Skip Navigation

The Sea Lion of Silver Islet (Sleeping Giant Provincial Park)

A trip to Thunder Bay is not complete without a visit to the quaint little Silver Islet resort, for here, the spirit of the "Native" can be felt in every nook and cranny.

Centre of much of the lore and legend of the district, Silver Islet is not only beautifully picturesque, but leaves one with a sense of having "rubbed shoulders" with the chiefs and braves that once roamed its shores.

One of the most interesting sights of the islet is the great stone Sea-Lion, a fitting subject for the artist and camera enthusiast.

As a point of interest it is more unusual, so also is the legend of its origin.

A great pet and constant companion of Nanabijou, Spirit of the Deep Sea Water, was the giant Thunder Bird. Legend tells us that lightning darted from its eyes and its voice was the thunder.

The origin of this belief can be easily imagined when one listens to the storms of Thunder Bay, and realizes that the ancient Natives knew very little of the scientific explanations for the acts of nature.

Our story however deals more with the Lion, "Nagochee". He too was a great companion of Nanabijou. Nagochee was no ordinary animal, for he was credited with having the wings of an eagle and the feet of a duck. His speed was that of the wind and he could swim faster than the great fish.

One day the Spirit God was called upon to go on a long journey; mounting his great beast he hurriedly departed.

In his haste he forgot to take his Thunder Bird with him. Thinking he no longer cared for him and being very jealous, she bitterly resented being left at home and planned to destroy Nagochee.

Waiting for the return of Nanabijou, she started to screech when she saw him appearing over the clouds.

Her voice shook the heavens and a terrific storm broke, striking the Lion and rider with its full force.

The great wind snapped off one of Nagochee's wings and he was twisted over and over, throwing his Master into the Big Sea Water. The Lion tried in vain to swim to Nanabijou's aid but the waves were too much for him.

Nanabijou finally reached the shore by his own efforts and thinking his beast had failed him, placed a curse upon him and turned him to stone.

There to this day, stands the faithful old Nagochee, looking solemnly out to the water, waiting for his master to return.