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History Geography Elliot Lake

  History Geography Elliot Lake, Ontario

Until the 1870s an Ojibwa village existed in Elliot Lake. Elliot Lake was the summer home of the Ojibway Nation on the North Shore long before the fur trade, logging and mining activities. Many artifacts have been unearthed in the Elliot Lake area including a major native village on the shore of Elliot Lake, just over the hill from Elliot Lake's, St. Joseph's General Hospital. There has been rumours a burial ground is on one of the islands on Elliot Lake, giving the feeling this island on Elliot Lake is mystical and a very important part of Elliot Lake's history. Pictographs and native rock paintings have been discovered on rock outcrops on Quirke Lake near Elliot Lake lending truth to the Ojibway Nation being in the Elliot Lake area far before settlers established and made Elliot lake home. The name Elliot Lake first appeared on a Dominion Map in 1910. Rumour has it a logging camp cook named Elliot drowned in the lake prior to 1910. Elliot's remains were never recovered, in honour of him the named the area Elliot Lake. Not only is Elliot Lake rich in history from the early Ojibway Nation, there's was also fur trading, logging operations lasting till well into the 1950's.

The major draw to Elliot Lake was the discovery of uranium in 1953 prompted the now famous "Back Door Staking Bee" ultimately seeing the opening of 14 uranium mines in the Elliot Lake area. The uranium mines which included; Stanleigh Mine 1956-1960 and 1982-1996, produced 14 million tons of ore, Spanish American Mine 1957-1959 produced 79,000 tons of ore, Milliken Mine 1957-1964, produced 6.3 million tons of ore, Panel Mine 1957-1961 and 1978-1990,  produced 15 million tons of ore, Quirke Mines 1955-1961 and 1965-1990,  produced 44 million tons of ore, Pronto Mine 1955-1970, produced 2.3 million tons of ore, Buckles Mine 1956-1960, produced 276,000 tons of ore, Lacnor Mine, Lake Nordic 1956-1960, produced 3.4 million tons of ore and Nordic Mine 1956-1970, producing 13 million tons of ore. all owned and operated by Rio Algom Ltd. Can-Met Mine 1957-1960,  produced 2.6 million tons of ore, Denison Mine 1957-1992, produced 69 million tons of ore and Stanrock Mine 1958-1960 and 1964-1985, producing 6.4 million tons of ore, all owned and operated by Denison Mines Ltd. The City of Elliot Lake owes its existence to the uranium mining industry. In the early 1950's, when a huge ore body of uranium was discovered in the Canadian Shield near Elliot Lake, the Provincial Government created a special agency to ensure the development of Elliot Lake as a viable community. Elliot Lake produced most of the world's uranium. Geologist Franc Joubin and American financier Joseph Hirshhorn were instrumental in the discovery of uranium in the area. The principal mining companies were Denison Mines and Rio Algom. In 1959, the United States declared they'd no longer buy uranium from Canada after 1962. 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 uranium mine in Elliot Lake to close. Elliot Lake was incorporated as a city in 1990. In the years since the closing of their major industry Elliot Lake looked elsewhere for its survival, finding some success promoting itself as a retirement community and tourist destination. In the late 2000s, mineral exploration has begun taking place in the area, with at least one major new mining facility being developed by Pele Mountain Resources.

Geographically Elliot Lake seen from the Fire Tower Lookout situated on the Canadian Shield, Elliot Lake is surrounded by dense forest, muskeg swamps, numerous lakes, winding rivers, and hills of Precambrian bedrock. Elliot Lake's local forests are mixed deciduous and coniferous, with colourful displays in the autumn. Elliot Lake not only surrounded by forests, lakes and open country, the local wildlife includes; 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. The natural resources available at Elliot Lake make it an amazing vacation spot as well as a quiet and quaint retirement location.

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