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Kirkland Lake History

Early History

In comparison with other towns in Ontario, Canada, Kirkland Lake is relatively young. It was founded in 1911, when Ed Hargreaves and William Wright discovered rich deposits of gold while hunting for rabbits. At that time, they could hardly imagine how significant their discovery was! Shortly after this event, miners from different parts of Canada and the United States started to come to Kirkland Lake to search for gold. Over just a couple of decades, Kirkland Lake became one of the top mining towns in Canada.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Kirkland Lake saw active development of its economy and infrastructure. Roads and infrastructure were built, rules were created to govern the community, and new residents were coming to the new town in search of a better future. By 1940, the population of Kirkland Lake reached 24,200, around of 20% of who worked in the mines.

Until the second half of the 20th century, mining remained Kirkland Lake’s top economic sector. However, due to the falling gold prices and increased production cost, mines started to close down, including the Toburn mine (1953), Sylvanite (1961), Lake Shore (1965), and Macassa (1999). By 1996, the population of Kirkland Lake dropped to 9,905, and mining was facing a period of stagnation.

Kirkland Lake entered a new growth phase in 2001, when Foxpoint Resources undertook an intensive exploration program of the old mines. New mining operations began and gold prices were on the increase. Foxpoint Resources (now called Kirkland Lake Gold Inc.) manages to successfully find new zones of gold deposits and continues to expand its mining operations in Kirkland Lake.

The town of Kirkland Lake was built on gold, however, it is also well-known for producing famous hockey players. There are over forty hockey players who achieved remarkable success, including Dick Duff, Mickey Redmond, Ralph Backstrom, the Plager brothers, and many more.

Kirkland Lake in 1920
Kirkland Lake in 1920

Latest History

In the 21st century, Kirkland Lake is an active gold mining town with over eight thousand residents. But it is not only gold mining that makes the area attractive. The charm of Kirkland Lake makes any travel enthusiast excited to learn more about the history of this town, as well as its people. Be sure to check out Museum of Northern History, Sir Harry Oakes Chateau, and the Miners’ Memorial to get an insight into Kirkland Lakes’ colorful history!