History of the BOEC

10 000 B.C.E.     Glaciers retreat, exposing parts of the Bruce Peninsula and leaving other                           areas beneath post-glacial Lake Nipissing.
2 000 B.C.          First Nations who occupy the valleys of the Saugeen and Sauble rivers                             establish a portage route across the base of the Bruce Peninsula                                       between Wiarton and Oliphant.

1625-1650         Jesuit missionaries visit the Lake Huron shore from their base near                                   Midland.

1700's               The portage route becomes a major link in the fur trade between the                                 Lake Huron shoreline and Matchedash Bay in Simcoe County.

1855                 The peninsula is surveyed by Charles Rankin.

1870                 Passenger pigeons are reported to be nesting "in abundance" west of                                 Boat Lake.

1871                 The first bridge is built across the Pike River (Rankin River) allowing                                  settlement to proceed to the Lake Huron shore.

1873                 The Mason family acquires the property for $1.25 per acres.  They begin                           clearing lane and planting an orchard. 

1874                 A log cabin, small barn and outbuildings are built on the north side of                                Bruce County Road #21.

1886                 The original barn on the south side of the road is built.

1895                 Passenger pigeons last reported near Sauble Falls.

1907                 All the preset agricultural land has been cleared.  Spry Lake is visible                                  from the house.  Present stone house is completed.  

1908                 Sauble Falls sawmill burns and starts a fire that consumes the forests to                            the west of Boat Lake.  

1913                 A storm on Good Friday blows the roof off the 1896 barn, which is then                              expanded and re-roofed. 

1934                 A severe winter kills the original orchard.  The present orchard is set out                           the following spring.  

1971                 The property know as the Mason Farm, comprising 130 ha between                                   Boat Lake and Spry  Lake, is acquired by the Bruce County Board of                                 Education as an outdoor education site.  

1973                 Programming begins on the site.

1976                 Two portables are added as dormitories to allow year round residential                                programs.

1984                 Two buildings from the Bruce Nuclear Power Development are moved to                              the outdoor education property to provide upgraded dormitory facilities.  

1997                 The Bruce County Board of Education approves a plan to build a                                         permanent dormitory, dining and instructional buildings.  

1998                 The Bluewater District School Board endorses to IOEES "Growth Plan".                                The building committee reviews plans for the new buildings and                                        chooses a site on the ridge overlooking Boat Lake.  
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