The Towns and Cities
of Northern Ontario
Matheson- James Bay Frontier
The best way to describe the Black
River Ė Matheson area is to call it an outdoor loverís delight.
There are more than 150 lakes and rivers within the region, full of
pike, pickerel, and trout. The bear, moose and waterfowl population
make Black River Matheson an ideal sportsmenís hideaway. The most
attractive natural attractions include the nearby wilderness of the
Abitibi. Camping, canoeing and hiking enthusiasts will revel in the
abundance of things to explore.
The Matheson area has been affected many times by the ravages of
fire. In 1910, 42 people lost their lives in a forest fire. The
following year, one of Ontarioís largest fires, the Porcupine fire,
killed an estimated 73 people and burned 200,000 hectares. Then
again in 1916, a fire in the region took 244 lives and involved the
neighbouring villages of Kelso, Val Gagne, Porquis Junction and
The Harker Holloway gold fields just east of the community are some
of the most promising recent gold areas.
The Thelma Mines Museum houses authentic room settings of the early
1900s, including a hospital room, trapping display, farming
equipment, an outdoor mining display with a life-like mine tunnel.
It represents the history of the communities of Val Gagne, Wavel,
Ramore, Holtyre, Shillington and Matheson.
If you are in the Black River Matheson area for a few days or if
you're just passing through visit the historic Watabeag Log Church.
For a peaceful picnic, Hough Lake and the Riverpark Park and Boat
Launch are ideal spots.