Ganaraska Forest
- Conservation History -

Ganaraska History
V.B. Blake
Pioneer Historian
Ardfree of Northumberland
E. J. Zavitz
Chief of Reforestation
A.H. Richardson
Dr. R.C. Wallace "Wallace of Queen's"
G.M. Wrong
History Prof./Author
Lois James
hampion of the Rouge












































































George M. Wrong - Canada's Great Historian

George MacKinnon Wrong 

Professor George Wrong played a key role in the development of the historical profession in English-speaking Canada.  He remains one of the most prolific authors on Canadian history. 

“During this time his achievements far outshone
those of any Canadian historian of his time.”

The Life and Work of George M. Wrong,
The Canadian Historical Review, Vol. XXIX,
No. 3 by W.S. Wallace, September, 1948

 George MacKinnon Wrong 

"Born in Gravesend, Upper Canada, Wrong graduated from ... the University of Toronto where, in 1895, he became the first Professor of Modern History. A believer in the historian's moral duty to interpret the past for society's present needs, he viewed Canadian history in terms of the country's British and French origins, and the American presence. As a teacher, administrator, writer and a moving force in the early days of the Canadian Historical Association, he helped to provide an intellectual base for a developing Canadian nationality."

Excerpt from historic plaque
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Indirectly, Prof. Wrong also had an influential role in the success of the Ganaraska project both as V.B. Blake's uncle and as a nearby resident with an estate on the Ganaraska River.

"After all, history is life itself."  

  George M. Wrong

Blake's most influential mentor

Wrong was also V.B. Blake's closest uncle and most influential mentor. In Blake’s own words:

 “My interest in the past is possibly partly due to the fact that I grew up in close contact with the Wrong family… G.M. Wrong married my father’s only sister and lived next door to us on Jarvis Street and at Murray Bay.  Even after my father’s death we saw a great deal of them.  They were fond of my Mother, brother and sisters and always very kind to me, even when this called for a saintly tolerance.  After 1916 I used to haunt the old house George bought at Canton and was often at their house in Toronto.  It was hardly possible to sit constantly at that table and not learn a great deal.”

Letter from Verschoyle Blake to Dr. George Stanley, History Professor, Royal Military College, Kingston dated February 21, 1957, courtesy of Elisabeth Bacque

In September, 1886  George McKinnon Wrong married Sophia Hume Blake, the eldest daughter of Edward Blake, Premier of Ontario (1871 to 1872) and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (1880 to 1887) and Frances Margaret Cronyn. For Wrong, this marriage signalled his entry into high society. The Wrongs had residences in Toronto at 467 Jarvis Street and later at 73 Walmer Road in Toronto. The Blakes were not far away.

After the death of Edward Blake, George MacKinnon and his wife Sophia  acquired a country property at Canton north of Port Hope that included a large pond, a miller’s house and Durham House. 

Nearby, the Blake Family acquired a country property (VBB named Ardfree) in 1926, on the 9th Concession of Hope Twp. Both properties were located on large ponds and connected by the Ganaraska River.

There was a special and unusually close bond between Prof. Wrong and his young nephew, Vers (V.B. Blake. Both men also shared the tragic loss of close family members. 

As a young boy of 5 yrs., V.B. Blake lost his father, Edward F. Blake (Ned) to leukemia. (Blake’s father was the brother of G.M. Wrong’s wife, Sophia). 

Harold Verschoyle Wrong (1891-1916) was the son of George and Sophia Wrong. During WW I, Harold was rejected by the Canadian Army for an eye-related medical condition - he then enlisted with the British Army.

In June of 1915, Gerald Blake followed Professor Wrong’s son, Harold Verschoyle Wrong and also enlisted with the British service.  (Gerald Blake (1892-1916) was the only brother of VBB.)

As cousins and as close friends (both young men were alumni of Ridley College and attended the University of Toronto together), Gerald and Harold had made the supreme sacrifice. In 1916, they lost their lives fighting at Thiepval – Battle of Somme.

G.M. Wrong had lost his son, Harold Verschoyle Wrong (1891-1916) in WW1.  VBB lost his only brother, Gerald Blake, in the same battle.  VBB also lost his father at a very young age - related to Wrong's wife. These losses almost certainly propelled G. M. Wrong into assuming a more fatherly role toward his young nephew - an influence which would follow Blake for his life.

Background - G.M. Wrong

In 1894, Professor Wrong was appointed Professor and head of the Department of History at the University of Toronto where he remained until his retirement in 1927.  He was recognized as a superb lecturer and introduced Canadian history into the curriculum.

In 1897, Wrong  founded the Review of Historical Publications Relating to Canada, predecessor to the Canadian Historical Review. In 1904, he founded the University of Toronto Historical Club, with its dominant interest in public affairs.

In 1905 he helped found the Champlain Society, was its editorial secretary until 1922 and its president from 1924-1928. In 1944 he was elected an honorary member of the American Historical Association, the third person to receive that honour.

Wrong was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1908. An anglophile and an imperialist, he was also founding member of the Round Table movement in Canada. He was also the founding editor of the Canadian Historical Review from 1920 to 1927.

Besides several textbooks on British and Canadian history, G.M. Wrong was the author of The Crusade of 1383 (1892), The Earl of Elgin (1906), A Canadian Manor and its Seigneurs (1908), The Fall of Canada (1914), Washington and his Comrades in Arms (1921), The United States and Canada: A Political Study (1921); The Rise and Fall of New France (1928), Canada and the American Revolution (1935) and The Canadians (1938). He edited for the Champlain Society Sagard's Long Journey to the Country of the Hurons (1939).  Wrong was also co-editor of The Chronicles of Canada (32 volumes, 1914-16).

George MacKinnon Wrong is recognized as a National Historic Person of Canada.


Plaque- Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada 
George MacKinnon Wrong

Noteworthy connections

Wrong influenced a generation of students including William Lyon MacKenzie King, Canada's longstanding Prime Minister (3 terms) and Chales Vincent Massey, Canada's Governor General.

In the summer of 1929 George Wrong offered to sell the rights to the mill and dam to his former pupil, Vincent Massey. No agreement was reached until the early 1930s, when MacKinnon suffered financially from the stock market crash. A deal was reached and Vincent Massey erected a residence here named Batterwood. Wrong and Massey became neighbors.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were guests of Vincent Massey in 1959 and stayed at Massey’s estate named Batterwood north of Port Hope.


Researcher:  M. Martin