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Oshawa author’s latest highlights Ontario trails

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Long before Ontario was covered with sprawling stretches of multi-lane highways, the Indigenous communities of the region had their own widespread transportation network.

In his new book, The Legacy of Vanished Trails, Oshawa-based author Grant Karcich takes an in-depth look at the trails and portages that made up those networks.

According to Karcich, the book “extends the story” of his previous publication, Scugog Carrying Place: A Frontier Pathway, by examining historical trails and portages, which helped to increase co-operation between Indigenous peoples and European settlers and provided pathways to undiscovered portions of what eventually became Ontario, in their ‘modern settings’.

“This book tries to answer questions such as ‘who were the First Nations people in Durham and how did the Indigenous communities north of Lake Ontario develop?'”, Karcich explains.

Karcich said there has been relatively little written about these trails and portages and he wanted to highlight their importance in the settlement of not only Durham Region, but the entire province, as he examines portages in areas such as Toronto, Peterborough and the Bay of Quinte.

“This book reveals new, never before released details about the beginnings of Ontario and how the ancient trails evolved into modern transportation routes,” Karcich says, adding, “These trails were essentially the 407 and 401 of the day.”

The book also includes photographs, maps and information on artefacts that have been discovered in the vicinity of these historical trails and portages.

Over the past 150 years, Karcich said the once bustling routes have “primarily been left abandoned” but “some bits and pieces” remain.

Karcich said he began writing The Legacy of Vanished Trails about two years ago, and this time around, he went the self-publishing route, creating Red Handprint Press.

“Who knows I might be able to publish more books, there’s still a lot out there [to tell],” he says.

The Legacy of Vanished Trails is available online at and will also be on bookshelves in several locations.

Karcich will be hosting at book launch at CORE21, 21 Simcoe St. S. on June 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit