In Temiscamingue Quebec:
Visitors who take the tour of Lake Temiskaming can discover the rich indigenous culture by participating in a traditional Pow Wow or by visiting one of their galleries. The Timiskaming First Nation, near Notre-Dame-du-Nord, holds its annual Pow Wow in early June, while the Nipissing First Nation’s Pow Wow is held on Labour Day.
Fort Témiscamingue was a strategic location during the fur trade era, as it was the halfway point between Montreal and James Bay. Located a few kilometres off Highway 101, south of Ville-Marie, the fort was an important trading post for more than 200 years. Today, the site has a wide range of historic exhibits and attractions, including the Enchanted Forest, pebble beaches, Amerindian cemetery, partial reconstructions of historic buildings, and a cultural and natural heritage visitor centre. From the point of Fort Témiscamingue, one can see the Old Mission, a Catholic Mission operated by a group of Oblate priests in the 1800s, located on the Ontario side of the lake.
Today, the fur trade is still present in the region. The largest fur trading centre in the world is located in North Bay. This is where trappers, fur brokers, wholesalers and manufacturers from around the world come together to sell their harvest and/or to buy high quality fur for the fashion industry. A visit to the centre is available with a reservation.
In 1902, Northern Ontario became accessible by rail when the Ontario government built the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. The history of this section of the railway is available in the old North Bay station, which is now a museum.
Heritage Railway Company in North Bay is a miniature reproduction of the first train that arrived in North Bay. It is located in Memorial Park on Lake Nipissing. One can enjoy the atmosphere of the first steam trains by hopping aboard.
Around Lake Temiskaming, you will encounter many historical railway stations such as the ones in Temagami, Cobalt and Englehart, which have beautiful architectural details and are attractions for tourists as well as local residents. In 2016, it will be possible to visit the newly renovated Cobalt Station, consult the interpretation centre, have a treat at the café, and browse at the gift shop.
The 1903 silver rush in Cobalt and the arrival of the railroad greatly stimulated the development of the rest of Northern Ontario. In recent years, some well-deserved honours were awarded to the city: in 2001, Cobalt was declared the most historic town in Ontario by the TVOntario television channel; in 2002, it was named a National Historic Landmark; and in 2003, a dollar coin was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of silver in Cobalt.
The Cobalt Mining Museum has the largest collection of silver ore in the world. Underground mine tour, which are organized by the museum, are well worth the time. This tour allows visitors to see and understand the precarious conditions in which the miners were working at the time of the silver rush. Another interesting attraction is the Silver Heritage Trail, a self-guided tour that is best taken by car or bicycle. Following small secondary roads, it leads visitors to old mining camps. There are 20 sites along the route, each with signage explaining the history and mining practices of this prosperous location.
Another attraction worth mentioning is the walking tour, which allows visitors to explore Cobalt’s rich history. Developed by the Centre culturel ARTEM, the circuit is accessible via a downloaded application called TIC (Temiskaming Interactive Ciruits). The application can be downloaded from a smartphone or tablet. The capsules are also available on the website.
The wealth and knowledge gained by the silver rush in Cobalt propelled the gold rush of Elk Lake, Matachewan and Kirkland Lake. The Sir Harry Oakes Chateau museum in Kirkland Lake recounts the fascinating history of the mines and of the prospectors, many of whom came with few pennies in their pockets and walked away millionaires.
For those who wish to relive that time, the Presidents’ Suites in Haileybury offer evenings and historical treasure hunts during which, through role play, the characters of the Cobalt silver rush come alive.
In Eastern Temiscamingue, Quebec, another heritage tour, available with the BaladoDiscovery app for smart phones, will transport you to Belleterre. Explore the history of this city that was born from the discovery of a gold deposit.
Do not miss the chance to explore the charming town of Ville Marie; city tours are offered on bicycle taxis.
The Guérin Museum (evidently located in Guérin) takes you into a rural parish from the 1940s and 1950s. The site, which is made up of the farmer’s house, the former presbytery, the barn and the church, gives you a better understanding of the lifestyle at the time.
The Interactive tours of Eastern Témiscamingue also offer a heritage tour in Fugèreville and Laforce, which tells the story of agricultural colonization.
"100 years of agriculture in Temiskaming", an interactive tour developed by the Centre culturel ARTEM, also recounts the story of these men, women and families who, through their shared agricultural history, have always been at the heart of development in the region. Today, agriculture is still vital to the economy of the Temiskaming region.
In Angliers, the “Chantier Gédéon” unveils the life of lumberjacks to visitors. It is a reconstruction of a lumberjack camp from the ‘30’s and ‘40’s with a dormitory, a kitchen, a foreman’s camp, a stable and a "jobber’s camp."
Marten River Provincial Camp in Ontario also has a re-creation of a 19th-century logging camp. Here, you can discover the museum, camp buildings, and logging equipment of that time period.
A short drive north takes you to the Town of Latchford, on the shores of the Montreal River, which played a significant role in the logging and forestry industry of Ontario. You will find the Ontario Loggers Hall of Fame, which highlights the leaders of this industry. On the site, you will also find historical buildings representing the industry during the 1940s.