Ipperwash Provincial Park
|Ipperwash Provincial Park|
|Nearest city||Grand Bend, Ontario|
|Area||56 ha (140 acres)|
|Governing body||Ontario Parks|
Located near Grand Bend, the 56 hectare, or 140-acre (0.57 km2), park was established in 1936. It contains a long sandy beach on the lakeshore, as well as rare flowers and sand dunes. Wildlife include migrating jaegers, scoter, grebe, and Brant goose.
During World War II, in 1942 the national government appropriated land for a military base from the Chippewa of Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation after first offering payment for it, with a promise of return after the war. They continued to use Camp Ipperwash for cadet summer training into the 1990s.
The Chippewa First Nation has claimed the park contains a native burial ground; although there has been no recent archaeological survey to confirm this conclusion, documentary evidence exists which supports it. First Nations activism led protesters to occupy the base and the park in September 1995. A confrontation between Ontario Provincial Police and the protesters resulted in the death of Dudley George, the only aboriginal killed in 20th century land claims disputes.
In 2003, the provincial government commissioned an investigative inquiry into George's death and events of the protest. This led to changes in policing policy, and findings that some officials had made racist comments.
On 20 December 2007, the Ontario government announced that it would return Ipperwash Provincial Park to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. Ontario and the First Nation will jointly administer the park for some time.