1. bookVolume 21 (2021): Issue 1 (June 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1339-7877
First Published
15 Jun 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

“With All The Ghosts that Haunt the Park...”: Haunted Recreation in Brent (Ontario)

Published Online: 20 Nov 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 21 (2021) - Issue 1 (June 2021)
Page range: 82 - 101
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1339-7877
First Published
15 Jun 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

When I first visited Brent, the defunct logging village, now campgrounds in the northern reaches of Algonquin Provincial Park I went searching for ghost stories. Often described as a “ghost town,” Brent has been occupied since the earliest days of logging in the Ottawa River/Kiji Sibi Valley and holds an important place in the oral history of the Park. The village was a place where many died after violent accidents during the timber rush of the eighteen-hundreds, where Algonquin Anishinaabe Peoples had camped and likely held a village of their own prior to colonization. Brent was once a bustling community, the former site of the Kish-Kaduk Lodge and an important railway stopover during the First World War. Further, Brent was home to the last year round resident of the Park. Mr. Adam Pitts, known to many local cottagers as the “Mayor” passed away in his home in 1998 one year after the railroad tracks were removed by the Canadian National Railway Company and the electricity was shut off. Now his cottage is a ruin some claim to be haunted by the Mayor’s restless ghost. And there are other ghost stories I heard in Brent that haunt the edges of the colonial imagination, stalking unwary travellers as they meander through what they sometimes assume to be “pristine wilderness.” Common patterns of self-apprehension and identity formation associated with tourism and heritage management in Algonquin Park are imbued with nationalist value through a prismatic complex of cultural appropriation, the denial of complicity in colonial violence, and the contingent obfuscation of Indigenous presence and persistence in the area, a process I call haunted recreation. Countering this complex is critical for working past the historical and intergenerational trauma associated with Canadian settler-colonialism and the contemporary inequities of Canadian society.

Keywords

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