and with investment and interest), BHS will have $51,000 in May 2023, when the GIC term deposit is due, for the Helen MacLeod II Project.

She added, “Next month it will be decided whether the committee will pursue getting quotes for a building as well as building permits and agreements with the municipality.”

Anyone with an interest in assisting the committee with their efforts is invited to reach out to Ruth Gibson at

Editor’s Note: For a more detailed look at the history of “Helen MacLeod II” please scroll down to the photo story section of this issue!


“At no time in history has it been more important for all humans to take stock of our behaviour as it relates to Mother Earth. Storms, floods, fires, droughts in every corner of the globe. While there is a limit to what an individual can do for many of these devastating events, we can think globally and act locally.  We can make a difference in our home and communities,” said Ray Letheren, representing Blue Bayfield.

He added, “Earth Day is a time for us to resolve to make a change, or make further changes, in our relationship with Mother Earth.”

On Apr. 22, Blue Bayfield and its many partners are hosting a full day of activities that will highlight what people can do to reduce their impact on the planet and also to celebrate their bond with nature.

The morning will be highlighted with a hike on the Woodland Trail. It will be led by Michele Martin, an authority on woodlands and watersheds. This will be followed by a village cleanup.  Both these events are hosted by the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association.

Over the lunch period, local eateries will serve delicious food with a focus using local produce.

“The afternoon will feature a full program at St. Andrew’s United Church with presentations about our waters and our relationship to earth,” said Letheren.

Performances by the Bayfield Ukulele Society, The Glee Sisters as well as a cello-piano duet will be given between presentations.

Blue Bayfield will present a brief overview of their book, “The Great Lakes: A Time of Reckoning”, a look at the many threats to the lakes and what individuals can do to prevent further degradation. Following this, the keynote speaker will be Alexandra Ho, a Canadian representative at COP27, the UN Climate Change Conference held last November in Egypt.  She is a University of Waterloo student in the Master of Climate Change program with a background in Psychology and English Literature. She focuses on understanding the relationships between climate change communications and behavioural choice-making as well as the impacts of climate change on mental health and psychological wellbeing, particularly among youth.

Whilst the older set enjoy these performances and presentations, over in Pioneer Park, children will be engaged in Earth Day activities with the guidance of Janneke Vorsteveid, who is respected for her work with youth through her program, Seeds Rooted in Youth.

At the conclusion of the day’s events, participants will be provided with white pine tree seeds and growing material. When these trees are mature, they will produce enough oxygen for two people and absorb 10 kg of CO2 per year.

All events are free and everyone is welcome. Donations for seeds would be appreciated. This will truly be a day to remember!


The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) recently announced its 2023 hiking season.  Twenty-four hikes and events are planned from now through October (to view the full list please view Issue 706 of the Bayfield Breeze).

From now through Feb. 25, Guided Winter Walks will be offered every Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Varna Nature Trails. Participants are asked to meet at the Varna Community Centre, 1 km west of Varna, to hike the Taylor Trail and Mavis’ Trail.  These walks will be between 1 km and 3.5 km and last an hour or less, depending on the group and the weather.

This year’s hikes include the fourth annual International Women’s Day Hike (March 4), the third annual Indigenous People’s Day Hike (June 17), and the first annual Pride Hike (June 3).

The BRVTA will also support the Earth Day Village Litter Walk (Apr. 22), the Terry Fox Run (Sept. 17), and the Candlelight Walk in support of Huron Hospice (Apr. 1).

Guest guides George Ebers, Jordan George, Dave Gillians, Denise Iszczuk, Michele Martin, Dave Pullen, Robert Tremain, and David Yates will offer their expertise on topics from wildflowers to Admiral Bayfield.

All hikes are free and open to the public without pre-registration, unless noted otherwise.  The schedule is subject to change, so always check for updates in the Bayfield Breeze, the BRVTA Facebook page, and the Municipality of Bluewater events calendar, or contact hike coordinator Ralph Blasting at 519 525-3205 or

It should be noted that the Woodland Trail is closed twice a year during hunting season. In 2023 those dates will be Nov. 6-12 and Dec. 4-10.



Iris (Submitted photo)

BFF has so many wonderful cats and kittens looking for their forever families right now.

Iris is the Adopt a BFF cat of the week.

This stunning beauty had lived on the streets of Bayfield for over a year when she was brought in. She came with three, little, fluffy babies as well. Unfortunately, one did not survive. These two remaining kittens were featured in Issue 705 and around the Rescue they are known as “The Dandy Brothers”.

Although Iris is not quite ready to be handled she has grown increasingly curious about people and loves being an indoor cat. She’s pretty social with the other cats but prefers to perch up high and look down upon the volunteers as they go about their daily business of feeding, scooping and socializing. Treats are always welcome but again her preference is that they be brought to her.

According to Deb Penhale, representing BFF, “This photo doesn’t do Iris justice because when she’s sitting or laying down she looks like she’s laying on a silver cloud as all her fur appears to have been frosted at the tips. As you can see she is a centrefold and is now posing proudly rather than eluding the camera.”

To learn more about adopting Iris please contact BFF via email at for more information. The adoption fee is now $200. Adopted cats are vetted, shots are up-to-date and they are also spayed or neutered. Not able to adopt but still want to help? Donations are always gratefully accepted and can be e-transferred to the email above.


Bayfield Ward Councilor Bill Whetstone will host his next Councilor’s Corner on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Bayfield Community Centre.

The public is invited to attend the session that will begin at 10 a.m.

Topics of interest will include the Short Term Rental draft bylaw and the 2023 municipal budget.


The congregation of Trinity St. James Anglican Church is currently hosting an Online Pampered Chef Party with the Pampered Chef Consultant donating 20 per cent of sales to be shared equally with Trinity St. James and the Bayfield Area Food Bank.

Items purchased will be shipped directly to the purchaser so people who live outside the community can participate as well. Not a big online shopper? No worries – Rev. Mary Farmer has catalogues available for people to browse through as well. Please email her at for more information.

Culinary enthusiasts and those who shop for them can find the link to the sale here: Pampered Chef Party. The last date for placing an order is Feb. 17.

The Men’s Breakfast  is returning to Trinity St. James on Saturday, Feb. 4 and men in the community are invited to attend. Coffee will be served at 9 a.m. with breakfast following at about 9:30 a.m. This is a pay what you are able event. To ensure enough food is available anyone planning to attend is asked to please email John Pounder at prior to Feb. 2.

Trinity St. James Anglican church is located at 10 Keith Crescent in Bayfield.


Anyone with a flair for, or an interest in, poetry will be excited to learn about “Bayfield Poet’s Corner” to be held at the Bayfield Public Library on Feb. 9.

David A. Bell, of Bayfield, and author of “In the Gardens of our Mind” will host the event that will run for one hour starting at 6 p.m.

All are welcome and encouraged to bring both their writings and a friend!


People often ask if they can add an engraved brick to the path around the Splash Pad in Clan Gregor Square and members of the Optimist Club of Bayfield are pleased to announce that there is further opportunity to have a name added to the circle in 2023.

The engraved pavers in Clan Gregor Square are a reminder of how great area residents and visitors are when it comes to supporting such projects as the Playground and the Splash Pad.

“In Memoriam” stones for loved ones as well as “just because” stones can be ordered with the work being done on site later in 2022 using the same two brick sizes that are already installed around the Splash Pad. The cost of these engraved bricks will be medium, $90; and large, $120. The plan is to have the bricks engraved in late May just prior to opening the Splash Pad.

Anyone with an interest in adding a brick can contact Mike Dixon via email at or by calling 519 955-5254 for further information.


“Sun, Sand and Skates” is the theme of the Bayfield Skating Club’s Skating Carnival and Showcase to be held on Sunday, March 5 at the Bayfield Arena and Community Centre.

This year’s carnival is being organized to showcase the many talented skaters that belong to the club and will also serve as a reminder that winter won’t last forever!

The skaters will take to the ice at 2 p.m. providing attendees with an hour and a half of great entertainment.

Admission is $5 per person with kids five and under admitted for free.

The Bayfield Arena and Community Centre is located at 4 Jane Street in the village.


The Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centre is now hosting the Bayfield Playgroup at the Bayfield Arena and Community Centre, 4 Jane Street, on Thursday mornings.

The sessions are held from 10-11:30 a.m. and are free to all families/caregivers with infants to children aged six years.

The Playgroup offers indoor, outdoor and virtual program options as well as telephone and email support for parents and caregivers. In addition to the program being welcoming, fun and interactive, they provide parents with ideas of activities to do at home to enhance their child’s development.

Pre-registration is recommended by emailing or calling 519 482-8505. To learn more visit or follow them on Instagram and Facebook at @HuronEarlyON.


Calling all Bayfield area tweens and teens! The Bayfield Public Library (Bayfield Branch)  is challenging youth ages 12 to 18 to read at least one book a month from January to June 2023 for a chance to win some amazing prizes. Are you up for the challenge?

For every book a youth reads, their name will be entered to win one of the prizes listed below. Draws will be made at the end of the program. The Bayfield Branch has a tracking form which can be picked up from the branch during regular hours, or can be completed by downloading a form at: Bayfield Teen Reading Challenge Form.

Looking for ideas of what to read? Explore the Huron County Library’s online catalogue or speak with branch staff who are eager to offer reading recommendations.

Prizes for the Bayfield Branch reading challenge include, but are not limited to: $250 gift card from Forever Furniture; $25 gift card from The Village Bookshop; four, $25 gift cards to The Village Bookshop from Pioneer Park; four, Kids Kraft Workshop gift cards from Crichet Handmade Designs; a selection of graphic novels from Friends of Bayfield Library; selection of gift cards from the Bayfield Optimist Club; Hyacinth Bulb kit from Huron Ridge Greenhouses; Sherpa blanket from the Little Inn of Bayfield; selection of books from the Bayfield Agricultural Society;

handmade products from the Bayfield Lavender Farm and Great Lakes Glory; Bayfield booklets from the Bayfield Historical Society; and swag from the Virtual High School & Bruce Power.

All completed tracking forms must be returned to the Bayfield Branch or emailed to  by the contest deadline of Wednesday, June 28.


Members of the Bayfield Tree Project (BTP) would like to remind village homeowners that now is the time to think about Spring planting.

“This is the time of year when the Municipality of Bluewater starts to order trees for the upcoming planting season,” said Sondra Buchner, on behalf of the BTP.

Anyone who does not have a tree planted on their property’s municipal frontage (boulevard) and is interested in having one planted should contact the Municipality as soon as possible.

The easiest way to request a tree planting and to learn more about this process is by visiting: Bluewater Tree Planting. The deadline for requesting a tree planting is Feb. 24.


Now that the community is slowly moving toward group activities the creators of Bayfield Activities Calendar  have completed a recent update and refresh on the website. People are once again invited to refer to this website to learn what activities, from Pickleball to Mahjong, are happening and when.



Meeting Place Organic Farm is a 100 acre draft powered family farm located in Huron County. In operation since 1973, it is now under the stewardship of the second generation of the McQuail family represented here by Katrina McQuail. The farm recently was announced as a Living Wage Employer with United Way Perth-Huron. (Submitted photo)

Meeting Place Organic Farm is the latest Huron business to certify as a living wage employer.

“Sustainability is important to me and to the farm operation, and that means on all levels, not just environmental,” said Katrina McQuail, who operates Meeting Place Organic Farm for her family. “It made perfect sense to prioritize paying our staff a living wage.”

“We thank Meeting Place Organic Farm for certifying,” added Lisa Harper, United Way Perth-Huron’s manager community development, Northern Huron. “Through paying a living wage, the McQuail family is helping build an even stronger local community by investing in the well-being of their employees.”

Based on a 35-hour work week, the new Perth-Huron living wage or $20.70 was calculated using local data and considered the living expenses of a weighted average of family types including a family of four, a single mother supporting a seven-year-old child and a single adult, once government transfers and deductions were taken into account. Everyday expenses in the calculation included food, housing, utilities, clothing, childcare and transportation.

For more information about Perth-Huron’s living wage, visit


The Livery Film Fest continues with two more films booked to share with movie buffs. They will present “Revival69: The Concert That Rocked The World” on Feb. 16 and “Living” on March 23.

Revival69 is a documentary describing how a Toronto rock concert was languishing until the organizer reached out to John Lennon at the last minute.  He was hoping that Lennon would act as master of ceremonies for the event, but Lennon agreed to come only if he and Yoko Ono could play.  The concert was headlined by the Doors and included Alice Cooper, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard.  Lennon brought Eric Clapton and other musicians to fill out the Plastic Ono Band.

The film features interviews with Alice Cooper, Rush’s Geddy Lee,  plus recently discovered archival footage.  Theatre-goers can relive the whirlwind chaos leading up to the festival, and the aftermath where Lennon broke up the Beatles immediately after the show.

“Living” stars Bill Nighy in an Oscar nominated role as a British Civil Servant forced to re-evaluate his life choices after a medical diagnosis.  He tries to cram as much fun as he can into his previously staid life.  In addition to Nighy’s Best Actor nomination, the film is also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.  The film has played at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it has been described as “uplifting” and “deeply moving” and the actors as “pitch-perfect”.

Both films will be shown at the Park Theatre, located at 30 Courthouse Square in Goderich and begin at 7 p.m.

A new opportunity at the Film Fest is a film talk to be held immediately after the shows at Paddy O’Neil’s Restaurant Pub. The pub is located in the Bedford Hotel at 92 Courthouse Square.’

For more information, please email: Livery Film Fest Chair Rob McAuley at


It was announced in Stratford on Jan. 30 that leading addiction and mental health agencies in Huron Perth, Choices for Change and Resilience Huron Perth, have officially transitioned to a branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). The organization will now be known as CMHA Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services.

“Today is a very exciting day for our two agencies and their dedicated and committed staff. Now individuals in both Huron and Perth Counties experiencing mental health and addiction issues will be able to access the best possible care and services using a centralized and consistent intake process,” said CMHA Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services CEO Catherine Hardman. “Clients will only have one agency to tell their story to and one intake process, making it easier for clients to seek service and community partners to refer individuals.”

Becoming the 27th branch of the CMHA in Ontario provides additional benefits for the newest agency, including the ability to leverage branch expertise and best practices across the province.

“CMHA has a 70-year history in Ontario and is a key player in the community mental health and addictions sector,” said Claudia den Boer, the supervisor appointed by Ontario Health to lead Resilience Huron Perth during this transition period. “It’s reassuring to know there’s a strong branch network where you can find guidance, advice and staff support.”

CMHA Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services has served approximately 2,662 individuals in the areas of case management, supportive housing, addiction recovery and related programs. CMHAs in Ontario support more than 100,000 individuals each year with mental health and addictions programs and supports.

“As a sector, our goal is to support our communities through the delivery of much needed mental health and addiction programs and services. As such, we are delighted to welcome CMHA Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services into the CMHA family,” said CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville. “This newest addition today only adds to the strength of our network of branches in Ontario in the areas of case management, supportive housing and addiction recovery. We’re excited for the future and for what is to come.”

CMHA Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services is a local mental health and addictions agency which provides a variety of services, including addiction counselling for youth and adults, mental health case management, peer support, court support, counselling for problem gambling/behavioural change, supportive housing, community withdrawal management and more. Their goal is to provide quality services and easier access for those impacted by mental health and/or addiction issues in the communities across Huron and Perth.

CMHA,Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. They work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Their vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. They are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health.


HPPH is changing how it displays local COVID-19 information for Huron-Perth. Up until this point, they have been updating their own dashboards on COVID-19 testing, cases and vaccination; now, similar weekly information for Huron Perth region is also available through Public Health Ontario’s: COVID-19 and Influenza Activity dashboard.

While HPPH prepares a new way to display local information on respiratory illness that will be the most helpful to residents, the previous Tableau dashboards will not be updated.

Public Health Ontario’s dashboard includes a wide range of COVID-19 data about Huron Perth, including case counts by hospitalizations and deaths, vaccine uptake by age, sex and public health unit, outbreaks, and more.


On Jan. 28, the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) declared an outbreak of COVID-19 on the Inpatient Unit at its Seaforth Community Hospital site. And on Jan. 31 a second outbreak was declared on the Inpatient Unit at its Clinton Public Hospital site.

Outbreak status refers to two or more confirmed positive COVID-19 cases among patients or team members that could have possibly been acquired in the hospital. The unit is now closed to admissions until further notice.

Huron Perth Public Health is working in collaboration with HPHA and patients, family/caregivers and team members affected by the outbreak are in the process of being notified. Necessary contact tracing and testing for individuals on the unit are also taking place. Family and Caregiver Presence on the Unit has been restricted. The only exception is for palliative patients at the end of life. Care teams will regularly update families/caregivers and make them aware of opportunities for virtual connections.

“With COVID-19 still circulating in our communities we would like to remind everyone to layer up their protection to help prevent the spread,” said Erica Jensen, manager Quality, Patient Safety & Infection Control for HPHA. “This means keeping up-to-date with your vaccines/boosters, wearing a mask when in indoor public spaces, washing your hands often and staying home if you are feeling sick.”


As of Jan. 31, respiratory illness season indicators are stabilizing or improving in Huron Perth, and residents are encouraged to continue taking actions to prevent illness spread.

The number of lab-confirmed cases of influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Huron Perth are declining. As of Jan. 25,  there were two active COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes and 10 people in hospital due to the virus. Huron Perth Public Health has recorded eight deaths due to COVID since Jan. 1st, 2023.

Seven of the recent deaths were associated with COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes, while one was a community-related death. The individuals were between the ages of 70 and 99 years.

“I extend my condolences to the loved ones of these individuals,” said Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen. “COVID-19 remains a serious illness for some people, especially those who are older. While we are seeing signs of improvement, it is important to keep taking actions to protect those who are most vulnerable to severe outcomes from this virus.”


The Alzheimer Society Huron Perth (ASHP) is currently looking for dedicated volunteers to help with their In-Home Recreation Program.

The In-Home Recreation Program allows short-term respite for the care partner, while providing companionship for the person with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.

Fully trained volunteers provide 1:1 weekly visits with the person living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia with visits ranging from one to hours. Volunteers will facilitate activities and provide social and cognitive stimulation for the person living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.

For more information regarding volunteering please contact Paulina Balch via email at or by calling 519 271-1910.


The Friends of Bayfield Library (FOBL) extend a warm welcome to all to attend their  “Coffee & Chat” program in the Bayfield Public Library Meeting Room. The “Coffee & Chat” group meets every Tuesday until the end of March.

Participants can enjoy a hot cup of coffee while engaging in conversation with other community members. The conversation is neutral and inclusive with an endless list of interesting topics for discussion.

The session runs from 2-3:30 p.m..

This is a great way for newcomers to meet new people, learn about the village, and share ideas. Seasoned villagers are also very welcome. There is no need to register for this program. Just show up and be prepared for some lively discussion!


Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has recognized outstanding achievements in conservation each year, since 1984, with conservation awards. The conservation authority will present the Conservationist of the Year Award, for the 40th consecutive year, in 2023.

Past award winners have included rural landowners and residents, agricultural producers and farms, service clubs, community organizations, companies, nature groups, and municipalities.

The local conservation authority invites the public to nominate a person, business, farm, community group, or organization in 2023 for the Conservationist of the Year Award. People may nominate a nominee until Feb. 15.

The nomination form can be found by visiting here: Conservationist of the Year.

“There are many local stewards helping to protect and enhance our local watershed resources,” said General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of ABCA, Brian Horner. “This award is one way we can say ‘Thank you’ to them for the needed positive stewardship actions they are taking.”

Individuals, organizations or companies who either reside in, or have completed conservation work in, the ABCA area are eligible to win the Conservationist of the Year award. Current ABCA staff members and directors are excluded. The Conservation Award acknowledges one individual or group per year who demonstrates positive conservation principles. The nominee must have undertaken conservation efforts over a number of years showing long-term benefits for nature and society. Examples of conservation work include: improving local water quality; conservation farming; reforestation; conservation education; providing wildlife and fish habitat; and promoting awareness and action for soil, water, and habitat for all living things.

ABCA presents the winner with a hand-crafted gift and makes a donation towards a tree and plaque at a Commemorative Woods site maintained by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.

“We have been pleased to recognize many deserving recipients over the years,” Horner said. “We also know there are many others who may not receive an award but who are worthy of recognition and we thank them as well.”



The Huron County Museum is home to thousands of artifacts that illustrate the history of both the rural and urban populations of the area. Space dictates what wonderful curiosities the public regularly gets to see when they visit the museum located at 110 North Street in Goderich. But where there is wifi, there is an opportunity to time-travel with over 6,700 pieces of the museum’s collection now available to view online at

“Remember This” highlights items from the collection of the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol. Items that have shaped the fabric of the county and the people who have lived here since before the county became the county in 1835 up until more recent times.

This week, with the arrival of a polar vortex, and the cold temperatures that it brings, thoughts turn to dressing warmly when venturing outside…


Displayed are pictures of an outfit worn around 1910 when the anonymous owner snowshoed in Montreal, Quebec while on Mount Royal.

Included in the ensemble is a red coat with a padded collar and an attached pointed hood. The hood is half lined with black material and has a drawstring around its edge. The jacket has black stripes along the cuffs and hood and just below the waist. It  has a black button at the neck; the remainder of the buttons are missing.

There are red wool knickers to match the jacket. They have a button fly, side pockets and one back pocket. The waistband of the knickers has black vertical stripes with five buttons. They are lined with white and blue striped cotton. The knicker cuff fastens together with a buckle.

To cap off this early 20th century fashion there is a red toque with a pom-pom on a long string coming out of the top of the hat.

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Jacket with knickers

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  With the recent formation of a new committee to determine the future of the historic sailing vessel, “Helen MacLeod II” we thought we’d share the vessel’s story as written in the book “For the Love of Bayfield – The Events and Special People Who Shaped this Village” published in 2018 by local historian Dave Gillians. This book is available from the Bayfield Historical Society please email for full details. 


Nestled in a barn just north of Bayfield, lies one of Canada’s and the Great Lakes region’s most significant marine heritage icons, the “Helen MacLeod II”.

This classic, 38 foot, wooden “Huron Boat”, was the last commercial, sail powered vessel to work on the Great Lakes. It was built in and sailed out of Bayfield’s Harbour and represents a link to the first century of settlement around the Great Lakes.

Just as the “Bluenose” honors Maritime sailors and the “Victory” immortalizes British naval heroes, the Helen MacLeod II pays tribute to the brave fishermen and sailors in small wooden sailing ships who busily moved people and goods and braved the unpredictable power of the Great Lakes.

During the first century of settlement around the Great Lakes, two-masted schooner rigged boats went by several names including: Mackinaw boats, Collingwood skiffs and Huron boats. They evolved with certain distinctive regional characteristics which changed according to economic and environmental circumstances, but their shape was distinctive.

Huron Boats like the Helen MacLeod II were used longer and more extensively on the Great Lakes than any other boat and with very few shipwrecks or loss of life.

Bayfield’s first recorded commercial fisherman, Hugh MacLeod, had two sons who served in the first World War.

His youngest, Robert, was killed in the trenches of France, and Louie, who enlisted with the 91st St. Thomas Battalion and also participated in several battles. Hugh MacLeod had died in poverty in 1919 and his boat, the “Helen MacLeod” had been left in very bad shape while his sons were away at war.

When Louie returned home to Bayfield he and his brother Jack, fished from Hugh’s old boat, but it had been built on the ‘flats’ beside the river in the 1890’s and was past repair.

In the 1920’s, the brothers somehow managed to obtain some old Marlton Shipyard boat molds that had been used by Bert MacDonald in Goderich. We can only speculate on how old these forms were and how many Mackinaw or Huron type fishing vessels were built from them.

Louie and Jack had built boats with their father, who had learned some of his skills where he was raised on the Isle of Lewis, in the Hebrides, north of Scotland.

They had inherited the skills to incorporate the best features of the classic Huron Boat into a seaworthy 38-foot fishing vessel as well as making some adaptations such as squaring off the stern to create more working space for deeper nets.

The boat was built on the ‘River Flats’ near the old MacLeod homestead and fishing shacks and launched in 1926.

The Helen MacLeod II is carvel planked (it has planks that are fixed to a frame and butt up against each other, edge to edge, so that the hull is stronger and smooth). It has a centreboard and is a gaff rigged schooner just like most other Huron or Mackinaw boats.

The family had a sentimental side. Helen MacLeod was Louie and Jack’s sister who had died at a young age. When they were building the boat along with their young nephew Hugh A. McLeod, they added pieces of wood from their father’s original Helen MacLeod and from the Malta shipwreck that had come ashore on the beach in Bayfield in 1882.

The Helen MacLeod II was captained by Louie MacLeod until 1945. Although she had a Gray 4 cylinder auxiliary engine, Captain Louie would never use it if he could sail.

Under Louie’s direction she became a top fishing schooner and a legendary heavy weather rescue boat that went out in all conditions.

After suffering a stroke in 1945, Captain Louie could no longer sail his beloved Helen MacLeoad II. She was laid up for some years by the fishing shanties on the river.

After she was sold to two Detroit history buffs, she left Bayfield Harbour in August 1950. Standing on the piers to watch her sail away were Louie and many villagers.

The “Helen MacLeod II” was renamed the “Anna S. Piggott” and was restored by a Detroit service club in 1960 to serve as a training vessel.

In 1969, the Anna S. Piggott was donated to the Great Lakes Museum in Belle Isle, Michigan which transferred her to the Saugatuck Marine Museum. She then passed to several owners who wanted to restore her but ultimately didn’t have the resources.

Doug Prothero of the Great Lakes Schooner Co., Toronto purchased the boat in 1996 and she was brought back to Ontario and stored at Stoney Creek.  After it was established that the schooner could not be repurposed, the Prothero family donated the boat to Bayfield Historical Society and she was returned home. And now it is just outside the village where she rests waiting for the next chapter of her story to be written.

For a closer look at these images click on any one to open a pop up gallery.




Harbour View in January…By EJ Bauer

Submit Your photo

Email your photo in Jpeg format to with the subject line Subscriber Photo of the Week. or…Upload your photo to Flickr.

I am looking for the Bayfield that is a delight to the eye – please share photos with a touch of whimsy, beauty, humor or a sense of fun. If you are to include people in your photos be sure to have their permission to publish their picture on-line and also send in their names and where they are from. And don’t forget to tell me who took the photo for proper credit to be issued.


Image of Melody Falconer-Pounder


Melody Falconer-Pounder


Jonny Harris with the late Mayor of Goderich, John Grace in July of 2022. (Photo courtesy Still Standing)

Our neighbor to the north, Goderich, is going to be featured on tonight’s episode of CBC’s “Still Standing” with Jonny Harris. According to the Goderich Tourism Facebook page, Harris and the Still Standing crew stopped in the town in July of last year to film the episode that will air tonight at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Now Still Standing is a program we never miss watching as it is a household favorite and not just because in February 2016 we were invited by the late Jan Hawley to attend the taping of the program when the crew visited Vanastra. The program aired in June 2016. (See Issue 345 – Feb. 10, 2016 in our Archives section if you want to revisit the experience.)

The teaser for the show states, “It’s hard to call yourself “Canada’s Prettiest Town” after you’ve been hit by a devastating F3 tornado. Goderich, ON is rebuilding itself with an eye towards a bold new future.”

According to Goderich Tourism, Harris will be treated to an underground tour of the Goderich Salt Mine as well as a cliffside and lakeside view of their renowned “Double Sunset”.

Harris has a way of capturing the essence of a community like no other. He’s not laughing at us but with us and isn’t that quintessentially Canadian? I look forward to seeing how he captures Goderich although it is sure to be bittersweet for many as no doubt included in the program will be an interview with the late Goderich Mayor John Grace who died in a boating accident just a few weeks after the episode was filmed. Grace would have been very proud to show off the town and see it featured for the nation to see.

Fans of the show might be interested to know that Goderich Tourism is hosting a “Still Standing Watch Party” at the Huron County Museum, 110 North Street in Goderich tonight at 8 p.m. The doors to the Museum theatre will open at 7:30 p.m. Seats are available on a first come first serve basis, please email or call 519 524-6600 to reserve a seat.

Break a leg, Goderich! – Melody

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