The bishop who ate his boots


Ken and Nancy Thomson and Bill and Linda McTavish of Kincardine, just returned home following a long trip to the Yukon.


Ken and Bill were surprised to find a sign in Dawson City, Yukon,  honouring Isaac O. Stringer of Kincardine, Ont., - the bishop who ate his boots.


I remember writing a story on Stringer years ago. Born in 1866, and educated in Kincardine Township, he became rather famous, especially in western Canada. The University of Toronto graduate was the first Anglican missionary to the Inuit of Herschel Island, which is on the Arctic Circle.  He later served as bishop of the Yukon, based in Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. His final position was as Archbishop of Rupert’s Land. He dropped dead of a heart attack on the street in Winnipeg Oct. 30, 1934 on his way to a church meeting. He was 68 years of age.


Stringer gained the name, the bishop who ate his boots, in 1909. He and C.J. Johnson set out on a journey when, after a week on the trail, on Oct. 1, the two realized they were lost and almost out of rations. Sixteen days later, out of food and with two rifle cartridges left, and weak from their forced marches, they feasted on a supper of toasted rawhide sealskin boots. According to an obituary in Jane Yemen’s scrapbook, Stringer’s diary described the boots as “palatable”. That was their fare for two more days. Then they came across a house.


During the 29-day ordeal, the bishop lost 50 pounds.


The bishop sounds like quite the man. For more than 30 years, he and his wife organized schools for the Inuit, nursed them in sickness and prescribed medicine for them. 


In 1928 he made a 4,000 mile journey by lake and waterways to scattered outposts of his far-fling diocese.




During our brief holiday, we travelled to Manitoulin Island for a few days to get away.


But if I’ve learned anything over the years, you can’t get away from Kincardine.


I know the Thomsons and McTavishes met Kincardine people in the Yukon and it was like old home week on the Manitoulin.




You can’t get away from work either. During breakfast at our lodge one morning, one of the owners wanted to talk about wind turbines which are apparently coming to Manitoulin Island. Another day, poor municipal planning was the issue.


Different place, same problems.




Sad to see another Kincardine communications company taken over by a national company.


Kincardine Cable TV has been a good corporate citizen and owner Bryan Walden has always had a keen interest in the community.


If memory serves correct, he was one of the ones who got the boardwalk idea moving at Station Beach.

He has worked to try and get the old town hall (Kincardine Centre for the Arts) replaced. Too bad he had not been successful at that.


The only local communication companies left in the area are Bruce Telecom, Hurontel, Market Place Magazine and The Independent.




With all the loony news coming out of Ottawa, I’m beginning to believe Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wacky cabinet have wandered, unknowingly of course, into a field of marijuana.


Stockwell Day wants to build more jails for criminals who commit unreported crimes.


Tony Clement is cancelling the census compulsory long form because people should not be jailed for not filling out the long firm – which leaves you wondering how Stockwell will fill those new prison cells.


The Harper government is spending money like there is no tomorrow - $1 billion on security for the G20 summit, $9 billion for new prisons and another $16 billion for new fighter jets.


And the government says it is going to cut the $54-billion annual deficit in half over the next five years.


Someone better cut off the supply of wacky tobacco in Ottawa – otherwise we’ll be bankrupt and the new prison cells will be filled with politicians.


Anyway, there are no boot eaters in this crowd.




Finally, a Point Clark homeowner says that the wet weather this summer has caused a mosquito problem and the insects are driving dogs almost crazy. If you are leaving your dog tied up outside, you should check to see that he’s not being eaten alive.

off shore wind turbines

Eric: forwarding this, it may be old news or it could be the start of a new public outburst: It come from sandy Donald.

Hi All,

I have taken the unusual step of writing a mass mailing, as I have just become aware of a proposal to establish wind farms off of Kincardine , down through Point Clark and South. Now, these are 5 km off shore. I will state quite clearly, I don’t want to stare at these things off the beach every time I look West.

Now, I’m new to this, so I’m probably down the wrong path, but we have to start somewhere.

The proposal has a closing date for comments of August 24th for submissions to be registered. I have just done it and it was quite easy (took less than 3 minutes).

The site below will allow you to register your comments, the more the better. It’s a government of Ontario website.

I would also suggest you give Carol Mitchell our local MPP a call and talk to her about this. Carol’s pretty decent, but she needs to hear our views, so she can make a constituency based decision. I have included Carol on this mailing, so we are above board. Now, please be polite and business like. I am not interested in rhetoric or insult based approaches and I believe they do more damage than good.

Pass this email onto friends and people who would appreciate it. Let’s start to build a bow wave to ensure that we make our representatives aware that we do not appreciate this and in all honesty don’t want it.

Take care,

Sandy Donald

Below, I have included a map of where the sites are being proposed.