Marathon's resource economy was built on wood pulp. In 2009, the Marathon Pulp Mill was shut down indefinitely shutdown, eliminating hundreds of jobs from the region. Starting in the mid-1980s Marathon's economy expanded to include gold mining.
As long ago as 500 BC the area was inhabited by Ojibway First Nations (Aboriginal) people who lived along the Pic River. Their descendents still live in the area.
Marathon was born as a railway community named Peninsula, due to its location on a peninsula on Lake Superior.
The pulp mill was constructed between 1944 and 1946, the population rose to 2,500, and the town's name was changed, first to Everest - after D.C. Everest, president of Marathon Corporation of Wisconsin, owners of the pulp mill in the town - then, later that year, to Marathon, in honor of the paper company. The Everest name was discarded because it was too similar to Everett, Ontario.
In the early 1980s, gold was discovered at Hemlo, an uninhabited area adjacent to the Trans Canada highway some 40 km east of Marathon. By the late 1980s, three mines were running at Hemlo, with two of the three mines locating their employees in Marathon, which effectively doubled its population and made it the largest town along the North Shore between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.
Marathon sits just off of Highway 17 (the Trans-Canada Highway), 5 km down Peninsula Rd.
- Marathon & District Historical Society and Museum, 25 Stevens Ave, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM. Information on the Gold Mines, Port Coldwell, Marathon's history, the pulp mill, logging camps, and the D.C. Everest. Free.
- 1 Marathon Community Cenotaph, Stevens Ave (at the corner of Gilbert St).
Marathon has a challenging 9-hole golf course, Cross-country skiing trails and downhill skiing, a 4-sheet curling venue, and the only indoor swimming pool between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.
- Penn Lake Park, 61 Penn Lake Road East. Mid-May to end of Sep. Playground, beach volleyball courts, washrooms. Kayaking, mountain bike trails, a 2-km around the lake through the boreal forest.
- Nets Provincial Park, 1004 Hwy 17, Terrace Bay. A fine sand beach on Lake Superior’s north shore. View a model of a former prisoner-of-war (POW) camp at the Visitor Centre and the remains of POW Camp 100. See Pic Island as it was immortalized on canvas by Lawren Harris of the famous Canadian painting team, the Group of Seven. Sub-Arctic plants and a chance to see an elusive Woodland Caribou. Canoe along the pristine Lake Superior shoreline. Hiking trails take you through the many ecosystems, flora, fauna and geological formations. Neys has almost 150 campsites for car camping, almost half of which are electrical, and one cabin that sleeps four (reserve online). Spring and summer: +1 807 229-1624; fall and winter +1 807 825-3403.
- 1 Pic River First Nation Powwow (Biigtgong Nishnaabeg) (on Hwy 627 at mouth of Pic River along N shore of Lake Superior approx 13 km SE of Marathon), ☏ . 2nd weekend in July. Ceremonial/sacred songs and dances. Rough camping available. No drugs or alcohol. Please respect powwow etiquette.
- Marathon Centre Mall, 2 Hemlo Dr. It is the largest indoor shopping mall between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. Loblaws, Scotiabank, A&W and Red Apple Stores.
- Wok with Chow Chinese, 83 Evergreen Dr, ☏ . Tu-Sa 11:30AM-2:30PM, M-Sa 4:30-10:30PM, Su noon-10:30PM. Mostly Chinese, but with a few burgers and sandwiches.
- Oar House Family Restaurant, 88 Evergreen Drive, ☏ . Burgers, sandwiches, pasta, fish & chips, pizza.
- Station 4 On The North Shore, 37 Peninsula Rd. M-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-8PM. Pub with pub menu.
- Rumours Coffee House & Deli, 2 Ontario Street, ☏ . Breakfast, lunches, and espresso drinks.
- Lakeview Manor B&B, 24 Drake St, ☏ . 5 rooms in the original guest house built by the local pulp mill company. Breakfast includes vegan and gluten-free choices. $125-180 plus taxes.
- Marathon Harbour Inn, 67 Peninsula Road, ☏ . From.
- 1 Airport Motor Inn Marathon, Highway 17 & Peninsula Rd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A poorly-maintained, run-down hotel with a bad breakfast that isn't cheap. But it's Marathon -- your choices are limited.
- Zero-100 Motor Inn, 37 Peninsula Road, ☏ . Another poorly-maintained, run-down hotel. Pet-friendly (additional fee.) $150 taxes included.
- Penn Lake Park, 61 Penn Lake Road East, ☏ (extension 2221). Mid-May to end of Sep. 16 campsites with 30/15 amp service and 2 RV sites with 50/30/15 amp service. 9 unserviced sites are suitable for tent camping. All serviced sites have sewer and potable water. Internet access is available by wireless hook-up. Washrooms, showers and coin-operated laundry facilities. Playground, beach volleyball courts. Kayaking, mountain bike trails, a 2-km around the lake through the boreal forest. Electrical site $45, non-electrical site $26.75.
- 2 Pukaskwa National Park (take Highway 17 east from Marathon to Highway 627, then Highway 627 south to the highway's end), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open May 1 to October 9. Pukaskwa National Park is located south of town. Watch or download a 17-minute documentary about the park.
|Routes through Marathon|
|Thunder Bay ← Schreiber ←||W E||→ White River → Sault Ste Marie|