The Townships of Derby, Keppel and Sarawak amalgamated on January 1, 2001 to become the Township of Georgian Bluffs.
The Township is located in the northwest part of the County of Grey.
The Township borders the Township of Chatsworth , the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie, Town of South Bruce Peninsula, and the City of Owen Sound . The Georgian Bay shore forms the Township's north limit.
Georgian Bluffs has a mixture of urban, rural and agricultural land including commercial/industrial development and several defined settlement areas as well as many recreation areas. The settlement areas include Rockford, Kilsyth, Springmount, Jackson, Keady (north ½) Townplot of Brooke, Balmy Beach, East Linton, Kemble, Big Bay, Oxenden, Clavering (east ½), Shallow Lake and Cruickshank. Several areas in the Township have access to municipal water as well.
The Township has a population of approximately 10,500 people with total households of 5,100.
First Nations people that lived on the lands around Colpoys Bay, the west side of Owen's Sound and along the Niagara Escarpment took advantage of the abundance of fish and wildlife in this area. First Nations in this region are described in various literature to include, through the passage of time, peoples of the Huron, Algonquin, Chippewa, Ojibway, and Pottawatomi tribes. Today the Chippewas of the Nawash Unceded First Nation and the Saugeen First Nation represent First Nations people in this region. The Great Lakes Metis Council represents Metis in the region.
The Township of Keppel is the largest of the original Townships that make up Georgian Bluffs. Its first local government began around 1858. Physical features of Keppel include the magnificent Niagara Escarpment, the shoreline of Georgian Bay running from Colpoy's Bay around into Owen's Sound, and glacial lakes and stoney till soil. Farmlands are rugged with some rolling to steep slopes. The Village of Shallow Lake was for a time a separate municipal government until amalgamation with Keppel.
Shallow Lake had its earliest beginnings in 1862 but did not begin to take form until around 1877 when a post office and general store were built. In 1888 the Shallow Lake cement works began to process local marl and clay to form Portland cement through until 1913. This formed the industrial heart of the Village which now includes Shouldice Designer Stone and SPI Industries.
The Township of Derby is the southern most original Township within Georgian Bluffs. It was originally surveyed by Charles Rankin between 1846 and 1851, and is known to have settlers as early as 1842. The first municipal Council formed early in 1856. It is also characterized by the Niagara Escarpment and has flat to rolling topography and generally good soils. Derby is also home to two amazing water falls (Jones Falls and Inglis Falls).
Sarawak Township sits east of Keppel and north of Derby. It is also characterized by the Niagara Escarpment, the Georgian Bay Shoreline, and one fantastic water fall (Indian Falls). Much smaller than Derby or Keppel, Sarawak soils can be shallow with exposed bedrock as well as low lying and swampy. The history of Sarawak can be read in "the Sarawak Saga". One copy of which can be viewed in the Township offices.
While Georgian Bluffs is a relatively new amalgamation, Sarawak and Keppel Township joined with Derby to form a local government between 1858 to 1868 (Sarawak Saga 1973 p. 1).
The books "Beautiful Stoney Keppel 1855 - 1986 including the Village of Shallow Lake" and "The History of Derby 1839 to 1972" can be viewed in the Township offices.
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Friday, June 11, 2010