Kennisis Lake History


Location; Havelock Township

Officially Named: by Geographic Board of Canada. 15th Report

One local story is that the lake was "Named after Joe Kennisis, a Chippewa, whose family lived on the shore of the lake for five generations" (Source: Cowen, L personal communications, 1998. Liz Cowen responded by letter to researcher Elinor Whidden’s ad in the local paper looking for origins of lake names in Haliburton.) The name honours an Aboriginal presence, but was given to the lake by a European since in Aboriginal nomenclature, lakes do not honour people.

Another version is that "The name Kennisis is a common Ojibwa name. The original spelling is 'Canise' (there are probably still lots of Canises in the phonebook near Rama) which means 'sail' ... as in the kind put on a boat or canoe" (Source: Macdonald, C. personal communications with researcher Elinor Widden, 1998. Craig Macdonald is connected to Friends of Algonquin Park. He is an expert on Aboriginal languages and knows much of the history of First Nations people in the Haliburton and Muskoka regions.)

Also Known As:
• Ke-ne-ses Lake (MNR archives)
• Kennesis Lake (MNR archives)
• Keneses Lake (MNR archives)
• Kenneses Lake (MNR)
• Kinish Lake or Kenish Lake (MNR archives)
• Canise Lake once spelled Canise, meaning soil - this is likely an error in pronunciation or spelling. (Sources: Macdonald, C. personal communications, 1998; Stitt, M. 1994 The Forest & the Trees: historical roots of the Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve. Haliburton, Ontario: Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve Ltd., 4).

The above information came from: Discovering the (Hi)story of Haliburton Through Its Lakes' Names by Elinor Whidden, a student report prepared for Trent University- Bioregionalism Course, 1998. From the U-Links Centre for Community-Based Research Collection.