Historical Plaques of
Cochrane District

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The following 4 plaques were sent in by the McRae Family;
Tom, Cathy, Sarah, Daniel, Matthew, Alexander and Nick


Location: in the park opposite 237 Railway Street
(east of the Railway Station), Cochrane

For centuries the site of Cochrane was used by indigenous peoples as a summer camping ground. Later it became a stopping place for fur traders en route to Moose Factory. In 1907 the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (later Ontario Northland) chose 'Little Lakes Camping Ground' to be its junction point with the National Transcontinental (later Canadian National). The town site was named for the provincial minister of lands, forests and mines, Frank Cochrane, a strong supporter of northern railway construction. Lots were sold by auction in November 1908, and on January 1, 1910 Cochrane became an incorporated town. Despite devastating fres in 1910, 1911 and 1916, this rail town developed into a vital centre of trade and transportation in northern Ontario

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: in a parkette on the north side of Highway 11, at the point where the meridian crosses the highway, about 3 km west of Cochrane

The surveying of the line which intersects Highway No. 11 here (survey mile post 162) was the first step taken by the Ontario government in the exploration and development of this region. During the 1890's interest in Ontario's northern mineral, forest and land resources increased rapidly. Accordingly, Alexander Niven (1836-1911) ran an exploration line to James Bay by extending northward what was then the boundary between the Algoma and Nipissing Districts. In 1896 he surveyed the line to mile post 120 and two years later extended it to a point just north of the Moose River. All later surveys, including the Exploration Survey of 1900 which provided the first detailed report on this region, have been based on this meridian line.

Erected by the Archeological and Historical Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: on Highway 11, about 1 km southeast of Matheson

On July 29, 1916, fires which had been burning for some weeks around settlers' clearings along the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway were united by strong winds into one huge conflagration. Burning easterly along a 40-mile front, it largely or completely destroyed the settlements of Porquis Junction, Iroquois Falls, Kelso, Nushka, Matheson, and Ramore. It also partially razed the hamlets of Homer and Monteith, while a smaller fire caused widespread damage in and around Cochrane. The 500,000-acre holocaust took an estimated 223 lives, more than any other forest fire in Canadian history, and led to the development of improved techniques and legislation for the prevention and control of forest fires.

Archeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: on Revillon Road, between First and Cotter Streets, in Moosonee

In 1610 Henry Hudson, a renowned English navigator, commenced his second voyage in search of a northwest route to China. With great daring and resolution he navigated the treacherous waters of Hudson Strait and descended into Hudson Bay. Believed to be the first European to explore this vast inland sea, Hudson laid the basis for English claims to much of present day Canada. His accomplishments were marred, however, by discord on the voyage. Having prolonged his futile search for the Pacific Ocean, Hudson was forced to spend a bleak winter in James Bay. When discontent among the men erupted into mutiny on the homeward journey the following spring, he and eight others were cast adrift in a small open boat and left to an unknown fate.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Citizenship and Culture


Location: On the grounds of Northern College, H-Way 101, Porcupine (Timmins)

In the summer of 1911, when the Porcupine gold rush was at its height the weather was hot and dry. On July 11, galeforce winds from the southwest whipped individual bush fires into a 16 km sea of flames that swiftly engulfed the drought-parched forest. The fire-storm swept through mining camps, razed the towns of South Porcupine and Pottsville, and partially destroyed Golden City (Porcupine) and Porquis Junction. Many people fled into Porcupine Lake to escape the flames. The blaze laid waste to about 200,000 hectares of forest and killed at least seventy-one people. Communities throughout Ontario responded generously with aid, and in a remarkably short time the towns were rebuilt and the mines back in operation.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: H-Way 101 near First St., Porcupine (Timmins)

From the 1880s onwards, as railways opened up northern Ontario, prospecting activity in this region intensified. The Porcupine gold rush began in 1909 following three signicant discoveries. Thousands of prospectors and miners poured into Tisdale and neighbouring townships to stake claims. By 1912 several mines were in operation, including the celebrated "Big Three": Dome, Hollinger and McIntyre. That year, the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway opened a branch line from South Porcupine to Timmins which made it easier to bring in the heavy machinery needed to mine the hard rock of the Canadian Shield. For a number of years the Porcupine gold fields produced more gold than any other region in North America. The area continues to be an important source of valuable minerals.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: H-Way 11 just south of the northern junction with H-Way 67,
near Porquis Junction


1921 - 1945

Born in Latchford and raised near Porquis Junction, Cosens enlisted in the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment, Canadian Active Service Force, in 1940 and transferred to the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada in 1944. Early on February 26, 1945, his unit attacked German forces at Mooshof, Holland, a strategic position vital to the success of future operations. His platoon suffered heavy casualties and Cosens assumed command. Supported by a tank, he led another attack against three enemy strongpoints, which he captured single-handed. He later was killed by a sniper. For his "outstanding gallantry, initiative and determined leadership" he was posthumously awarded the Commonwealth's highest decoration for valour, the Victoria Cross.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: De Troyes Ave., formerly 4th Avenue, Ansonville,
within the Town of Iroquois Falls

In March 1686, the Governor of New France, intent on protecting his colony's fur trade interests, sent an expedition from Montreal under command of Pierre Chevalier de Troyes to attack the Hudson's Bay Company posts on James Bay. The party of about 100 men travelling in 35 canoes included French Canadian militia, colonial regular troops, French officers and native guides. Having ascended the French River and portaged via Lake Abitibi and Lake Timiskaming to the Abitibi River, the expedition passed by here early in June. Using scouts, shrewd planning and surprise tactics, the Chevalier de Troyes easily took possesion of Moose Factory on June 21, Rupert House on July 3, and Fort Albany on July 26. The three posts remained in French control until 1693.

Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Culture and Communications


Location: H-Way 11 at the point where the 49th crosses the thoroughfare,
6 kms south of Cochrane

At this point the 49th parallel of latitude north of the equator crosses the highway. This line forms the southern boundary of the western provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and most of British Columbia. In 1818 a treaty between Great Britain and the United States designated it as the international boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains. Further west in the Oregon Territory a bitter dispute arose which almost precipitated war between these two nations before they agreed in 1846 to extend the boundary to the shore of the Pacific along this parallel.

Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board

The next plaque was sent in by Derek Sowa


Location: H-Way 610 at Barber's Bay, near Connaught east of Timmins

A Hudson's Bay Company post named after a son of George III, Frederick House was established in 1785 to prevent Canadian fur traders in the Abitibi region from intercepting the passage of furs to Moose Fort (Moose Factory) on James Bay. Throughout its operation it encountered intense, occasionally violent competition, particularly from a rival concern on nearby Devil's Island. As a result it never flourished. After its manager, two labourers and a number of native people were murdered during the winter of 1812-13, Frederick House declined further and was no longer permanently staffed. The post was finally abandoned in 1821 when the merger of the Hudson's Bay and North West companies effectively ended the struggle for control of trade in the area.

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Ministry of Citizenship and Culture


Location: At the Hearst Tourist Centre on the south side of Highway 11

In 1930 a handful of Slovak immigrants settled eleven kilometres south of Hearst near present-day Highway 583. They helped each other build log houses, clear land and sell wood to pulp and paper mills. Soon other Slovaks were attracted to the community. By the middle of the depression, Bradlo boasted 150 people, a public school, Catholic church, store, post-office and meeting hall. After their pulpwood was harvested, residents realized that their land would not support commercial farming. By 1950, most had left for better opportunities elsewhere. Although few traces of Bradlo survive today, its brief history illustrates the hard work, resourcefulness and communal aid that have distinguished the immigrant experience in northern Ontario.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: In Mattagami Historical Park at Algonquin Boulevard and the Mattagami Bridge

The first French-language radio station in Ontario, CFCL-Timmins, began broadcasting in December 1951. The event was greeted with enthusiasm by Franco- Ontarians who until then had heard limited programming in French over the airwaves. The station reached listeners from Kirkland Lake to Hearst, showcasing local talent and creating a sense of community among the widely dispersed francophone population of northern Ontario. Daily features on French life in the region taught cultural pride, the love of one's maternal language, the importance of sending children to French schools, and of furthering their education. The creation of CFCL by the station's owner and founder, Conrad Lavigne, was a landmark in the cultural development of the northern Franco-Ontarian communities.

Ontario Heritage Trust, a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: At the southeast corner of Government Road and McPherson Street,
temporarily in the Ron Morel Memorial Museum



When the First World War began, Canada established internment camps to detain persons viewed as security risks. Prejudice and wartime paranoia led to the needless internment of several thousand recent immigrants. The majority were Ukrainians whose homeland was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. One of the largest camps was built across the river from here at a remote railway siding. Despite harsh conditions, some 1,300 internees constructed buildings and cleared hundreds of hectares of spruce forest for a government experimental farm. In 1917 most were paroled to help relieve wartime labour shortages. Thereafter the camp held prisoners of war and political radicals, including leaders of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: In front of the Hudson's Bay Staff House, Front Road, Moose Factory

The second oldest post of the Hudson's Bay Company was built at the mouth of the Moose River by Governor Charles Bayly in 1673. That early fortified establishment was captured in June 1686 by a French expedition from Montreal under the Chevalier de Troyes and renamed St. Louis. Though restored to Britain in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht, the post was not re-established until 1730-32. Largely destroyed by fire in December 1735, it was rebuilt over the following two years. Long the Company's principal establishment on James Bay, its isolation was ended in 1932 by the completion of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway to Moosonee.

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario


Location: Beside the Reesor Siding Monument, south of Highway 11 at Reesor Siding, 50 km west of Kapuskasing

This is the site of one of the bloodiest clashes in Canadian labour history. In January 1963, a contract dispute led to a strike by members of the Lumber and Sawmill Workers' Union who cut pulpwood for the paper mill in Kapuskasing. They tried to shut down the mill by blockading pulpwood shipments from independent contractors. Just after midnight on February 11, over 400 strikers arrived at Reesor Siding to dump logs stockpiled by a local woodcutters' cooperative. As they approached the woodpiles, 20 armed woodcutters began shooting. Three of the strikers were killed, another eight wounded. The tragedy prompted the provincial government to intervene and settle the strike by arbitration.

Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On the north-west corner of Cambridge Avenue and Synagogue Avenue
Town of Iroquois Falls

This region's first inhabitants were aboriginal peoples who were attracted by its abundant natural resources and extensive water routes. Europeans arrived in the late 1600s to acquire furs and establish trade with the First Nations. During the early 1900s, Montreal businessman Frank Anson recognized the region's potential for paper manufacturing and, in 1912, he and Shirley Ogilvie were granted a pulpwood concession of over one million acres. Anson oversaw the establishment of Abitibi Power & Paper Company, Limited - the largest newsprint mill in North America at the time. The extension of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway further supported the development and rapid growth of the area. Initially a company-owned and planned town, Iroquois Falls was incorporated in 1915. The Great Fire of 1916 destroyed a large portion of the town but the community was able to rebuild. In 1920, Anson initiated a beautification program that incorporated some elements of Garden City planning ideals, which remain evident today.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: On the grounds of a museum on Legion Drive just north of Bruce Avenue
in South Porcupine, City of Timmins

After the Cariboo and Klondike rushes, gold production in Canada entered a new era with the discovery of lode deposits in the Porcupine area in 1909. The mines in this district, notably the Hollinger which became one of the world's largest gold mines, along with those of the Kirkland Lake area, established Canada as a leading producer of this metal. Their success was followed by other important finds at Rouyn in Quebec, in northern Manitoba, in British Columbia and at Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: At Riverside Park, across from the Civic Centre, 88 Riverside Drive,
Town of Kapuskasingin

In 1921 the Kimberly-Clark and the Spruce Falls companies constructed a pulp mill in Kapuskasing that would employ many workers. To plan for Kapuskasing's anticipated growth, the provincial government commissioned the architectural landscape firm of Harries & Hall to create a town plan, which incorporated elements of the late 19th century Garden City and City Beautiful town planning movements. The first provincially-planned single resource town in Ontario, Kapuskasing's design focused on a healthy living environment, architectural harmony, unified design and visual variety. The plan separated residential and industrial areas, included land dedicated to green space, parks and public buildings and a variety of innovative street patterns which remain today.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: At the public boat access area beside the Cache Campground on Kenogamissi Lake,
off Highway 144, southwest of Timmins

Near this site in 1794, Hudson's Bay Company employees from Frederick House, 64 km to the northeast, established an outpost. Its objective was to counter the fur trading activities of the North West Company in the area, and it succeeded so well that in 1812 it became the chief post and Frederick House the subsidiary. Throughout its existence, it engaged in spirited competition with the Nor'Westers on Mattagami Lake and Kukatush Lake, some 51 km to the south and west, respectively. In 1822, following the union of the rival companies, Kenogamissi was closed and the business of the district conducted thereafter from the establishments of Mattagami and Flying Post (formerly Kukatush).

Archaeological and Historical Sites Board of Ontario


Location: In Moose Factory, Town of Moosonee

ca. 1751-1800
In 1788 the Hudson's Bay Company engaged Philip Turnor as a surveyor to determine the positions of its posts. Although best remembered for his charting of the route to Athabasca (1790-92), and as a teacher of the geographers David Thompson and Peter Fidler, Turnor in fact spent most of his North American career as a trader and explorer on the Moose and Albany river systems (1780-87), and produced the first accurate maps of much of this part of northern Ontario. In 1792 he returned to London, where he ended his days as a teacher of navigation.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Commission des lieux et monuments historiques du Canada


Location: At the Ron Morel Memorial Museum, 88 Riverside Drive, Kapuskasing

In 1911 the National Transcontinental Railway, then under construction, reached the present site of Kapuskasing. Three years later during the first World War the Canadian government established in the area a prisoner of war camp and an experimental farm to investigate the agricultural potential of the Clay Belt. The prisoners cleared land and worked on the farm. In 1917 the Ontario government launched near here an ambitious land settlement scheme for veterans. The detention camp and settlement project were discontinued in 1920. A pulp mill, built 1920-23, was the forerunner of larger mills producing newsprint, pulp and cellulose. Their proprietors spearheaded the development of Kapuskasing as one of Northern Ontario's earliest planned industrial communities.

Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board,
Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario


Location: On 9th Street near Kitchener Street, The Town of Hearst

French Canadians began to settle in Hearst in 1912 during the construction of the National Transcontinental Railway. Most came to farm but soon turned to the more lucrative forest industry. Sawmills established by French Canadians prospered as family enterprises for decades, before being amalgamated into large forest-product companies by the end of the 20th century. Over the years, the French-speaking community in Hearst - once a minority - grew to 89% of the population with Francophones taking on leading cultural, economic and political roles. Institutions such as the Catholic Church and the Université de Hearst, founded in 1953, have played important roles in Franco-Ontarian education and society.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario


Location: In a park on the southeast corner of Algonquin Blvd. E.
(Highway 101) and Brunette Road, Timmins

Ojibway and Cree communities were among the early inhabitants of the region. They were drawn to the area's abundant natural resources, and participated in vast trading networks with other First Nations. Europeans arrived in the late 1600s and in the centuries that followed, local French, English and First Nations communities were largely reliant on the fur trade. In the early 1900s, the Ontario government promoted further settlement in the region, and infrastructure - such as the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway - made the area more accessible. In 1909, a substantial gold discovery in the region initiated a gold rush and led to the creation of mines, including Hollinger, Dome and McIntyre. A fire destroyed the mining settlement Porcupine Camp in 1911 and soon after Timmins developed as a "company town" of Noah Timmins's Hollinger Mines. Settlers from diverse backgrounds - including French-Canadian, Finnish, Ukrainian, Italian and Chinese - were drawn to Timmins, making it a vibrant community and an important cultural and economic centre for the region.

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario