The Cultural Riches of Northeastern Ontario
As much as Northeastern Ontario is known for its natural splendour and outdoor adventures, the cultural displays of art and history throughout the region are incredible attractions all on their own. Every town is brimming with stories, artifacts and expressions of creativity, past and present, that you could spend a lifetime exploring.
One such town is Cobalt, Ontario. Cobalt is rich in history—specifically when it comes to iron ore. As a Parks Canada National Historic Site, the Silver Heritage Trail runs through the town, allowing visitors to embark on a self-guided tour of the silver boom in Northeastern Ontario. For a more formal tour, you can join in the Colonial Adit Tour of the colonial mines below the city’s surface, or by visiting the Cobalt Mining Museum, which among many interesting artifacts and exhibits, is home to the largest display of native silver ore in the world.
If military history is more up your alley, you can visit the Bunker Military Museum in Cobalt. This museum began as the personal collection of a World War II veteran and has now become an impressive registered museum, with personal stories behind every artifact and piece of memorabilia. You could spend quite a long time learning about the deep-seated heritage of the area.
Northeastern Ontario is as much known for its gold as it is silver, and Kirkland Lake is a town of gold mining, past and present. Visiting the Museum of Northern History in Kirkland Lake will take you through the historical “Chateau” of Sir Harry Oakes, and through the legacy of mining in the area, whether by looking through the collection of pictures and stories or through the collection of mining equipment from years and eras gone by. At the same time, Kirkland Lake provides an opportunity for many outdoor activities in all seasons, so no matter your interests, a trip to Kirkland Lake will be worthwhile.
For the art lovers and book lovers looking to explore Northeastern Ontario, a good spot for you to stop is the town of Haileybury. The proximity of Haileyburg to Cobalt made it a popular site for settlement as a result of the Cobalt silver boom, and the Haileybury Heritage Museum located on Main street puts the history of the town on display. However, one big part of Haileyburg’s history is that it was the town where Leslie McFarlane grew up—the man most known for authorship of the Hardy Boys books—and you can explore the town that helped to inspire the well-known fiction series. Also located in the town is the Temiskaming Art Gallery, where local folk art and Indigenous art, as well as travelling exhibitions, can be admired. The creative culture of Northeastern Ontario is not to be missed.
You could probably stop in any town along with the map in Northeastern Ontario, and find a collection of art and artifacts expressing the local culture and recalling the local history—and it would be a new experience every time. The Northeastern Ontario landscape is as rich in culture as it is in natural resources, and it's just waiting to be explored.