Dryden, Ontario

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City (single-tier)
City of Dryden
Dryden is located in Ontario
Coordinates: 49°47′N 92°50′W / 49.783°N 92.833°W / 49.783; -92.833Coordinates: 49°47′N 92°50′W / 49.783°N 92.833°W / 49.783; -92.833
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Kenora
Settled 1895
Incorporated 1910 (town)
Incorporated 1998 (city)
 • Mayor Greg Wilson
 • Governing Body Dryden Council
 • MPs Bob Nault
 • MPPs Sarah Campbell
 • Land 65.84 km2 (25.42 sq mi)
Elevation[2] 371.90 m (1,220.14 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 7,617
 • Density 115.7/km2 (300/sq mi)
 • Demonym Drydenite
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code P8N
Area code(s) 807
Website www.dryden.ca

Dryden is the second-largest city in the Kenora District of Northwestern Ontario, Canada, located on Wabigoon Lake. It is the smallest community in the province of Ontario designated as a city.[3] It and Kenora are the only two cities in Ontario located in the Central Time Zone.

Dryden is entirely surrounded by Unorganized Kenora District.


The Dryden area is part of the Ojibwe nation, which covers a large area from Lake Huron in the east to Lake of the Woods and beyond, bordered by Cree from the north, and Sioux from the south. The Ojibwe are a nomadic culture, groups from family to village size moving over the land with the seasons and the availability of game or the necessities of life, so lasting settlements were not made.

It is believed that the Bending Lake/Turtle River area was a meeting place for Indigenous peoples ranging from as far away as the southern US and much of central Canada for trade and cultural exchange, and there is evidence of ancient occupancy there in the form of pictographs, artifacts, burial grounds, and one might consider this our prehistoric centre. Bending Lake is in the triangle between Dryden, Ignace, and Atikokan.

The settlement was founded as an agricultural community by John Dryden, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture in 1895.[4] While his train was stopped at what was then known as Barclay Tank to re-water, he noticed clover growing and decided to found an experimental farm the following year. The farm's success brought settlers from the Uxbridge area of southern Ontario and the Bruce Peninsula and the community came to be known as New Prospect. It became a town in 1910 and a city in 1998 after merging with the neighbouring township of Barclay. Dryden's eastern boundary is located near Aaron Provincial Park on Thunder Lake.

Pulp and Paper came to the town in 1910. Today, its main industries are agriculture, tourism and mining. Paper/pulp industries in Dryden were a major contributor in its local economy. In 2008 the mill ceased production of fine paper as the second of two paper machines was shut down. The town came onto the national consciousness in the early 1970s when natives at the community of Grassy Narrows became sick with Minamata disease (mercury poisoning). Investigation determined that a chloralkali plant located at the Dryden mill was the source of the mercury in the Wabigoon and English rivers.[5]

The town was also the site of the March 10, 1989 crash of Air Ontario Flight 1363, which killed 24 people and led to the Moshansky Inquiry on airline safety.


Climate data for Dryden
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 6.1
Average high °C (°F) −13.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −18.2
Average low °C (°F) −23.3
Record low °C (°F) −46.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 27.5
Source: Environment Canada[2]


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1901 140 —    
1911 715 +410.7%
1921 1,019 +42.5%
1931 1,326 +30.1%
1941 1,641 +23.8%
1951 2,627 +60.1%
1961 5,728 +118.0%
1971 6,939 +21.1%
1981 6,640 −4.3%
1991 6,505 −2.0%
1996 6,711 +3.2%
2001 8,198 +22.2%
2006 8,195 −0.0%
2011 7,617 −7.1%
Population figures for 2001 onwards are for the amalgamated City of Dryden. Population figures before 2001 are for the former Town of Dryden.

According to the 2011 Canadian Census,[6] the population of Dryden is 7,617, a 7.1% decrease from 2006. The population density is 115.7 people per square km. The median age is 45.0 years old, older than the national median at 40.6 years old. There are 3,417 private dwellings with an occupancy rate of 93.8%. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the median value of a dwelling in Dryden is $149,942 which is significantly lower than the national average at $280,552. The median household income (after-taxes) in Dryden is $54,577, almost on par with the national average at $54,089.

Dryden is mostly made up of European descents and Aboriginal peoples. The racial make up of Dryden is:

Most of Dryden is either a Christian (66.8%), or affiliates with no religion (33.0%). 0.1% are Buddhist, and 0.1% practice traditional Aboriginal spirituality.

Politics and government[edit]

Dryden is currently part of the provincial electoral district of Kenora—Rainy River. Kenora—Rainy River's Member of Provincial Parliament is Sarah Campbell, a member of the Ontario New Democratic Party. Federally, the city is part of the Kenora riding and is represented by Bob Nault, a Liberal.

Dryden's mayor is Greg Wilson.


The city is served by Dryden Regional Airport.


Max the Moose in Dryden

Dryden is known by people passing by as the home of "Max the Moose", Dryden's 5.6 metres (18 ft) high mascot on the Trans-Canada Highway. The city holds an annual Moosefest festival, during which musical performances, children's activities and a fishing tournament known as The Walleye Masters are held.

Several annual music concerts are held featuring local musicians. "Come Together" is an annual December 27 or 28th concert, and "Kickin' Country" is a mid April country show. Both featuring local acts. The "Blue Moon Festival" is a daylong event that is held on or near a blue moon calendar event in the summer months.

Dryden is home to a variety of arts groups. "Theatre 17" is a community theatre group under the direction of Judith Hamilton that stages theatrical productions, including Noises Off and Tony and Tina's Wedding. The DRAC (Dryden Regional Arts Council) is an artists group that organizes yearly art tours, art shows and also operates a retail store known as Naked North Art Gallery. The Dryden Community Band is a group of musicians who perform under conductor Ryan Graham.




Dryden has one community newspaper, The Dryden Observer and is also serviced by The Chronicle-Journal, which operates a bureau in Dryden.

Notable people[edit]

Dryden is the birthplace of NHL hockey players Chris Pronger, Wayne Muloin and Dennis Owchar. Former NHL Hockey Player Sean Pronger grew up in Dryden. Bruce Ramsay, one of pro hockey's all time penalty minutes leaders and current assistant coach of the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, also hails from Dryden. The classically trained soprano Patricia O'Callaghan was born in the town.


Dryden is home to Dryden High School, a secondary school which is part of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.

Dryden is also home to a satellite campus of Confederation College with head campus in Thunder Bay. Contact North offers distance education through more than 50 post-secondary institutions including McMaster University, Carlton University, and Loyalist College.

Dryden has multiple grade schools including New Prospect School, Open Roads Public School and St. Joseph's Catholic School.


  1. ^ a b c "Dryden census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-03.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "cp2011" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b Environment Canada — Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 6 November 2009
  3. ^ Statistics Canada Population and Dwelling counts, census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses, sorted by province, then sorted by type. Dryden has the smallest population for any city (CY). Retrieved 5 September 2007.
  4. ^ Gerrie Noble (2001-02-16). "History of Dryden : A Chronology of Events at Dryden (from 1875 to 1945)". Dryden District Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  5. ^ Mercury Rising: The Poisoning of Grassy Narrows, CBC TV, November 1st, 1970. Accessed 2007-07-26.
  6. ^ 2011 NHS/Census Profile of Dryden: http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/dp-pd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=3560027&Data=Count&SearchText=dryden&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&A1=All&B1=All&Custom=&TABID=1
  7. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  8. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 

External links[edit]