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The Towns and Cities of Northern Ontario
Haileybury - James Bay Frontier

It is difficult to separate Haileybury from its neighbors Cobalt and New Liskeard as these three northern communities form the nucleus of the Temiskaming area Tri-Towns. Even though their histories are intermingled, each town has managed to maintain a distinct flavor. 

St. Mary’s Retreat House was my refuge for a few days while I was participating in a directed retreat. During some of our free time, I managed to take in the surroundings. There’s something to be said for the peace and stillness of walking along the shore of Lake Temiskaming and sitting at the end of one of the many docks. 

Like many of the Northern Ontario communities, Haileybury’s origins can be traced to the mining industry. The mining big-wigs, not wanting to live right in the mining town, built beautiful homes close to the lake. Today, when you walk around some of the neighborhoods, you can still see and “feel” the elegance of days gone by. Some of the original gardens and homes still survive in one form or another. 

Fire seems to be a common thread in Northern Ontario communities and Haileybury is no exception. In October, 1922, a raging bush fire left over 6,000 people homeless. The smoke from this disaster could be seen as far away as Ottawa. To compound the disaster, snow fell the next day. Houses along “Millionaires’ Row” were spared. People were housed in street cars donated by the Toronto Transit Commission. The Haileybury Heritage House has carefully preserved memories of the fire.

Haileybury has produced many noteworthy figures. At one time (circa 1910) this little town boasted its own professional hockey team and one of its leaders was Art Ross. In 1947, Ross donated a trophy to the NHL, which would be awarded to the player who led the league in points during the regular season. Another notable figure is author Leslie McFarlane – also known as Franklin W. Dixon, the original ghost writer of the Hardy Boys series. The Haileybury School of Mines has a well-earned worldwide reputation and its graduates comprise a who’s who of mining expertise.

Like many of its companion communities, Haileybury boasts many excellent features. There are numerous walking trails surrounding the lake. For the boater or canoeist, well, the lake and surrounding waterways are your playgrounds. 

For sheer natural beauty there is Devil’s Rock which offers a spectacular view of Lake Temiskaming. One can drive the back roads along the lake’s edge to neighboring New Liskeard. And of course, just a few kilometers south on the highway, there is the Highway Book Shop (where my bridge partner and I managed to lose a few hours and barely managed to make it to North Bay in time for the beginning of the bridge tournament).

History, natural beauty and the joys of year-round activities - Haileybury has them all.

 

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