Elliot Lake is a city of about 10,700 people (2016) in northern Ontario. The former mining boomtown has attempted to market itself (and its stock of inexpensive vacant housing) to retirees and visitors with mixed results.
Elliot Lake was established in 1955 as a uranium mining community; it reached its economic peak in the 1980s before entering a long period of population decline due to resource depletion and weak export demand.
The city sits on the Canadian Shield, and is surrounded by dense forest, muskeg swamps, numerous lakes, winding rivers, and hills of Precambrian bedrock. The local forests are mixed deciduous and coniferous, with colourful displays in the autumn.
Local wildlife include moose, white-tailed deer, American black bear, beaver, loon, muskrat, otter, Canada goose, and lynx, to name but a few. Fish species include lake trout, speckled trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, pickerel (walleye), and sturgeon.
Prior to the settlement of the city, an Ojibwa village existed near the present hospital site on the lake's shoreline.
The city was established as a planned community for the mining industry in 1955 after the discovery of uranium in the area, and named after the small lake on its northern edge. By the late 1950s, its population had grown to about 25,000. The population has varied with several boom-and-bust cycles from the 1950s to the 1990s, from a high of over 26,000 to a low of about 6,600.
In 1959, the United States declared that it would buy no more uranium from Canada after 1962. During the 1970s, federal government plans for CANDU reactors and Ontario Hydro's interest in atomic energy led the town, anticipating a population of 30,000, to expand again. However, by the early 1990s, depleted reserves and low prices caused the last mines in the area to close.
In the years since, the city has found some success promoting itself as a retirement community and tourist destination. In the late 2000s, mineral exploration began taking place in the area, with at least one new mine under preliminary development by start-up miner Pele Mountain Resources
The Algo Centre Mall, built during the 1980s mining boom years, partially collapsed in 2012 due to severe design error. Water and road salt, allowed to leak from a rooftop parking lot for years, corroded structural metal in the building until it failed. Two people were killed. A new outdoor mall (Pearson Plaza) was built in 2016.
Elliot Lake is 27 km north of Trans-Canada Highway 17 on Ontario Highway 108. Exit the Trans-Canada at the tiny hamlet of Serpent River.
Elliot Lake Municipal Airport has no regularly scheduled flights.
- Ontario Northland, toll-free: . Operates primarily in Northern Ontario. Operates a route between Sault Sainte Marie and Sudbury including stops in Blind River, Elliot Lake, and Espanola.
There are four local city bus routes. The main transfer points are the Rexall drugstore in the centre of town and the Foodland at Pearson Plaza. There is no local bus on Sunday.
There are two taxi operators:
- Taxi Plus (+1 705 461-6161) and
- Union Taxi (+1 705 848-7111).
Hire cars are available from Practicar (23 Perini Rd, +1 705 848-4111).
There is a U-Haul agency at 9 Perini Rd. (+1 705 848-0730).
- Elliot Lake Nuclear and Mining Museum, 255 Highway 108, ☏ . Early Sep to late May: M-F 9AM-5PM; late May to early Sep: daily 9AM-6ː30PM. Local history and memorial to former miners.
- Fire Tower Lookout and Heritage Centre. Restored Ranger's cabin erected in the mid 1950s; a replica of a fire ranger's lookout provides a 360° panoramic view of the area.
- Uranium Atom Monument (on Highway 108 at the outhern entrance to downtown). Let other cities have their giant geese or big moose, Elliot Lake has the biggest roadside atom in all of Northern Ontario.
- Mississagi Provincial Park, ☏ . Hiking trails, lakes, canoeing and kayaking, backcountry camping and trout fishing.
- Deer Trail Curling Club, 55 Hillside Drive South, ☏ , fax: .
- Mt. Dufour Ski Area, 10 Ski Hill Road, ☏ .
- Stone Ridge, 71 Nordic Mine Road, ☏ . 18-hole golf course.
Other activities in the local area include walking trails, beaches, 300 km of ATV trails, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
- [formerly dead link] North Shore Challenge, Elliot Lake Airport Dragway. Annual motorsport drag race, antique car show and activities, mid-July. $30/day, $45/weekend.
- 1 Pearson Plaza, Hillside Drive South and Ontario Avenue. Sobey's Foodland, Hart Home Store, Dollarama, municipal library and two-restaurant food court.
- Mum's Place, 8 George Walk, ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-3PM. Home cooking, diner food.
- Fireside Classic Grill, 14A Oakland Blvd, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 9AM-9PM. Steaks, prime rib, pastas, tacos, sandwiches, wraps, fish and chips, curry, stir fry. Mains $13-36, sandwiches $12-18.
- Topper's Pizza, 259 Hillside Dr S, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-1AM.
- Gem Family Restaurant, 80 Hergott Ave, ☏ . Home cooking.
- Fireside Classic Bar and Grill, 14A Oakland Blvd, ☏ . 7AM-11PM.
- Hampton Inn, 279 Highway 108, ☏ , fax: . 52 rooms, fitness centre, indoor salt water pool, conference room and business centre, laundry, broadband Internet, hot breakfast (included).
- Dunlop Lake Lodge, Highway 108 (10 minutes north of Elliot Lake), ☏ . Twelve main lodge rooms, a 3-bedroom cabin with private yard, campsite and trailer rental. Snowmobile & ATV trails, swimming, fishing and dock slips. Open year-round.
- 1 [dead link] Pam's Bed & Breakfast, 28 Albert St, ☏ , . Check-in: 2PM-9PM, check-out: 11AM. Three bedrooms, shared bath, smoke and pet free, full English or continental breakfast, wi-fi. $85-90 double, with breakfast.
- Red Rose Bed & Breakfast, 25 Albert St, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Two bedrooms, shared bath, walk-out lakeside deck overlooking Porridge Lake and ski hill. Wi-fi, in-ground outdoor pool. $75-80.
|Routes through Elliot Lake|
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