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Kirkland Lake

Kirkland Lake
Town (single-tier)
Town of Kirkland Lake
Aerial view of Kirkland Lake
Aerial view of Kirkland Lake
Nickname(s): The Mile of Gold, Hub of the North, The Right Environment, Hockeytown, KL[1]
Kirkland Lake is located in Ontario
Kirkland Lake
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Timiskaming
Established 1919 (Township of Teck)
Incorporated 1972 (Town)
 • Mayor Tony Antoniazzi
 • Town Council
 • MPs Charlie Angus (NDP)
 • MPPs John Vanthof (ONDP)
 • Total 262.54 km2 (101.37 sq mi)
Elevation 243 m (797 ft)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 8,493
 • Density 32.3/km2 (84/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal Code FSA P2N
Area code(s) 705

Kirkland Lake is a town and municipality located in Timiskaming District in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. The 2011 population, according to Statistics Canada, was 8,493.[3]

The community name was based on a nearby lake which in turn was named after Winnifred Kirkland, a secretary of the Ontario Department of Mines in Toronto. The lake was named by surveyor Louis Rorke in 1907.[4] Ms Kirkland never visited the town, and the lake that bore her name no longer exists because of mine tailings. The community comprises Kirkland Lake, as well as Swastika, Chaput Hughes and Harvey Kirkland.

Kirkland Lake was built on gold, but it is equally as well known for producing world-famous hockey players. Indeed, legendary hockey broadcaster Foster Hewitt called Kirkland Lake "the town that made the NHL famous", likely because in the early days of the NHL, it was not uncommon to find an NHLer from the town. The town celebrates this tradition at the Hockey Heritage North museum.

Until January 1, 1972, the town was known as Township of Teck. A by-law was introduced, on July 20, 1971 to change the name of the municipality to Town of Kirkland Lake, effective January 1, 1972.[5]


  • History 1
  • Geography and ecology 2
  • Climate 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Economy 5
  • Education 6
  • Healthcare 7
  • Transportation 8
  • Tourism and festivals 9
    • Homecoming Week 9.1
    • Winter Carnival 9.2
  • Media 10
    • Radio 10.1
    • Television 10.2
  • Notable people 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway station in Kirkland Lake, 1920
Government Road, c. 1920

In order to maximize taxation revenue from existing and potential mines in the area, the six square mile Municipal Corporation of the Township of Teck was formed with Wellington J. McLeod as the first reeve in 1919.[6] Their first task was the establishment of public utilities, including roads and water pipes, in the rapidly growing area.[7] Kirkland Lake had numerous mines, in the early years, including the Teck-Hughes (1917–1968), Lake Shore (1918–1968), Kirkland Minerals (1919–1960), Wright-Hargreaves (1921–1965), Sylvanite (1927–1961), Tough-Oakes-Burnside (later Toburn) (1913–1953), and Macassa Mine (1933–1999).

Early in the Second World War gold production in the area decreased due to personnel being lost to more essential war industries. In 1942, gold mining was declared a non-essential industry to the war effort which resulted in gold mines across the country being at a lower priority for personnel and supplies relative to producers of base metals. After the war, local soldiers returned to the newly created Federal area in the northern section of the town.[8] The Kirkland Lake Cemetery is a member of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is the location of the graves of 12 soldiers, and 3 airmen of the Canadian forces who died during the Second World War.[9]

Kirkland Lake's first fire hall was established in 1935 and the second fire hall in 1955.

In 1963 the open pit Adams Mine began developing its iron ore resources. The mine would stay in production until 1990.

The Kirkland Lake Community Complex, now the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex, opened in 1979. In the early eighties, LAC Minerals reopened the main shaft of the Lake Shore Mine and worked it from 1982 to 1987 to extract pockets of gold that had been left behind. Between 1987 and 1991 Vancouver based Eastmaque Gold Mines reprocessed tailings, or "slimes", from early inefficient mill operations, extracting 70,000 ounces of gold.[10]

Between October and December 1988, Kirkland Lake was the filming location for the drama film Termini Station.[11]

On the morning of Sunday, May 20, 2012, a forest fire was discovered about 3 kilometres north of Kirkland Lake, which grew to 2,757 hectares, by the afternoon of May 21, causing a state of emergency to be declared. Residential and cottage areas on Goodfish Lake and Nettie Lakes and one street in Chaput Hughes were evacuated that afternoon. Kirkland Lake Gold and AuRico Gold, have suspended operations due to fire damage to power lines and local schools were closed.[12] On May 29, the state of emergency was lifted, as the fire was determined to be no longer a threat to Kirkland Lake, although it was not yet under control.[13]

On December 18, 2012, the town council voted to have fluoride removed from the local water treatment facility, after a breakdown left the town with a bill of $360,000.[14]

Geography and ecology

Kirkland Lake is located at at an altitude of 243 metres (797 ft) above sea level and has an area of 262.54 km2 (101.37 sq mi) including the townships of Teck, Bernhardt and Morrisette.[15]

Kirkland Lake is nestled in the resource rich Precambrian Shield, the oldest geological formation on the planet. Nearby is the Arctic Watershed. Waters flowing south of this height of land (318 meters above sea level) flow into the Saint Lawrence River and on to the Atlantic Ocean. North of this point, all waters flow into Hudson Bay and on to the Arctic Ocean.

Noticeable local landmarks include Mount Cheminis, rising 500 meters above sea level, and many small kettle lakes, scraped out of the rock during the last Ice Age and filled with clear water.

Black spruce, jack pine, trembling aspen, white birch, white spruce, balsam poplar, and balsam fir are the dominant trees in the area. A prominent forest form in this part of the black spruce distribution is the black spruce/feathermoss climax forest, which characteristically exhibits moderately dense canopy and features a forest floor of feathermosses.[16] Moose, beaver, muskrat, snowshoe hare, as well as numerous predators roam this area, including marten, ermine, fisher, otter, black bear, wolf, and lynx. The many wetlands and lakes support a diversity of bird species, such as great blue herons, ducks, geese, and that symbol of the north, the common loon. Ground and tree dwelling birds are also plentiful, including grouse, partridge, robins, blue jays, and gray jays as well as birds of prey such as hawks.


Kirkland Lake enjoys four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn offer a mix of warm sunny days and crisp, cool nights. Summers are comfortably warm, with dry air and temperatures reaching into the mid-20 degree Celsius range (mid 70s' Fahrenheit). Winter temperatures may seem brisk, but high winds and high humidity are rare, allowing residents to take full advantage of outside recreational activities.

Climate data for Kirkland Lake
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.0
Average high °C (°F) −10.7
Daily mean °C (°F) −17.1
Average low °C (°F) −23.4
Record low °C (°F) −47
Average precipitation mm (inches) 66.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 1.9
Average snowfall cm (inches) 64.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 14.8 10.3 10.1 8.6 11.4 13.3 13.8 13.2 14.9 14.2 13.8 15.8 154.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.28 0.36 1.8 5.5 11.0 13.3 13.8 13.2 14.8 12.3 3.6 0.76 90.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 14.6 10.1 8.9 4.0 0.81 0.08 0 0 0.17 2.5 10.5 15.1 66.8
Source: Environment Canada.[17]


Kirkland Lake is the ninth largest community in Northern Ontario. Over the past 25 years, the population has declined by nearly 30%, from 12,000 in 1986. This decline, reflecting the closing of the mines that were historically the largest employers in the town, has slowed in recent times. However, between the 2001 census and 2006 census, the population fell by 4.3%, the 24th highest decline in Canada. The 2011 census revealed an increase of 3.0% to 8,493 residents after its originally published 2011 population of 8,133 was corrected by Statistics Canada.[3]

Canada 2006 Census Population % of Total Population
Visible minority group
South Asian 10 0.1
Chinese 25 0.3
Black 40 0.5
Filipino 15 0.2
Non-white Latin American (Statistics Canada does not consider white Latin Americans to be visible minorities) 0 0
Southeast Asian 0 0
Other visible minority 0 0
Total visible minority population 90 1.1
Aboriginal group
First Nations 185 2.3
Métis 260 3.2
Inuit 0 0
Total Aboriginal population 460 5.7
White 7,480 93.2
Total population 8,030 100


The Miners' Memorial in Kirkland Lake.

The top employers of locals are (As of 2009):[19]

Company Sector Employees
Kirkland Lake Gold Mining >900 (2013)
District School Board Ontario North East Education 180
Veterans Affairs Canada Federal Government 180
Town of Kirkland Lake Municipal Government 145
Kirkland and District Hospital Healthcare 140
Association for Community Living Healthcare 110
Extendicare Healthcare 100
Cabo Drilling Mining 75
Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology Education 75
MacIntyre and Associates Mining Contractor 70
McLellan Transportation Transportation 65
Northeastern Catholic District School Board Education 53
Ontario Provincial Police Law 51
Rosko Forestry Forestry 50
Pettenuzzo's Your Independent Grocer Grocer 50
Timiskaming Child and Family Services Healthcare 45
Siemens Electrical repair 40
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Government 35
Rosko Sawmill Forestry 25

The town went through a period of economic decline towards the end of the last century, with the closing of the original mines. That ended in 2001, when Foxpoint Resources (now Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. or KLG) bought five of the mining claims in the town and began intensive exploration work. KLG successfully resuscitated the local mining scene, finding new zones of mineralization that, combined with the steadily increasing price of gold, turned the town around. Today, Kirkland Lake is probably one of the most successful communities of its size in Northern Ontario. Some of the more recent developments include:

  • Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. continues to expand its operations. Since December 2002, the company’s confirmed gold reserves have increased by 160% to 2,022,000 tons with an average grade of 0.46 ounces per ton containing a total of 927,000 ounces of gold. In 2003, the Company started a $21 million, 3-year exploration program targeted at adding 15,000,000 tons of ore to reserves and resources. Currently, over 500 personnel are directly or indirectly employed at the mine site. Based on today’s resources, the mine has a 12-15 year life span. A recently announced $16 million expansion in its exploration activities is already paying dividends. The mine recently announced the discovery of the richest ore veins ever found in the history of the Kirkland Lake camp, a move which will significantly increase the mine’s life span.
  • While the forestry industry has been hard hit across Canada, the impact on Kirkland Lake has been mitigated by the conversion of the existing Tembec Forest Products Group's Kenogami sawmill into a value-added centre for the manufacturing of finger-jointed lumber. The new centre, located on the outskirts of KL, opened in July 2006. It will employ between 70 and 92 workers. Under an innovative Public-Private partnership, the municipality is working with Rosko Forestry Operations to establish a specialty sawmill in the Archer Drive Industrial Park that will sell into the Canadian market.
  • The local tourism industry has provided a much needed depth to the local economy. Star attractions include the Museum of Northern History at the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau, the Miners' Memorial,[20] and Hockey Heritage North[21] (an 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) interactive facility telling the story of hockey in the north). Upcoming attractions include a refurbishment of the historical Toburn Headframe. Event based tourism is also strong. Some of the most popular draws include a drag racing event in the summer and a national snow cross racing event in the winter.

These good news stories are supplemented by a number of developments occurring regionally that will have a positive impact because KL is the economic hub of the north Timiskaming District, and so the primary supplier of products, people and services to regional activities. For example:

  • The steady increase in the price of gold has brought a number of other mining projects to the feasibility stage. Queenston Mining Inc. announced promising results at its Upper Beaver Properties. Northgate Minerals has poured over $20 million into exploration work and is moving ahead with mining operations at its Young-Davidson properties near Matachewan. According to the company, this site has the potential to produce 150,000 ounces of gold per year for a decade. In addition, more finds are coming online because of the Discover Abitibi mineral exploration program.
  • Tres-Or Resources Ltd. continues to return high quality results from its diamond exploration efforts southwest of Kirkland Lake. The richness of the finds, the large size of the host kimberlite pipes, plus expected low mine construction and operating costs in the area indicate a very positive future in this wholly new area of economic activity. Exploration continues. If more kimberlite structures are found, and the price of diamonds increases as expected, a mine could be in the making within 10 years.

Through the 1990s, one of the town's dominant political and economic controversies surrounded a proposal to ship Toronto's garbage to the Adams Mine, an abandoned open pit mine in Boston Township just outside of Kirkland Lake.

Kirkland Lake is also self-sufficient when it comes to power production with a generator that produces up to 117MW.

Kirkland Lake also has a shopping mall with stores including Ardene, Box Office Entertainment and The Source by Circuit City, Carlton Cards, Dollarama, easyhome, Hart Stores, North Shore Outfitters, ReMax and Warehouse One.[22]


Kirkland Lake has two secondary schools, each catering to a different language group: the École Catholique Jean Vanier, a French Catholic school; and the Kirkland Lake District Composite School, an English secondary school also featuring French immersion instruction (opened in 2006; from 1923 - 2006 students attended Kirkland Lake Collegiate and Vocational Institute, also known as KLCVI).

Elementary schools in Kirkland Lake include Central Public School (French immersion, public), Federal Public School (English, public), Sacred Heart School, (French immersion and English, Catholic), St. Jerome School (French immersion and English, Catholic), and Ecole Assomption (French, Catholic).

The community is also home to a campus of the Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology.

Northern College offers one-, two- and three-year programs in the fields of technology, business, human services, health and emergency services and veterinary sciences. Northern also offers post-diploma, apprenticeship, skills and job re-entry programs funded by the federal and provincial governments. The College also provides job related training. This includes providing the facilities for the delivery of third party programs, or the development of courses to meet the needs of a company.

Kirkland Lake also includes the Teck Centennial Public Library.


The Kirkland and District Hospital serves the area.


Kirkland Lake is served by Ontario Northland bus and railway services (with the train station located in Swastika)[23] and the Kirkland Lake Airport[24] as well as local transportation for people with disabilities[25] and local taxi services as well as connections to the Timmins/Victor M. Power Airport and Rouyn-Noranda Airports.[26] Transportation is also provided to senior citizens and persons with disabilities, through Timiskaming Home Support, which is funded by the North East Local Health Integration Network.[27]

Tourism and festivals

Kinross Pond sign
Kinross Pond

The Kirkland Lake area continues to support a strong tourist industry throughout the year. The summers are met with a number of anglers, hunters, and campers looking for adventure. Winters are especially popular as a result of the well maintained snow mobile trails in the area. There are also a number of tourist destinations in the area, including the recently developed Hockey Heritage North. It also has a strong community built on music. Local attractions include:

  • Hockey Heritage North.
  • Kirkland Lake Miners' Memorial.
  • Blueberry Festival - an annual summer event at Esker Lakes Provincial Park.
  • Toburn Mine - This mine was the first producing mine in Kirkland Lake and the old headframe is a recognized cultural asset.[28]
  • Wright-Hargreaves Park - Site of the former Wright-Hargreaves mine that used to be one of the most productive and deepest gold mines in the world.[28]
  • Homecoming Week - during the week of Canada Day (July 1st).[29]
  • Winter Carnival - beginning in mid-February.[30]

Homecoming Week

The Kirkland Lake Festivals Committee hosts an annual homecoming week during the week of Canada Day. The event has received Top 100 Festival rankings by Festivals & Events Ontario. Many former residents return home for the celebrations. The 2015 Homecoming Week was held from June 24-July 1 and included two live shows by The Tragically Hip plus a Down With Webster concert featuring special guests Tyler Shaw & Bellwoods.

Other events included free Canada Day celebrations, free kids events, a BMX, skateboard & scooter extreme park competition, a local food fair, free kids matinees, splash park events, an extreme frisbee competition, golf tournaments, A day in the park at the Toburn Mine site, an ATV-UTV poker rally, fireworks and more.

Past Homecoming Week concerts have included:

2015: The Tragically Hip. Down With Webster, Tyler Shaw & Bellwoods

2014: Simple Plan & Faber Drive. Colin James & Downchild Blues Band

2013: Hedley, Suzie McNeil & Eleven Past One. Blue Rodeo, David Usher & Devin Cuddy

2012: Marianas Trench & Carly Rae Jepsen. The Trews & The Sheepdogs. 54-40 & Serena Ryder

2011: Down With Webster & Stereos. Sam Roberts Band & Bedouin Soundclash

2010: Terri Clark & Jimmy Rankin. Lou Gramm (of Foreigner)

2009: Tom Cochrane & Serena Ryder

2008: Trooper, Teenage Head & Suzie McNeil

2007: David Wilcox & Alannah Myles

2006: Jeff Healey

Winter Carnival

The Kirkland Lake Festivals Committee hosts an annual winter carnival beginning in mid-February. With 18 days of events each year, Kirkland Lake's Winter Carnival is one of Canada's longest winter carnivals. Festivals and Events Ontario has honoured the event with multiple Top 100 Festival awards.

The 2015 Kirkland Lake Winter Carnival ran from February 12 to March 1. Annual carnival events include the AuRico Gold $50,000 Ice Fishing Derby, Rotary Hockey Tournament, the Stars of Pop kids concert, the CJKL-FM Carnival Queen Fashion Show & Crowning, 3 nights of Kabaret, the Kirkland Lake Skating Club's Ice Show, fireworks, free sleigh rides, a comedy night, free skating parties, a magic show, free kids matinees and the NorthernTel Kids Carnival on the Family Day holiday.

Several prominent Canadian music stars have performed during Kirkland Lake's Winter Carnival including:

2015: The Sheepdogs, Nikki Yanofsky, Alyssa Reid & Virginia to Vegas

2014: Classified, Bruce Cockburn & David Wilcox

2013: Shawn Desman & Anjulie, Ron Sexsmith, Platinum Blonde with Annie "Holly" Woods & Toronto

2012: Steven Page (of Barenaked Ladies), Kim Mitchell & Bobby Bazini

2011: April Wine, The Trews & An Evening of Sinatra

2010: Chantal Kreviazuk

2009: Lunch At Allen's & The Fab Four

2008: Colin James

2007: The Stampeders

2006: Jim Cuddy

2005: Amy Sky

2004: Tom Cochrane


The city's primary newspaper is Northern News. Formerly a daily paper, Northern News now publishes three times per week.



The town is served by rebroadcasters of CITO-TV (CTV) and CBLT (CBC) which are officially licensed to the outlying community of Kearns.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "KL mines shine at mining competition". Northern News. Tim Creswell. 
  2. ^ "Census Profile: Kirkland Lake, Ontario (Code 3554068) and Timiskaming, Ontario (Code 3554)". 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Corrections and updates: Population and dwelling count amendments, 2011 Census". Statistics Canada. February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ Barnes, Michael (1995). Gold in Ontario. Erin, Ontario: The Boston Mills Press. p. 49.  
  5. ^ "Bylaws". Kirkland Lake Town Council. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  6. ^ Pain, S.A. (1960). Three Miles of Gold: The Story of Kirkland Lake. Toronto: The Ryerson Press. p. 63. 
  7. ^ "Kirkland Lake A historical perspective" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  8. ^ Barnes, Michael. "Life in Kirkland Lake during World War II". Gold in Kirkland Lake. General Store Publishing House. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  9. ^ "KIRKLAND LAKE (KIRKLAND) CEMETERY". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  10. ^ Barnes, Michael (1995). Gold in Ontario. Erin, Ontario: The Boston Mills Press. pp. 55, 56.  
  11. ^ "Termini Station". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  12. ^ "300 evacuate forest fire in Kirkland Lake".  
  13. ^ "Kirkland Lake no longer under state of emergency".  
  14. ^ "Kirkland Lake flushes fluoride from drinking water".  
  15. ^ "Municipal Government Structure". Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  16. ^ C. Michael Hogan PhD (2008-11-24). "Black Spruce: Picea mariana". GlobalTwitcher. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  17. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000". Environment Canada. 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  18. ^ a b "Pickering, Ontario (City) Census Subdivision". Community Profiles,  
  19. ^
  20. ^ "History of Kirkland Lake". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  21. ^ "Hockey Heritage North". Hockey Heritage North. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  22. ^ "KL Mall directory". Kirkland Lake Mall. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  23. ^ "Getting Around". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  24. ^ "Local Government". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  25. ^ "Community Services". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  26. ^ "Community Profile". Town of Kirkland Lake. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  27. ^ "Accessible Transportation". Timiskaming Home Support. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  28. ^ a b Economic Development Division, Town of Kirkland Lake, Kirkland Lake Visitor's Guide, 2009
  29. ^ "Kirkland Lake Homecoming Week". Kirkland Lake Festivals Committee. Retrieved July 2014. 
  30. ^ "Winter Carnival". Kirkland Lake Festivals Committee. Retrieved July 2014. 

External links

  • Town of Kirkland Lake website
  • Images of Kirkland Lake on Panoramio
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