Annual Report 2017

Our relentless pursuit to keep the Bay’s waters clean

Protecting the Bay’s water is our calling

Some of the world’s most beautiful scenery can be found along the sandy beaches, coastal wetlands and rugged coastlines on Georgian Bay. For generations, people north and south of the border have been drawn to the area’s natural landscapes and pristine waters, settling here as cottagers, homeowners, and business owners or returning year after year as tourists.
But the Bay is so much more than a summer attraction, favourite fishing spot, or commercial shipping route.

It is one of the largest and most complex freshwater ecosystems in the world and one the First Nations has long recognized as a precious, life-preserving gem. Considering only 2.5 per cent of the earth’s water is fresh, (of which only 0.3 percent of our fresh water is found in the surface water of lakes, rivers, and swamps) that water you enjoy washing up between your toes, sparkling in the sunlight, or lapping against the side of your boat, is an essential natural resource for human health and for the health of every aquatic species that relies on its rich nutrients to survive. It’s a necessity that we can’t afford to ignore, or lose.

Georgian Bay’s water is at a turning point.

While we can’t always see them, the threats to the Bay’s water are real. Stressors, including climate change, invasive species, and pollution, are threatening the quality of our water and the long-term sustainability of the Bay’s precious ecosystems. If we don’t take preventive action to address these threats now, their negative impact on our water will only continue, outpacing our ability and resources (or opportunity) to turn things around.

It’s time to embrace responsible water guardianship.

At Georgian Bay Forever, we are as passionate about the Bay as you are. We are a small, and highly effective charitable organization whose sole mission is to preserve and protect the waters of Georgian Bay through scientific research, restoration projects and education. Through strategic partnerships and the generosity of our donors, we have become an influential voice in informing environmental policies that affect the Great Lakes, and thereby Georgian Bay, at all levels of government in both Canada and the United States.

Read this year’s Annual Report to learn more about the steps we are taking to keep Georgian Bay’s water clean and healthy.

Taking action to preserve a Canadian gem

It’s been 40 years since the crystal clear waters and majestic beauty of Georgian Bay captured our hearts and convinced my husband and me that this was where we wanted to spend summers with our children. Little did I know when we purchased our cottage in Pointe au Baril in 1978, that my passion for the Bay would continue to grow with each passing year.

So many of my most cherished family memories were made right here. Today, I have the luxury of watching my grandchildren enjoy their time on the water just as much as my children did as they were growing up. As I look back on these special moments, I can’t help but look forward too. This Bay that we have all come to cherish is increasingly facing risks on so many fronts. Toxic chemicals, raw sewage overflows, climate change and invasive species are all threatening the water that we drink, swim in, catch fish from, and for some, rely on for our livelihoods.

I decided years ago that I couldn’t stand idly by and watch something that my family holds so dear slowly deteriorate. That’s when I joined the Board of Georgian Bay Forever (GBF).

As a board member, and now chair, I have seen firsthand how important our work is to the long-term sustainability of Georgian Bay’s water. GBF is the only charitable organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the waters of the Bay, making our mission all the more vital to its future.

In 2017, the Board revisited GBF’s strategic plan, and next year, we plan to unveil a new set of strategic priorities that will bring laser-like focus to our efforts through 2021. We will continue to build on key long-term initiatives like Phragmites eradication, seeking climate-resilient structural solutions to address fluctuating water levels, the development of a biodiversity library, and assessing the impacts of net-pen aquaculture, while also pursuing new opportunities and new partnerships.

Executive Director David Sweetnam has done a superb job of building collaborative relationships with like-minded partners in the academic, scientific and government sectors, and with local groups around the Bay, allowing us to maximize our reach and impact with both our expertise and dollars. We successfully reduced operating costs in 2017, and ended the year with a modest deficit, a reflection of key investments we made that were critical to advancing our ongoing project work.

It is with deep respect and a tinge of sadness that we said goodbye this year to retiring board member, Roger “Rod” Jones. As a lifelong cottager and senior executive with Canada Steamship Lines, Rod brought a unique perspective to our Board discussions. His advice and counsel will be missed. We are also indebted to Peter Singer who completed his term as board chair in June. His leadership and guidance, complemented by his enthusiastic fundraising efforts, allowed GBF to thrive, and to draw national and international attention to our scientific research, restoration projects and educational initiatives.

We were pleased this year to welcome three new members to the Board. Paul Emond, Doug Heintzman and Laren Stadelman are caring, committed environmentalists, educators and supporters of the Bay whose added insights and expertise have been invaluable in helping us to further advance our efforts to protect our water.

We are incredibly grateful to our Board and Committee members and to the many individuals and organizations whose partnerships, monetary gifts, and volunteer efforts make our work possible. We couldn’t do what we do without you. Thank you for supporting GBF’s relentless efforts to keep our Bay pristine and beautiful. We hope many more of you will join us in 2018.

Anne Randell

Anne Randell
Board Chair

Peter, our past Chair, fighting Phragmites
with Sans Souci volunteers.

Rod Jones
Thank you for serving as Director

Mobilizing communities to protect the Bay’s water

Never underestimate the power of one voice. Georgian Bay Forever may be a small organization, but behind our name we are 800+ people strong – a group of committed board members, staff, volunteers, strategic partners, and donors all speaking with one purpose. Walking in the footsteps of the First Nations who were the first to fully appreciate and protect the Bay’s water, we continue that proud tradition as a guardian of Georgian Bay’s water.

Over the years, GBF has committed itself to building successful relationships with federal, provincial and municipal governments, local cottage associations, other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and large and small businesses. Many of these conversations have led to mutually beneficial partnerships that are making it possible for our small organization to deliver big impact on the larger environmental stage. That, combined with our ability to successfully mobilize communities across the Bay in the fight against Phragmites, has catapulted our name to the front line in government and community conversations about Georgian Bay’s water. And that’s a good thing.

The energy we have and the partnerships we are building are accelerating our ability to address threats to the water in Georgian Bay and we are increasingly being called upon and recognized by government and community groups as credible experts in this area. Among this year’s highlights, we were privileged once again to be among 17 official observers attending the two-day Great Lakes Executive Committee meeting in December, where GBF received a ‘shout-out’ from the International Joint Commission (IJC) for our Phragbuster program.

While the results of scientific research studies and public education projects often take time, the end results are well worth the wait. Take the following GBF projects, for example, that are currently striving to address gaps in the availability of baseline data that is fundamental to advancing our knowledge-base:

  • Once complete, the aquatic biodiversity library we are building in partnership with the University of Guelph will be among the most well-documented ecosystems in Canada and internationally, providing a platform for understanding and managing human impacts on aquatic life. GBF’s initial investment in this project enabled the University to obtain a $7 million grant to further advance this work throughout the Great Lakes. This is one of the many ways GBF successfully leverages donor gifts to attract larger investments.
  • We used our boat and bathymetry equipment to help the Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council complete a two-year survey of eight tributaries (Project info) in the Bay to better understand the effect of habitat changes on native fish species. Our joint application helped the Council to secure $225,000 to complete this work.
  • With our future portending flashier storms with shorter bursts of greater intensity and precipitation, our attention is also moving towards the impacts of raw sewage overflows into the Bay. Currently, no level of government is required to routinely report these overflows to the public. Working in the absence of this information could have a direct impact on water sampling programs. This past Fall, we sent a letter to the provincial government reinforcing the importance of public disclosure on this issue so that we can better understand the scale of its impacts on our water and the solutions needed to address them.

    Beyond our project work, we are also helping to advance the environmental experts of tomorrow. Since launching our Summer Ambassador program two years ago, we expanded the program this year from two post-high school students to five. The students have helped give GBF a broader presence on Georgian Bay, educating local cottagers about our work in addressing water threats and helping map and cut invasive Phragmites stands. In 2018, we will broaden the program to eight students with placements at Sans Souci/Woods Bay, Honey Harbour, Cognashene, Tay Township, and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority.

    While a shift in environmental policies south of the border is raising alarm bells in some circles, we believe we are well positioned to work with the US government given our ability to effectively demonstrate the cost to the six trillion-dollar economy in the Great Lakes region of not taking action to address some of the environmental threats we are facing.

    Looking ahead, in 2018, our focus will include:

    • Helping municipalities build the case for accessing funding for climate resilient water infrastructure improvements
    • Continuing to establish a baseline inventory of the Bay’s aquatic species in the biodiversity library
    • Beginning to answer research questions about the effects of open cage aquaculture on our ecosystems
    • Restoring coastal wetlands through our community Phragbuster program
    • Investigating adaptive solutions to mitigate the long-term impacts of climate change on our waters and wetlands; and
    • Revolutionizing water quality testing on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.

    We are all guardians of our beautiful Bay. Please visit the rest of our website and social media channels to learn more about our work and how you can play a role in protecting our water.

    David Sweetnam
    Executive Director

David Sweetnam
Executive Director

Identifying threats to Georgian Bay

In May 2017, GBF released the results of a 2016 survey it conducted on emerging threats to the water in Georgian Bay. The following were the leading threats identified by those taking part in the survey:

Preserving the Bay’s ecosystems and natural water filtration systems

More than 8,000 km of shoreline on the Bay and 3,700 aquatic marshes in Eastern and Northern Georgian Bay alone, are home to an amazing collection of freshwater fish, amphibians and reptiles, insects, birds, waterfowl, wild animals, plants and aquatic species. While wetland habitats act as a natural water filtration system, they also help protect against flooding and reduce harmful concentrations of phosphorous and nitrogen, making them a key contributor to water quality.
Assessing the impacts of open cage or net-pen aquaculture
The presence of open cage or net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes is expanding. In partnership with the University of Guelph, GBF is studying the effects of “feed” used in open cage aquaculture operations on Georgian Bay’s native fish populations, water quality and ecosystems to determine if it is neutral, beneficial or harmful.
In 2017, GBF reviewed the global literature on the impact of open cage or net-pen aquaculture “feed” when it leaks into the food web in freshwater systems. It revealed that the industry had made changes in its practices (e.g., reducing feed) in response to freshwater studies completed a decade ago. However, no other studies have been done since to determine if those changes have had the desired effect. GBF worked with scientists at the University of Guelph who used e-DNA bar coding and other biotracer methods in the Big Sound area to trace fatty acids in the feeds used by aquaculture operations. The research found that pelagic or offshore native fish, including cisco and lake trout, were consuming the excess feed and had higher n-3 fatty acids levels compared to these same fish from other Lake Huron sites. These n-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase reproductive health and survival rates.
Next Steps:
In 2018, we will expand this research program beyond Big Sound to include studies in the shallower waters of Manitoulin Island.

Learn More

Click here
GBF's 2018 Summer Newsletter summarizes findings on cage aquaculture and new research questions.

Summary of past research

Click here
The University of Guelph's summary of past freshwater aquaculture research.

Protecting the Bay’s coastal wetlands from invasive Phragmites
Over the past five years, GBF has been championing the fight against invasive Phragmites, a destructive reed-like plant that poses a significant threat to the local flora, fauna and fish habitats in the eastern and northern portions of Georgian Bay.
To date, more than 48,750 kilograms of invasive Phragmites have been removed from the Bay’s shorelines and coastal wetlands, thanks to a growing team of ‘Phragbusters’. In 2017, with the support of concerned funders and donors, we hired five students in partnership with local communities to help tackle more severely affected areas and engaged more than 700 people across the Bay through a series of workshops, presentations, and Phragmites cutting events. In addition to taking part in local Phragbusting activities, we also provided online Phragbusting educational videos and resources.
Next Steps:
GBF is working with the Ontario Phragmites Working Group and governments to further develop tools that will help address sites in the Bay where there aren’t enough volunteers to tackle the infestations.

Wetland Cover 2013

Image from a project with NASA. Wetlands need to be protected for the water quality services and habitat they provide. They are impacted from invasive species like Phragmites, extreme low water levels (Learn more) , development, and so much more.

Phragmites mapping as of April 2018

These are reported sites of Phragmites. Many in the south and east have been treated thanks to Georgian Bay's training of volunteers, its partners, and the student ambassador programs. In 2018 more will be mapped and treated.
Source: EDDMapS. 2018. Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System. The University of Georgia - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. Available online at

GBF Phragbuster Communites and Partners

Influence around the Bay. GBF trains volunteers and shares information with like-minded communities and organizations to eradicate invasive Phragmites. More and more people are joining the effort and we are making great progress - more than 48 thousand kilograms removed...and we are working towards employing 8 students to help really inundated communities in 2018.

Identifying and protecting the Bay’s biodiversity
One of our most compelling ecosystem projects is the work we are doing in partnership with the University of Guelph’s McCann Lab and the International Biology of Life Institute to build an aquatic biodiversity library. Using DNA barcoding, we are cataloguing every aquatic species that currently lives in the Bay. The library will be used by scientists as a baseline to monitor the health of the Bay’s ecosystems, and identify areas in need of protection.

To date, 399 specimens have been collected from Big Sound, Shawanaga Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Wiarton and Owen Sound, representing about a quarter of the aquatic life-forms in Georgian Bay. With so many species in the Bay vulnerable to the effects of climate change, pollution, invasive species, and emerging development, we can’t build the biodiversity library fast enough. The library is a crucial tool that will help measure human impact on our precious ecosystems, and give policy and decision-makers the evidence they need to make responsible decisions that further protect aquatic biodiversity.

Kevin McCann quote
Next Steps:
In 2018, the collection of aquatic organisms will be further expanded down the coast of Georgian Bay and around the south end up to Tobermory, Manitoulin Island and Killarney. Once complete, Georgian Bay’s biodiversity library will be among the most well-documented ecosystems in Canada and internationally.

Extending the conversation through social media

While GBF’s small team embraces every opportunity to meet and dialogue with people on the Bay throughout the year, it has expanded those conversations to an even broader audience through its social media channels. In 2017, interest in our work continued to grow:

With the number of online followers or visitors on the rise, it’s great to see that there are so many people who are as passionate about the Bay as we are. Join the conversation. Follow us through our website and social media channels, join our email list, and become a volunteer , a Phragbuster, or a donor . As a guardian of the Bay, we all have a role to play!
Supporting habitat restoration for diminishing native fish
GBF worked with the Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council (EGBSC) to complete a two-year fish habitat assessment survey of eight tributaries that are seeing a decline in Walleye, Lake Sturgeon and Sucker species due to habitat loss. These natural fish habitats have been placed at risk due to over-fishing, water flow manipulation in spawning areas, dam construction, climate change, pollution and waves of invasive species.
Fish Habitat Picture
The survey was completed in the Fall of 2017, with a focus on the Shebeshekong, Naiscoot, Key and Pickerel Rivers to round out the assessments on all eight tributaries. GBF supported this work using bathymetry mapping and side scanning sonar imagery to help assess the habitat in each tributary and its suitability as a spawning, nursery and foraging habitat for these declining native fish species. The survey led to immediate habitat restoration work on the Shebeshekong River where Walleye were unable to reach ideal spawning locations due to bridge construction that blocked traversable parts of the river. The EGBSC successfully opened a fish passage restoring another 1.5 kilometres of fish habitat enabling Walleye access to historic spawning grounds.

Next Steps:
The EGBSC will share the preliminary findings with the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2018 and explore other fish habitat restoration opportunities to help sustain these native fish populations and assess the outcomes of the restoration project.

Mobilizing the community to support cigarette butt-free beaches

It’s not uncommon to walk Georgian Bay’s beautiful beaches and see areas littered with cigarette butts. Perhaps it’s because some believe cigarette filters are bio-degradable and therefore don’t pose a hazard. Not so. Filters are a source of microfibre plastic and are full of toxic chemicals that can leach into the sand and wash into the Bay’s water. Research shows that nicotine can have lethal effects on aquatic life.

In July 2017, Georgian Bay Forever joined the local Butt Free Beach public campaign at Wasaga Provincial Beach Area 5, a national program of The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation and Environmental Defence, and supported locally by the Environment Network of Collingwood and dedicated local volunteers.

What can you do to help?
  • Look for disposable ashtrays in participating beaches, and empty into the designated receptacles.
    No ashtrays? Make your own from a coffee tin or pop can and dispose in a garbage receptacle.

Learn more about how cigarette butts pollute our water.
Mapping the underwater landscape
GBF is mapping the depth and underwater topography of Georgian Bay through the collection of detailed bathymetric data. Knowing what is going on below the water’s surface will help us to better understand and predict habitat changes and their effects on aquatic species. Detailed bathymetry makes it possible to create digital elevation models that can be used by scientists and coastal managers to research cost-effective ways to address stressors impacting the Bay.
Throughout the summer of 2017, our summer students continued to collect data using GBF’s boat, the Georgian Baykeeper, using high resolution side scanning sonar systems. Data was collected in Honey Harbour and Honey Harbour South, parts of Cognashene, and in tributaries between Parry Sound and the French River.
Next Steps:
GBF has embarked on a campaign to raise the funds necessary to purchase an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). It would be the first vehicle of its kind in Canada dedicated to water quality monitoring, and significantly improve our ability to improve water quality data, temporal and spacial measurements, monitor hot spots, and better inform the work of scientists, and policy advisors and decision-makers.

Moving GBF to the forefront of water-based science

Dream big. That’s what we’re doing at GBF as we set our sights on the purchase of a state-of-the-art autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). This high-tech tool has the ability to generate gradient colour maps of chemical and physical measures across the Bay, making it possible for scientists to model the effects of stressors like climate change, water levels, development, sewage overflows, invasive species, septic failures, and bacterial contamination and help us develop effective conservation measures. In what would take GBF a week to map using our boat and side scanning sonar systems, the AUV could do overnight. It would be a boon to our scientific studies and restoration projects as well as those of strategic partners whose work we are supporting.

The AUV would take our water quality testing to a whole new level, making use of more indicators than we have available today, and quickly assessing if the tested area is under stress or if the underwater landscape is changing due to unforeseen impacts.

Intrigued? Learn more about the AUV on our website, or call our Executive Director, David Sweetnam at 905-880-4945 ext. 1, and see how you can help bring this important technology to Georgian Bay.

Tackling extreme fluctuating water levels

For business and cottage owners on Georgian Bay, facing fluctuating water levels may be nothing new, but as we experience an increasing combination of droughts and larger, flashier rainstorms, we can expect more dynamic variations in the Bay’s water levels. Unnatural extremes in water levels due to climate change threaten water quality, habitats and biodiversity while also having serious economic consequences.
Finding new, long-term solutions to prevent extreme water levels
Building on previous work done by the International Joint Commission (IJC) and other organizations, GBF commissioned the global engineering firm, AECOM, to assess and recommend contemporary, climate-resilient structural options for mitigating plausible extreme water levels to protect the Lake Michigan-Huron and Georgian Bay ecosystems and economies from climate change.
AECOM’s final report was published in 2016 ( summary report), identifying three examples of promising climate-resilient technologies proven to be effective in freshwater systems and having the potential to provide relief against pronounced fluctuating water levels: a park fill and control gate system, inflatable dams, and in-stream turbines. GBF presented the findings throughout 2017 and received positive feedback on the report from several influential leaders and organizations on both sides of the border.
Next Steps:
In 2018, we will continue to work with AECOM to encourage the Canadian and US governments and other stakeholders to support detailed design work on these structural solutions to better understand their potential impact on existing lake level control plans, procedures and structures.

Improving water quality assessment and management

The quality of Georgian Bay’s water is not only important for human health, but for the health of every living organism in or near the water, including plants, fish, birds and animals. With parts of the Bay already quite stressed due to centuries of exploitation, regular and consistent monitoring is essential to flag and address water quality issues before they result in harmful and costly impacts.
Standardizing water quality protocols
In 2017, GBF began a campaign for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that would exponentially improve critical data capture. This technology would create a digital representation of the watershed and allow modelling to let coastal managers prepare for the impacts of climate change, extreme water levels, development, sewage outflows, septic failures and so much more.


We are beginning to develop partnerships and support to raise the funds necessary to purchase this revolutionary tool -- one that will help to visualize hot spots that could be addressed immediately and effectively.

It will help our government and coastal managers to make better informed decisions in relation to policy and protection measures.

GBF continued its two-year partnership project with the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and other key partners in 2017 to standardize the tools used to monitor water quality data in Georgian Bay. Harmonizing water testing protocols is critical for tracking trends and making scientific comparisons between different regions of the Bay.
Next Steps:
GBF will continue to raise funds to purchase an AUV and foster the partnerships needed to ensure the data can, and will be used to dramatically improve our monitoring and emergency response mechanisms for threats against the health of our water.

GBF has encouraged a shift beyond the historic focus on bacterial water quality monitoring and total phosphorus monitoring. While levels of phosphorus in the Bay are generally within acceptable limits, when combined with other nutrients like iron, high levels can lead to nuisance and toxic algal blooms rendering the water unsuitable for drinking or swimming. Low levels may indicate the presence of invasive species, affecting native fish populations and aquatic plant life. While phosphorus can be measured by citizen volunteers, the data should be evaluated and interpreted by experts.

The results of GBF’s work with the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and other key partners to standardize water testing protocols will be published in the 2018 State of the Bay report.

What is GBF’s fundraising strategy?

GBF has adopted a multi-faceted and integrated approach to fundraising that engages individuals, corporations, foundations and municipalities in the development of innovative funding projects that lead to long-term positive impacts on the preservation of Georgian Bay’s water.

In 2017, 80 per cent of our support came from concerned and committed individuals; 10 per cent from family and public foundations; 9.5 per cent from aligned corporations; and the remaining .5 per cent from local marina and small business supporters. GBF did not receive any core government funding.

Maximizing donor investments for greatest impact

Over the years, GBF has earned a reputation as a knowledgeable, trusted and committed strategic partner that conducts itself with the utmost integrity. To maximize our impact and ensure the return on donor investments is high, we make a point of working collaboratively with individuals and other organizations in the public and private sectors that share our conservation goals and objectives. In doing so, we’re able to pool knowledge, expertise and resources to advance like-minded projects that align with our mission and help us to fulfill our strategic priorities.

We are committed to strengthening our relationship with donors and solidifying their belief in GBF’s mission to protect and enhance the waters of Georgian Bay. Our fundraising and outreach initiatives focus on:
  • Fast tracking completion of the biodiversity library that catalogues every living species in Georgian Bay’s waters
  • Securing the purchase of a state-of-the-art autonomous underwater vehicle to significantly transform our water quality measurement capabilities, monitor hot spots, and better inform the work of scientists, and policy and decision-makers
  • Further advancing our Phragbusting education program, and increasing the support of local communities in eradicating invasive Phragmites
  • Leading the charge in diverting microplastics and microfibre pollutants from entering the water
  • Expanding research on open cage or net-pen aquaculture to learn more about its effects on native fish habitats and species

A shout-out to GBF’s American donors

GBF is fortunate to have a growing donor base of US residents who have cottages or properties on Georgian Bay, and who share our commitment to protecting and preserving the Bay’s water. At a time of great uncertainty with regards to US environmental policy and its potential impact on the Great Lakes, we are eternally grateful for the unwavering support shown by our US donors whose contributions increased by 35 per cent in 2017.

Measuring success

There are very few short-term ‘fixes’ in GBF’s work. Many of our scientific research and restoration projects involve long-term commitments to achieve the best and most lasting results. It can sometimes take years before every phase of a project has been completed and success has been fully realized.

We understand that donors want to see evidence that the dollars they have invested are making a difference. We make every effort to keep our donors apprised of how projects are progressing and how we are making strides towards fulfilling our goals.

We made several advances in 2017 to further enhance donor relations and demonstrate progress against our strategic priorities.
  • Acknowledged the significant contribution of donors to GBF’s work through recognition events and initiatives like our Georgian Bay Forever Circle
  • Expanded the ways in which donors can support GBF to include one-time donations; monthly giving; multi-year pledges; legacy giving; gifts of stocks and bonds; and in-honour and in-memoriam gifts
  • Completed a branding exercise, thanks to in-kind support, to bring more clarity to our purpose, to the scientific and restoration work we are doing, and to our communications, and to mitigate donor confusion with other Georgian Bay organizations
  • Expanded our outreach through social media, traditional media and workshops and events to raise awareness and understanding of GBF’s work and to mobilize students and volunteers to support our projects
  • Tracked our activities in and around the Bay with more consistency

The GBF staff and the Board continue to work together to realize operational efficiencies so that we can direct the greatest portion of donor contributions to our water protection and education programs. GBF is now recognized provincially, nationally and internationally as an influential voice on water protection and is often called upon to share our expertise and insights with other NGOs, governments and academic institutions.

From our perspective, the future looks bright for Georgian Bay – we envision people enjoying safe drinking water and clean swimming areas, native flora and fauna flourishing in undisturbed natural habitats, and a thriving six trillion dollar Great Lakes regional economy.

But we have so much to do before we reach that point. Please join us in our long-term commitment to preserve and protect the Bay now – and forever.

Check out GBF’s latest communication tools to help keep you informed about new and ongoing scientific projects and educational activities.

EmailGBF FacebookGBF TwitterGBF InstagramGBF

Giving thanks to donors in a picture perfect Georgian Bay setting

There is something incredibly personal and on point when you can recognize and thank GBF donors in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of a Georgian Bay landscape. Such was the case when Dawn and Rich Drayton graciously hosted over 60 people in their 12 Mile Bay cottage in 2017. Our thanks to the entire Drayton clan for being such incredible hosts -- from the delicious food to the perfect setting -- and to the many donors who generously opened their hearts once again to support our important work.


Georgian Bay Forever Circle - A Recognition Program for our Generous Donors

The Georgian Bay Forever Circle was officially launched in the spring of 2015 and recognizes, in perpetuity, donors who have reached a lifetime giving level of $15,000 or more. Donors who are a part of our Circle believe in our mission and allow us to invest in vital and strategic projects to ensure that Georgian Bay’s pristine and natural beauty is the legacy you leave for generations to come.

GBF donors are extraordinary and we thank each and every one of them for sharing our quest to ensure that Georgian Bay remains drinkable, swimmable and fishable for all those who live, work and play on the Bay.

For more information on your lifetime donation level or to make an additional gift or pledge to become a member, please contact Amber Gordon at 905-880-4945 ext 3.

GBF is pleased to recognize the members of the Georgian Bay Forever Circle for their total lifetime contributions.


    Great Lakes Basin Conservancy, Inc.
    RBC Foundation


$100,000 - $249,999
    Bruce Power
    The CSL Group Inc.
    Doug & Ruth Grant
    The Geoff Hyland Family
    Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
    Jackman Foundation
    The McLean Foundation
    The Schad Foundation


$50,000 - $99,999
    Echo Foundation
    The Langar Foundation
    The Judy and Wilmot Matthews
    Marye McCaig
    Michael H. McCain
    Anthony & Amie Rocket Munk
    Robin and Robert Ogilvie
    Francie & John Pepper
    R. Howard Webster Foundation
    William J. & Meredith Saunderson Sterling Marine Fuels Ltd.
    Philip & Eli Taylor
    The W. Garfield Weston Foundation


$25,000 - $49,999
    David & Shelagh Blenkarn
    Derek and Nancy Bowen
    Tony & Janet Burt
    The Carrick Family
    Brian & Janey Chapman
    The Catherine and Fredrik Eaton Charitable
    The Charles and Rita Field-Marsham
    Michael & Jacquie Green
    Donald Guloien & Irene Boychuk
    Peter Hatcher and Family
    Robert Hay and Family
    John A. Honderich
    Ernest Howard
    Renata Humphries
    Roger Jones & Joanne Muther-Jones
    Peter G. & Margie Kelk
    Kopas Family Foundation
    Lloyd's Register Canada Ltd.
    Ruth Mandel - WHO GIVES Fund
    Mason Family Foundation
    The McDonald Family
    Hugh F. & Sylvia McLelland
    James Meekison & Carolyn Keystone
    Frank and Patricia Mills
    Jeffrey Orr & Suzanne Legge
    John & Penelope Pepperell
    Margot Roberts and David Wlliamson
    The Ruby Family
    Peter & Cathie Singer
    Larry Smith
    Mary Thomson & Jan Ruby
    Rob and Val Thompson
    John H. & Josie Watson
    The Michael Young Family Foundation


$15,000 - $24,999
    Algoma Central Corporation
    Jennifer Ivey Bannock
    J.P. Bickell Foundation
    James & Erica Curtis
    Philip Deck & Kimberley Bozak
    Michael & Maureen Douglas and Family
    Richard & Dawn Drayton
    Fednav Limited
    Mary-Elizabeth Flynn
    Robin and Sted Garber
    John Irving & Janet Turnbull-Irving
    Sam Kohn & Mary A. Ciolfi-Kohn
    John & Phyllis Lill
    Robert & Patricia Lord
    Dougal & Barbara Macdonald
    Paul & Martha McLean
    Hugh & Ada Morris
    Patagonia Environmental Grants Fund of Tides
    Christopher Pfaff
    Lloyd & Pat Posno
    Bill & Carol Prior
    Gail Regan
    David Roffey & Karen Walsh
    Jennifer Rogers
    Brian & Sabine Thomson
    Cameron Wardlaw
    Michael Wenban & Virginia Froman
    Sandy Wood and Don Darroch

We try very hard to ensure accuracy because we care so much about recognizing your donation. If we have inadvertently made a mistake, we are truly sorry. Please help us correct the error by contacting Amber Gordon-Bunn at or (905) 880-4945 x 3.

2017 GBF Supporters

Georgian Bay Forever is grateful to all of our donors and sponsors who make all that we do to protect the waters of Georgian Bay possible. More than 80 per cent of your contributions go directly to one of our many research and education projects that are aimed at informing water levels management, maintaining water quality, and protecting the ecosystems of Georgian Bay.

We deeply appreciate everyone who donated to Georgian Bay Forever in 2017.

$25,000 - 49,999

    Bruce Power
    Great Lakes Basin Conservancy, Inc.
    Philip & Eli Taylor
    RBC Foundation

$5,000 - 24,999

    Jennifer Ivey Bannock
    J.P. Bickell Foundation
    David & Shelagh Blenkarn
    Derek & Nancy Bowen
    Janet Burt
    The CSL Group Inc.
    Douglas & Ruth Grant
    Michael & Jacquie Green
    Donald Guloien & Irene Boychuk
    Robert Hay & Family
    Renata Humphries
    The Geoff Hyland Family
    Roger Jones & Joanne Muther-Jones
    Kopas Family Foundation
    Mason Family Foundation
    The Judy & Wilmot Matthews Foundation
    Michael H. McCain
    The McDonald Family
    Sue McNamara
    James Meekison & Carolyn Keystone
    Frank & Patricia Mills
    Anthony Munk & Amie Rocket Munk
    Robin & Robert Ogilvie
    Jeffrey Orr & Suzanne Legge
    Francie & John Pepper
    Margot Roberts & David Williamson
    William & Meredith Saunderson
    The Schad Foundation
    Sterling Marine Fuels Ltd.
    The Michael Young Family Foundation

$2,500 - 4,999

    Michael & Maureen Douglas
    Richard & Dawn Drayton
    Paul John Eakin
    The Charles and Rita Field-Marsham Foundation
    Peter Hatcher & Family
    John Honderich
    Iron City Fishing Club
    Rick & Cheryl Jones
    Sam Kohn & Mary A. Ciolfi-Kohn
    Peter & Cathie Singer
    Robert & Valerie Thompson
    Ronald Till & Sheila Lee
    William Tiviluk
    Mark Wiseman & Marcia Moffat

$1,000 - 2,499

    Andras Family Fund
    Susan Armitage
    David & Joanne Browne
    Ian Carmichael
    William Casto
    Douglas & Margaret Derry
    Desmasdon's Boat Works
    Colin Dyke & Leslie Wood Foundation
    Paul Emond
    John & Jennifer Ferguson
    Donald & Cheryl Giffin
    Brian & Carol Grant
    Ernest Howard
    James Humphries
    Jackman Foundation
    Peter Koetsier
    S. Jean & Harold Koetsier-Adams
    Val Koziol
    Donald & Lorraine Lawson
    Robert & Patricia Lord
    Dougal & Barbara Macdonald
    Sue, Biff, Graham & Trevor Matthews
    Paul & Martha McLean
    Hugh & Sylvia McLelland
    William & Elizabeth Morris
    Evelyn Newell
    Payne Marine Ltd.
    Point Pleasant Marina
    Lloyd & Pat Posno
    Queen's Cove Marina
    Rick & Anne Randell
    Robert & Carolin Shepherd
    Sound Boat Works
    Stollenwerk Family Charitable Foundation
    Michael & Melinda Tabor
    Lawrence & Judith Ward
    John & Josie Watson
    John & Barb Weir
    Thomas Williams
    Donald & Sandra Wilson

$500 - 999

    Eric Armour
    Clayton Bunn & Amber Gordon-Bunn
    Jean Butler
    Camp Osawa Ltd.
    Barb Conyers & Stronach O'Neil
    James & Maureen Cooper
    James & Erica Curtis
    Brenda Drinkwalter
    Murray Fisher
    Michael Fitzgerald & Tracie Oliver
    John & Catherine Gillespie
    Donald & Gwen Grant
    John & Patricia Hardy
    Alan Harman & Carine Blin
    Ann Herring
    Jeff & Mafie Hughes
    Robert Hurlbut
    Hurontario Camp Limited
    Neil Hutchinson
    Carol Lome
    Christian Manuel
    Patrick Mars
    Mary Martin
    June McLean
    Parry Sound Marine
    Sanford & Marilyn Phillips
    Stephen Rawn & Barbara Banfield
    Gail Regan
    William Riat
    Tom & Pamela Scoon
    Edward Simmonds
    Mark Smith & Anne Larson
    Laren Stadelman
    Sydney Stevenson
    George and Helen Will
    Stephen Wilson
    Robert & Fran Woodrooffe
    David Young

$250 - 499

    Pamela Aitken
    William Ash
    Clair Balfour & Marci McDonald
    Reed & Julia Ballon
    Donald & Elizabeth Bartlett
    Fred & Dorothy Beattie
    Rebecca Brehmer
    Paul & Frances Breithaupt
    Paul Brisbois & Sandi Campbell
    Terence & Hilde Clark
    Philip & Kay Clarke
    Sondra Cornett
    Mike Dalakis
    William & Kathleen Davis
    Jo Anne De Biasio

$250 - $499 (cont.)

    Verne & Donna Deneault
    Ken & Deb Dodge
    Robert & Caroline Duncanson
    Karen Fergus
    Peter Foulds & Maureen MacQuarrie
    Ed & Kathy Garner
    John & Elizabeth Hackett
    John & Leslie Hayes
    George & Mary Claire Heintzman
    Ashley & Wendy Hilliard
    Irving Family Foundation
    Stephen & Elisabeth Jenks
    Rolfe Jones
    Donalda Kelk
    David & Mary Lord
    Robert MacDonald
    Adrienne & John Mars
    Deborah Martin-Downs
    Erna McBride
    Thomas & Emily McClintock
    John McKellar
    Carolyn Miller
    Dean & Elaine Nicholls
    Jonathan Pintwala
    Katy Rea
    Vince & Caroline Reid
    Trevor & Raechel Robertson
    Nancy McCuaig Rogers
    Peter Scandrett
    The Smale Family
    Anne Stewart
    Sonja Stewart
    David & Debra Sweetnam
    Robert Weekes
    Donald & Marion Wheeler
    Sarah White

$ 1 - 249

    John & Wendy Abbott
    William & Jane Abbott
    Peter & Beth Adams
    Peter & Nora Adamson
    Mike & Mary Anderson
    Sandra Andrews
    Gordon & Jill Aristotle
    Harvey Armstrong
    Penelope Armstrong
    Arnold Bailey
    Jackie Baillie
    Sandy Baker
    Jonathan Barker & Wendy MacKeigan
    Sinikka Barker
    Douglas Barrett & Hattie Reisman
    William Bartram
    Derek Bate
    John & Jenn Bate
    Kathleen Beck
    Warren Beckett
    Suzanne Bennett
    David & Christine Bennett
    Audrey Best
    John & Dody Bienenstock
    Richard Biggins
    Thomas Bogardus
    Ivar Boriss & Donna Douglas
    John & Gloria Boyd
    Derek Brackley & Sara Menzel
    Ernest & Gloria Bradford
    Rosalind Bradford
    Steven & Kathryn Bradford
    Christopher Bratty
    Coco Brennan
    Jack & Lani Broadbent

$ 1 - 249 cont.

    Karl Brown
    Lanee Brown
    Susan Brown
    Jim Buchanan & Sarah McCoy
    Brian & Ann Burdette
    Michael Burdis
    Gordon & Karolyn Burkart-Schultz
    Gregory & Alison Scott Butler
    Neil & Judy Cameron
    Ron & Mary Campeau
    Kevin & Aileen Carroll
    John & Margaret Catto
    Rich & Toby Cavers
    Adam & Janet Chamberlain
    Clive & Mary Chamberlain
    Tom & Christine Claflin
    Larry Cohen & Carolyn Miller
    Connor Industries
    Jose Couto
    Donald Cowan
    James & Margaret Cowan
    Thomas Crerar
    Patsy Cross
    Gordon & Harriet Cummings
    Nancy Cunningham
    Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Cunningham
    Penny Davidson & Penelope Stride
    Alfred & Martha Davis
    Sandy Delamere
    Roman & Virginia Dementavicius
    Tom & Teresa Long
    Bonita Desroches
    Michael Dewson
    Benjamin & Molly Diesbach
    D'Arcy Doherty
    Sarah Donovan
    David Drinkwater
    Murray & Frances Elder
    Michael & Joyce Etherington
    George & Kittie-Marie Fells
    Kathryn Ferrazzo
    Joan Fisher
    Celese Fletcher
    Bill Fowler & Mary Wolf
    Jean Friedel
    Richard Forster
    Len Gamache
    Helen Garber
    Cameron Gardner
    Kate Gibson
    Tom Gifford
    Lucile Gille
    Ken & Valerie Gordon
    Bruce Goudy
    Jamie Graham
    Michael & Sandi Greene
    Catherine Graham
    Joseph & Shilagh Grogan
    Tim & Barbara Gorka
    Jean Hafner
    Carty Hall
    John & Barbara Hamilton
    John Hamilton
    William & Marilyn Hance
    Nancy Harris
    Helen Harrison
    Craig & Neidra Hart
    Frank Hedley
    Doug Heintzman
    Ian & Judy Henderson
    William & Joyce Hill
    Mark & Marilyn Hiseler
    Roger & Margaret Horton
    John & Elinor Hueton
    Diane Hughes
    George & Anne Hume
    IBM Canada Ltd.
    Charlie & Pam Irwin
    Jessica Jaremchuk
    Jane Jeffrey
    Alice Jane Jenkins
    Duncan & Robyn Jones
    Rainer Kaufmann & Madeleine Arsenault
    Robbie Keith
    John & Patricia Keyser
    Bob & Sylvia Kilgour

$1 - $249 (Cont.)

    Charles King
    Raymond Knowles & Marguerite Doritty
    Marcus Kramer & Catherine Robertson
    Jeff & Cindy Kuchman
    Harlan & Elizabeth Lahti
    John Lavis
    William & Bridget Lawson
    Robert & J. Mary Lee
    Martin J. LeMoine
    Barbara A. Lennox
    Penny Lewis
    Reginald & Sheila Lewis
    Harland & Moira Lindsay
    Nancy Lofft
    Lars & Monica Londen
    Lorraine Lowe
    Henry & Heather Maag
    John Fraser & Elizabeth Maccallum
    Robert Bruce Macdonald
    Laura MacFeeters
    Kathleen Maguire
    Jane Maher
    Peter & Margaret Lockie
    Tom & Patricia Marshall
    Elizabeth Martin
    William David Martin
    Hatherly Martin Professional Corporation
    William & Elizabeth Maxon
    John McAllister
    Rene & Carol McCron
    John McCullock & Christine Deja
    Ian & Maureen McGibbon
    McGregor Family Trust
    Stuart Ian McKay
    John McKee & Lynn McLauchlin
    David & Jean McLay
    Marion McLeod
    John McMullen & Beth Stewart
    James & Nancy McMurray
    William & Brenda McNeill
    Erik & Ulrike Meyer
    David & Carolyn Middlebrook
    Nancy Middlebrook
    Karen Lea Milburn
    Donald Millman
    John & Pam Mitchell
    Ellen Moloney-Higton
    William & Sally Moore
    Warren & Barbara Moysey
    Todd Murphy
    James Nancorrow & Alison Cooper
    David & Kimberly Newell
    Barbara Nikel
    Joan Northey
    Michael & Elsa Nowlan
    Britton & Arani Osler
    Wendy Parker
    Michael & Sara Penrod
    Peter & Barbara Phippen
    Tom Pinkham
    George & Jean Podolsky
    Ann Poole
    Alison Prentice
    Carol Prior
    Jason Richardson
    Murray Rideout
    William Robbins
    Rosina Robertson
    Scott Robinson
    Brian & Hilda Rolph
    Doug & Jane Rowan
    Michael & Sheila Royce
    Joanna Ruby-Armstrong
    Nancy Ruth
    Frank & Ota Safertal
    Allan & Anne Sandilands
    Barry Sandler & Sandra Savage
    Anthony & Roma Sapijonis
    Heather Sargeant
    Tim and Barbara Sargeant
    Werner & Inge Schmalz
    Bill & Susan Scott
    Gregg Scott
    Douglas & Ruth Smith
    Gordon Smith
    Jack & Dorothy Smith
    Peter & Dallis Smith
    Peter Fletcher Smith
    Franny & Charlie Stewart
    Richard Stoner
    Duncan & Audrey Stratton
    Kathleen Sutherland
    Leo & Ella Sweetnam
    Jon & Susan Sykes
    Michael Tangney
    Norma Jean Tangney
    Vincent & Siulanko Tangredi
    Terence & Carole Thompson
    Colette Thomson
    Jay & Shirley Thomson
    Cleveland & Linda Thurber
    George Trusler
    Lincoln & Barbara Van Sickel
    John Vanstone
    Bram & Iris Vermeulen
    Rans Vrooman
    Jacqueline Wakefield
    John & Nancy Walcot
    Bill & Linda Watts
    Susan Waugh
    Michael Wenban & Virginia Froman
    Helmut & Hildegard Wensauer
    Dave Whidden
    Patric Whitney & Camie Tang-Chang
    Mike Whittaker
    Ken & Gail Williams
    Neil & Lynn Williams
    John Wilson & Judy Maynard
    Susan Wilson
    Alice Winn
    Peter & Susan Winnell
    Kim Woodhouse
    James Worts
    Jeffrey Wyndowe
    Judith Yohe
    Claudette Young
    Merle & Sue Zoerb

We try very hard to ensure accuracy because we care so much about recognizing your donation. If we have inadvertently made a mistake, we are truly sorry. Please help us correct the error by contacting Amber Gordon-Bunn at or (905) 880-4945 x 3.

Memories-are-forever gifts: Individuals listed below have had gifts made in their honour.

Donations In Memory

      Dorothy Bennett
      Tony Burt
      David Copp
      Daniel Paul Cousineau
      Wendall (Wink) Fisher
      David Lewis
      Sheila MacFeeters
      Andy Martin
      Gordon Michener
      Bill Montgomery
      Ken Stricker

Gifts In Honour

    Ava Grace French
    Dorothy Glenn
    Robert & Laureen Kinnear
    Joe & Mary LeMoine
    Dean Ayoub & Michelle Twinning
    Dave & Brenda Walden
    Michelle Woodruff

Local Businesses supporting Georgian Bay Forever

Responsible investments for long term benefits

As a charitable organization that does not receive government based operational funding, we’ve come to recognize and appreciate that it’s the people and businesses in, around and on Georgian Bay that make what we do possible. Sincere thanks to our donors who contributed over $450,000 this year to keep our work on track. We finished the year with a modest deficit, but this made it possible for us to invest in projects essential to achieving our long-term goals. Overall we continue to have a healthy financial position as demonstrated on our balance sheet.

Our thanks to our donors without whom we wouldn’t be able to do what we do; our strategic partners who help us to leverage our donor funds; our board members for their tireless devotion; our staff for exemplifying what it means to be committed to a cause; and the community volunteers for stepping forward in the fight against invasive Phragmites.

As we move forward with our projects in 2017, we hope you will join us and support us in the year ahead to protect Georgian Bay’s precious waters.
Board of Directors

Meet the men and women who so generously are volunteering their time in 2018 to help GBF advance our mission.

Find out about the committees on which they serve.

Revenues and Expenditures

Financial Position

If you have any questions or want more information with regards to this 2017 annual report, please contact Amber Gordon-Bunn at or (905) 880-4945 x 3.

The Independent Auditor's Report of Georgian Bay Forever's 2017 Financials