David Malaher headshot

Solving the Lake of the Woods Boundary Puzzle

Why is there such a puzzling boundary between Canada and the USA at Lake of the Woods? Find out from local expert David Malaher.
Where: Community Room
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Event Details:

Why is there such a puzzling boundary between Canada and the USA at Lake of the Woods? What has been done over the years to fix it? Will it ever be resolved?

This cartographic mystery, also know as the Northwest Angle, is in the news again, with media sources offering an incorrect explanation about a surveying error. But, the surveyors didn't make a mistake - they followed the treaty of 1818. 

David Malaher, of Whistler, will describe the puzzling history of the boundary at Lake of the Woods where Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota meet on the 49th parallel. Referring to antique maps as much as 300 years old, Malaher will show how the boundary was patched together over the years since ambassadors from Britain and the new United States of America first negotiated the subject in Paris in 1782.


About the presenter:

David Malaher is a retired engineer who paid his way through university working as a surveyor and happens to have a summer cottage on Lake of the Woods in northwest Ontario. In retirement, he has undertaken extensive research on the entire boundary between Canada and the USA. This has taken him across Canada and the lower 48 States, as well as to Alaska, Russia, England, France, and Spain to see specific boundary locations as well as national museums and archives on the boundary history. In all cases, the early fur trade business is involved in making the boundary.

Malaher has presented several papers on the boundary in general to audiences in Canada, the USA, England and Russia.  The puzzling boundary at Lake of the Woods on the 49th parallel is a place of special interest because of the influences of three wars in North America plus Napoleon’s military ambitions in Europe. Malaher has also travelled by boat throughout the unique, remote, 100 km diameter waterway filled with 14,000 islands known as Lake of the Woods. Malaher regards the surveyors who pinpointed the most northwesterly point in Lake of the Woods in 1825 as exceptionally skilled astronomers and mathematicians working in awkward, remote conditions without compromising the results.