Local historian tells the stories behind Interpretive signs

G. William (Bill) Streeter is passionate when it comes to historical fact, military history and biographies of people from all stripes.

On Tuesday, February 7th (2023), Streeter spoke to the Port Elgin Men’s Probus Club, a group of retired gentlemen who meet socially once each month at Port Elgin’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 340.

Streeter shows a book he has used for research

Streeter, who is a member of the Municipal Heritage Committee and immediate past-Chair as well as recipient of the Municipal Heritage Award, has worked tirelessly for several years researching the history for interpretive plaques located throughout the community of Saugeen Shores, which is made up of Port Elgin, Southampton and Saugeen Township following amalgamation.



There are currently 23 signs with more currently in production, each of which tells the history of a location, residence, special building or veterans of the World Wars.

With a long family history leading back to the mid-1800s, Streeter is more than familiar with the intricacies of the historical backgrounds behind each interpretive sign.

At Hurricane Hazel site, Rev. Bob Johnston reads the interpretive signage commemorating the train tragedy

From the furniture making era to the Mosquito Bomber, agriculture in Saugeen to Denny’s Dam, the Hurricane Hazel Train Wreck to the Chantry Island Lighthouse, Streeter has not only researched the histories but, in many cases, has a personal family connection.



While he continues to work on interpretative signage, Streeter’s goal now is to create a brochure/digital map that features the locations of all the signs with a view to having them be a walking or driving tour attraction.  “There is so much history in this area and the interpretive signs are a ready source of information that tell of our early ancestors and the development that they created.”

List of Plaques – for larger view, Click on Image

According to Streeter, although he wouldn’t give the secret away, there are three more signs that will soon be coming out.

With an incredible knowledge of history and research techniques and in collaboration with the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre and the Town of Saugeen Shores, interpretive signage has become a wealth of history for the municipality.

“I only wish I had more time,” said Streeter.  “I could talk for hours on the history behind these plaques.”

The plaques are currently in winter storage until April.