An Island Full of History
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Welcome!
Located in the St. Mary's River downstream from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, St. Joseph Island is a land rich in history dating back to the fur trading days of the 1700s.

The Island is 99,000 acres in size, making it the second-largest freshwater island in the world. It forms the western tip of the Niagara Escarpment, and is St. Joseph Island, Ontario, Canadasurrounded on the west, south and east by The United States. This made for some colourful military history on the Island, which all startedwith the construction of Fort St. Joseph.

Constructed by British forces on the southernmost point of the Island in 1776, The Fort was the most westerly British post in Upper Canada during a turbulent time. It also formed a key link along fur trade routes to the northwest, with Chippewa natives frequenting the area for maple syrup and fishing.

Fort St. Joseph became a rallying point as soon as the United States declared war on Great Britain in June 1812. The garrison commander, Captain Charles Roberts, knew that his fort was vulnerable and decided that his best defence was a good offence. On July 17, leading a force of about 40 regular soldiers, 150 Canadians and 300 Native people, Roberts captured the American fort on Mackinac Island, thereby serving notice to the American garrison that war had been officially declared.

Later, in 1814, the Americans retaliated and burned Fort St. Joseph to the ground. Today, the excavated ruins remain open to the public as a National Historical Site operated by Parks Canada.

In 1855, a survey of the Island was made by T.N. Molesworth and in 1868 the Homestead Act was passed. People learned about free land on St. Joseph Island through newspaper advertisements in the London Free Press. The greatest influx of settlers came between 1874 and 1882.

John Richards moved from Sault Ste. Marie in 1876 and founded the village of Richards Landing. John Marks moved from Bruce Mines in 1878 and founded Marksville, which changed incorporated as the village of Hilton Beach in 1923.

BridgeOver the years, the Island has developed into a popular tourist destination, attracting boaters and vacationers from all over the world. Our largest industries include maple syrup production, with Ontario's largest producer calling St. Joe home.

The St. Joseph Island Museum Village has fascinating exhibits to represent the Island's 200+ year history, and the various facets of Island life during that time.


This web site is sponsored by the St. Joseph Island Chamber of Commerce.

Last updated June 16, 2014

News and Events

The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 9:30 AM to 4:30PM. Join us for a guided tour or stroll the grounds on your own. Try your hand at our scavenger hunt for all ages and see if you can identify and locate artifacts throughout the museum grounds! There's even a second round challenge for return visitors! Or for a more hands on experience children can take a turn in our dinosaur dig! Surprises await in the dino dig with our resident dinosaur!

Special Events:
Tea Day: July 25th, 2014, 12PM – 4PM. Homemade pies, beverages and live entertainment.

Teddy Bear Picnic: July 25th, 2014, 1PM – 3PM. A day of family fun!

Collector's Day: August 10th, 2014. Check out private collections alongside the museum artifacts for one day only!

Log of Recognition
We have the white pine log in the barn with plaques of recognition. Donations to this project provides additional support for the services of the Museum. All donations are tax deductible and receipts will be issued. The categories are: Benefactor for $500 or over; Patron for $200 to $499; Associate for $100 to $199; In Memory for $50 to $99. Please note you can place in memory of in any of the above categories.

Volunteering
Your contributions to the museum are greatly appreciated and will be recognized in our newsletter and on our Friends of the Museum list here at the museum for the season. So if you have a few hours to give, please give us a call at 246-2672.

Pat Fleming, Curator
St. Joseph Island Museum
St. Joseph Island Museum Hilton Beach, Richards Landing, Carterton, Kentville, Tenby Bay, Sailors Encampment, Milford Haven, Marksville