Bannock Point Petroforms

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The Canadian Shield covers over half of Canada, a vast expanse of ancient Precambrian rock polished by glaciers some 10,000 years ago. Travelers from the west first encounter the shield at Whiteshell Provincial Park, near the Ontario border. The Winnipeg River cuts across the center of the park, a former voyageur route which now supplies the city of Winnipeg with most of its electricity. Whiteshell's canoe routes, self-guiding or backpacking trails, and 200 lakes are replicated in many parks across northern Ontario and Quebec.

What's unique are the Bannock Point Petroforms created by the first Canadians long before Europeans entered the area. Here boulders were arranged on the mossy bedrock by the Native peoples in the shapes of turtles, birds, fish, humans, and snakes to heal and teach. The stone mosaics endure here in forest clearings, and to the Anishinabe it's a very sacred place where communication with the spirits occurs. Adherents of the Midewewin, or Grand Medicine Society, consider this area Manito Ahbee, the place of creation where God sits, and the aura can be overwhelming. The petroforms are just off provincial road 307.

Also of interest in Whiteshell is the Alf Hole Goose Sanctuary at Rennie where hundreds of giant Canada geese congregate from mid-May to July and late August to October. Here you can see the birds at close range, or watch as the V-shaped formations glide down onto the lake. Admission to Whiteshell is free, but a three-day vehicle permit (CDN$6) is required to use the parking areas.

From the series Unknown Sights of Canada by David Stanley

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