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Town centre of Kapuskasing

Kapuskasing, also known as "Kap", is a town of 8300 people (2016) in Northern Ontario. It is mostly a company town; the main industry is an enormous paper mill.


Kapuskasing (pronounced ka-pus-KAY-sing) gets its name from the Kapuskasing River, which was named long before the existence of the town. Kapuskasing is a word of Cree origin, and the meaning is unknown.

Kapuskasing lies in the heart of the Great Clay Belt. The topography of the region is very flat, dotted with numerous small lakes and muskeg bogs. Also in the heart of Canada's boreal forest, the region is drained by rivers running north to James Bay. The district is heavily forested, mostly by thick stands of black spruce that have commercial value as pulpwood.

Wildlife is abundant. Species such as moose, black bear, lynx and red fox are commonly seen in the area. Lakes and rivers are well populated with walleye, northern pike and yellow perch. Fishing and hunting are very popular recreational activities locally.

GreenFirst, owner of the pulp and paper mill is the town's major employer.(The former owners were Spruce Falls Power and Paper, Tembec and Rayonier Advanced Materials)


Near the western edge of the Clay Belt of "New Ontario", the town was founded in the early 20th century after the National Transcontinental Railway, forerunner of the Canadian National Railway, was built through the area in 1911.

The town was known as MacPherson until 1917, when the name was changed due to a conflict with another railway town located in Manitoba.

An internment camp was set up at Bunk Houses in Kapuskasing from December 1914 to February 1920.

A scheme to settle veterans of the First World War in this vicinity was unsuccessful. It was not until the start of pulp and paper milling operations in the 1920s that Kapuskasing began to develop as an organized community.

Where the Canadian Northern Railway crossed the Kapuskasing River in 1910 there was an island in the centre of the river. Power and storage dams were built there in 1923.

In 1926, the Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company was incorporated under joint ownership of Kimberly-Clark and The New York Times, with rights to harvest timber over an area of 11,830 km², an area larger than Jamaica. It built a paper mill at Kapuskasing, a hydro-electric generating station at Smoky Falls and an 80-km railway and power line connecting the two. Since 1928, The New York Times has been printed entirely on Spruce Falls paper.

Internment Camp[edit]

During World War I, the town was the site of one of the largest internment camps in Canada. The camp held over 1,300 German, Austrian, and Turkish prisoners, though the majority were Canadian residents of Ukrainian descent who had emigrated from the provinces of Bukovina and Galicia, in the first wave of Ukrainian emigration to Canada prior to 1914. Prisoners were employed in the construction of buildings and clearing of land for a government experimental farm on the west side of the Kapuskasing River. Isolation provided ideal security for the minimum security camp, as the railway was the only access to the remote location. Prisoners who attempted to escape into the bush were turned back by endless muskeg and clouds of mosquitoes or minus-40 °C/F temperatures in winter. In 1917, most were paroled to help relieve labour shortages. Afterwards, the camp was used briefly for prisoners of war and political radicals until its closure in 1920. The area was developed to be an agricultural research farm established by the federal government in 1916. The "Experimental Farm" operated until 2012. The property encompassed more than 850 acres of land for animal production; a 5,000-square-foot business incubator equipped with a boardroom, offices, a laboratory and equipment; and land available for crop trials and research. A small cemetery is all that remains of the internment camp near the Kapuskasing Airport where victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic (Spanish flu) were laid to rest.

General Motors Cold Weather Development Centre[edit]

The GM Cold Weather Development Center is a full-scale permanent cold weather test facility established in 1973.

  • Facility size: 272 acres
  • Facilities:
    • Two vehicle testing lines
    • 2.5-mile test track
    • 13-vehicle garage
    • 30 cold cells capable of recreating weather conditions reaching -45C

Operating 2 Vehicle Testing Lines

The Cold Weather Vehicle line focuses on early Cold Weather Vehicle Development tests, testing anywhere from 200 to 300 vehicles annually.

Cold Weather Exposure Line runs the GMW 15016 Cold Weather Exposure test, testing about 30 vehicles annually.annually

Lower Mattagami River Project[edit]

The Lower Mattagami River Project is an investment into clean, renewable energy. It was the largest hydroelectric power generation initiative in nearly 40 years in Northern Ontario. Ontario Power Generation selected Kiewit-Alarie Partnership to design and build the project.

This project retired the old 52-megawatt Smoky Falls Generating Station and constructed a new 271-megawatt station immediately adjacent to the existing plant. In addition, a new generating unit was added to three other power generating stations along the Mattagami River: Little Long, Kipling and Harmon.

The project required the excavation of 650,000 cubic meters of overburden and over 700,000 cubic meters of rock, as well as the placement of over 190,000 cubic meters of concrete over five years.

Foundations work included a 5,050-square-foot cut-off wall to support construction to repair and replace four hydroelectric generating stations.

The project increased Ontario’s energy generation capacity by over 440 megawatts, enough electricity to power up to 440,000 additional homes.

Cargill Phosphate Mine[edit]

The mine at Kapuskasing was located some 40 km southwest of Kapuskasing, Ontario. It had been developed to supply high-quality, low-cost phosphate rock to the company's Redwater, Alberta facility, where it was an ingredient in ammonium phosphate fertilizer production. The Kapuskasing mine was the only phosphate mine in Canada and ranked as one of the highest-grade phosphate mines in the world. Apatite is the principal ore mineral mined at the Kapuskasing Phosphate Operations. A southern Ontario based mining company is looking at redeveloping the former phosphate mine west of Kapuskasing. Avalon Advanced Materials wants to pick-up where Agrium, now Nutrien left off when the mine was closed in 2013.


The area has long, very cold winters. The summer growing season is short and often punctuated by killing frosts. Visitors often comment on the deep blue of the sky during clear weather.

Get in[edit]

Kapuskasing has Highway 11 (Trans-Canada Highway) passing through it. The town reachable from Timmins and North Bay to the east or Thunder Bay far to the west.

If you own (or charter) a small aircraft, the 1 Kapuskasing Airport (YYU IATA) can accommodate you, but it does not have scheduled service.

By bus[edit]

Get around[edit]

Map of Kapuskasing


Monument to the incident
  • 2 Reesor Siding Strike of 1963 Monument (south side of Highway 11 at Reesor Siding, 50 km west of Kapuskasing). This strike was one of the defining labour conflicts in Canadian history, resulting in the shooting of 11 union members, three of whom were killed. The violent confrontation occurred near the small Francophone hamlet of Reesor Siding (a ghost town today). Reesor Siding Strike of 1963 (Q7307020) on Wikidata Reesor Siding strike of 1963 on Wikipedia



  • Circle Area (Downtown): shops set around a picturesque cobblestone seating area.
  • 1 Model City Mall, 25 Brunetville Rd. 13 stores including Canadian Tire, supermarket, liquor store.
  • 2 Fromagerie Kapuskoise - Artisan Cheese, 376 Government Rd E, +1 705 371-2177, . Tu-F 11AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-3PM. Locally made artisanal cheeses made in the French style.


  • 1 O'Brien's Classic Grill, 4 O'Brien Ave, +1 705 335-6297. M-Sa 11AM-10PM, closed Su. Steaks, wings, burgers.
  • 2 Bidule, 196 Government Road, +1 705 335-6675, . M-F 8AM-7PM. Home cooking, burgers and fries.
  • 3 Chez Lizette Restaurant and Pizzeria, 139 Brunetville Rd, +1 705 337-0020. Tu-F 11AM-8PM, Sa Su 10AM-8PM. Pizza, soups, and the house specialty, chicken parmesan.



  • 1 Comfort Inn, 172 Government Road East, +1 705 335-8583. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Pet accommodation is an additional $15/night. From $141.
  • 2 Apollo Motel, 100 Government Rd E, +1 705 335-6084. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Service in English and French. Rooms $79-109; pet accommodation $15/night; parking $7/night.
  • 3 Chain of Lakes Motel, 470 Government Rd E, +1 705 335-2213, . From $75.
  • 4 Advantage Motel, 82 Government Rd W, +1 705 335-4170. Every room has a microwave, fridge, cable, free wireless Internet. From $80.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Kapuskasing
Thunder BayHearst  W  E  → Jct SCochraneNorth Bay

This city travel guide to Kapuskasing is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.