Sioux Lookout

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Sioux Lookout
Municipality (single-tier)
Municipality of Sioux Lookout
Sioux Lookout Ontario.JPG
Motto: Hub of the North
Sioux Lookout is located in Ontario
Sioux Lookout
Sioux Lookout
Coordinates: 50°06′N 91°55′W / 50.100°N 91.917°W / 50.100; -91.917Coordinates: 50°06′N 91°55′W / 50.100°N 91.917°W / 50.100; -91.917
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Kenora
Incorporation 1912
Government
 • Mayor Doug Lawrance
 • Council
 • MP Greg Rickford
 • MPPs Sarah Campbell
Area[1]
 • Land 378.82 km2 (146.26 sq mi)
Elevation[2] 383.10 m (1,256.89 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 5,037
 • Density 13.3/km2 (34/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Postal code FSA P8T
Area code(s) 807
Website www.siouxlookout.ca

Sioux Lookout is a town in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. It has a population of about 5,000 people and an elevation of 390 metres (1,280 ft). Known locally as the "Hub of the North", it is serviced by the Sioux Lookout Airport, Highway 72, and the Sioux Lookout railway station. Tourism, lumber, and health care are the primary sources of employment in the town.

There are a number of fishing camps in the area that allow access to an extensive lake system fed by the English River. The town is surrounded by several beaches, including Umphreville Park, a historical site that predates the town itself. During the summer months, Sioux Lookout's population rises as tourists, most of whom are American, arrive to take advantage of the multitude of lakes and rivers in the area. Experienced guides, employed by the camps, can locate the best locations and also provide an educated tour of the unique land known affectionately as "sunset country".

Communities[edit]

In addition to the town of Sioux Lookout itself, the municipal boundaries[3] include the community of Hudson[4] and the railway point Pelican,[5] located west on the Canadian National Railway (CNR) transcontinental main line;[6] the railway point Superior Junction located on the CNR transcontinental main line to the east;[7] and the railway point Alcona, located on a CNR branch line to the south east and south of Superior Junction.[8]

History[edit]

Sioux Lookout's name comes from a local mountain and First Nations story. This mountain, known as Sioux Mountain, was used in the late 18th century by Ojibway People to watch for any oncoming Sioux warriors looking to ambush their camp. A careful eye could see the sun shining off the birch of enemy canoes crossing nearby rapids. Women and children could be led away safely while the warriors could intercept the Sioux on the water. Illustrating this old story on the front page of the local newspaper, The Sioux Lookout Bulletin, is an iconic image of a First Nations man, holding a hand above his eyes to scan the waters.

Present-day Sioux Lookout was incorporated in 1912 and was then a terminal point on the National Transcontinental Railway. For many years, Sioux Lookout was simply a railway town. When gold was discovered in Red Lake, it became one of the leading aviation centers in Canada during the twenties and thirties. During the Cold War, Sioux Lookout operated a radar base to monitor any activity from Russia. Now, the Canadian National Railway is a significant employer, but it is no longer the base of the municipality’s economy. Instead, the forest industry is the crux of Sioux Lookout employment. Its inherent instability is partly offset by the stability of the service sector. As a result, Sioux Lookout barely felt the effects of the recession in the early 1980s. Urban Sioux Lookout fronts on Pelican Lake, and the municipality undertook a lakefront improvement program to beautify this area. There are now more parks, paths, and other recreational facilities along the lakefront. Numerous other lakes are easily accessible by car or boat from Sioux Lookout. Tourism makes a significant contribution to the local economy, however, there is far more capacity for development and its potential is starting to be recognized.

Geography and climate[edit]

The boundaries of Sioux Lookout were significantly expanded on January 1, 1998 to include a number of unorganized geographic townships surrounding the town itself.

Topography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Sioux Lookout has a continental climate with long cold winters and short warm summers. The average mean temperature in January is -18°C, and in July, near to 20°C. The temperature fluctuates wildly throughout the winter, occasionally as low as -40°C (the record being -46°C). Sioux Lookout's record high temperature was 37.8°C.

Demographics[edit]

Racial Groups Population
White 3,514
Aboriginal 1,450
Black 20
Arab 6
Others 90

Sioux Lookout had a population of 5,182 as of 2006, a 2.9% decrease from 2001. As an ethnically diverse community, Sioux Lookout has a large Aboriginal population—1,520 people, as of 2006. The average household size is 2.7 persons and unemployment rate is 4.2%, below the Ontario average of 6.4%. The median household income in 2005 for Sioux Lookout was $71,289, above the provincial average of $60,455.[9]

Population trend:[10]

  • Population in 2011: 5037
  • Population in 2006: 5183
  • Population in 2001: 5336
  • Population in 1996: 3469 (or 5165 when adjusted to 2001 boundaries)
  • Population in 1991: 3311

Government[edit]

Sioux Lookout Municipal Building

Sioux Lookout elects one mayor, four "councillors-at-large", one councillor for Ward 1 (Hudson), and one councillor for Ward 2 (Sioux Lookout). Mayor Doug Lawrence leads a council of Don Fenelon, John Bath, Steven Forbes, Yolaine Kirlew, Joyce Timpson, Cal Southall.

The town is represented in the Canadian House of Commons by Conservative MP Greg Rickford in the electoral district of Kenora, and in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by NDP MPP Sarah Campbell in the electoral district of Kenora—Rainy River.

Economy[edit]

The main industries of Sioux Lookout are:

  • Services, (68%)
  • Forestry, (14%)
  • Transportation, (12%)
  • Tourism (4%)

The population explodes during the spring and summer months when seasonal residents arrive. Most of Sioux Lookout's tourism comes from people wanting to experience the town's amazing outdoor activities. Fishing is the main tourist attraction during the summer months due to the easy access of numerous lakes with world-class fishing, such as "Legendary" Lac Seul and Minnitaki Lake.

Education[edit]

Schools located in the Sioux Lookout area include Queen Elizabeth District High School, Sioux Mountain Public School, Sacred Heart Elementary School, Cornerstone Christian Academy, and Pelican Falls First Nations High School. Hudson Public School closed in 2010.

Culture[edit]

A sign at Centennial Park in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada with Ojibwe syllabics

Sioux Lookout's own annual Blueberry Festival has been held the first week of August since 1982. The year 2007 marked the 25th anniversary of the festival, which celebrates the town and its surrounding environment. The most popular events include the Sioux Mountain Festival, the Bocce Tournament, and a charitable social which incorporates an annual theme. Eco-Tourism is growing rapidly with outfitter's such as Goldwater Expeditions providing Kayaks, Skiing/Snowshoe Rentals, Ecology based Adventures, Cultural Education and Ecological Interpretation.

Sites of interest[edit]

  • Sioux Mountain
  • Cedar Bay Recreational Facilities
  • Ojibway Park

Arts[edit]

Literature[edit]

Peggy Sanders, awarded the Order of Canada in October 2006, is Sioux Lookout's leading literary figure. She was praised by the Governor-General for "bridging cultures...and building relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities for decades". She continued to note that Sanders was: "a founding member of the local anti-racism committee...and has championed literacy by founding the town's first public library." Patricia Ningewance Nadeau, from Lac Seul, Ontario, is on the board of directors at the Indigenous Language Institute. She has published a textbook on language: "Talking Gookom's Language" and five other books. She was the first editor of Wawatay News in Sioux Lookout.

Richard Schwindt, former resident of Sioux Lookout, published a collection of short stories titled "Dreams and Sioux Nights" in 2003. Most of the characters and settings are based upon Sioux Lookout and the surrounding area.

"Phillip Neault-Pioneer" is the collection of songs and stories told by Mae Carroll to her grandchildren. Her book, edited by James R. Stevens, takes place in the two railroad towns of Fort William and Sioux Lookout in pioneer times. The Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee won the 23rd Annual Media Human Rights Awards Winner for "their web site which deals with the effects and strategies of dealing with issues of racism and resources and strategies to deal with instances of racism".

The town also appears as a prominent figure in the novel, The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies, as well as the 1952 novel Crazy White Man: Sha-ga-ne-she Wa-du-kee by Richard Morenus.

Sioux Lookout is also a feature in Paulette Jiles' novel "North Spirit: Travels Among the Cree and Ojibway Nations and Their Star Maps" published in 1995 by Doubleday Canada Limited.

Music[edit]

Lawrence Martin, a Juno Award-winning musician, was the mayor of Sioux Lookout during the nineties. Martin is now mayor of Cochrane, and was once a member of the TVOntario board of directors. Also, a concert series called S.L.Y.M (Sioux Lookout Youth Music) Productions supplies the town with local and out-of- town bands for the town's ear drums. To date, S.L.Y.M has featured the local bands of Darkness Deprived, Red Radio, Double Helix, and The Four Ohms. S.L.Y.M. also regularly hosts open coffee houses to showcase local acoustic talent. The Sioux Lookout Cultural Center for Youth and the Arts is under construction and will include a recording studio for aspiring local artists.

Sports[edit]

Sioux Lookout is home to the Sioux Lookout Flyers, a Junior A team in the Superior International Junior Hockey Leaguethis folded in 2012. Also hosted every year is a First Nations hockey tournament.[11]

Ryan Parent, first round NHL draft pick and two-time World Junior Hockey champion, was raised in Sioux Lookout. Parent returns to his home town during the off-season. As a member of the Canadian World Juniors team, Parent won two consecutive gold medals in 2006 and 2007. He was a first-round draft pick (18th overall) of the Nashville Predators in the 2005 NHL entry draft and was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on February 17, 2007. Ryan Parent officially joined the NHL when he was recalled from the Flyer's AHL affiliate team the Philadelphia Phantoms on February 13, 2008 and took a place on the roster.

Infrastructure[edit]

Aerial view of Sioux Lookout

New residential zones have been created in response to Sioux Lookout's continued population growth (which is one of the highest in Northern Ontario). In the past decade, Sioux Lookout has built an elementary school, a large grocery store, municipal office, police station, and a clinic.

The Downtown Revitalization project is well underway and the construction of a new youth centre, renovated train station, and upgrades to Centennial Park are planned to be completed by March 2011.

Health and medicine[edit]

The new Sioux Lookout Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre opened its doors to patients in late 2010. This new 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) hospital has brought many health care services together under one roof. The building complex provides Sioux Lookout, as well as 29 northern communities, with healthcare services. The catchment area for the health centre covers an area larger than France. The health centre—including a hospital, long term care facility, community services, and patient hostel—is characterized by its unique blending of mainstream and traditional Aboriginal care. It has been designated as Ontario's centre of excellence for First Nations' healthcare.

Transportation[edit]

Sioux Lookout Airport was opened in 1933; at the time it was the second busiest airport in North America next to Chicago. Today, the airport is a "Mini-Hub" facilitating travel to and from all northern communities in Northwestern Ontario. Sioux Lookout's Airport is the fourth busiest in Ontario. Three airway companies and ORNGE (part of Ontario's largest medical transport providers) take advantage of a large facility that is undergoing further expansion. Bearskin Airlines, Lockhart Air, Skycare air ambulance, and Wasaya Airways all operate out of "YXL".[12]

Media[edit]

Newspaper

Radio* fm 95.3 - CBLS, CBC Radio One

References[edit]

External links[edit]