Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie & Area

Garden River First Nation

General Information

  • Location - Highway 17 East
  • Population in 2011 - 1,107
  • Access - Land


Garden River First Nation is located east of the City of Sault Ste. Marie. It is home to the Garden River Band of Objiways. The name “Garden River” is a reference to the vegetable gardens that the Ojibwa people of the area were famous for keeping. Immediately west of Garden River is the Rankin Location, managed by the Batchewana First Nation.

The Garden River Reserve was created in 1850 with the signing of the Robinson-Huron Treaty. The Treaty covered a land area that stretched from Penetanguishene, on the southeaster corner of Georgian Bay, extending around Lake Huron then on to Batchawna Bay on Lake Superior, north of Sault Ste. Marie. Garden River was one of 15 reserves created by the treaty.

Garden River’s Chief at the time of the Treaty was Shingwaukonce (also known as Shingwauk). This respected Chief was an advocate for the need for treaties with the British, as required under the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and was a catalyst involved in the ultimate creation of not only the Robinsion – Huron but also the Robisnon – Superior Treaty. He is known for other accomplishments as well. Shingwaukonce and his son, Augustin Shingwauk, were early proponents of education for Aboriginal Canadians. Shingwaukonce believed that education was so important that, in 1832, he traveled to Toronto on snowshoe to petition Upper Canada’s Lieutenant Governor for teachers to bring European –style education to the Ojibwa. His efforts resulted in Sault Ste. Marie’s first school, or “teaching wigwam, the following year. Shingwauk also sought to set up schools for other First Nations across northern Ontario and Manitoba.

The community of Garden River First Nation retains its strong, independent native culture to this day. The reserve has its own community centre, health centre, fire hall, child care centre and community support services centre. The Garden River Development Corporation is responsible for business development within the reserve.

A number of businesses operate on Garden River Reserve, including a service centre, convenience store and several craft shops. Access on the St. Mary's River provides an ideal spot for water-based recreation activities particularly salmon and trout fishing. Local fishing guide services are available with expertise not only with the St. Mary's River but also for fly-fishing on the Garden River which flows into the St. Mary's. Parks located along the St. Mary's River waterfront of Garden River First nation are found at the western and eastern edges of the Reserve, such as Bell’s Point Campground and Ojibway Park.

For more information on the community of Garden River First Nation and its facilities, contact:

• Garden River Band of Ojibways – (705) 946-6300
• Garden River Development Corporation – (705) 942-1825
• Ojibway Park – (705) 248-2671
• Garden River Community Day Care Centre – (705) 256-5400