Does the Jake Gaudaur bridge really exist? – MNO

by ahnationtalk on September 21, 2016285 Views


September 21, 2016

This article is part of a series of texts entitled, Thirty and a half useful facts worth knowing about the Great Lakes Métis. The author and Métis Nation of Ontario citizen Micheline Marchand, would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council—an Ontario government agency, for its support.

Every day, thousands of motorists drive over Métis Jake Gaudaur’s back. He has a solid build, made of steel and concrete. When I cross the provincial government bridge on Highway 12 that spans the straights separating Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe, I am proud to be on the Jake Gaudaur Bridge. At least that’s what I thought up until the fall of 2015.

Why does the Métis Jacob Gill “Jake” Gaudaur Senior deserve to have a bridge named in his honour? Gaudaur was born on April 3rd, 1858, very close to this bridge. He is the descendant of a few of the major founding families of the City of Orillia: the Gills, on his mother’s side, and, on his father’s side, his grandparents are the fur traders, Antoine Godard and Mary Shilling, the daughter of the Chippewa chief Big Shilling. At the beginning of the 19th century when the latter couple settled in Orillia to raise a family, they were among the community’s first inhabitants.

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