Compared to the many other spots on Highway 11’s mid-west corridor, Geraldton is a relatively bustling town of 2400, apparently with its own suburbs – Jonesville and Geraldton East.
Geraldton has two town mottos – ‘Spirit of the North’ and ‘The Friendly Town with a Heart of Gold’. It’s obvious that the town has put its golden heart to good use, as it is one of the most actively and professionally marketed towns in northern Ontario.
Thirty-eight kilometres west of Longlac, Geraldton has actively used a restored mine headspace in all its tourism literature. The mine shaft is quire nicely restored. If you turn down Hardrock Drive (yes, it’s the best-named street in northern Ontario after Iroquois Falls’ Oil Tank Road) you’ll see a rocky landscape which I believe is the headframe’s parking lot and the starting point for the two hiking trails seen below.
The Geraldton Discovery Centre, on Highway 11 across from the mine shaft, is also really nicely done-up. The Discovery Centre has exhibits on the area’s forestry and mining history, current practices in both industries, and also allows you to dress up in fireman gear and have your photo taken (handy if your wife or girlfriend is into that kind of thing and you’re not a firefighter like the most of us.)Geraldon is on the shores of Kenogamisis Lake, which, by the way, offers some low-level cliff diving opportunities (I don’t endorse/condone/promote/suggest doing this, I just observed some people doing while I drove past. Do not jump off cliffs into the water, it’s really dangerous.) Geraldton also has a nice golf course and some hiking trails.
I happened to be in town for their annual August long-weekend Jamboree. I was planning to stop after I saw a Bristol board sign indicating that it was in nearby Macleod Provincial Park. With my drive time approaching the six hour mark, and the valuable contents of my wallet becoming increasingly sparse with each stop for gas and coffee and doughnuts, and the rain beginning to pour, I declined my chance to jam with the locals.
I missed the town itself. Geraldton is about five kilometres north of Highway 11. (I was tired. I was trying to make it to Nipigon without getting gas. (Danger Will Robinson. Red alert. BAD IDEA!) Plus. it was raining. I had just passed a hitchhiker and felt really really guilty but not guilty enough to take my life into my own hands in the middle of nowhere in order to save the guy from the downpour.) Therefore I continued along Highway 11, and missed out on mainstreet Geraldton.