Dymond

One tourist guide I saw promotes Dymond as “the jewel of Temiskaming”.  While I think Earlton gives them a serious run for their money in the “jewel” department, Dymond is a nice little township of farms, big box stores, and fast food restaurants, where English and French are both spoken approximately equally.

Ms. Holstein, Queen of Dymond on Highway 11

Ms. Holstein, Queen of Dymond

Despite its southern Ontario feel, Dymond is a northern Ontario town and therefore has to have “some big weird thing”.  That would be Ms. Claybelt the Oversize Holstein, as well as the model Mack Truck at Gilli’s Truckstop, both on the main Highway 11.  (That is not me in the photo – my camera conked out in North Bay and didn’t get charged until Kirkland Lake so I had to steal this photo from the town’s website.)

I thought that Dymond was in the Tri Towns but really it’s not, as the name refers to Haileybury, New Liskeard, and Cobalt.  Dymond was forced to merge with New Liskeard and Haileybury in the 1990s to form the municipality of Temiskaming Shores.  It is technically the oldest of the three townships, as it was founded in 1901.  Dymond has relied on its agricultural base to withstand the boom-bust economic of northern Ontario, and to this day retains a distinctly agricultural feel…that is, once you get past the strip malls.

Dymond has recently become a big-box-store, fast food, and motel haven.  Dymond is essentially the last spot to do any real shopping on Highway 11 between North Bay and Thunder Bay without taking a fairly major detour off Highway 11 into Timmins.  (I hope this doesn’t draw business away from New Liskeard’s fairly quaint downtown.)  There’s a Walmart, a Zellers, a fairly big Canadian Tire, a new steak restaurant, and a number of different fast food outlets including McDonald’s and the last Harvey’s on the whole of Highway 11.

This is important so let me re-ierate this – if you’re travelling west toward Thunder Bay, Dymond has the last Harvey’s on the whole of Highway 11.
There isn’t a tonne to do in Dymond – most visitors would be likely to skip it for New Liskeard or Haileybury.  However there is a golf course and some hiking available – stop at the tourist building on Highway 11b for more info.  There is also the Little Claybelt Homesteaders Museum, chronicling the rise of agriculture and the founding of the Tri-Town.  On main Highway 11 (west of New Liskeard) there is a little lookout with a nice view of the Tri-Town.

Thornloe

Thornloe is a largely francophone hamlet on Highway 11 that is famous for cheese.

Thornloe Cheese Factory, Highway 11 OntarioIts cheese is relatively cheap, well made, and is particularly known for its cheddar and hot pepper colby, as well as its curds.  It has been known for people to travel from North Bay, and Timmins, and beyond just for Thornloe cheese.  The Thornloe Cheese Factory is so popular that the Ministry of Transportation gave the factory its own turning lane on Highway 11 for safety’s sake.

2006 protest in Thornloe, OntarioIn July 2006, Parmalat International announced that it was going to shut down the cheese plant.  This started a storm of anti-Parmalat sentiment in the area, and residents (battle-ready from Adams Mine and Bennett Incinerator fights) were mobilizing quickly. I was in the area at that time – it was a really big deal. I’ve been back since, and it seems they’ve done some renovations. There is a new sign, the cheese has neat new Thornloe-specific packaging – it’s all pretty well done. The cheese was good too – my partner and I devoured some curds, making sure to save some for the next day.

Twenty kilometres north of New Liskeard, Thornloe is a tiny quiet strip of farms with a population of about 120.  Established in 1916, Thornloe is about five minutes west of Highway 11 and always smells like a fall fair.  There is a gas station right on the highway.  There is a playground, an outdoor ice rink, and two churches in town (one of which is for sale.)  There is a pioneer cemetery that I didn’t have a chance to stop at.

Thornloe Cheese, Highway 11

This is where the magic happens!!!

Thornloe is cute, but there’s really nothing to see other than the nice green hills and the acres and acres of farms.  I saw a wonderful orange sunset in Thornloe.  The Temiskaming Farm Belt may not be exciting, but if you like rural farm country then it sure is beautiful.

Thornloe Ontario Highway11.ca

Maybe I’m nuts, but places like this just make me feel all warm and cozy.  Before I visited Temiskaming, I never expected scenes like this in northern Ontario (Credit: P199 at Wiki Commons)

Note that the Thornloe Cheese Factory is often closed after six pm, depending on the season.

Church for sale, Thornloe, Ontario, Highway 11

Church in Thornloe was for sale when I was there in 2006

Earlton

You can tell you’re in farm country in Earlton – 1) it has a John Deere dealership, and 2) the Earlton Country Store isn’t a craft outlet, it’s a real country store complete with seed, fertilizers, and farm tools.

Earlton hosted the International Plowing Match in 2009

Earlton hosted the International Plowing Match in 2009.  (Photo credit: Highgrader Magazine)

Earlton is a francophone farm hamlet of about 800 on Highway 11.  I love Earlton.  It reminds me of southern Ontario.  Upon driving in to Earlton you see the grain, corn, and dairy farms (I think they also grow some potatoes and berries up here too.)  Depending on the direction of the wind, the town sometimes smells like a barn.  But that’s why it is so neat.  Heck, there are cows practically right in the town itself.  Earlton is so cute – I love it.

Cow traffic jam!  Cattle graze near homes in Earlton, Ontario on highway 11

Honestly, these were right in the middle of town

Earlton is kind of the half-way point between North Bay and Cochrane, being about 200 kilometres in between both.  Earlton is about 30 kilometres north of New Liskeard. Earlton is the home of hockey’s true number 99, former Maple Leafs player Wilf Paiement, who recently appeared in a pretty-cheesy-but-not-unfunny Leon’s commercial (“You can make three easy paiements…”)

Earlton used to be well known for the Earlton Zoo – the only place in Ontario north of Toronto to have zebras and other African animals.  However that morphed into the Temiskaming Wildlife Centre, which took care or orphaned or rescued animals from across the north.  Apparently, according to posters below, the Centre is now shut down.

Earlton, Ontario on Highway 11 highway11.ca

(Credit: User P199 at wiki Commons.)

There is also Manitou, the famous bison statue that is (if I am correct) the world’s largest sculpture of a bison or buffalo.  If you get up close, you’ll see that it is made of everything from sheet metal to fibreglass to nuts and bolts (as hair.)  It is even anatomically correct, which I’m sure leads to many rude photos and pranks.

Earlton, Ontario Highway 11 Bison statue

Earlton’s anatomically correct bison

Earlton hosts a number of festivals.  As a farming town, Earlton hosts a farm fair the weekend after Labour Day.  Every July 15 and 16 Earlton hosts its annual Steam Days, where old steam powered machines are resurrected and displayed.  There is also the yearly Temiskaming Drag n’ Fly drag racing event held at the airport. Earlton was also the home to the 2009 International Plowing Match – the furthest north the IPM has ever been held. (Scroll down for a few IPM photos – thanks to Highgrader Magazine for the International Plowing Match photos.)

Earlton, Ontario 2006 protest

Local businesses and residents fought the closure of the Thornloe Cheese Factory, and won

In terms of services, Earlton has a caisse, a Scotiabank and Chartrand’s Grocery.  Hotel LaSalle (“the friendly place”) has takeout and dine-in food.  There are also two chip stands, a little bowling alley (it is northern Ontario still!) and a motel.  There is a baseball diamond and recreation centre at the west end of town.  There is gas just off Highway 11, and Real’s Barbershop is in town should you need a haircut on your roadtrip.

Earlton is definitely worth a stop, especially on a summer evening to watch the sun set over the local farms.  You’ll swear you’re in Perth County or Essex County, not Temiskaming.

Earlton, Ontario rural airport, highway11.ca

Earlton’s little airport, surrounded by countryside. (Credit: User P199 at Wiki Commons.)

Earlton, Ontario 2009 IPM Highway 11

2009 International Plowing Match. (Photo credit: Highgrader Magazine.)

Kenabeek

We’re detouring off Highway 11 for a bit, this time onto Highway 65.

Kenabeek is a cluster of houses 20 kilometres west of Thornloe on Highway 65 in the Temiskaming Clay Belt.
Kenabeek, Ontario off Highway 11Kenabeek is very very small.

There’s not much of a town, at least on the highway itself, although I assume that there are more houses and farms as you venture off onto the area’s dirt country roads.

As for services, it’s really all about the Kenabeek General Store, which has gas, food, and an LCBO outlet. However, another site I was on stated that the only gas on Highway 65 is in Elk Lake and Matachewan. A few months ago, someone posted on this site that diesel and gas are avialable at the Kenebeek General Store, but I accidentally lost the comments when I was changing some site details. I did see pumps, but didn’t stop in when I explored the area last. There is also Twin Bear Camp Resort offers hunting, fishing, camping, cottaging, canoeing, and even dog sledding nearby
Kenabeek hosts its annual fall fair, the Kenabeek Fun Fair, the last weekend in August.Kenabeek, Ontario

I’ve been told that there is a small conservative Mennonite community, which farms in the Kenabeek area. In order to sustain the community, it has not been unheard of for young men and women to marry into the community, traveling from more established Mennonite centres such as Wellington County in Southern Ontario, and even from Pennsylvania.

I’ve only visited Kenabeek once (in fall 2008), so maybe you can help fill me in on the community. Email me to add to this page at info (at) highway11 (dot) ca.

Oh, and if you can fill me in, how do you really pronounce Kenabeek? Every time it’s come up in coversation with me, I’ve heard (and used) “Ken-ah-beek.” On the Englehart and New Liskeard radio stations, I heard it pronounced “Ken-ah-beck.” If you know, let me know.

Elk Lake

Elk Lake is a community of about 800 people at the junction of Highways 65 and 560, on the banks of the Montreal River.  Equally anglophone and francophone, Elk Lake sits at the western edge of the Temiskaming Clay Belt and is primarily a forestry town. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page for more photos.)

Elk Lake, Highway 66, Ontario

Random photo at the Domtar mill in Elk Lake, with random worker from a random website

According to Museums North, remnants of pictographs on rocks show that the Elk Lake area was along trade routes used by the Cree and Anishnabai people. These routes were already well established prior to the establishment of the Fur Trade of the mid 1600s. Remnants of an Aboriginal graveyard that can be seen on the south side of town indicate that Elk Lake was settled long before Europeans arrived. The local Ojibway peoples named the lake after the huge herds of elk that roamed the area at this time.

Elk Lake church

Church in Elk Lake

Although forestry had been going on in the area since the mid 1800s, Elk Lake didn’t become settled by Europeans until silver was discovered in the area in 1906. The town was set up in 1909, road connections to Elk Lake were built (previously, you could only get there by steamboats on the Montreal River, from Latchford) and eventually there were 30 active mines in the area, and the town peaked with a population of 10 000. A line of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway was built to the town in 1913.

Elk Lake Today

Today, Elk Lake is home to about 400 people. The town straddles the shore of the Montreal River, which makes for some beautiful views, especially when the sun shines off the shimmering water. I was pretty impressed with how clean and tidy Elk Lake was – the village could make for a nice getaway if you’re willing to go off the beaten path in search of quiet, solitude, and relaxation. It’s also not too far from Long Lake, which has even more hunting, fishing, boating, and swimming opportunities.

Elk Lake River

Elk Lake River

Elk Lake’s major employer is the Elk Lake Planing Mill, owned by forest industry giant Domtar. You can call 678-2210 to go for tours in the plant. Mining has all but disappeared, although high metals prices have re-ignited exploration in the area. Being at the western edge of the Temiskaming Claybelt, there is also some agriculture in and around Elk Lake, largely beef and horse farms.

Bison farm, Elk Lake

The fence doesn’t inspire…

Elk Lake, surprising to some, has gotten a bit of a reputation for being a community with a green outlook. The town is known as a proponent of sustainable forestry. It is also the site of the Elk Lake Eco Resource Centre, a conference/banquet/retreat/hotel facility which was built with local economic and environmental sustainability in mind. Citizens of Elk Lake were also instrumental in the fight against Adams Mine, when the Ontario government was proposing to use the former Kirkland Lake mine site as a dumping ground for Toronto’s garbage.Farm country, Elk Lake, northern Ontario

As for services, I’ve only been to Elk Lake once so I can’t comment too much. In addition to the Eco Centre, there’s a chip stand (year-round!), an LCBO, gas, some motels, a small grocery store and an outfitters. I know there are a number of tourist camps, lodges, and cabin rental places in the area that offer outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, snowshoeing, canoeing, and camping. Elk Lake is also home to a cross-country ski club that maintains about 15 kilometres of trails. The municipal campground has a boat launch, a beach, and hiking along the Bear Creek Rapids. The town is also close to the northernmost point of Makobe-Greys River Provincial Park.
In 2009, the Township of James (in which Elk Lake is situated) will celebrate their 100th Anniversary.

WOODPiLE! Elk Lake

Finally! It’s been so long since I’ve seen a woodpile!

Hayden – Elk Lake Serenade

Elk Lake, I think, is also the inspiration for the title of Hayden’s CD Elk Lake Serenade, which I can say (and can many others) is probably one of his best albums. (Hayden is a Toronto-based folk-rock musician, who was heralded as the next Beatles in the mid 1990s when he released a home-made tape recorded in his bedroom. Evidently, that level of fame never panned out, however, he is still a fantastic musician nonetheless.)Elk Lake River

Email me to add to this page at info (at) highway11 (dot) ca, or comment below

Matachewan

Matachewan is a largely francophone town of about 350 about 60 kilometres west of Kirkland Lake on Highway 66 (we are continuing our detour off Highway 11 for a bit).

On the shores of the Montreal River and near Mistinikon Lake, Matachewan is a Native word meaning ‘meeting of the waters.’

Matachewan had its European start about 8 kilometres north, when the Hudson Bay Company founded Fort Matachewan to trade furs with the local population.  The area around Matachewan had been populated for a long time before Europeans arrived.  Approximately 13 kilometres north of Matachewan are ancient Aboriginal pictographs which indicate trade routes that were used in the area.

I’m not done adding to this — email me to add to this page at info (at) highway11 (dot) ca

Charlton and Dack

Charlton is a small anglophone village in Dack Township in the northern part of the Temiskaming Clay Belt, near Englehart.  Charlton is not on Highway 11, instead just west of it on Highway 547 by about five minutes.Charlton, ONtario jsut west of Highway 11The surrounding area is largely rural and agricultural, made up of beef and dairy farms. When the whole township is taken into account, the population of Charlton and Dack is about 600.

Charlton is a pretty tiny village, but it’s peaceful, quiet, and well-kept.
I’ve only been through Charlton once. There is a general store, a gas station, a United Church, the Timberline and Moose Haven Lodges for accomodations and activities, and the D&R Variety and the Burger Barn for food. There is also a local Legion, and, of course, some houses. There is also a nice little river and waterfall, with a commemorative plaque about the Charlton Powerhouse. There is also a nice waterfront park with boat luanch access, a playground, and a little beach.Charlton, in northern Ontario

I did some searching on Charlton and Dack Township history, but couldn’t find much. So I don’t have too much to say.

Oddly enough, I also found an online listing for the Charlton Medical Marijuana Club.

You can see some more photos here and here.  Email me to add to this page at info (at) highway11 (dot) ca.

Charlton River, northern ontario

Charlton River

Englehart

Englehart is an anglophone town of 1500 on Highway 11.  Right at the north end of the Temiskaming claybelt, you can tell that it’s near the end of farm country as there are farms all around yet the major employer is the Grant Forest Products Mill, which dominates the town from Highway 11.  Englehart is about 30 minutes from Kirkland Lake.

Englehart Grant Mill, highway 11 ontario

I had my own photo of the mill but User P199′s at Wiki commons is so much better.  This view is facing south on Ontario Highway 11.

The town was founded in 1908 and named after Jake Englehart, an American who moved to Canada at age 19 in 1860s to setup oil refineries in southern Ontario.  After achieving success in the Petrolia area, he was appointed by the Province to run the ONTC rail line in 1905.  His management brought stability and expansion to the provincial agency.  But most importantly, Englehart helped rebuild the region after the devastating fires of 1911.  He even spent his own money to feed those left homeless by the fires – he posted a sign at one of his rail stations saying that no-one need pass the station feeling hungry. In its heyday, Englehart even had a small Jewish population which helped settle immigrants into farming communities like Krugerdorf, and later provide work when these homesteads were abandoned.

Englehart has a cute, quiet downtown.  It is a town of well kept houses, manicured lawns, and cute little parkettes.  The old Temiskaming Locomotive 701 has been restored and displayed downtown – it was the last steam engine to prowl the ONTC tracks.Small-town American 1950s downtown  right in Englehart, Ontario(A note to travellers – on my first trip to Englehart we stopped at the local library to use the washroom.  That was an uncomfy decision.  It was completely awkward – don’t forget that in a town like that, everyone knows you’re a stranger and it was completely conspicuous to walk in, pee, and walk out without so much as lifting a Chatelaine off the shelves.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, no one said anything, but I just felt so conspicuous. Go at one of the gas stations on Highway 11 instead.)

Englehart has a really nice little music store called Musical Strings n’ Things that recently moved into a larger location across form the town hall.  It’s worth a visit, especially if you want to try your hand at the banjitar.  Service is great.  I’ve stopped in three times, and received better service than in any music shop I’ve ever dropped into – and I’ve never purchased a thing. And they know I’m not going to buy anything.  I’m obviously from away, and it’s unlikely that I’m going stop in Englehart for a pee, a pop, and a mandolin.  But each time, the shopkeeper tells me they’re just filling in for the owner who has just stepped out, but I’m welcome to play, try, or ogle at anything in the store.

Music store, Englehart, Ontario Highway 11

The North’s Best Music Store, as decided by … me.

A former housemate named Tara had family from the region, and she informed me of the local specialty – the Island Burger. Apparently, the hamburger is served at a Cousin’s Restaurant and is named the “Island Burger” as the hamburger is essentially an island in a sea of hot gravy and cheese curds. Sounds fantastic.

For food and drink there is the Olde Town Inn and Restaurant, a Subway, and a Coffee Time (all on Highway 11.)  In town, there is Cousin’s for burgers or pizza (although I’m not totally sure if it is still open), Kim’s Pizza Plus, and a local diner, the Sister’s Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, and supper platters. My partner and I stopped in at Sister’s for a weekday lunch. Being not from Englehart, and more importantly being under the age of 65, we got some pretty surprised looks from the existing patrons and even the staff, but we survived, everyone was friendly, service was great and so was lunch.

There’s a new drop-in café catering to teens on 8th Avenue, the Oasis Teen Café.  There is gas on Highway 11 and a reasonable-sized Valumart in town for those who need groceries.  Englehart also has a full blown LCBO. In terms of shopping there is Memory Lane Antiques or Treasure Chest Antiques on Highway 11, as well as Marion’s Emporium and Christmas store in town.  There’s also a little home-run spa in town.

Englehart train, highway 11

First Cochrane, next Iroquois Falls, now Englehart’s turn with the old locos

Englehart has a few tourist activities – most notably the historical museum.  There are also walking trails, one of which goes to nearby Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park and its picture perfect waterfalls.  Every June the town hosts the annual Black Fly Festival, and the weekend after Labour Day means it’s fall fair time.

Of course, with Grant Forest Products in town, Englehart also has a fairly substantial woodpile.

Thanks to Justin and Tara for the Englehart info.  Check out some more photos here, here and here.

Krugerdorf

We’re detouring from Highway 11 a bit to visit Krugerdorf, and some towns on Highway 66.

Krugerdorf was founded as a farming homestead in Chamberlain Township in the early 1900s, about 25 kilometres south of Kirkland Lake. Not officially named Krugerdorf until 1949, the area was largely settled by a number of German families. The town was given the name “The German Settlement” until it became to be called Krugerdorf.

Krugerdorf, Ontairo Jewsih cemetary off Highway 11One of the first settlers was August Kruger, a farmer and blacksmith from Germany. Having migrated to Renfrew County in 1879 (northwest of Ottawa), August and his son Frank left for the Krugerdorf area in 1905, where he was given deed to 800 acres of land. Kruger established a farm, and a blacksmith shop, and helped provide ties and spikes to the railway. Word of his success attracted other German-speaking families from Renfrew County in 1910, along with English and Scottish settlers. Later a sawmill and threshing mill were established on the Blanche River.

The area also had a noticeable Jewish homesteading community. With the help of the Baron de Hirsch Institute of Montreal, an organization that helped Jewish immigrants to move to Canada, a small Jewish farming community was set up in the area. Free land was offered to settlers along the railroad between 1905 and 1915, atttracting Jewish settlers from Russia and Romania, where they couldn’t legally own land. According the the Canada virtual museum website, among the colony were such names as Henerofsky, Gurevitch, Feldman, Levy, Goldstein, Abraham, Frumpkin, Verlieb and others. There were about fifty families in all. Eventually, the town developed, with a school, a Lutheran church, and a synagoge.

The Forrester Family Krugerdorf Highway 11 1910

The Forrester Family outside their Krugerdorf homestead in the early 1900s

The Northern Chevra Kadesha Cemetery was established in 1906 when some Jewish pioneers died in a canoeing accident. Morris Perkus and his son Ben were returning from Englehart station with three new immigrants from Europe when their boat was caught in a surprise current and took them over the fall. A small, hockey-rink sized piece of land on the land of local farmer Simon Henerofsky was devoted to bury the dead pioneers and deeded to the Jewish community in nearby Englehart. The Krugerdorf cemetery would eventually serve the Jewish populations of Temiskaming, mainly centered in Kirkland Lake, Englehart, and Cobalt. Today, Krugerdorf cemetery is maintained by Jewish communities in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec.

The community began to decline in the late 1920s. Despite high quality soil, frosts killed crops and markets for beef and grain were distant. After the Second World War, the farming community really began to wind down as children left the farm for work in local towns. All that is left today is the cemetery, a testament to the settlers of a bygone era.  See some photos here and here.

If you’d like to know more about Krugerdorf and the history of Chamberlain Township, you can read The Last Jewish Family in Ansonville, or A Place Called Krugerdorf, by Herb Kruger in the Englehart Library.

And a big thank you to Jim Atkinson for the homesteading photos.

If you can add to this page, or provide some photos, please let me know by emailing info (at) highway11 (dot) ca.

(The headstone photo is copyright of the Canada Virtual Museum – the Kirkland Lake Jewish Cemetery.)

Krugerdorf homestead, highway 11 ontario

Krugerdorf homestead

Early Krugerdorf church Highway 11 Ontario

Krugerdorf church – notice the sawn boards, no logs

 

Virginiatown / Kearns

Continuing our detour off Highway 11, Virginiatown and Kearns are two villages (population approximately 800) northeast of Krugerdorf via Highway 624.  V-town is just a tad west of the Quebec border on the northeastern shore of Larder Lake.Virginiatown and Kearns, OntarioBuilt in the shadow of the great Mount Cheminis, the area known as Virginiatown is comprised of three different villages – Kearns, North Virginiatown, and Virginiatown proper. I would have done separate pages for all three but a) I don’t have a tonne of info, and b) I’m not sure where one village ends and the next one begins on a map. I think North Virginiatown is north of Highway 66, Virginiatown is south of it, and Kearns is just a kilometre or two east.

Virginiatown is actually much closer to Rouyn than Timmins or any other larger centres in Ontario. Therefore, (and I might be wrong, but) I’m pretty sure that V-town, as it is affectionately called, is a largely francophone community which had its heyday with the northeastern Ontario mining boom in the early half of the 20th century.  So, I checked this fact.  Statscan tells me that Virginiatown and area is largely francophone.  But emailers and posters (before I lost all the posts) tell me that nearly no one speaks French in V-town.  So, I don’t know.

Virginiatown, Ontario

Highway 66 traveling east into Virginiatown, with Mount Cheminis in the background

Virginiatown sprung up with the expansion of the mineral rush which began in Cobalt in the early 1900s and drove north founding towns like Kirkland Lake and Larder Lake. V-town was famous for the Kerr Addison Mine, which at one time was the richest gold deposit in North America. The gold from the first Canadian 5 ounce gold coin was mined from the Kerr Addison. Today, a coin monument stands to commemorate this Virginiatown achievement.

Like all boom towns, this had to come to an end eventually. The Kerr Addison Mine shut down in the 1990s, and while there is still exploration and some smaller gold ventures in the area, Virginiatown is pretty sleepy nowadays. Check out the link to Louie Palu’s photos below, it contains some fantastic shots of mining life in Larder Lake and Virginiatown mines.

Virginiatown coin, Ontario

Does V-town’s big weird coin outdo Larder Lake‘s flying fish?

There is a boat launch to Larder Lake, and you can access nearby Labyrinth Lake where you can catch northern pike, bass, and walleye. According to google, there is a ceramic shop in town as well. You can visit the Virginiatown Heritage House for a history of the town and its mining past, or hike the Heritage Gold Trail to view underground mining equipment.

Mount Cheminis is, in my opinion, the coolest thing in the area. Shooting up from the trees like the bum of a thick marker, it rises majestically above V-town and is visible from Highway 66. You can hike up the summit from local trails. Check out some of the nice pictures in the links below. Andre emailed to let me know that Mount Cheminis (known as Mont Chaudron in French) is techhnically in Québec.

Mount Cheminis, Virginiatown, Ontario

Mount Cheminis. Awesome!

Services in town include gas (Guy’s Service Station), a small grocery store, and the usual small-town-northern-Ontario stuff like the Bear Creek Bait and Tackle shop and a curling club. Chez Lucie is a drug store, convenience store, and video rental in one, and Armando’s “Le Bar” is a local diner and watering hole. The Cheminis Lodge provides bed and breakfast facilities and lodging, as does the Hilltop Inn.

The only time I drove through Virginiatown was en route to Rouyn. I was on a schedule, so I stopped to take a picture with the big coin and that’s it. Please help me add to this page – send personal anecdotes, history, photos, and advice to info (at) highway11 (dot) ca.

For an archive of the 30 comments that were posted to Highway11.ca’s profile of Virigniatown/Kearns between 2008 and 2012, please click here.