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St. James on the Line, Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada

St. James on the Line, Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada
1832 Penetanguishene, Ontario - built in part to support the personnel stationed at the Naval and Military Establishments, now known as Discovery Harbour - The roots of Discovery Harbour can be traced back to his Majesty's Naval Establishment on Lake Huron. In 1793, Sir John Graves Simcoe noted the strategic importance of Penetanguishene Bay as a potential site for a naval base. Here, the steep-sided, deep water bay would be an ideal spot for the protection and maintenance of ships and could serve as a vital transport link from York to the northwest. The events surrounding the War of 1812 provided the spark to construct an active naval dockyard at Penetanguishene. By 1817 the British Navy, anxious to patrol and protect the Upper Great Lakes against a future attack, began construction in earnest.

The Naval Establishment would soon become a permanent home to the warships H.M.S Tecumseth and H.M.S. Newash, put in ordinary by storing their rigging and armament and maintaining their 70-foot hulls. Other vessels including the supply ships Bee, Mosquito and Wasp, were kept busy transporting cargo and supplies. By 1820, the base maintained over 20 vessels, supplied British posts to the northwest, and housed over 70 personnel, including officers and their families, sailors, civilian workers and soldiers. The Naval Establishment was also the winter home of Lieutenant Henry Wolsey Bayfield early in his surveying career, and provided a stopover for Sir John Franklin en route to his second polar expedition in 1825.

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