Grey Roots has many wonderful stories of incredible people that have been part of the Grey County Legacy. The front foyer of the Centre showcases five of our Local Heroes. They include:
- Billy Bishop
- Harry Lumley
- Agnes Macphail
- Catharine Sutton (Nahneebahweequa)
- Tom Thomson
William Avery "Billy" Bishop was born on February 8, 1894 in Owen Sound. He was a son of William Avery Bishop, the County Registrar of Grey, and Margaret Louisa Greene. His grandfather, Eleazar Bishop, had settled in Owen Sound in 1855. His Victorian home on the town's west side was Billy's childhood home.
Lieutenant Colonel William "Billy" Bishop was the top scoring Canadian and Imperial fighter pilot of the First World War. Credited with a phenomenal 72 victories in the air, he was the first Canadian airman to win a Victoria Cross, for a single-handed dawn attack on a German airfield. During the Second World War, Bishop was an honorary Air Marshal in the RCAF.
Billy Bishop Museum
One of NHL's Top Goalies
Harry Lumley was born in Owen Sound in 1926. Harry became a goaltender for Strathcona Public School, then for the Owen Sound Orphans. From there, he went to the Barrie Colts and was then invited to the Detroit Red Wings camp in the fall of 1943. 16 year old Harry Lumley left Owen Sound to begin his career in the National Hockey League.
Harry played his first National Hockey League game in 1943 at the age of 17. He became the youngest regular goaltender in NHL history and first teenager to play goal in a Stanley Cup final!
Harry Lumley Bayshore Centre
Agnes Macphail (nee McPhail) was born on a farm west of Hopeville in the former Proton Township. When she was 12, her family moved to a farm west of the village of Ceylon, and she also later lived in the village itself.
Macphail was elected for the Grey-South East Riding on December 6, 1921, the first and only woman MP, she was not joined by another woman until 1935 when Martha Black, representing the Yukon Territory was also elected. The boundaries also changed at the 1935 election, Macphail was now the representative for Grey-Bruce. In 1929, Macphail was the first woman to represent Canada at the League of Nations. She was also the first woman appointed to the Disarmament Committee of the League of Nations. Defeated in the 1940 election, Macphail gave 6,685 days (18 years, 3 months and 19 days) of federal political service as an MP. She also went on to serve as an MPP in Ontario Parliament for the Riding of East York, 1943-5, and 1948-51. Macphail fought for prison reform, pensions for the aged, blind and disabled, and better health services.
Nahneebahweequa whose Ojibwa name means 'upright woman', attended the mission school in Credit Indian Reserve Mission School. She married William Sutton, an English lay minister, at the age of 15. Together they raised seven children. In 1846, Catharine Sutton and her husband William, moved to the Newash Ojibwa settlement near Owen Sound.
Working on behalf of her people, Nahneebahweequa criticized the government for attempting to purchase Manitoulin Island, which had been promised forever to the Native people. Nahneebahweequa travelled to Great Britain in 1860 to meet with Queen Victoria regarding the rights of the Ojibwa people.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography - Nahneebahweequa
Thomas John Thomson was born in 1877, and shortly after his birth, moved to Rose Hill, a farm near Leith on Georgian Bay. One of Canada's most distinguished artists, Tom began his career as a commercial artist in Toronto. There he befriended several of the artists that formed the Group of Seven in the 1920s.
An avid outdoorsman, Thomson often visited Algonquin Park where he used his bold sense of colour to create his powerful paintings. Thomson's northern landscapes broke with European traditions in art, and reflected his love for the Canadian wilderness.
Tom's career was brilliant, but brief. His untimely death was a great loss to the world of art.
Tom Thomson Art Gallery