Haileybury

Which northern Ontario town had its own street cars, was home to the guy who wrote the Hardy Boys, had the most millionaires in Canada, was the first home of the team that would become the Montréal Canadiens, and then promptly had its prosperity wiped out by a massive fire?

Streetcar Norhtern Ontario, Haileybury, Highway 11

Back off St. Clair Avenue West…Haileybury has had streetcars too!

The thing that makes Haileybury really northern is its history.  The rise and fall and apparent rebuilding is really interesting and, in my opinion, totally characteristic of northern Ontario.

Lumber boat in Haileybury, ontario

After Longlac and Opasatika, let me guess this is a lumber boat?

Once known as Humphrey’s Depot, Haileybury was founded in the early 1900s by a former fur trader on the shores of Lake Temiskaming.  He named the town after the school he attended in England.  He tried to attract settlers with the usual propaganda leaflets, but as northern Ontarians know, there’s no better way to get the country settled than a gold rush.  And that’s what it took to get Haileybury off the ground.

Haileybury, downtown, Highway 11 Ontario Lake

Haileybury road leading into Lake Temiskaming. (Credit; User P199 at Wiki Commons.)

Despite being named after a place in England where wealthy parents got rid of their kids, Haileybury is the start of francophone north-eastern/central Ontario.  (Or it is the end, depending on which way you’re traveling on Highway 11.)  Approximately 80 percent of Haileyburians are French-first, which is interesting given that their neighbours are primarily anglophone, particularly in New Liskeard (70 percent) and Cobalt (almost completely unilingual.)  As you go north after Haileybury, the towns almost alternate – anglo, franco, etc.

The discovery of silver in Cobalt in 1903 started a population explosion in Haileybury, as the town became a bedroom community for prospectors and mine owners.  So successful were some that a street in Haileybury was dubbed Millionaire’s Row for the wealthy people it housed.

Haileybury, Ontario on Highway 11But of course, this all had to come to a tragic end with the fires of 1922, which killed 11, displaced 3500, and razed the town completely alongside New Liskeard, Dymond, and possibly Cobalt. In order to survive, many families had to hide in wells, lakes, and even down mine shafts. Many of those who escaped to the mines died when the fires, passing over the mines, sucked out the shaft’s oxygen, asphyxiating those who sought refuge underground. The town commorates the fire with a sculpture at its waterfront park, pictured below on the left.

Haileybury Today

With 4500 people, Haileybury (pronounced locally as Hailey-berry) is the second largest part of the Tri-Towns and Haileybury is the seat of the Temiskaming Shores municipality, which includes New Liskeard and Dymond.  It is a quiet lakeshore community that is worth a stop if you’re not in a hurry.

Pioneer Monument, Great Fire, Haileybury, Highway 11

Monument to pioneers that survived the Great Fire by hiding in swamps, lakes, and wells

I really like the waterfront.  There is a nice little pavilion with the Pioneer’s Monument (pictured) honouring the fire of 1922.  There is a little beach and a modern marina as well.  The view is nice across the lake to Quebec and in the summer you’ll see a number of boats on the water as Lake Temiskaming is the end of the scenic Ottawa River route, which is popular with boaters.  The waterfront is worth a drive, if not a full stop.

Haileybury on the shores of Lake Temiskaming

Haileybury on the shores of Lake Temiskaming

In terms of tourism, there is a fair amount to do.  The Haileybury Heritage Museum was built to chronicle the history of the town and tell the story of the fire.  The museum features a restored 1920s streetcar, as well as an old firepumper and a preserved tugboat that used to ply the waters of Lake Temiskaming.  You can also visit the “world famous” Haileybury School of Mines.  Haileybury is also home to the Temiskaming Art Gallery.  You can see different types of ores at the Rock Park Walk, while there is camping and golf in town as well.

I don’t remember a lot of places to eat, and I think the only Tri-Town Tim Horton’s are in New Liskeard and Dymond.  Accommodations include the Leisure Inn, Edgewater Motel and Cabins, the Haileybury Beach Motel, and the Les Suites des Presidents Suites, an upscale bed and breakfast.  New Liskeard has more places to stay and eat.  Personally I find that Haileybury, despite being very pretty and having stuff to do, is still something of a bedroom community.  It doesn’t have the same downtown nor the same ‘feel’ that New Liskeard does.  And it’s nothing like Cobalt.  At all.

Downtown Haileybury

Back to History

Haileybury was also home to the team that would become the Montreal Canadiens.  The club played the 1909 NHA season and left for Montreal.  It would become the Canadiens only two years later.  I think that’s pretty neat.

Haileybury’s streetcars were part of the Nipissing Central Railway that connected the Tri Towns, which would definitely make it unique in the north.  Heck I’m sure it ran faster then than Timmins transit does today.  Toronto also donated 87 streetcars after the great fire to help shelter the homeless.  Today there is one restored streetcar left at the Haileybury Heritage Museum.

And, to finish, Haileybury was also home to Les Macfarlane, who wrote many of the Hardy Boys novels under the pen name Franklin Dixon.

Thanks to Johnny O for the info on the Tri Towns.

The Hardy Boys's Sleuth, in Haileybury on Highway 11

I never liked the Hardy Boys. Too All-American. Too serious. Too predictable. Sure, you knew that Encyclopedia Brown was always going to figure it out too but at least he had a sense of humour. But, anyway, this is a replica of the Hardy Boys’s boat, in Haileybury.

81 thoughts on “Haileybury

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  2. When iwas a young boy i lived in Northern Ontario. My grandfathers name was Bob Hennessy. I know he is buried in the Haileybury Cemetary- is there any one out there who may have known him or heard stories of him – he worked on the Abatibi Dam when it was being constructed i think in the 50′s. It would be greatly appreciated as I dont have alot of information on him and would like to know more. Thanks

  3. I was born in Haileybury in 1937 but left for boarding school at age 11. My parents, Myrtle & Connie Vachon lived most of their lives there until theyrelocated to North Bay after retirement in 1060. Loved the town and feel badly that the by-pass has caused it to shrivel away.

  4. NOCER Org is currently working on the SECOND Annual 420 Gathering for the Temiskaming Area!
    Don’t Miss This Exciting Event this April 20th 2016 in Haileybury!

  5. my grand parents lived in hailey bury from about 1935 on im trying to locate marie gunthers grave site and the house my mother lived in which I seen one all the houses were down also my moms name is freida knowen as fritz also had an uncle herb and aunt ann reat in peace herb married ellsa but not sure of her maiden last name if any one knows of them please type back I need a lot of info

  6. I was born in Haileyburry in 1947 in the Haileyburry hospital and we left there for the big city of Toronto in 1948.
    My mother was born in Haileyburry on March 13, 1922
    Her maiden name was Terese Rochon and she and her 3 sisters went to the convent for school. Therese married Andre Lafontaine from LaSarre Quebec after the war. I am guessing that she was one of the butter box babies that was floated out onto the lake in order to be saved by the fire.
    Her father was a carpenter in the town of Haileyburry and I understand that he was pretty much one of very few carpenters there.
    I would be interested in finding out if anybody has any information about the Rochon’s my mother had 3 sisters.
    Her very best friend was Cecil. I understand that the house she grew up in is still standing and I would love to make a trip to Haileyburry in the very near future and would love to see the old house that my mother grew up in and that I spent the first year of my life in.
    My mother’s mother died of cancer 1 year after I was born so I did not really know her, she was originally from New Brunswick and my Grandfather was originally from the Southern part of the United States. If anybody has any information that they think I would be interested in please do not hesitate to email me back at rejeanjl@hotmail.com
    By the way I called them butter box babies because at that time they delivered butter in wooden boxes and my understanding is that the women put the babies in these boxes and floated the out onto the lake in order to save there lives but I cannot find any record of this anywhere if anyone has any info about this I would really like to know if my mother could have possibly been one of this babies. By the way my mother is still alive and 93 years of age and living in Oshawa in a Seniors Retirement home and Cecil is also still alive and living in Oshawa.
    I am hoping that someone out there has some small bits of information for me.
    Thanking you in advance
    Rejean Lafontaine

  7. looking for any one with the last name picket i was born in hailley berry in 1960 and i know no family member just the last name my name might have been rodney picket was given up for adoption in 63

  8. Haunting at old jail in Halibury. Now home to students attending 5th Wheel Truck Training.

    Moved to residence from Ottawa for a 5 week stay while attending AZ course at 5th wheel.

    Was housed in a clean well kept residence that I was happy to have, as free housing while out of town to attend school is rare.

    Almost immediately, I began hearing noises loud enough to wake me every night. It was only on week 4 that I determined that the old jail is haunted. Last night (Friday) the residence was very nearly empty, cuz the AZ students had returned home, while myself (a female) and another student (a male) were to go on and do 2 more weeks of Heavy Equipment training.

    So at half past midnight last night, I was awoken from a dead sleep at 12:30 am by a heavy presence laying on top of me, I was unable to move. I could not cry out or scream because my lips were sealed. So after some time, the presence left me. I called my husband back home and tried to determine how and where to spend the rest of the night.

    To be continued.

  9. Use to live in the Tri Towns..
    Would really like to find a couple of old friend from way back when..
    Ann Sutherland from Cobalt
    Judy Radley (sp) lived with the Hearns in between North Cobalt and Haileybury
    Judy Ruddy from North Cobalt
    Theresa Perreault from Haileybury

    Oh my I could go on and on..
    Thank you for reading..

    • I am looking for a susan belanger-your mother marrie died in the 1960s,your father is percy tupper,i am your 1/2 brother who has not seen you in 50 years-if its you email me or call 902 679 3218.

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