Most of Northern Ontario’s rocky landscape is part of the Canadian Shield that was created during the Precambrian Age over 570 million years ago. The North’s thriving mining industry owes its existence to the formations created by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes during this violent geological period.
The low lying area between North Bay’s Airport Hill escarpment and the Almaguin Highlands (to the south) was formed when a fault parted to form the French and Mattawa River system. Today, you can see evidence of the Precambrian bedrock and granite in the rock cuts along the region’s Highway 11 corridor.
Following the Precambrian era, the region was submerged beneath raging seas where lime, clay and sand were deposited. All of this helped form the basic environment of the Lake Nipissing passageway – millions of years before the first Ice Age.
The local terrain was forged by the succession of ice ages that began 80,000 years ago. In approximately 8,000 B.C., the last retreat melted ice that flooded the landscape, creating Lake Nipissing and its various outlets including Callander’s Wasi River. The entire area was blanketed with “glacial till” – a mixture of sand, gravel and boulders that shaped moraines into a variety of landforms. Back then, Callander Bay probably looked as it does today with the exception that the forest cover was then complete.
It is thought that the first humans to reside around Lake Nipissing probably arrived around the retreat of the Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. Historically, these people are known as “”Paleo-Indians”". They would have lived by hunting game with primitive stone weapons and gathering berries and roots. Occasionally, archaeological remnants are unearthed throughout Ontario that shows proof of their existence.