Espanola, Ontario

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Town (single-tier)
Town of Espanola
Spanish River and Domtar mill in Espanola
Spanish River and Domtar mill in Espanola
Espanola is located in Ontario
Coordinates: 46°15′N 81°46′W / 46.250°N 81.767°W / 46.250; -81.767Coordinates: 46°15′N 81°46′W / 46.250°N 81.767°W / 46.250; -81.767
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Sudbury
Settled 1900s
Incorporated 1958
 • Type Town
 • Mayor Mike Lehoux
 • MP Carol Hughes (NDP)
 • MPP Michael Mantha (NDP)
 • Land 82.44 km2 (31.83 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 5,364
 • Density 65.1/km2 (169/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code span P5E
Area code(s) 705

Espanola (2011 census population 5,364) is a town in Northern Ontario, Canada, and is the seat of Sudbury District. It is situated on the Spanish River, approximately 70 kilometres west of downtown Sudbury, and just south of the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 17.


The name "Espanola" has been attributed to a story which dates back to the mid 18th century. The story goes that a First Nations Ojibwa tribe of the area sent a raiding party a long distance to the south and brought back with them a white woman who spoke Spanish. The Spanish woman married a local Annishnabeg (First Nations) of a family living near the mouth of the river and taught her children to speak Spanish. Later, when the French Voyageurs and Coureur des bois came upon the settlement and heard fragments of Spanish spoken by the local natives, they remarked "Espagnole", which had been later anglicized to "Espanola", and the river was named the Spanish River.

Spanish River Pulp & Paper Company, ON, about 1927

Espanola was founded in the early 1900s as a company town for the employees of the Spanish River Pulp and Paper company, which opened a pulp and paper mill there. The town expanded quickly becoming a bustling company town with a hotel, school and theatre. On January 21, 1910, a Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train derailed off a trestle 10 km. east of Espanola. Forty-three people died from the railcar's 27-foot plunge into the icy water of the Spanish River. It was one of the CPR's worst railway accidents.

In 1930, the mill was closed due to the Great Depression, and Espanola became a ghost town until the Second World War, when the mill site became a camp for German prisoners of war. In 1946, the paper mill was reopened by the now defunct "Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company" (KVP), producing specialty kraft paper.

Espanola was officially incorporated as a town on March 1, 1958.

In 1966 KVP was bought by Brown Forest Industries, a division of Charles Bluhdorn's industrial conglomerate Gulf and Western Industries. The Brown Forest Industries operation was later sold to E.B. Eddy, who operated the mill until June 1998. Now owned by Domtar, it continues to be the town's largest employer.

The 1969 CBC Television series Adventures in Rainbow Country was filmed near Espanola, near the small First Nations community of Birch Island and at Whitefish Falls. The series starred Lois Maxwell, the actress who played "Miss Moneypenny" in Bond films such as Dr. No and Goldfinger. Canadian-born, she was a long-time resident of the town.

Espanola got some negative press in the early 1980s when the mill accidentally discharged toxic effluent into the Spanish River, killing fish by the thousands. The spill acted like a flush, and when the fish came back a few years later, they were reportedly untainted and thriving, although the toxic smell still remained. Now the mill is said to be one of the most stringent "zero-emissions" pulp bleaching processes in the world[citation needed], and the area below the Spanish River Dam is a designated fish sanctuary.

In 2001, a group of volunteers staged a fundraiser for the local hospital by attempting to set a world record for the world's longest ice hockey game. They were successful, playing for over three days straight. The record was broken in April 2004 in nearby Sudbury, where the teams played for six hours longer. Currently, the record holders are team Hope and team Cure from Sherwood Park near Edmonton, Alberta.[2] who have played for 10 days straight.


Population trend:[3]

  • Population in 2011: 5364 (2006 to 2011 population change: 0.9%)
  • Population in 2006: 5314
  • Population in 2001: 5449
  • Population in 1996: 5454
  • Population in 1991: 5527

Public services[edit]

Espanola's three primary schools, A.B. Ellis Public School, Sacred Heart School (Roman Catholic), and École St. Joseph (French Roman Catholic), and two secondary schools, Espanola High School and École secondaire catholique Franco-Ouest, service the local students, as well as those from surrounding communities such as Massey, Webbwood, McKerrow, Nairn Centre, Willisville, Whitefish Falls, Walford and Birch Island.

In 1999 a modern recreation complex was constructed, replacing the aging arena and community swimming pool. In addition, Espanola has a public Library, open to the public.



Other radio station signals are received out of Manitoulin Island, Elliot Lake and Sudbury.


Former television stations which operated in the Espanola and area prior to the analog shutdown in 2012 which can only be received via cable or satellite:

One of the last operating analog television signals which can reach the Espanola area is CICI-TV (CTV) channel 5 out of Sudbury.


Espanola is home to the Mid-North Monitor, a weekly community newspaper.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 2011 Census Profile
  2. ^
  3. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census


External links[edit]