Our changing perceptions of the Saugeen Peninsula
In a relatively short period of time, the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula has experienced four distinct environmental phases that embody socio-economic shifts in mindset and have impacted our relationship with the natural environment. While there has been much written about the social history of the peninsula since the mid-1800s (Robertson, 1906; Fox, 1952; McLeod, 1969; Koenig, 2005), most of the recent literature pertains to the investments in the physical environment and conservation efforts. I would like to expand on this scholarship, not only from an environmental history perspective but also through the lens of our visual cultural record.
Why the Saugeen Peninsula?
Since my childhood, the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula has been the source of fond memories of morning walks, learning about the plants from my aunt and Nan, and spending entire afternoons at the beach. After admiring the sunset, we would walk back to the cottage, sunburnt, waterlogged, happily exhausted, and settle into a lazy dinner having understood a little bit more about the shorelines of Lake Huron.
With these simple experiences of weekends at the cottage, I developed a very special relationship with the surrounding environment. This in turn has translated into a PhD where I can use my scholarly and artistic skills to study the peninsula and the many ways we (humans and non-humans) have related to it, manipulated it, impacted it, and loved it. For aren’t we inspired to protect that which we love?
To this endeavour, I bring an interdisciplinary background in history and the humanities, with a specialization in public history.
Since 2009, I’ve established a professional artistic practice where I develop bodies of work based in themes like ecofeminism. My publication record includes guest columns in local newspapers, in-depth reports for organizations and municipalities, as well as articles in publications like Alternatives Journal (Judge, 2016). I’ve been fortunate to have a wide-ranging career – as an online librarian, arts administrator, artist, office manager, editor, knowledge mobilizer, consultant, event planner – that has allowed me to flex my intellectual muscles. But as I begin a PhD I look forward to a research experience that will contribute to the wealth of Canadian environmental scholarship and appeal to the sensibilities of the beholders of landscape to do what they can to protect it.
I applied to the Geography program at Wilfrid Laurier University for the reputation of its faculty members; its partnership with UW; its excellent archives; and especially to work with Dr. Michael Imort, who has the excellent reputation as both a scholar and a mentor.
Fox, W. S. (1952). The Bruce Beckons: the story of Lake Huron’s great peninsula (Rev. and e, p. 235). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Judge, L. (2016). Power of Art. Alternatives Journal, 42(3). Retrieved from
Judge, L. (2016). The Muralist. Alternatives Journal, 42(3), 1. Retrieved from
Koenig, E. C. (2005). Cultures and Ecologies: A native fishing conflict on the Saugeen-Bruce Peninsula. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
McLeod, N. (1969) The history of the County of Bruce, and the minor municipalities therein, 1907-1968, Province of Ontario, Canada. Southampton, Ont. : Bruce County Historical Society.
Robertson, N. (1906). History of the County of Bruce. Toronto: William Briggs.