Ipperwash Canada – 1960


My sister and I running by the dunes at Ipperwash, on Lake Huron in Canada. It was 1960. I was 14 and would start Northwestern High School in September. Pearl was 12 and would start McMicheal Junior High School.  The lake is in the background but the strange distortions at the top make it difficult to tell what is there.

My mother and Uncle Henry had been trying to find a place to spend weekends and vacations out of Detroit. That weekend we had driven through various towns and country to reach Ipperwash. There was a wide beach and cars could drive on it. The beach itself was all open to the public.  I remember the house we looked at was like a big farm house and had beds all over, in the attic and in the several bedrooms.  We spent the night at a cabin the realtor had and left early the next morning. They decided not to buy there because of the cars on the beach and the public.

I remember driving either there or home through a rainy day, looking through the window at the towns we drove through, everything summer green, but grayed by the gloomy day.

Lake Huron Ipperwasy beach
Lake Huron Ipperwash beach – a Wikie Commons photo.

The Ipperwash Crisis – While looking for photo of the beach, I found that during WW 2 the Canadian Federal Government expropriated the land of the Stoney Point First Nation with promises to return it after the war. The war ended, the land wasn’t returned. In 1995 members of the Stoney Point First Nation occupied the land in protest. There was a cemetery located in what was now called the Ipperwash Camp.  During the protests an unarmed member of the protesters was shot and killed.  The land was to be returned to the Stoney Point First Nation but it hasn’t been completed yet.  You can read more about it at the link above.

For other Sepia Saturday Offerings, CLICK!

22 thoughts on “Ipperwash Canada – 1960

  1. I’ve visited the shores of Lake Huron but for the life of me I can’t remember where. We didn’t see any sand like in your photo, just lots of cars and boats.

  2. Ipperwash has had a few sad stories attached to its name.
    And I wonder if it is a Lake Huron thing to drive/park on the beach – they do that at Sauble as well!

  3. Governments have a bad habit of “borrowing” land with the promise to return it, but often the “promise” goes astray! That’s too bad about Stoney Point First Nation. I hope the government comes through on its promise sooner than later!

  4. What occurred too me was that I would love TT one part of such a wonderful picture.

  5. Sorry to read that such a beautiful place has a sad history of conflict between its traditional owners and the government.

  6. I love the picture’s surreal look.

    I agree that governments have a bad habit of “borrowing” land, and then never returning it. The US government also took land in a number of places during WWII, including some land in central Pennsylvania. The land was taken from farmers who lived near Allenwood to build the Letterkenny Ordnance Plant for the manufacturing of explosives. The farmers expected to get the land back after the war, but instead the government kept the land–and part of it is now the Allenwood Federal Penitentiary.

  7. I grew up near Ipperwash and it is still my favourite beach! Last I knew, there was only a very small area where cars could drive on the beach.

  8. I agree it is a surreal photo, but in an nice artistic way. The only difference from a similar photo of a seaside beach is the absence of the salt spray.

  9. I don’t know what it is but there is something about that first photo which really talks to me. Perhaps it’s the movement in the photo. It’s just great. As is the name Ipperwash – it really rolls off the tongue

  10. was not familiar with that area though have toured all around the vicinity. The shrub growing out of the dune behind you girls appears humped like a dinosaur or whale. Great photo. It could be enlarged and would be a great painting, either in the tones or with tints..

  11. Really intriguing photo! And fascinating history — though, indeed, a bit sad. There are a handful of beaches in America that are “drive on” beaches — though I only just learned of it, myself! Just a couple of weeks ago, we stumbled upon Pismo beach, CA, which is open to cars and RVs. Crazy! I wouldn’t want to dodge cars at all beaches, but as a novelty, it’s kinda neat.

  12. Yeah, I was wondering about the top of that first photo. Otherwise the sand and dune are beautiful — reminds me a lot of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Comments are closed.