I just have to get my bias out of the way – I love Liskeard.
I was driving up to Kirkland Lake to scope out the town when I decided to stop in New Liskeard. And was I ever surprised – Haileybury was nice, and New Liskeard is even nicer!
Some years ago, New Liskeard was the first town in northern Ontario I had ever really stopped in. “This can’t be northern Ontario” I thought, my stereotypes being left shattered. And boy was I wrong. It’s too bad my camera was toast or else I would have taken some shots of the downtown on my first trip. I made a trip up that way a couple of years later, so this page will have a mix of my shots, as well as the random photos from the internet that I had used up until that time.
New Liskeard has a small but quaint downtown that is actually relatively full of stores. There’s a nice waterfront with a walkway, a beach, and boat launch facilities. There are restaurants, there is accommodation, there is even a Tim Horton’s, and an independent coffee shop and bookstore with fancy fair trade coffees and books in both English and French (The Chat Noir.) If you drove through New Liskeard you’d proclaim that small town Ontario is alive and well and living in Temiskaming. Right at the base of the Temiskaming claybelt, New Liskeard may actually live up to the billing on guidebook gave it, as a “northern oasis” and the “heart of the scenic north”.
Founded in 1903, two years after its northern neighbour Dymond, New Liskeard quickly grew to be a northern hub during the forestry and mining booms in northern Ontario. But the heart and charm of New Liskeard lies in farming. Thanks to its agricultural base, it has remained a fairly vibrant town despite the ups and downs of industry in northern Ontario. Today New Liskeard is one of the few towns in northern Ontario (and for that matter southern Ontario as well) that has maintained its downtown with both chains and independent stores. Heck, there are two shoe stores downtown. I don’t even know where to buy shoes in Timmins and it has ten times the population! There’s a museum, an art gallery, a Carnegie library, as well as a big waterfront park (with a marina and a mile of beach and boardwalk on Lake Temiskaming) – the downtown is definitely worth a visit. With 5500 people (aprroximately 30 percent francophone), New Liskeard is the largest of the Tri Towns (Cobalt and Haileybury being the other two.)
New Liskeard hosts a number of different events throughout the year. Winter sees Ontario’s largest snowmobile rally, while the annual Fall Fair showcases local agriculture and is generally regarded as the biggest fall fair in northeastern Ontario, with the best in produce, livestock, and of course midway rides drawing people from as far as Cochrane and Timmins. Every Canada Day Holiday Summerfest draws people from across Temiskaming. There is the annual Bikers reunion which draws people from across Ontario to raise money for cancer research. And, of course, this is all in addition to the usual camping, boating, hiking, golfing, mini putt, etc., etc.
Don’t get me wrong, if you go to New Liskeard for a holiday you won’t be inundated with city activities. You won’t be roboting in any clubs or partying the night away at waterfront festivals. But this level of activities and amenities is significant for any northern Ontario town. And when added to just how cute New Liskeard is, makes the town impressive. There is something friendly, something alive, something cute, something quaint. All the best of southern Ontario and northern Ontario together. It has a great vibe.
New Liskeard has a fair amount of amenities for travellers, including banks and a caisse. For evening festivities, the King George has karaoke (Wednesdays) and live music (weekends) and Sam’s Place features country-ish music and karaoke on Wednesday nights. There are four restaurants in New Liskeard: Country Kitchen, Rooster’s, and two northern Ontario Chinese food places. Some chip stands open in the summer too.
Accommodation ranges from the Wheel Inn Motel, to BnBs, and from beach camping to the expensive Waterfront Inn (and everything in between.) There is a small bunch of motels, fast food, and big box stores in Dymond, a few minutes north where Highway 11 and 11b meet.
I loved New Liskeard and after my first trip I was always kind of sad that I didn’t stop for more than coffee, a stretch, and some midol (the latter being not for me.) Thankfully, I had a the chance to make a trip up since then, and it’s confirmed my little crush on New Liskeard. It may someday be a goal of mine to move there. Well, then again, it’s a goal of mine to move up north regardless of where. But New Liskeard It’s a quaint and interesting place with a small but vibrant little downtown.
Thanks to Johnny O for the info on the Tri Towns. If you’d like to see a bit of New Liskeard on film, check out the 2005 National Film Board documentary Harvest Queens, about the New Liskeard Fall Fair’s annual Harvest Queen contest, where local teenage girls compete to be crowned Harvest Queen.
speaking of the wheel inn , my dad worked there when he was a young boy. setting pins . it was a bowling alley at one time i guess . .it is great to read . the stories of new liskeard. will allways be home
Worked for telephone company left in 76 to work with Edmonton telephone used to referee the midget hockey as well as the old outlaw league
awwsome site i was born and raised in Hilliardton ontario it is a little township on hwy 569 if hwy 11 is blocked at Earlton hwy 569 is one of the detours that will get you from new liskeard to englehart
Passing through New Liskeard in 1960 I met a very kind pharmacist who, I think worked at the Star Pharmacy is New Liskeard. Does anyone remember a drug store of that name? The pharmacist’s first name might have been Frank.
Probably Frank Findlay who had Findlay’s drug store.
Love this blog! so happy i found it..my husband and I and our 16 year old son have been living semi off grid in a farming community in wales UK myself and my son are from Southern Ontario and my husband is British. We are moving back to Canada and want a family small town but a place where we can work but want to the experience of the great outdoors too. Do you think this would be great fit for us??? we also are very interested in the First Nations Culture as well which we understand is in Temagami just north of you …ANY tips and guidelines will help..we will be there in 5 months and need to find a rental home for us thank you very much
Temagami is slightly south of New Liskeard, 30 miles as I recall.
I lived in the area from 1960 to 1978. It’s remained fairly stable over the years because even though some industries come and go, the agriculture has remained constant. There’s been an influx of Amish and Mennonite to the surrounding area who are industrious, pleasant, quiet. Temiskaming Shores has everything a family would need. It’s a little difficult to get to larger centres now that there’s no passenger rail service.
My Grandparents owned the Wheel Inn, it was in the family for years I was told my Grandfather built it.
I did not expect to see anything about the Wheel-Inn, I was on hear looking for family info.
Just visited yesterday. Lovely place. The waterfront and boardwalk are awesome!
Born in 1970 in New Liskeard….lived atop Farrah Avenue before all the trees were cut down. Visited my old home about 8 years ago…nothing has changed…bear paw marks still on the birch trees. 🙂
I spent 47 great years living on lake nearby. If you are looking for lovely teas, great local honey, snacks or bulk foods, check out The Pantry Bulk Food Store, where Penny will be happy to help you.
New Liskeard is my hometown… lived there till I was 18 and had to move away for University. Beautiful little town with a great hospitality. Life is filled with simple pleasures and plenty to do for the outdoors person, any season of the year. I still go up and visit family once or twice a year, and rekindle fond memories of years ago.
Next time you’re in New Liskeard, check out the best little yarn shop in the North, The Match Factory. We also have a huge collection of wedding dresses on consignment.
I grew up in Elk Lake but was bussed into New Liskeard for high school. I had a lot of good friends from the area and a lot of fond memories. I attended university in Sudbury but remember working part of one summer at Eplett’s ice cream factory in NL. What an eye opener that was!
I was born and raised near New Liskeard, went to high school there, lived there for few years after high school! It is a great place, the people are very friendly and they have done an awesome job of keeping their downtown core thriving! The Bikers reunion is a must to attend and make sure you take in the Freedom Ride, bikes for miles and miles…all for cancer research! They come from across Canada to be there and it gets bigger each year! Great article!
I was born in New Liskeard back in 1953. 3 years later my family moved to southern Ontario. We used to go back at least once a year , maybe twice if it was our year to go north for Christmas. My grandparents lived there for their whole married life. My mother and her sister and brother were born there as well. I still have a few first cousins, and plenty of others still living up in the great northern cities. I have not been back for years, but hope to get there this summer for a long overdue visit.
i grew up in New liskeard and love it there but just to clear things up about the tritowns the three towns are new liskeard, haileybury and dymond…. Cobalt stayed separate because they could get more $ from the government than if they were part of the tritowns
Cobalt was/is part of the Tri-Towns. Dymond Twp. is part of Temiskaming Shores with NL and Haileybury. Cobalt abstained from joining Temiskaming Shores.
i love New Liskeard, I was born in englehart Ontario, moved to new Liskeard with my parents when I was one and haven’t been back in almost four years, but hoping to go there this summer to see my family who lives there and loves it there, want to move back but my husband is from here and he wants to stay here with his family, so just a visit is better then nothing I miss home.
I was born in NewLiskeard ,and go back there each and every year. Loved the area and people plus there is something about being there that seems to rejuvenate the soul. Had a lot of fun and many good laughs with my friends. Am very nostalgic for the place even after living away from the for numerous years.
I was raised in New Liskeard and it’s hard to explain the feeling of growing up there. I’ve taken many ” southern Ontario” friends up for the Bikers reunion and they all fell in love with the people and the area.
People are happy there for some reason..Maybe it’s the fresh air, the mile long beach, the best Chinese food in the world at Koe’s gardens or the beautiful landscape.. All I know is i wouldn’t trade growing up there for anything..
i lived up there for most of my life and i go up there every month to visit my loving grandperants. it is an awesome place to live and i also wouldent trade it for the world
Always loved the area, grew up on a farm in the West Nipissing Area in wich I love but since I been working out here in Fort McMurray Alberta I been researching and reading more in depth of the Temisksming area. Thinking of farming up in the area cause it’s so cheap, plus it’s so gorgeous.
Our mother, Marjorie, was born in New Liskeard in 1910. Her father, Alex Montgomery, and his wife came to NL years earlier. Alex was a sreetcar railwayman from Toronto and was motorman of the trolley that linked three towns with NL. We always heard about the fires.
There is a street named after Alex Montgomery in NL.
Our group, incl. my sister and I will make the trip north soon. We’ll bring photos and try to learn more and also locate beach gardens.
I have three pictures of Marjorie Montgomery who was a friend of my mother, Bessie, nee Jarvis, born in 1913, in the New Liskeard area. I have been trying to track down information about Marjorie. Would love to hear from her son, John, from Liverpool, UK.
I was born in NL in Dec 1939, lived with my grandfather James Paddon during WWII and spent suumers with him until 1949. we moved to KL in 1945 but I’ve lways loved NL. Last visit was in 2007. I remember a lot of names from those early days.
Love New Liskeard, always stop in to shop and visit your beautiful town on route to K.L for holidays.
I found residents so kind and helpful an indication of the spirit of the town.
I just learned about New Liskerd a few days ago via a buisnese card I took from David of Koe’s Garden Restaurant.Lovely comments on your blogs and grate previews.Will deffinetly visit and drop in to see you at the book store.
I love Liskeard! It has been my touchstone since I was two when my parents moved back with me. But our lives made gypsies of us and I have not been home in 11 years. Finally I have the great joy of coming home for the summer and introducing my children to the place I left my heart.
I am was born in Haileybury and raised in New Liskeard… I have not been home for 15 years, but your blogs makes my urge to go home stronger.
Hi Jane! How is your sister Linda? We were friends in high school.
My girlfriend was born in Belle Vallee, but moved to New Liskeard when she was young. I’ve been to New Liskeard many times, and I absolutely love the area. It’s what real Ontario living is.
Small world. Don’t see many mentions of Belle Vallee on FB. Grew up on a farm 20min from Belle Vallee. Found memories!
During University I would always meet people from NL and it would make my friends laugh. From this post I see people all over Canada who were in NL a while ago. Cool!
Belle Vallee had a nasty womens broomball team according to my sister-in-law.
I played first in New Liskeard, then Englehart but the only broomball in Belle Vallee that I remember goes back to playing on an outdoor town rink, league play, about 1970 when they were using the original cut-off brooms dipped in liquid rubber, and basketballs for the game ball. Does your sister-in-law go back that far? My mom played for Hilliardton.
you know gwen those were the only brooms i really liked lol not the triangular shaped ones but the squarer ones that were cut off and dipped in rubber the guys used to call me it the steam shovel lol p.s. thanks for putting me in touch with this site sis
I was brought up in Noranda, Quebec and we used to go down south for holidays in Ontario. On the way back I am pretty sure we stopped at New Liskeard for breaks and I seem to remember a place that had a set of dancing puppets on a shelf on the wall. Was it the Wheel Inn. Although I live in a beautiful English city now, I miss the North Country.
It was the Wheel Inn. I grew up down the street from it.
Hi! Wondering if you are the same Rick Fowler I knew when we lived up there, a hundred years ago!! You had a friend named Peter , maybe Huff, or Hoff? I think maybe late sixties?
Probably not, but doesn’t hurt to check!
New Liskeard Rocks!!!!!!!!!! My Mom is from Liskeard, and I’ve been going up since I was a baby, as family still lives there. I have brought my son up since he was a baby and now he loves Liskeard and wants to move there.
Great blog!! Next time you are driving through New Liskeard stop by Chat Noir Books for a coffee and introduce yourself 🙂
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