Red Lake, Ontario

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Red Lake
Municipality (single-tier)
Municipality of Red Lake
Red Lake ON 1.JPG
Red Lake is located in Ontario
Red Lake
Red Lake
Coordinates: 51°02′N 93°50′W / 51.033°N 93.833°W / 51.033; -93.833Coordinates: 51°02′N 93°50′W / 51.033°N 93.833°W / 51.033; -93.833
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Kenora
Settled 1926
Formed 1 July 1998
 • Type Town
 • Mayor Phil Vinet
 • MP Bob Nault (LPC)
 • MPP Sarah Campbell (NDP)
 • Land 610.38 km2 (235.67 sq mi)
Elevation[2] 385.90 m (1,266.08 ft)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 4,670
 • Density 7.7/km2 (20/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code FSA P0V
Area code(s) 807

Red Lake is a municipality with town status in the Canadian province of Ontario, located 535 kilometres (332 mi) northwest of Thunder Bay and less than 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the Manitoba border. The municipality consists of six small communities — Balmertown, Cochenour, Madsen, McKenzie Island, Red Lake and Starratt-Olsen — and had a population of 4,366 people in the Canada 2011 Census.

Red Lake is an enclave within Unorganized Kenora District. The municipality was formed on 1 July 1998, when the former incorporated townships of Golden and Red Lake were merged along with a small portion of Unorganized Kenora District.

The name of the town comes from a local legend telling of two men from the Chippewa tribe who stumbled across a large moose. They then proceeded in killing the moose, the blood of which drained into a nearby lake. This turned the lake's waters red in colour, which gave the area its name.[4]


According to archeological surveys in the area, it is proposed that the First Nations people have inhabited the Red Lake area for 2,000 years. The first people to live in the land were members of the Sioux and Cree tribes. Approximately 200-300 years ago the Ojibwe people began to inhabit the area, effectively becoming the predominant people at the time.[4]

The town experienced a sudden surge of economic, industrial, and population growth with the discovery of gold in 1926. In fact, by 1936, Red Lake's Howey Bay was the busiest airport in the world, with more flights landing and taking off per hour than any other.[5]

In 1995 Goldcorp, owners of the Red Lake Mine, discovered that it contains the world's richest grade gold ore (two troy ounces of gold per metric ton). Shortly thereafter, the mine suffered through a four-year-long miners' strike. Since then, the mine has become one of the richest gold mines in the world.[citation needed]


Town Hall

Population trend:[9]

  • Population in 2006: 4526
  • Population in 2001: 4233
  • Population total in 1996: 4778
    • Golden (township): 2248
    • Red Lake (township): 2277
  • Population in 1991:
    • Golden (township): 2355
    • Red Lake (township): 2268


The climate of the area is warm-summer continental. In this township, snow usually starts falling around late October / early November, and starts melting around March but doesn't fully melt until late April (and snow in May and even June is not uncommon). This long winter is ideal for the local snowmobilers and for ice fishing though during this period, the wind is often very cold and temperatures may drop to below -35 degrees Celsius. During winter, residents and visitors participate in snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing, ice hockey, and downhill sliding.

During the summer, the area experiences a moderate climate with little humidity, which is ideal for camping, boating, canoeing, and hiking.


Gold in quartz from the Red Lake Mine

The three primary sources of employment in Red Lake are support services for the numerous mines surrounding the town, small scale logging and a tourism sector specializing in hunting and fishing. It is known as the "Norseman Capital of the World", referring to the Noorduyn Norseman aircraft which played a significant role in the development of the area.[5]


Red Lake is located at the northern terminus of Highway 105, and is the northernmost town in Ontario that is located on a primary King's Highway. A short spur route, Highway 125, extends northerly from Highway 105 to the communities of Balmertown, Cochenour and McKenzie Island, while Highway 618 extends westerly from Highway 105 to the communities of Madsen and Starratt-Olsen. Only one highway in the province, the secondary Highway 599, extends further north than the terminus of Highway 125.

The town acts as a cargo, passenger and tourism hub for Northwestern Ontario. With Pickle Lake, Red Lake services over twenty northern fly-in communities. Today, Red Lake Airport is a "mini-hub" facilitating travel to and from all northern communities in Northwestern Ontario. Four airway companies take advantage of Red Lake's close proximity to the northern communities. Bearskin Airlines, Superior Airways, and Wasaya Airways all operate out of "YRL".



Red Lake has the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre, a museum of local art and history, and is close to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and Pakwash Provincial Park. Some local restaurants are Antonio's, Spud&Dog, and The Howey. Red Lake is a prime location for summer sport fishing, as the lake contains several types of fish including walleye, northern pike, lake trout, whitefish and sauger. Other popular recreational summer activities include golfing at the Red Lake Golf and Country Club, swimming at Rahill abd Kinsmen Beach, and even exploring the many bays and arms of Red Lake by boat.

Hunting is another activity in the region that attracts tourism, especially during the fall season. Red Lake is known for its abundance of game in the District, including moose, ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, duck, and bear. Some citizens even participate in the fur industry with established trapping lines interspersed throughout the local forests. The gray wolf, white-tailed deer, red fox, beaver, and many bird species also inhabit the area.

Notable people[edit]



  • The Northern Sun News is a weekly broadsheet newspaper serving Red Lake and the surrounding Northern Communities. Circulation of 1600. On August 28, 2015 it announced via Facebook that its last issue would be September 2, 2015. [10]



  1. ^ "Red Lake census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Red Lake A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Corrections and updates". Statistics Canada. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  4. ^ a b "Red Lake History". 
  5. ^ a b Richthammer, John. The End of the Road: A History of the Red Lake District (1985)
  6. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  7. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  8. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  9. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
  10. ^

External links[edit]