Island History

Amherst Island is a small island located in Lake Ontario, Ontario, Canada. The island has a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries, dating back to before the arrival of European settlers.

The First Nations people, primarily the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee, were the first inhabitants of Amherst Island. They lived on the island for thousands of years, fishing and hunting the abundant wildlife in the area. Evidence of their presence can still be found on the island in the form of arrowheads and other artifacts.

In the late 1700s, European settlers began to arrive on Amherst Island. The island was named after Jeffrey Amherst, a British general who served during the French and Indian War.

Throughout the 19th century, Amherst Island became a thriving farming community. The island’s fertile soil and mild climate made it ideal for agriculture, and many different crops were grown on the island. The island’s farmers also raised sheep, which were used for wool and meat.

In the early 1900s, the island’s population began to decline. Many young people left the island to seek better opportunities elsewhere, and the island’s economy began to suffer. However, the island’s residents continued to work hard to maintain their way of life.

Today, Amherst Island is a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning scenery, rich history, and unique wildlife. The island is home to a variety of bird species, including several types of owls and hawks, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers.

Amherst Island has a long and fascinating history that reflects the island’s importance as a centre of agriculture, industry, and research. From its First Nations origins to its role in World War II, the island has played an important part in shaping the history of Ontario and Canada as a whole. Today, the island’s history is preserved and celebrated by its residents and visitors alike.

For more information, please visit Amherst Island’s Neilson Store Museum & Cultural Centre.