Kirkland Lake

Kirkland Lake
Kirkland Lake
—  Town  —
Aerial view of Kirkland Lake
Nickname(s): The Mile of Gold, Hub of the North, The Right Environment, Hockeytown
Kirkland Lake is located in Ontario
Kirkland Lake
Coordinates: 48°09′00″N 80°02′00″W / 48.15°N 80.0333333°W / 48.15; -80.0333333
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Timiskaming
Established 1919 (Township of Teck)
Incorporated 1972 (Town)
 - Mayor Bill Enouy
 - Town Council
 - MPs Charlie Angus (NDP)
 - MPPs David Ramsay (OLIB)
 - Total 285 km2 (110 sq mi)
Elevation 243 m (797 ft)
Population (2006)Statistics Canada[1]
 - Total 8,248
 - Density 31.45/km2 (81.5/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal Code FSA P2N
Area code(s) 705

Kirkland Lake is a town and municipality located in Timiskaming District in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. The 2006 population, according to Statistics Canada, was 8,248.

The community name was based on a nearby lake which in turn was named after Winnifred Kirkland, a secretary of the Ontario Department of Mines in Toronto. The lake was named by surveyor Louis Rorke in 1907. Miss Kirkland never visited the town and the lake that bore her name no longer exists because of mine tailings. The community comprises Kirkland Lake, as well as Swastika, Chaput Hughes and Harvey Kirkland.

Kirkland Lake was built on gold, but it is equally as well known for producing world-famous hockey players. Indeed, legendary hockey broadcaster Foster Hewitt called Kirkland Lake "the town that made the NHL famous", likely because in the early days of the NHL, it was not uncommon to find an NHLer from the town. The town celebrates this tradition at the Hockey Heritage North museum. Until January 1, 1972, the town was known as Township of Teck. A by-law was introduced, on July 20, 1971 to change the name of the municipality to Town of Kirkland Lake, effective January 1, 1972.[2]



The Council for the Township of Teck was sworn in, in 1919. Their first task was the establishment of public utilities, including roads and water pipes, in the rapidly growing area.[3] Kirkland Lake had numerous mines, in the early years, including Teck-Hughes Mine (1917-1968), Lake Shore Mine (1918-1968), Kirkland Minerals (1919-1960), Wright-Hargreaves Mine (1921-1965), Sylvanite Mine (1927-1961), Toburn Mine (1913-1953), Adams Mine (1965-1990) and Macassa Mine (1933-1999). The Second World War dealt a blow to the local mining industry, as materials became very expensive, the price of gold was pegged and unemployment, as men went off to war, jumped. Kirkland Lake's first fire hall was established in 1935 and the second fire hall in 1955.[4] After World War II, local soldiers returned to the newly created Federal area, in the northern section of the town. A move duplicated by numerous communities welcoming back victorious soldiers.[5] A member of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Kirkland Lake Cemetery contains the graves of 12 soldiers and 3 pilots of the Canadian military who died during World War II.[6]The Kirkland Lake Community Complex, now the Joe Mavrinac Commuity Complex, opened in 1979. Between October and December 1988, Kirkland Lake was the filming location for the drama film Termini Station.[7]

Geography and ecology

Kirkland Lake is located at 48°09′00″N 80°02′00″W / 48.15°N 80.0333333°W / 48.15; -80.0333333Coordinates: 48°09′00″N 80°02′00″W / 48.15°N 80.0333333°W / 48.15; -80.0333333 at an altitude of 243 metres (797 ft) above sea level and has an area of 285 km2 (110.04 sq mi) including the townships of Teck, Bernhardt and Morrisette.[8]

Kirkland Lake is nestled in the resource rich Precambrian Shield, the oldest geological formation on the planet. Nearby is the Arctic Watershed. Waters flowing south of this height of land (318 meters above sea level) flow into the Saint Lawrence River and on to the Atlantic Ocean. North of this point, all waters flow into Hudson Bay and on to the Arctic Ocean.

Noticeable local landmarks include Mount Cheminis, rising 500 meters above sea level, and many small kettle lakes, scraped out of the rock during the last Ice Age and filled with clear water.

Black spruce, Jack pine, trembling aspen, white birch, white spruce, balsam poplar, and balsam fir are the dominant trees in the area. A prominent forest form in this part of the Black Spruce distribution is The Black Spruce/Feathermoss climax forest, which characteristically exhibits moderately dense canopy and features a forest floor of feathermosses.[9] Moose, beaver, muskrat, snowshoe hare, as well as numerous predators roam this area, including marten, ermine, fisher, otter, black bear, wolf, and lynx. The many wetlands and lakes support a diversity of bird species, such as Great Blue Herons, ducks, geese, and that symbol of the north, the common loon. Ground and tree dwelling birds are also plentiful, including grouse, partridge, robins, blue jays, and gray jays as well as birds of prey such as hawks.


Kirkland Lake enjoys four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn offer a mix of warm sunny days and crisp, cool nights. Summers are comfortably warm, with dry air and temperatures reaching into the mid 20 degree Celsius range (mid 70s' Fahrenheit). Winter temperatures may seem brisk, but high winds and high humidity are rare, allowing residents to take full advantage of outside recreational activities.


Census Population
1938 26,000
1939 25,000
1941 21,500
1943 15,888
1945 20,000
1971 13,599
1981 12,219
1991 10,440
1996 9,905
2001 8,616
2006 8,248

Kirkland Lake is the ninth largest community in Northern Ontario. Over the past twenty years, the population has declined by more than 30%, from 12,000 in 1986. This decline, reflecting the closing of the mines that were historically the largest employers in the town, has slowed in recent times. However, between the 2001 census and 2006 census, the population declined by 4.5%, the 24th highest decline in Canada.

While this is accurate, more current information indicates that the population has actually increased for the first time in decades. Using Statistics Canada Taxfiler data, the local population in 2004 was estimated at 7,580, a decline from the 2001 population of 8,616. The 2006 Census population actually shows an increase of 8.7% from 2004.

The increase in population has had a number of consequences. Housing sales have increased by over 25% since 2003. Unemployment has dropped to less than 6%. Wages have increased, with many of the new jobs being fairly well paid ones. For example, a labourer in a sawmill operation earns an average salary of $21.00 per hour, while a miner averages $24.00 per hour. Given the tight labour market, especially in the mining sector, actual wages may be significantly higher, especially once premiums and bonuses are added to the total amounts earned. Lastly, consumer confidence has increased. There has been a steady increase in the number of building permits issued over the last two years, and businesses dealing with consumer leisure or recreational items have reported increased sales.

In 1939, the population of Kirkland Lake, then called Township of Teck, was 25,000.[10]


The Miners' Memorial in Kirkland Lake.

The town went through a period of economic decline towards the end of the last century, with the closing of the original mines. That ended in 2001, when Foxpoint Resources (now Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. or KLG) bought five of the mining claims in the town and began intensive exploration work. KLG successfully resuscitated the local mining scene, finding new zones of mineralization that, combined with the steadily increasing price of gold, turned the town around.[citation needed] Today, Kirkland Lake is probably one of the most successful communities of its size in Northern Ontario. Some of the more recent developments include:

  • Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. continues to expand its operations. Since December 2002, the company’s confirmed gold reserves have increased by 160% to 2,022,000 tons with an average grade of 0.46 ounces per ton containing a total of 927,000 ounces of gold. In 2003, the Company started a $21 million, 3 year exploration program targeted at adding an additional 15,000,000 tons of ore to reserves and resources. Currently, over 500 personnel are directly or indirectly employed at the mine site. Based on today’s resources, the mine has a 12-15 year life span. A recently[when?] announced $16 million expansion in its exploration activities is already paying dividends. The mine recently[when?] announced the discovery of the richest ore veins ever found in the history of the Kirkland Lake camp, a move which will significantly increase the mine’s life span.
  • While the forestry industry has been hard hit across Canada, the impact on Kirkland Lake has been mitigated by the conversion of the existing Tembec Forest Products Group's Kenogami sawmill into a value-added centre for the manufacturing of finger-jointed lumber. The new centre, located on the outskirts of KL, opened in July 2006. It will employ between 70 and 92 workers. Under an innovative Public-Private partnership, the municipality is working with Rosko Forestry Operations to establish a specialty sawmill in the Archer Drive Industrial Park that will sell into the Canadian market.
  • The local tourism industry has provided a much needed depth to the local economy. Star attractions include the Museum of Northern History at the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau, the Miners Memorial,[11] and Hockey Heritage North[12] (an 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) interactive facility telling the story of hockey in the north). Upcoming attractions include a refurbishment of the historical Toburn Headframe. Event based tourism is also strong. Some of the most popular draws include a drag racing event in the summer and a national snow cross racing event in the winter.

These good news stories are supplemented by a number of developments occurring regionally that will have a positive impact because KL is the economic hub of the north Timiskaming District, and so the primary supplier of products, people and services to regional activities. For example:

  • The steady increase in the price of gold has brought a number of other mining projects to the feasibility stage. Queenston Mining Inc. announced promising results at its Upper Beaver Properties. Northgate Minerals has poured over $20 million into exploration work and is moving ahead with mining operations at its Young-Davidson properties near Matachewan. According to the company, this site has the potential to produce 150,000 ounces of gold per year for a decade. In addition, more finds are coming online because of the Discover Abitibi mineral exploration program.
  • St. Andrew Goldfields will commence production at the Holloway-Holt Gold Mine Complex near Matheson in the second quarter of 2007. The mine has a forecast production rate of 75,000-100,000 ounces of gold per annum for the next seven years, and will employ over 100 people.
  • Tres-Or Resources Ltd. continues to return high quality results from its diamond exploration efforts southwest of Kirkland Lake. The richness of the finds, the large size of the host kimberlite pipes, plus expected low mine construction and operating costs in the area indicate a very positive future in this wholly new area of economic activity. Exploration continues. If more kimberlite structures are found, and the price of diamonds increases as expected, a mine could be in the making within 10 years.

Through the 1990s, one of the town's dominant political and economic controversies surrounded a proposal to ship Toronto's garbage to the Adams Mine, an abandoned open pit mine in Boston Township just outside of Kirkland Lake.

Kirkland Lake is also self-sufficient when it comes to power production with a generator that produces up to 117MW.

Kirkland Lake also has a shopping mall with stores including Ardene, Box Office Entertainment and The Source by Circuit City, Carlton Cards, Dollarama, easyhome, Hart Stores, North Shore Outfitters, ReMax and Warehouse One.[13]


Kirkland Lake has two secondary schools, each catering to a different language group: the École Catholique Jean Vanier, a French Catholic school; and the Kirkland Lake District Composite School, an English secondary school also featuring French immersion instruction (opened in 2006; from 1923 - 2006 students attended Kirkland Lake Collegiate and Vocational Institute, also known as KLCVI).

Elementary schools in Kirkland Lake include Central Public School (French immersion, public), Federal Public School (English, public), Sacred Heart School[disambiguation needed ] (French immersion and English, Catholic), St. Jerome School (French immersion and English, Catholic), and Ecole Assomption (French, Catholic).

The community is also home to a campus of the Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology.

Northern College offers one-, two- and three-year programs in the fields of technology, business, human services, health and emergency services and veterinary sciences. Northern also offers post-diploma, apprenticeship, skills and job re-entry programs funded by the federal and provincial governments. The College also provides job related training. This includes providing the facilities for the delivery of third party programs, or the development of courses to meet the needs of a company.

Kirkland Lake also includes the Teck Centennial Public Library.


The Kirkland and District Hospital serves the area.


Kirkland Lake is served by Ontario Northland bus and railway services (with the train station located in Swastika)[14] and the Kirkland Lake Airport[15] as well as local transportation for people with disabilities[16] and local taxi services as well as connections to the Timmins/Victor M. Power Airport and Rouyn-Noranda Airports.[17] Transportation is also provided to senior citizens and persons with disabilities, through Timiskaming Home Support, which is funded by the North East Local Health Integration Network.[18]

Tourism and festivals

The Kirkland Lake area continues to support a strong tourist industry throughout the year. The summers are met with a number of anglers, hunters, and campers looking for adventure. Winters are especially popular as a result of the well maintained snow mobile trails in the area. There are also a number of tourist destinations in the area, including the recently developed Hockey Heritage North. It also has a strong community built on music. Local attractions include:

  • Hockey Heritage North
  • Kirkland Lake Miners' Memorial
  • Toburn Mine - This mine was the first producing mine in Kirkland Lake and the old headframe is a recognized cultural asset.[19]
  • Wright-Hargraves Park - Site of the former Wright-Hargraves mine that used to be one of the most productive and deepest gold mines in the world.[19]

Homecoming Week

The Kirkland Lake Festivals Committee hosts an annual Homecoming Week during Canada Day week. The 2012 Homecoming Week will feature events from June 25-July 2 including live concerts, Canada Day celebrations, fireworks, golf tournaments, kids events, outdoor movies and more. The Kirkland Lake Chamber of Commerce will host Gold Daze celebrations as part of the 2012 Homecoming Week. In addition, Party of the Century celebrations at Culver Park in Swastika have also been moved to coincide with 2012 Homecoming Week.

The 2011 Kirkland Lake Homecoming Week featuring live concerts by Down With Webster with special guests Stereos and The Sam Roberts Band with special guests Bedouin Soundclash, comedian Tracy Smith live at the Northern College Auditorium, a free outdoor Canada Day concert featuring live tributes to Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi and Guns N Roses. Past KL Homecoming performers have included Terri Clark, Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, the late Jeff Healey, David Wilcox, Trooper, Jimmy Rankin, Serena Ryder and more.

Winter Carnival

The Kirkland Lake Festivals Committee hosts an annual Winter Carnival beginning in mid-February. With 18 days of events each year, Kirkland Lake's Winter Carnival is one of Canada's longest Winter Carnivals.

The 2012 Kirkland Lake Winter Carnival is scheduled for February 16-March 4. Former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page kicks off 18 days of events with a live concert in the Northern College Auditorium on Thursday, February 16. Bobby Bazini performs live on Thursday, February 23rd and Kim Mitchell will headline the Winterfest Pub on Saturday, February 25 following the $50,000 Winter Carnival Fish Derby.

Other events will include the Rino Robazza Memorial Oldtimers Hockey Tournament (Feb 17-19), the Stars of Pop Concert (Feb 18), the CJKL Carnival Queen Fashion Show & Crowning (Feb 21), Kabaret (Feb 29-March 3), the Kirkland Lake Skating Club's Ice Show (March 2), skating parties, fireworks, free kids matinees at Hockey Heritage North and the first-ever NorthernTel Kids Carnival on the Family Day Holiday, Monday, February 20.


Kirkland Lake was once a town of many movie theatres, including the only current LaSalle Theatre. Defunct theatres were the Strand Theatre, Uptown Theatre and the drive-in Mel-Ron Drive In.[20]


The city's primary newspaper is Northern News. Formerly a daily paper, Northern News now publishes three times per week.



The town is served by rebroadcasters of CITO-TV (CTV) and CBLT (CBC) which are officially licensed to the outlying community of Kearns.

Notable people


  1. ^ Statistics Canada 2006 census data retrieved 28 October 2007
  2. ^ "Bylaws". Kirkland Lake Town Council. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  3. ^ "Kirkland Lake A historical prespective". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Kirkland Lake, Ontario". Firefighting Wiki. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  5. ^ "Life in Kirkland Lake during World War II". Michael Barnes. 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  6. ^ "Cemetery Details". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  7. ^ "Termini Station". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Black Spruce: Picea mariana,, ed. Nicklas Stromberg, November, 2008
  10. ^ "Kirkland Courageous: Kirkland Lake Theatre". Olive MacKay Petersen. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  11. ^ "History of Kirkland Lake". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  12. ^ "Hockey Heritage North". Hockey Heritage North. Retrieved 2008-12-25. [dead link]
  13. ^ "KL Mall directory". Kirkland Lake Mall. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  14. ^ "Getting Around". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  15. ^ "Local Government". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  16. ^ "Community Services". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  17. ^ "Community Profile". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  18. ^ "Accessible Transportation". Timiskaming Home Support. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  19. ^ a b Economic Development Division, Town of Kirkland Lake, Kirkland Lake Visitor's Guide, 2009
  20. ^ "Eastern and Northern Ontario movie theatres". rivest266. 2010-12-01. 

External links

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