Eighty kilometres west of Geraldton is Beardmore, the “Gateway to Lake Nipigon.”

Welcome to Beardmore, Ontario

Not a pride parade float, it’s the welcome to Beardmore sign!

Beardmore started out as a flag station on the CNR before finding itself in the middle of the Lake Nipigon gold ‘rush’ in the 1930s.  The town faced ‘rapid expansion’ after gold was found on the Sturgeon River, as evidenced by the Timmins-style hotels that unfortunately no longer serve as watering holes for the community.

Today, it’s a town of about 200 people focusing on forestry and serving as a take-off point for camping and boating near Lake Nipigon.  So it’s pretty small, and pretty quiet.  But what Beardmore lacks in amenities it makes up in uniqueness. I liked Beardmore.

Beardmore church

A church in Beardmore – completely unrelated to the text that appears above or below this photo

Beardmore is known for Vikings.

The Beardmore Relics, which were purported to be a cache of Viking artifacts, were found near the town in the early 1930s.

The relics – including an old sword, and axe, and a piece of a shield – were supposedly found while a prospector was panning for gold, and for a time were claimed as evidence that Vikings explored much further than Vinland, Markland, and Helluland while they were in North America, and that they explored parts of northern Ontario and maybe even Minnesota.

The Royal Ontario Museum purchased the relics and displayed them for about twenty years until they were forced to hold a public enquiry as to whether the relics were actually found in Beardmore, or imported by Scandinavian settlers desperate for a historic taste of home and passed off as a discovery in an elobarate hoax.

Beardmore, Ontario on Highway 11 Ontario

Highway 11 as it runs through Beardmore, Ontario.  Note the lounge-hotel at right, once a fixture of every town in northern Ontario.  (Photo: User P199 at Wiki Commons.)

In the “some big weird thing” sweepstakes Beardmore doesn’t disappoint.  Beardmore is also home to what it claims is the world’s largest snowman.  Does the title still count even though he’s not made of snow?  During the summer, the apparently nameless snowman sports sunglasses and fishing rod to signify that anything you can do, a snowman can do way cooler.

Beardmore, Highway 11's snowman capital, with the world's largest " snowman "

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor heat, nor hail will keep Beardmore’s snowman from standing watch over the community

The town sign isn’t just a normal wooden sign.  They’ve spelled out Beardmore on railroad ties in rainbow-coloured letters that you can’t miss. The town also has these nice new ‘Welcome to Beardmore’ pennants hanging from the lampposts.

This is what I love about Highway 11 communities.  They have pride. They have spunk. They have a sense of community. And this sense of community means that they’re not afraid to try.

Sometimes when you’re from a larger place you forget that, no matter where you’re from or where you live, everyone has some sense of pride in their hometown.  Beardmore is a place that reminds you of this.

Beardmore, Ontario war memorial - Highway 11Today Beardmore is a forestry and outfitting town, with a baseball field, a church, some gas stations and about 40 or 50 houses.  There is a Legion in town too.  Beardmore is the only real stop between Geraldton and Lake Nipigon, a 170 kilometre journey.

Beardmore is also where renowned artist Norval Morrisseau first showed his work to a Toronto exhibitor.

93 thoughts on “Beardmore

  1. Pingback: About Norval Morrisseau | Superior Country

  2. Boy it’s hard to believe I had posted something in 2017. Looks like this is a dying blog. No one seems to reply with any posting. I grew up in Beardmore from 1957 to 1967 at which time we moved away from there to Kitchener.. my mom had worked in the Delmar for a few years as well as the cafeteria in Lietch. My dad worked in the mine until we moved. I miss the area. Loved the life there. Someone send me a message and see if we know anyone from the past. We are all getting older

    • 8373 west periwinkle lane
      Hi. Yes I am now just turned 70. I attended Beardmore PS until 15 yo. Then moved to Fort William soon to become Thunder Bay. My time in Beardmore shaped me to become what I am today. No regrets.

      • Hi there, I attended grade 2 in Beardmore, my grandmother was the principal of that old school. I at that early age enjoyed living there

        • Hi John, thx for replying, the way this blog is going i was surprised to see that someone got back to me. Yes i was living there and going to grade 2. I lived at the botom of Douglas St. Anyway if you see my reply drop me a line.

          • Hi guys, really wonder if anybody is still alive,
            I attended PS as a 1st grader. Teacher was Mrs. Dickison. Family reason have brought us back to Germany. I have been back several times and was very lucky to meet some of the schoolmates in the early 1990ties.
            all together we had a super time and the good memories still exist.

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