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