Elliot Lake is a city in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is north of Lake Huron, midway between the cities of Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie in the Northern Ontario region. Once dubbed the "uranium capital of the world," Elliot Lake has since diversified to a hub for advanced manufacturing, forest harvesting, mine reclamation expertise, retirement living, all-season tourism and remote work.

Elliot Lake
City of Elliot Lake
The city of Elliot Lake; the lake on the right
The city of Elliot Lake; the lake on the right
Elliot Lake is located in Ontario
Elliot Lake
Elliot Lake
Location in Ontario
Coordinates: 46°23′N 82°39′W / 46.383°N 82.650°W / 46.383; -82.650
 • MayorAndrew Wannan
 • Governing BodyElliot Lake City Council
 • Federal electoral districtAlgoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing
 • Provincial electoral districtAlgoma—Manitoulin
 • Land714.65 km2 (275.93 sq mi)
 • Total11,372
 • Density15.9/km2 (41/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern Standard Time (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern Daylight Time (EDT))
Forward sortation area
Area code705 / 249
Highways Highway 108
Municipal rank: 325th in Canada

History edit

Prior to the settlement of the city, a seasonal Ojibwa village extended along the lake's shoreline near the present hospital.[2]

The town takes its name from the lake. There is no official record of origin of name; the earliest appearance is on the Dominion map of 1901. Folklore suggest it was named for a logging camp cook who drowned in the lake.[3] The townsite name was approved on August 14, 1952. Elliot Lake was incorporated as a city in 1990.[4]

Uranium mining edit

The city was established as a planned community for the mining industry in 1955 after the discovery of uranium in the area, and named after the small lake on its northern edge. By the late 1950s, its population had grown to about 25,000.[5] It was originally incorporated as an improvement district. Geologist Franc Joubin and American financier Joseph Hirshhorn were instrumental in its founding. The principal mining companies were Denison Mines and Rio Algom. The population has varied with several boom-and-bust cycles from the 1950s to the 1990s, from a high of over 26,000 to a low of about 6,600.

By 1958 it was apparent that world production of uranium was far outstripping demand and Canadian producers received unofficial notice that US options on Canadian uranium production between 1962 and 1966 would not be exercised. This was confirmed in 1959.[6]

During the 1970s, federal plans for CANDU Reactors and Ontario Hydro's interest in atomic energy led the town, anticipating a population of 30,000, to expand again. However, by the early 1990s depleted reserves and low prices caused the last mines in the area to close.

Area uranium mines edit

  • Stanleigh Mine (1956–1960 and 1982–1997), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 14 million tons[vague] of ore.
  • Spanish American Mine (1957–1959), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 79,000 tons of ore.[7]
  • Can-Met Mine (1957–1960), operated by Denison Mines Ltd., produced 2.6 million tons[vague] of ore.
  • Milliken Mine (1957–1964), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 6.3 million tons of ore.
  • Panel Mine (1957–1961 and 1978–1990), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 15 million tons of ore.
  • Denison Mine (1957–1992), operated by Denison Mines Ltd., produced 69 million tons of ore.
  • Stanrock Mine (1958–1960 and 1964–1985), operated by Denison Mines Ltd., produced 6.4 million tons of ore.
  • Quirke Mine(s) (1955–1961 and 1965–1990), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 44 million tons of ore.
  • Pronto Mine (1955–1970), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 2.3 million tons of ore.
  • Buckles Mine (1956–1960), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 276,000 tons of ore.
  • Lacnor Mine "Lake Nordic" (1956–1960), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 3.4 million tons of ore.
  • Nordic Mine (1956–1970), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 13 million tons of ore

Mining legacy health and environmental concerns edit

In 1974, after growing concern from uranium miners about lung cancer and a lack of support from mine owners for sick workers, 1,000 uranium miners staged a wildcat strike.[8][9] The 14-day strike[10] triggered a chain of events that led to the creation of a Royal Commission on the Health and Safety of Workers in Mines (informally known as the Ham Commission) [11] which subsequently led to the creation of the Canada's Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1979.[11][8][12]

According to University of Toronto history professor Laurel Sefton MacDowell in her 2012 article 'The Elliot Lake Uranium Miners’ Battle to Gain Occupational Health and Safety Improvements, 1950–1980', the health concerns over radiation in the local environment are perpetual, and must be monitored perpetually.[13]

The 2017 performance of Rio Algom Limited (a subsidiary of BHP), who own nine of the decommissioned mines, was described as "below expectations" by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.[14] Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission reported radium releases above limits at the Stanleigh effluent treatment plant, prompting engineering work plus increased site monitoring by the owners.[14]

Post-mining edit

In the years following the cessation of mining, the city looked elsewhere for its survival, finding some success promoting itself as a retirement community,[5] advanced manufacturing hub and tourist destination.[15][16]

On June 23, 2012, part of a roof collapsed at Algo Centre Mall, sending metal and concrete debris crashing down through two floors of the shopping centre. The accident killed two people.[17] Pearson Plaza has since opened.

On February 21, 2019, part of the theatre roof of the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre collapsed due to an abnormally heavy snow load.[18] The building has since been completely demolished.[19]

Today, the economy of Elliot Lake has seen steady growth. Major employers in Elliot Lake include major mining services firms such as Komatsu, Weir, and Denison Environmental; specialty manufacturing organizations such as St. Regis Group, HiRail Leasing and Prestige Pulpits; numerous forestry businesses; a collection of professional services offices such as Cambridge Law LLP, KPMG and BrokerLink and an increasing number of technology organizations. Government organizations found in the community are numerous and include the City of Elliot Lake, Elliot Lake Retirement Living, a range of Ontario Ministries, a set of federal government offices, a hospital, many health service providers and several schools.

The city has four major retail areas: Downtown, Highway 108 Corridor, Hillside, and Paris; and two industrial parks, located at north and south ends of the City. The new mall is Pearson Plaza, and opened downtown in 2016.

In January 2023, just weeks after being elected in the 2022 Algoma District municipal elections, mayor Chris Patrie was removed from office in a ruling that he had violated municipal conflict of interest rules by lobbying, in his prior term as a city councillor, to have the city's new recreation centre built near the Oakland Plaza, in which he is a part owner, instead of on the former Algo Centre Mall site.[20] Deputy mayor Andrew Wannan served as acting mayor, while Patrie appealed the ruling;[21] after Patrie lost his appeal, Wannan was elevated to the full mayoralty by the city council in February 2024.[22]

Geography and environment edit

Elliot Lake seen from the Fire Tower Lookout

Situated on the Canadian Shield, the city is surrounded by dense forest, muskeg swamps, numerous lakes, winding rivers, and hills of Precambrian bedrock. The local forests are mixed deciduous and coniferous, with colourful displays in the autumn.

Local wildlife include moose, white-tailed deer, American black bear, beaver, loon, muskrat, otter, Canada goose, and lynx, to name but a few. Fish species include lake trout, speckled trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, pickerel (walleye), and sturgeon.

Since December 1990 the town has been home to the Elliot Lake Research Field Station, established by Laurentian University to investigate environmental radioactivity.

Acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has taken landscape pictures of uranium and nickel tailings during the mid-1990s, providing evidence of the after-effects to the ecosystem.

Climate edit

Elliot Lake has a humid continental climate (Dfb). Summers are warm and rainy with cool nights. Winters are long and very cold with extremely heavy snowfall. Precipitation is very heavy year round for such a cold location.

Climate data for Elliot Lake Airport (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high humidex 6.2 10.0 18.0 32.1 36.0 44.0 42.3 43.0 36.2 32.2 18.5 10.1 44.0
Record high °C (°F) 8.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −6.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −10.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −15.6
Record low °C (°F) −37
Record low wind chill −44.6 −40.3 −33 −23.3 −9.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 −6.3 −12.7 −30.5 −42.8 −44.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 66.4
Average rainfall mm (inches) 17.9
Average snowfall cm (inches) 62.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 12.2 10.5 8.8 9.5 11.5 11.9 10.6 10.2 11.8 13.3 12.3 14.6 137.3
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 2.0 1.7 3.6 7.7 11.3 11.9 10.6 10.2 11.8 12.9 8.0 3.3 95.1
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 11.4 9.8 6.4 2.9 0.29 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.75 5.4 13.1 50.0
Average relative humidity (%) 81.0 77.0 66.5 55.0 51.1 55.1 56.5 57.4 61.0 64.1 76.7 82.3 65.3
Source: Environment Canada[23]

Demographics edit

Historical populations

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Elliot Lake had a population of 11,372 living in 5,839 of its 6,275 total private dwellings, a change of 5.9% from its 2016 population of 10,741. With a land area of 696.06 km2 (268.75 sq mi), it had a population density of 16.3/km2 (42.3/sq mi) in 2021.[25]

Canada census – Elliot Lake community profile
Population11,372 (+5.9% from 2016)10,741 (−5.3% from 2011)11,348 (−1.7% from 2006)
Land area696.06 km2 (268.75 sq mi)714.65 km2 (275.93 sq mi)714.56 km2 (275.89 sq mi)
Population density16.3/km2 (42/sq mi)15.0/km2 (39/sq mi)15.9/km2 (41/sq mi)
Median age60.4 (M: 60.0, F: 61.2)57.1 (M: 56.5, F: 57.6)
Private dwellings6,275 (total)  5,839 (occupied)6259 (total)  6245 (total) 
Median household income$50,000
References: 2021[26] 2016[27] 2011[28] earlier[29][30]

Transportation edit

Relatively isolated, Elliot Lake is connected to the south only by Highway 108, a 30 km distance to Highway 17, also known as the Trans-Canada Highway. North of the city, Highway 639 extends for 24 kilometres to its terminus at Highway 546, an almost entirely unpopulated route used primarily as an access road to Mississagi Provincial Park and a few private wilderness recreation lodges. The Deer Trail Route, a part of the Ontario Tourist Route network, follows a circle consisting of Highways 17, 108, 639 and 546.

A 1991 study by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation proposed the extension of Highway 555 (Granary Lake Road) from Blind River to meet Spine Road in Elliot Lake, creating a new route which would reduce the length of a commute between the two communities by approximately 20 kilometres.[31] Although the ministry has announced no firm plans to construct the proposed road, Elliot Lake City Council passed a motion in August 2015 calling for the project's revival.[31]

As a general aviation facility Elliot Lake Municipal Airport has no regularly scheduled flights. The closest scheduled airport with flights are located in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.

Elliot Lake Transit provides hourly bus service except on Sundays and statutory holidays.

Intercity motor coach service is provided by Ontario Northland.

Arts and culture edit

Local festivals include the Jewel in the Wilderness Festival, Heritage Weekend and the Elliot Lake Arts on the Trail festival.[32]

The city is home to Denison House, a hotel and convention facility located in the former corporate lodge of Denison Mines, and the Elliot Lake Mining and Nuclear Museum. Two community monuments, the Uranium Atom Monument downtown and the Miners Memorial Monument on Horne Lake, are also found in the city, as well as a scenic lookout at the former fire tower.

In 1975, Canadian musician Stompin' Tom Connors recorded "Damn Good Song for a Miner," about the city of Elliot Lake and its mining culture in the 1960s. Elliot Lake is also a prominent setting in Alistair MacLeod's award-winning novel No Great Mischief.

Tourist attractions edit

Mount Dufour ski hill
  • The Elliot Lake fire tower lookout overlooks the city
  • Mississagi Provincial Park
  • Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Voyageur's Trail & Westview Hiking Trails
  • Spruce and Spine Beaches
  • Bob Stirling XC Ski and Mountain Bike Trails on the shore of Elliot Lake
  • Deer Trail Colours Tour
  • Stone Ridge Golf Course - 18 Hole
  • Rawhide Lake Conservation Area / Our Colleagues Area
  • Several Lodges & Wedding Venues
  • Adventure North Canoe & Kayak Rentals
  • Jack's Ski and Bike Shack - XC Ski and Snowshoe Rentals
  • Events (Arts on the Trail, Uranium Heritage Days, 5K Run and others)
  • Mount Dufour – Ski area with 2 lifts and 7 trails, 320 feet (98 m) vertical and 100% snowmaking capability
  • Elliot Lake Museum
  • Motorized Sports

Education edit

Current schools edit

Defunct postsecondary and adult schools edit

Sports edit

  • Elliot Lake ATV Club
  • Stone Ridge Golf & Country Club
  • Mount Dufour Ski Area
  • Mountain Bike Ontario Cup Race
  • The Jewel in the Wilderness Ontario Cup Road Race
  • Tri-it in the Wilderness Triathlon
  • Bell Ididarace Sled Dog Race
  • Deer Trail Scenic Touring Route
  • Elliot Lake Tennis Club
  • Voyageur Hiking Trail

Hockey edit

Baseball edit

  • Elliot Lake Fireside Heat
  • Elliot Lake Minor Fastball Association

Martial Arts edit

Softball edit

  • Elliot Lake Mixed Slow-pitch (Adult)
  • Elliot Lake Mixed Slow-pitch (Youth)
  • Elliot Lake Ladies Slow-Pitch (Adult)

Swimming edit

  • Elliot Lake Aquatic Club (ELAC)

Media edit

Online media edit

ElliotLakeToday.com is an online local news source in Elliot Lake, offering the latest breaking news, weather updates, entertainment, sports and business features, obituaries and more.

Print media edit

The Elliot Lake Standard is the city's newspaper, owned by Postmedia.

The North Shore Bulletin is the city's bi-weekly advertising flyer, which also prints current news events.

Radio edit

Elliot Lake has one commercial radio station, which operates two transmitters due to signal deficiencies in parts of the city. All of its other radio services are rebroadcasters of stations from Sudbury.

Frequency Call sign Branding Format Owner Notes
FM 90.3 CBEC-FM CBC Radio One Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBCS-FM Sudbury
FM 94.1 CKNR-FM Moose FM Adult contemporary Vista Broadcast Group
FM 98.7 CKNR-FM-1 Moose FM Adult contemporary Vista Broadcast Group Additional transmitter due to signal deficiencies
FM 101.7 CBON-FM-5 Ici Radio-Canada Première Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBON-FM Sudbury
FM 102.5 CJTK-FM-3 KFM Christian music Eternacom Rebroadcaster of CJTK-FM Sudbury

Television edit

OTA channel Call sign Network Notes
3 (VHF) CICI-TV-1 CTV Rebroadcaster of CICI-TV Sudbury

Elliot Lake was previously served by CBEC-TV, VHF channel 7, and CBLFT-TV-6, VHF channel 12, which rebroadcast the Toronto-based stations CBLT-DT (CBC Television) and CBLFT-DT (Ici Radio-Canada Télé), respectively. These rebroadcasters were shut down in 2012 due to budget cuts at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

People from Elliot Lake edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Elliot Lake census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  2. ^ Bélanger, Paul R. (15 October 2014). "History of Elliot Lake". Report of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry (PDF). Government of Ontario. p. 16. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  3. ^ "What the Name Algoma Means". Northern Ontario Travel. November 13, 2014.
  4. ^ Hamilton, William (1978). The Macmillan Book of Canadian Place Names. Toronto: Macmillan. p. 146. ISBN 0-7715-9754-1.
  5. ^ a b Clyde H. Farnsworth (Jun 3, 1996). "Elliot Lake Journal: Snug Retiree Haven Where Uranium Mine Stood". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Hunter, William D.G. (1962). "The Development of the Canadian Uranium Industry: An Experiment in Public Enterprise". The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science. 28 (3). Canadian Economics Association: 349. doi:10.2307/139666. JSTOR 139666.
  7. ^ Rio Algom Ltd (2001). "Elliot Lake Uranium Mine Site Reclamation: Information Package" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  8. ^ a b "The strike that saved lives". magazine.cim.org. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  9. ^ Lopez-Pacheco, Alexandra (June–July 2014). "The strike that saved lives". CIM Magazine. Montreal, Canada. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  10. ^ MacDowell, Laurel Sefton (2012). "The Elliot Lake Uranium Miners' Battle to Gain Occupational Health and Safety Improvements, 1950–1980" (PDF). Journal of Canadian Labour Studies.
  11. ^ a b "Elliot Lake wildcat strike led to key law". thesudburystar. Archived from the original on 2021-12-18. Retrieved 2021-12-11.(archive.org)
  12. ^ "Workplace safety fight far from over, Steelworkers say". CBC. 17 April 2014.
  13. ^ McDowell, Laurel Sefton. "The Elliot Lake Uranium Miners' Battle to Gain Occupational Health and Safety Improvements, 1950–1980". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Regulatory Oversight Report for Uranium Mines, Mills, Historic, and Decommissioned Sites in Canada: 2020" (PDF). Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission: 160. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-09-15. Retrieved 2021-12-15.
  15. ^ "Elliot Lake miner edges closer to uranium mine.". Northern Ontario Business, July 1, 2008.
  16. ^ Mawhiney, Anne-Marie; Pitblado, Jane, eds. (1999). Boom Town Blues: Elliot Lake: Collapse and Revival in a Single-Industry Community. Dundurn. ISBN 9781554881031.
  17. ^ "Elliot Lake mall searchers recover 2nd body from debris". CBC News. June 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  18. ^ "Roof at Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre collapses (5 photos, update)". ElliotLakeToday.com. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  19. ^ Russell, Rosalind (27 March 2020). "Demolition nearly complete of Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre". My Espanola Now. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  20. ^ Erik White, "Judge orders Elliot Lake mayor should be removed from office". CBC Northern Ontario, January 10, 2023.
  21. ^ Kevin McSheffrey, "Judge removes Patrie as Elliot Lake mayor". Elliot Lake Standard, January 13, 2023.
  22. ^ Ian Campbell, "Elliot Lake has a new mayor after elected man removed". CTV Northern Ontario, February 12, 2024.
  23. ^ "Elliot Lake A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Archived from the original on 2020-07-17. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  24. ^ "Draft Community Profile – The City of Elliot Lake, ON" (PDF). Hardy Stevenson and Associates. July 17, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-30. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Ontario". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  26. ^ "2021 Community Profiles". 2021 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 4, 2022. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  27. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 12, 2021. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  28. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 21, 2019. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  29. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 20, 2019.
  30. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 18, 2021.
  31. ^ a b "Council considers old idea for new road" Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine. Elliot Lake Standard, August 5, 2015.
  32. ^ "Elliot Lake Arts On The Trail". Retrieved June 7, 2019.

External links edit