Community History

Atikokan

Atikokan

CONTACT US
Office Located at:
Town Hall
120 Marks St

Mayor Dennis Brown
807-597-2540
807-597-8050 cell
dennis.brown@atikokan.ca

 

 

 

 

CONTACT US
Office Located at:

120 Marks St
Atikokan, ON
P0T 1C0

Telephone 807-597-1234
Fax 807-597-6186

Office Hours
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

info@atikokan.ca
 

 


 

CONTACT US
Office Located at:
Town Hall
120 Marks St

Community Services Manager
Nicole Halasz
807-597-1234 ex 232
807-597-6186
nicole.halasz@atikokan.ca

Recreation Secretary
Debbie Beyak
807-597-1234 ex 229
807-597-6186
debbie.beyak@atikokan.ca

CONTACT US
Office Located at:
Town Hall
120 Marks St

807-597-1234

CAO/Clerk
Angela Sharbot
Tel. 807-597-1234 ext 233
Fax 807-597-6186
angela.sharbot@atikokan.ca

Deputy Clerk 
Sue Bates
807-597-1234 ext 234
Fax 807-597-6186
sue.bates@atikokan.ca
 

 

Community Services Manager
Nicole Halasz
Tel. 807-597-1234 ext 232
Fax 807-597-6186
nicole.halasz@atikokan.ca

Recreation Secretary
Debbie Beyak
807-597-1234 ex 229
807-597-6186
debbie.beyak@atikokan.ca

 

Treasurer
Brandy Coulson
807-597-1234 ext 226
Fax 807-597-6186
brandy.coulson@atikokan.ca

Deputy Treasurer
Jason Young
​807-597-1234 ext 222
Fax 807-597-6186
jason.young@atikokan.ca

Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable
Emma DeCorte
807-597-1234 ext 221
Fax 807-597-6186
emma.decorte@atikokan.ca

Property Tax Clerk
Adam Johnson
807-597-1234 ext 225
Fax 807-597-6186
adam.johnson@atikokan.ca

Bookkeeper
Mark Labossiere
807-597-1234 ext 223
Fax 807-597-6186
mark.labossiere@atikokan.ca

CAO/Clerk
Angela Sharbot
Tel. 807-597-1234 ex t
Fax 807-597-6186
nicole.halasz@atikokan.ca

Recreation Secretary
Debbie Beyak
807-597-1234 ex 229
807-597-6186
debbie.beyak@atikokan.ca

 

Acting Chief Building Official
Graham Warburton
Tel. 807-597-1234 ext 228
Fax 807-597-6186
firecbo@atikokan.ca

Building Inspector & Deputy Chief Building Official
Paul Manzon, C.E.T., CBCO
Cell  807-626-4997
pmanzon@tbaytel.net

By-Law Enforcement Officer
Kitrina Jacobson
Tel 807-597-1234 ext 227
Fax 807-597-6186
kitrina.jacobson@atikokan.ca

 

CAO/Clerk
Angela Sharbot

Tel. 807-597-1234 ext 233
Fax 807-597-6186
angela.sharbot@atikokan.ca

Tax Clerk
Adam Johnson
Tel  807-597-1234 ext 225
Fax  807-597-6186
adam.johnson@atikokan.ca

Fire Chief & Chief Building Official
Graham Warburton
Tel. 807-597-1234 ext 228
Fax 807-597-6186
firecbo@atikokan.ca

Building Inspector & Deputy Chief Building Official
Paul Manzon, C.E.T., CBCO
​Cell  807-626-4997
pmanzon@tbaytel.net

By-Law Enforcement Officer   
Kitrina Jacobson  
807-597-1234 ext 227
807-597-6186
kitrina.jacobson@atikokan.ca

Director of Public Works
Peter Burbeck
Tel. 807-597-1234 ext 230
Fax 807-597-6186
peter.burbeck@atikokan.ca

Public Works Foreman 

807-597-2135
Fax 807-597-6186
 

 

CONTACT US
Office Located at:
Town Hall
120 Marks St

Community Services Manager
Nicole Halasz
807-597-1234 ex 232
807-597-6186
nicole.halasz@atikokan.ca

Recreation Secretary
Debbie Beyak
807-597-1234 ex 229
807-597-6186
debbie.beyak@atikokan.ca

WHERE WE CAME FROM

"Atikokan" is believed to be derived from Ojibwa-Chippewa meaning "caribou bones" or "caribou crossing"; the town site was once the wintering ground for herds of caribou - many of them died here. Numerous rock paintings and lake names attest to the native legacy of the Atikokan-Quetico area, an area blessed by Queticom, the Ojibwa Spirit of Unusual Beauty.

In 1688 Jacques de Noyon became the first European to travel through the area. La Verendrye followed in 1731, opening the interior to fur traders from the east. In 1741, the French fur traders were well established in the area and competing with the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1798 Roderick MacKenzie traced de Noyon's journey to establish a trading route for the Northwest Company (formed in 1779 by independent traders). By 1821 declining fur catches caused the         Northwest Company and the Hudson's Bay Company to merge together.  canoeing on the lake

Construction of the Dawson Trail began west of Atikokan in 1868 from Thunder Bay and was completed in 1874. Colonel Wolsely transported troops to Winnipeg over the partially finished route in 1870. The trail passes through the interior of what is presently Quetico Provincial Park. The same year, the first gold discovery was made by the Hudson's Bay Company's J. Baptist and M. Pichot. The discovery was made 70 km southwest of Atikokan at Jackfish Lake. Ojibwa Chief Blackstone halted an attempt to construct a mine site there in 1872. The Chief acted as the Ojibwa spokesperson in the signing of the Northwest Angle Treaty, giving the land to the Dominion of Canada. Reserves were created with Treaty 3 covering the Atikokan area. Mining exploration began and sites were established.

In 1882 the use of the Dawson Trail ceased with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which passed north of Atikokan. The Atikokan Mines were discovered east of Sapawe Lake by McKellers. There were also several other gold copper and iron finds.

Sawmills were established in the Jackfish Lake, Eye Lake and Companion Lake area in 1883. These sawmills were to provide timber for developing mine sites in the the Huronion, Big Six, Hammond Reef and Sawbill Mines area.

By 1899 the east-west section of the Canadian Northern Railway was built through Atikokan due, in part, to demands for transportation services after numerous mines were discovered. The Canadian Northern Railway set up a divisional point and laid out a town site at Atikokan. The Canadian Northern Railway would become the Canadian National Railway in 1934.retro train

Upon hearing of the railway, Tom and Mary Rawn canoed to Atikokan from Mine Centre to become the town's first non-aboriginal settlers. They opened the Pioneer Hotel in 1900 and, next to it, a general store was opened by the Snelgrove brothers of Fort William (now Thunder Bay). In 1902 Atikokan's first post office was opened in the general store. Frank Scheider took over the post office and general store in 1904.

A sawmill was erected about 3 km west of Atikokan at Milk Bay by J. D. McArthur in 1906. Two years, later in 1908, Jimmy McQuat started building a log castle on White Otter Lake and completed it in 1918.  The castle included a 12.25 metre tower and was made completely from large red pines which he harvested himself.

In 1909 the Quetico Forest reserve was set aside to protect the red and white pines and a declining moose population as a result of hunting to feed the local logging and mining camps. This eventually became Quetico Provincial Park in 1912. In 1912 the Shevlin-Clarke Company began their operations in the Flanders area. Between 1920 and 1936 the company operated up to 11 camps in the northwestern section of Quetico Park.

A storekeeper named Mr. W. Palmer brought the first car to Atikokan in 1921. On August 4, 1935 the Pioneer Hotel burnt down, it was later replaced on the same site by the Atikokan Hotel which still stands today.

Julian Cross, a mining professor and prospector, began drilling of Steep Rock Lake in 1937.  Cross was looking for an iron-ore body. Two years later he joined the financier Cyrus Eaton and together they formed the Steep Rock Iron Mines Ltd. which would be Atikokan's major industry for the next 40 years.

A small hospital was erected in 1940 at the Steep Rock Iron Mines Ltd. site approximately 14.5 km from Atikokan. Prior to that, the hospital facilities were limited to a small Red Cross outpost that operated out of a train car.  greyscale photo of tractor and truck

In 1942 Ontario Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company commenced logging north of Calm Lake with annual river drives to Fort Frances. This continued until 1972. J. A. Mathieu set up a camp and portable sawmill in 1943 where the present Spoon Lake crosses the Atikokan River. The same year a massive engineering project to drain Steep Rock Lake began. Dams were constructed and the diversion of the Seine River was completed. Millions of gallons of water were pumped out of the lake. Electric dredges removed silt year-round to expose the ore body. In 1944 the first ore was sighted and in the months that followed large quantities of ore was removed and the first train load was shipped on October 31. The company stopped production in 1979.

In 1945 Tom Rawn set out for Sapawe to do some prospecting, he never returned and was never found.

In 1949 the first telephone exchange (the Northern Telephone) was established. Also, in 1950 an eleven bed hospital opened on Hematite Avenue.  It is now the home of the Atikokan Crisis Centre. That same year the Atikokan Progress was established and the town recorded its worst flood to date.

1952 saw the first library which operated out of a local store. On November 17, a new library building was opened across from where the Night Club now stands. The same year the Gorrie Street Post Office was constructed.

1953 was a big year with Atikokan going to dial phones and the Caland Ore Company, a subsidiary of Inland Steel Company of Chicago, signing a lease with Steep Rock Iron Mines Ltd. to develop and mine the Falls Bay or body of Steep Rock Lake. Pumping of this portion proceeded from 1955 to 1960 with the first ore being shipped by Caland in 1960. The first half of Highway 11 from Atikokan to Thunder Bay was opened in 1954 and John Reid became Atikokan's first Reeve. A year later, the Royal Bank opened its doors.

In 1965 the Outers program was established at the Atikokan High School. Over the past 40+ years, Outers has become a right of passage for the students and has been recognized by the world.

J. A. Mathieu Ltd. was incorporated in 1958 and took over the defunct Sapawe Mill. In 1963 Mathieu's new plant was destroyed by a fire, causing the company to go into receivership with Domtar assuming management in 1971.

The Atikokan volunteer firefighters had their busiest day yet on May 29, 1971. Early in the day, the pellet plant at Steep Rock Iron Mines caught fire. High winds made it difficult to put the fire out. As the fire crew were heading back to the Fire Hall, they received another call and headed to Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd. (now Fibratech) where flames consumed the building causing $100 000 of damage. The secondary fire truck was called out to the tennis court as the change shack had also caught on fire. The firefighters had yet another call when a grass fire was reported on Vincienne St.

Pluswood Manufacturing, later named Proboard and now Fibratech, began operations in 1975 producing particle board. A year later, on February 1, a new hospital was officially opened. After approval in 1977, Ontario Hydro began site clearing for a coal fired generating station, the first ever designed to use low sulfur Saskatchewan coal. Only unit 1 (200 megawatts) of the station was ever completed and ready for operations in 1985.

In 1979 Steep Rock Iron Mines ceased operations and a year later Caland followed suite. That same year the Museum's Atikokan Historical Park on Legion Point opened. A year later, Dave Pastuck became the only Atikokanite to bowl a perfect game.

In 1981, the Tourist Information Bureau was constructed and in 1982 Atikokan adopted Canoeing Capital of Canada as its official theme. The Atikokan General Hospital had a helipad constructed in 1983 and the Extended Care Wing constructed in 1986. Grayson Hall was added to the Atikokan High School and the Caland Ore property was purchased by the township from Steep Rock for one dollar in 1984.

1989 was an advancing year in communications. Nine channels were added to the basic cable offerings. Also, on February 26 Atikokan piloted a community broadcast which would run on a trial basis for two years. The broadcast covered everything from music and sports to weather and practical jokes (i.e. the pretend purchase of the Minnesota NHL hockey team)

In 1992 the Atikokan General Hospital's Ambulance Base was formed. In 1995 the Atikokan Children's Entertainment Series was created and in 1998 the Friendship Theatre reopened its doors after being closed for two years due to equipment failure.

Since that time, Atikokan has seen its ups and downs but continues to work towards a better future.

 

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