Bonnie Blink House, meaning “beautiful view,” is a settler site in Sheguiandah, Manitoulin Island. It has had an important social, economic and agricultural history on the Island, having been the site of Manitoulin Gardens until the mid-1980s and housed migrant workers, several families, and provided employment for large numbers of Islanders over the last 100 years. Like all the land on Manitoulin, it was was occupied, managed and used much earlier by the paleo-indians, and later the Odaawaa and Ojibwe of the area. The Anishinabeg were displaced from the land through the Treaty of 1862.
4e facilitated the Bonnie Blink project with a goal to engage with the site as an embodied locus of community history—bringing its stories to life, integrating different ways of knowing, and posing questions about land use history and aboriginal/settler histories.
The project brought together 22 fourth-year undergraduate geography students, three academic geographers—Dr. Neal Scott, Canada Research Chair in Greenhouse Gas Dynamics and Ecosystem Management, Dr. Anne Godlewska, and Sophie Edwards (a historical geographer), 7 artists, community members and local historians.
Queen’s University awarded Dr. Neal Scott and Sophie Edwards an award for Community Service Learning for their work bridging academic and local communities and for providing innovative educational opportunities to students.
The project provided an opportunity for physical and human geographers to work together, learn about each other’s methodologies and, along with the artists and local community members, contribute to a layering of knowledge of place—realizing in the process that the full story was not learned and is a continually unfolding one.