The greatest mystery of the Great Lakes

Is there a ship from the 1600s still underwater in Lake Huron? 


The 1679 disappearance of a ship in Lake Huron still mystifies the minds of historians and shipwreck hunters alike.

On August 4 at the Collingwood Public Library, underwater explorers and maritime historians Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg will discuss the ongoing enigma of the Griffon, a legendary vessel built by French explorer Sieur de La Salle.

Collingwood Library Griffon talk PHOTO1
Underwater explorers Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg

“It may not be as well known as the Edmund Fitzgerald, but the Griffon is one of the greatest mysteries of the Great Lakes,” says Kohl, co-author of a new book called The Wreck of the Griffon. “There are more than 22 claims of discovery made in the last 200 years.”

In the year 1679, the Griffon set out on its maiden voyage and was the first vessel to sail across Lake Erie, up the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, and across Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. However, on its way back to Niagara from Green Bay, the Griffon vanished with its entire crew and valuable cargo of furs. Built by La Salle near Niagara Falls, its loss nearly ruined him.

To this day, more than 335 years later, the wreck of the Griffon has not definitively been found. It has become the most hunted – and the most “found” – shipwreck in Great Lakes history.

On Tuesday, August 4, Kohl and Forsberg will present a live narration, multi-media programme that will relate the fascinating story of this long-lost ship and the many times people thought they had found it.

“Our presentation includes exciting on-screen visuals, vibrant background music, and dramatic live narration,” Kohl says. “Those interested in Great Lakes maritime history will find it of great interest, but we encourage everyone to come.”


“The Wreck of the Griffon” presentation will take place on Tuesday, August 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the FreeSchools World Literacy Room at the Collingwood Public Library, 55 Ste Marie Street.


Free to attend. A book signing by the authors will follow the presentation.


The Collingwood Public Library is committed to guiding our community in the pursuit of information, the wonder of lifelong learning, and the enrichment of social and cultural experiences. At the heart of the community, the Collingwood Public Library is an inclusive environment seeking universal accessibility.