Geographical / Historical Information
Springwater Provincial Park Midhurst ON (North of Barrie on Hwy.#26) was the regular
location of the annual Coutts Reunion until it closed in 2012. The Coutts Reunion is usually
held on the Second Sunday of July each year, from 12:00 noon until
has been a traditional meeting place since the 1920's. Located in the
park was a wildlife zoo, running streams, ponds, a large sports field and
main pavilion all located in a forest setting. There is also the Simcoe County Museum located close by. Many families spent the entire day in the area.
Midhurst and the surrounding area were once in the Township of Vespra, it is now known as the Municipality of Springwater. Simcoe County is the region, also known as Huronia to commerate the Hurons who were the indigenous inhabitants.
Ontario is the province in Canada (formerly known as Upper Canada). The Coutts farm in Springwater once had a Huron burial pit (Ouendat / Wendat / Wyandat ossuary) and a Huron Village / Vespra Site 19, very near the farm house with many springs close by providing fresh water. It was also the subject of an
archaelogical excavation in the 1800's by the University of Toronto.
In the early days of horse drawn ploughs indian artifacts were
discovered on the surface of the land. Many were collected and stored
in the back kitchen / pantry of the farm house (arrow heads, pipes,
pottery). Duncan Coutts and two of his sons discovered the ossuary on the farm when they removed a large stone when clearing fields.
Some of these artifacts from the grave site were taken to Toronto by the
archaeologists including some skeletal remains and several items that were
rumoured to have made it to a museum collection in London England. Nothing remains today, however there is a reconstructed Huron / Ouendat Village and Sainte Marie among the Hurons near Midland ON (popular tourist attractions).
The Midhurst area and the original Coutts farm (Lot 20 Concession 2 Township of Vespra) is on a hill or high land area that forms an island of land surrounded by Willow Creek, Little Lake and low lying wet areas. Apparently these hills formed part of an indian trail passing from North (Orillia) to South (Barrie) going around the West side of Kempenfelt Bay / Lake Simcoe. Originally covered by virgin forests, the early settlers cleared the land (converting a lot of White Pine to charcoal). Duncan Coutts purchased this 100 acre farm (40+ hectares) but it only had 15 acres cleared (arable) and a basic log cabin. The first thirty years must have been difficult indeed! A cairn on the former family farm (Old 2nd Line) commemorates the first 150 years in Canada.