The Garden Town of the North
Iroquois Falls is a small vibrant town in Northern Ontario, Canada with a population of 4,537 in the Canada 2016 Census. It lies along the Abitibi River, just west of Lake Abitibi, 190 miles (300 km) north-northwest of North Bay.
The town was named for the falls on the river, where, according to Indian legend, Iroquois braves, asleep in their war canoes, were cut loose by captive Huron women and swept to their deaths.
It originated as a company town in 1912–1913 when the provincial government granted the townsite to the Abitibi Power and Paper Company.
Iroquois Falls has planned parks, schools, and a hospital. The nearby falls provide hydroelectric power for the company’s huge pulp, paper, newsprint, and sulfite mills.
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.
Tracing its roots to 1912, the community of Iroquois Falls has been cited as Northern Ontario’s Original Model Town. When Frank Anson and Shirley Olgivie were granted a pulpwood concession in the Abitibi watershed, Iroquois Falls was planned as a Garden City from the onset. Abitibi conceived the idea of building a Garden City for its employees, complete with all modern conveniences with spacious parks, recreation grounds and boulevards.
The building stage and the clearing of the land for the new town of Iroquois Falls lasted from 1914 to 1919. The first phase opened with the incorporation of the town in June 1915 by the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board, and closed with the initiation of a beautification program by Mr. Anson himself in 1919. In the interim more than 200 dwellings were built, followed by a town hall, hotel, sports complex, a school, as well as a variety of commercial establishments.
Iroquois Falls was previously home to the top-producing paper mill of pulp, which was previously the town’s primary industry. The Monteith Correctional Complex, a provincial prison serving a regional catchment area, is also located within minutes.
Iroquois Falls is also known as The Garden Town of the North. Their vibrant flower beds are spread over town for all to enjoy. They have so much to offer, from golfing, swimming, camping, tennis, hockey, bowling, curling, skating, etc.
There are five beautiful parks, and several playing fields including a Tennis Court, Beach Volleyball Court, and Baseball Diamond.
Our Sports Complex and Arena was the largest volunteer project to happen in Iroquois Falls and is home to several organizations, teams, spectators and individuals who thrive on a healthy lifestyle.
If you enjoy fishing, there are many lakes to choose from, as well as the Annual Ice Fishing Derby in March that forms part of the Winter Carnival and the Annual Search for Moby Pike in the spring. Northern Ontario is known as a snowmobiler’s paradise, and the trails connect you with the surrounding areas and incredible scenery.
The local Pioneer Museum has a wide variety of local history, and they will take you back in time. The Iroquois Falls & District Chamber of Commerce hosts Garden Town Celebrations in August and weekly BBQ lunches over the summer.
Iroquois Falls not only has an excellent quality of life but is affordable as well. It is only 45 minutes away from Timmins, and the cost of living is low compared to the neighbouring communities. More and more people are settling into the small community and commuting to work in other communities. The low cost of living allows young people to afford luxuries such as ATVs, boats, and larger homes.
It is close to nature without sacrificing any necessary services such as health care and the summer festivals are top-notch. The Porquis Blues and Rock Festival and Iroquois Falls Heritage Music Festival bring people from all over to listen to great music.
Iroquois Falls has a diverse range of recreational activities and attractions available, sure to please everyone.
Photo credits: Town of Iroquois Falls, Instagram @peterclingen @pasiak11 @lochheadandrew