The Nopiming Legend

Extensive research by Laurie Dougherty and establishment of the Charles Macnamara Fonds at the Arnprior Archives has provided a wealth of data on Charles Macnamara but much less on the establishment of the Nopiming Game Sanctuary (alternatively the “Nopiming Crown Game Preserve”) in 1920.

Nopiming was established by a provincial Order in Council on 22 April 1920, which was revoked and replaced with a revised Order in Council dated (but apparently not signed) 22 December 1920. Nopiming documentation evidence is copies of the 2 Orders in Council dated April 22, 1920 and December 22, 1920.


As Charles noted in his logbook (Arnprior Archives):

The country between the Madawaska and the Mississippi north of the Grand Trunk (later CNR) track was declared a Game Sanctuary by the Provincial Government in April 1920. A slip in the wording by which the Township of Fitzroy is included in the County of Renfrew was corrected in a later Order-in-Council dated 22 Dec 1920.”


If Charles was principally behind the OICs, it is interesting to ponder how a naturalist, given to being so precisely correct, could have allowed locating Fitzroy Township in the County of Renfrew. It is also interesting to note that the December, 1920 OIC is dated May 24 1924!

A letter in the Arnprior Archives from Hoyes Lloyd (Dominion ornithologist?) to Charles dated June 16, 1920, is apparently in response to a letter from Charles reporting the establishment of the April 22, 1920 Order in Council. The letter from Charles was not found in the Arnprior Archives.


As the Lloyd letter indicates, the title of the December OIC has also changed from “Crown game Preserve” to “Game Sanctuary”.

Notes describing the Macnamara Fonds (Arnprior Archives) and brief discussions with Allison Stein suggest the group behind the establishment of Nopiming included Charles Macnamara, D.M. Finnie, manager of the Bank of Ottawa in Arnprior (probably also Leslie Finnie, friend of Charles), Dan McLachlin, grandson of the founder of McLachlin Lumber, and Thomas Elliot, landowner within Nopiming.

The legend of the establishment of Nopiming remains anecdotal since document evidence tracing any proposal, review, acceptance and formulation of the April 22 or December 22 Orders in Council together with those involved – and/or their respective roles – has yet to be found. Searches at Archives Ontario and the National Archives have produced no information, as have perusals of the Carp Review and inquiries at the Renfrew Mercury.

In April-June 1920, The Arnprior Chronicle was published weekly on Fridays. No archived editions of The Arnprior Chronicle for this period have been found. We wonder if The Arnprior Chronicle article mentioned in the June 16, 1920 Hoyes Lloyd would throw light on those behind the April 22, 1920 Order in Council.

April 22, 1920 was a Thursday. Since Lloyd’s letter to Charles is dated June 16, 1920 (a Wednesday), and allowing for Arnprior-Ottawa return mailing, it would appear that the pertinent edition of The Arnprior Chronicle would have been published on one of April 23, April 30, May 7, May 14, May 21, May 28 and possibly June 4, 1920. The most probable may be the April 23 to May 14, 1920 editions. Does anyone have an attic collection of The Arnprior Chronicle for this period??

Dave and Mary Forsyth, February, 2011