The memory of historian and author John Macfie continues to remain in the hearts and minds of many in the Parry Sound region.
The World War II RCAF veteran passed away on October 26th, 2018 at the West Parry Sound Health Centre at the age of 93.
Last Tuesday, Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller paid tribute to Macfie in the Ontario Legislature:
This is the complete text of Miller’s address at Queen’s Park:
I rise in the House today to recognize the life of John Macfie, a passionate historian from Dunchurch in the Parry Sound area, who, sadly, passed away on October 26 at age 93.
John is best known for his dedication to writing about colonization and the history of forestry and logging in Ontario. As it happens, I have one of his books here in Toronto, in which he recorded the stories of the people who worked in logging camps and steam-powered mills in the 1800s and early 1900s. These stories would have been lost to the annals of history, but because of John’s efforts, their stories live on so that we can read what life was like for the people who helped build this country.
John’s love of history started quite young, listening enthralled as old-timers yarned about their adventures. In his wisdom, he began to collect the stories and photographs. He went on to write 13 books and more than 1,000 newspaper and magazine articles.
Though he is most known for his work as a historian, his own life was one well worth recording. He was trained as a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force. He dabbled in meteorology and weather mapping before ending up at the Department of Lands and Forests. He worked in Sioux Lookout as a trap management officer, and spent a decade in the woods engaging with Indigenous trappers between Lake Superior and Hudson Bay. Eventually, he ended up as fish and wildlife supervisor in Parry Sound.
Though I cannot do justice to John’s life in the time allowed, I feel it’s important to recognize him here and thank him for his efforts to preserve the stories that would otherwise have been lost.
Parry Sound Town Councillor Doug McCann also paid tribute to Macfie in his councillor’s report during council’s meeting on Tuesday, November 6th.
Councillor McCann extended his sincere sympathies to Macfie’s family on his passing saying that he will be sorely missed in the area.
McCann also added that earlier this year, Macfie was awarded a certificate of membership making him a 2018 honorary member of the Forest History Society of Ontario in recognition of his many media contributions to forestry and logging.