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Ontario’s prettiest village to celebrate its rich history

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A Manitoulin Island village is set to commemorate its rich history next month.

Kagawong calls itself ‘Ontario’s prettiest village’ and takes its name from an Ojibwe word meaning “where the mists rise from the falling waters.” The natural beauty on which the village sits would be enough of a reason for the village to celebrate but the fishing and timber centre that it first established was the heart of the area.

The falling and flowing waters of the Kagawong River once powered the Kagawong Mill. The mill, built in 1925, produced paper before being converted in 1932 to generate hydro-electricity until its closure in 1949.

The mill has been converted into a museum, the Old Mill Heritage Centre, which will host the History Day event at the Park Centre on Aug. 8.

An undated photo of the exterior of the Old Mill Heritage Centre Museum in Kagawong. (Old Mill Heritage Centre/Facebook)

This year’s theme is ‘Tragedy and Triumph on Lake Huron.'

The event will feature the tragic tale of the Rhu, a 24-foot vessel that sank on Aug. 23, 1965, while it was travelling from Little Current to Gore Bay, killing four people.

An undated photo of the pulpit inside the Kagawong Anglican Church is from the bow of the ill-fated Rhu. (Old Mill Heritage Centre/Facebook)

Former journalist Mike Strobel has done extensive research on the Rhu and will present his findings, including an interview he had with a survivor of the wreckage at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

“When you understand the, you know, the personal crisis they all faced, they all faced the drama, the guilt. There's all kinds of human emotion in there,” said Strobel.

“It's no longer just a, you know, ‘x’ number of people died in a shipwreck and, you know, the North Channel in 1965 – it's now it brings it alive.”

The event will also include tales of the Chi-Cheemaun as it marks its 50th year of service on Georgian Bay.

The MS Chi-Cheemaun's maiden voyage of its historic 50th season. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)

Admission to the History Day event is free – but the Old Mill Heritage Centre said it welcomes any donations.

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