SAVE BAIE FINE CAMPAIGN, 1984-1990
will be necessary to continue an indefinite watch on Frazer Bay Hill, since the
silica ore is known to be there, and it could be a magnet to some future quarry
development, if opposition is not ready, at any time.
Fine Entrance by A.J. Casson
On a blazing hot July afternoon, in 1947, after
a shore lunch in Marianne
Bay, Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson with his daughter Margi, Bruce Brown,
and Stuart Fraser Cork climbed Frazer Bay Hill. Near the top, on Table
Rock, Casson painted a watercolour, looking west, with the mouth of Baie Fine
in the near distance. Frazer Bay, on the route of the Voyageurs, and the LaCloche
Islands in the mid distance, and Manitoulin Island on the skyline.
years later, Stuart Fraser Corks ashes were laid to rest on the summit
of Frazer Bay Hill, Casson Peak, and are marked by a stainless steel memorial
plaque designed by A.J. Casson.
The North Channel Preservation Society
is a non-profit incorporation under the laws of the Province of Ontario. It was
initially formed in 1984 to organize resistance to the former plans of Falconbridge/Indusmin
Mines to quarry silica ore for glass making, from the south shore of Baie Fine,
including Fraser Bay Hill, from approximately where A.J. Casson sat to create
the original watercolour of the entrance of Baie Fine.
A.J. Casson was not
the only member of the Canadian Group of Seven artists to paint from that mountain.
Carmichael, Varley and others have also recorded the beauty and serenity of the
scene from the top. A.J. Casson, as the last of the Group of Seven, and at age
89, carried on the vigorous traditions which formed the Group of Seven over sixty
years ago, by lending his immense talents to the North Channel Preservation Society
in the production of the Serigraph Baie Fine Entrance, with artist
Paul Gauthier, son of his lifetime painting friend, Joachim Gauthier.
order to help raise public awareness, and the funds that were needed to finance
the campaign to save the mountain, and thus Save Baie Fine, Mr. Casson allowed
the Society to produce the Serigraph of the watercolour, and with Paul Gauthier,
undertook a leading role in all aspects of the artistic production. A limited
edition of 250 Serigraph prints, measuring 20" x 25" were offered to
the public in 1987.
The campaign received much public attention. There was
coverage by local and national media, including radio, television, newspaper and
magazines. There were treks to the summit with as many as one hundred supporters
at a time making the climb. Television, magazine and newspaper interviews were
even given at the summit by members of the Society. Many individuals and groups,
including tourist, boating, cruising, cottagers, sportsmen, merchants, First Nation,
and all those people who were just concerned with the irreplaceable loss the quarry
would have caused, organized and pressured three successive Provincial Governments
to prevent the destruction.
In July 1990. Falconbridge Ltd. voluntarily
surrendered, without compensation, its mining claims to the areas of the south
shore of Baie Fine. Falconbridge executives decided to assure the preservation
of the area by surrendering their legal rights on the condition that the Provincial
Government of Ontario withdraw the area from staking and prospecting. The provincial
government assured Falconbridge that the area was administratively withdrawn from
future claims. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Development and Mines.
the decision not to issue any new claims was administrative, there is nothing
to prevent any future governments from changing it.
It will be necessary
to continue an indefinite watch on Frazer Bay Hill, since the silica ore is known
to be there, and it could be a magnet to some future quarry development, if opposition
is not ready, at any time.
In 2002 the NCPS donated 10 of the Casson Baie Fine Entrance Seriagraphs to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
The Conservancy approached us for financial assistance in their campaign to raise
funds to purchase Strawberry Island, which is the large island with the lighthouse
on it, just East of Little Current. The prints were subsequently sold to the
public with the original certificate of authenticity signed and sealed by David
Cork, the then current NCPS President, as well as a color brochure showing Mr.
Casson at work on the serigraph.
CHANNEL PRESERVATION SOCIETY |
|16 Eugenia Court
|Markham, Ontario L3R 4Y6
(905) 946-1736 ||
in the North Channel
the Buoys Campaign