Cockburn Island lies between Manitoulin and Drummond. On the east are the Missisaggi Straits, which contain the Magnetic Reef shoals. On the western end is False Detour Passage.
The island was settled in the late 1800's and at its peak the population may have exceeded 1,000 inhabitants. After World War II, a steady migration back to the mainland began, and now there are perhaps only two or three year-round residents. However, many former islanders use their old homes as summer cottages, and as many as 200 may gather on the island in July and August.
In Tolsma Bay there is shelter at the municipal dock, where overnight docking fees are charged.
As much as 90% of the island was owned by Ontario Paper Company, which has since sold its interests to an American firm, currently logging on the island.
This article first appeared in 1995.
Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
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Author: James W. Hebert