Collingwood has most definitely seen more than it's fair share of colourful citizens throughout the years, and perhaps one of the best remembered might be "Indian Joe."
Although that was the name that most folks mistakenly called him, his name was actually John Cook, and his native last name was Wabagowna. He was an Ojibway, and hailed from the Saugeen First Nation near Southampton not far from Owen Sound, Ontario. For many Collingwood folks, he was a familiar sight as he trekked through town with one of his handmade birch chairs or tables slung over his shoulder, selling them door to door or to whomever showed an interest. Often, my mom and I would offer him a ride back to his home off of Mountain Road just past the old Goodyear Tire Plant. He lived in an old shack far back in the woods, devoid of electric and apparently a fire barrel the only source of heat.
He was definitely a troubled but creative soul, and his handiwork was once featured on an episode of CKVR Television's "Faces of Small Places." We had one of his very well constructed outdoor furniture sets, and I fondly recall spending many hours sitting at the round table happily sketching away.
He was most definitely a unique part of the cultural tapestry and the history of our town from an era that seems to have long passed us by.
I hope you like this post, and as always - thank you for reading it!