Three hundred and sixty-five years ago, the Jesuit missionaries came to the country of the Huron Natives with a passionate dream that if they could teach a simple people from the beginning, they could build a Christian State where the people could live in peace and harmony. . Huronia was to be such a Christian State in Canada.
Ste. Marie was the centre of the Jesuit mission to the Huron. There, the Fathers taught the natives how to grow their own food so it would nourish them and how to sustain the inner life of the spirit.
The Fathers learned the Huron tongue and lived among the natives, teaching them the Christian Faith.
In 1649 the Iroquois raided the North and one by one the Huron villages fell and missionaries were martyred. The MARTYRS' SHRINE is dedicated to these brave men who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Fondest memory: I was struck by the beauty of the Church and surrounding grounds. It was such a peaceful place.
Isaac Jogues came to Huronia in 1636 and spent six years there. He helped to build Ste. Marie (1639).
Captured by the Iroquois when returning to Ste. Marie from Quebec (1642) he was tortured and made a slave. He escaped and went to France, but returned the same year to again be missionary to the Iroquois.
SAINT ISAAC JOGUES was martyred at Auriesville N.Y. October 18, 1646 at the age of thirty-nine.
A master of the Indian language, JEAN DE BREBEUF was the first Jesuit missionary in Huronia ( 1626 ).The Indians called him Echon. He founded mission outposts throughout the district and converted thousands to the faith.
Captured March 16, 1649, he was tortured for hours. He was martyred at St. Ignace, six miles from Ste. Marie at the age of 56
Favorite thing: A Jesuit at the age of nineteen, SAINT GABRIEL LALEMONT was also a scholar and professor. After being in Canada for two years, he left for Huronia. After only seven months in Huronia he could speak the native tongue. For one month he was assistant to Jean De Brebeuf. He was martyred along with Brebeuf March 17, 1649 at Ste. Ignace.
The following is the contents of a plaque in front of the Church which reads:
"This Church dedicated to St. Joseph, Patron of the Martyrs and of Upper Canada, was built 1925-26 under the direction of Rev. J.M. Filion S.J., founder of MARTYRS' SHRINE. The original chapel of Ste. Marie was dedicated to St. Joseph."
Favorite thing: Martyrs' Shrine has been a gathering place for all of Humanity -- Canadian born Catholics, Immigrant Catholics from the world over, non-Catholic Christians and those of other faiths, young and old alike. Throughout the years, many school children have come to MARTYRS' SHRINE on pilgrimmage with their class.
Since 2001 this beautiful swan rules the harbour. Widely he spreads his wings, taking of for warmer places.
What an artist to create this bird and also give this artificial bird grace.
We walked around it for quite some time, now and again we pointed our cameras at it in order to catch it in the most beautiful way.
Yet I think this bird isn t a bird to catch...I can only show the form not give you the feeling I had when I walked around it in the docks down at the harbour.
You can see this Trumpeter Swan in the Waterfront Park. It's really a beautiful statue. The statue has been here since October 12, 2001.
And don't think it is small! It's a huge statue and you can walk all around and underneath it. The wingspan is 25 Feet (7.6 Metres), height is 20 Feet (6.1 Metres) and it weighs 2700 lbs.
The statue was placed here in celebration of the trumpeter swan's reintroduction to Ontario after an absence of about 150 years. The trumpeter swan reintroduction was accomplished by the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre (which is also in Midland, see my off the beaten path tips) over the past 12 years.
The designer of the statue is Ron Hunt .
A closer look at the Trumpeter Swan. It looks so gracefull! The picture don't do it justice though. On a summers day the statue glitters in the sun and looks so beautiful, and even on this clouded winter day like today, with some snowflakes falling out of the air, you can see its grace.
From whatever angle you look it at, it is beautiful. It's almost real, although it clearly is a statue. But it is so well done, that it captures the essence of a swan in flight.
Before I start writing my tips I want to tell you a bit more about the founding of Midland. I am always intrigued by how these towns started to develop, and why....
the founding of Midland :
In 1871 a group of the principal shareholders of the Midland Railway, headed by Adolph Hugel, selected this location as the northern terminus of their line which then ran from Port Hope to Beaverton, known at the time as Mundy's Bay.
The region was sparsely inhabited but the interest aroused by their action resulted in the survey fo a town site in 1872-1873. Most of the lots were owned by the Midland Land Company which was controlled by the railway. The line, which soon attracted settlers to the area, was completed in 1879. The new community named Midland achieved its early growth through shipping and the lumber and grain trade.
Favorite thing: First stop is the Midland Harbour. The harbour is right at the downtown area, so that is very convenient. There are quite a large parking area here (for free) so an ideal place to start the journey through Midland.
I hadn't been here for a bit and they had made some changes.
The film you watch to explain the history and set the tone to visit the site has changed, and become more politically correct. At the risk of offending anyone, what this has also done, in my opinion, is to diminish the horrors of the past and why the murdered Jesuit priests were considered Martyrs, and why SMAH was burned down with the Jesuits and Indians leaving the area. The truth is not always pleasant and there were 2 sides to the story, of course - neither side was completely pure and without wrongs. I feel that history has been homogenized to make it unoffensive.
Fondest memory: Anyway... This is the first part of the fort as you go in. They were smoking some geese, and other fowl. That smoke got into our lungs, and systems... and through our clothes, so I can only imagine what it must've been like back in the 1600's. Amazing that any of them could see or breathe!