Jackfish is one of the many ghost towns nestled in calm obscurity in northern Ontario.

A former railway stop, Jackfish used to be a small rail depot close to Highway 17 and the north shore of Lake Superior between Terrace Bay and Marathon. The town, founded in 1881, was supported by rail, fishing, forestry, quarrying, and a noteworthy hotel that housed up to 300 men until its abandonment in 1961.

Jackfish, Ontario in 1906. Highway 17 highway11.ca

Jackfish, Ontario in 1906. Now abandoned.

Jackfish was settled because it had an excellent harbour, allowing big ships to unload coal on-site for use by the railway. But the decline of steam technology led to the eventual decline of the town, which was left for good in 1961 when a papermill was built in nearby Marathon.

The CPR demolished a lot of the leftover buildings, including the church, the school, and the rail depot.  The local hotel burned down however there are some buildings standing in Jackfish that you can go see.

I didn’t take any photos so if you have any, or want to add to this page, please let me know by emailing me.  My address is info (at) highway11 (dot) ca.


Rossport is a little hamlet of 200 people nestled between Lake Superior and the Transcanada Highway 17.

Rossport, Ontario on Highway 17 highway11.ca

Cutesy and quaint Rossport offers great Lake Superior access. (Credit: User P199 at Wiki Commons.)

While it started out as small settlement known as McKay’s Bay, like many of the other towns on this stretch of Highway 17, Rossport was truly built for the railway and named after an engineer that helped build the CPR. The town became an important fishing centre after the railway arrived in 1885, and was even served by a luxury steam liner which sank nearby in 1911.

Today Rossport is a small community which grows in the summer with cottagers and outdoorists. There is camping in Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, which also has hiking trails, a waterfront boardwalk, and access to both Whitesand Lake and Lake Superior. Interpretive programs are available on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer at the Park.

Highway 17 near Rossport

No, it’s this photo has not been Instagram-ed, this is Highway 17 near Rossport long before I ever traveled this stretch of the Highway

The Rossport Inn (click here for reviews) is the highlight of the town – originally built in the 1880s to serve the railway, today the inn serves meals and acts as a bed and breakfast. I’ve read about it online and in print, so it looks like it is worth visiting if you’re passing through.
There is talk of creating a Lake Superior Marine National Park, which would encompass parts of the Rossport Shoreline.

I didn’t have a chance to stop in Rossport so please feel free to send photos or add to this.  My email is info (at) highway11 (dot) ca