Elliot Lake

Unorganized North Algoma District Huron Shores Goulais and District
Elliot Lake
City of Elliot Lake
The city of Elliot Lake; the lake on the right
The city of Elliot Lake; the lake on the right
Elliot Lake is located in Ontario
Elliot Lake
Elliot Lake
Location in Ontario
Coordinates: 46°23′N 82°39′W / 46.383°N 82.650°W / 46.383; -82.650Coordinates: 46°23′N 82°39′W / 46.383°N 82.650°W / 46.383; -82.650
 • MayorDan Marchisella
 • Governing BodyElliot Lake City Council
 • Federal electoral districtAlgoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing
 • Provincial electoral districtAlgoma—Manitoulin
 • Land714.65 km2 (275.93 sq mi)
 • Total10,741
 • Density15.9/km2 (41/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern Standard Time (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern Daylight Time (EDT))
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)705
Highways Highway 108
Municipal rank: 325th in Canada

Elliot Lake is a city in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is north of Lake Huron, midway between the cities of Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie in the Northern Ontario region. Once dubbed the "uranium capital of the world," Elliot Lake has since diversified to a hub for forest harvesting, mine reclamation expertise, exporting glass awards and telescoping equipment for mining. Elliot Lake is now known as a place for affordable retirement living, waterfront cottage lots and as a four-season destination.


Prior to the settlement of the city, a seasonal Ojibwa village extended along the lake's shoreline near the present hospital.[2]

The town takes its name from the lake. There is no official record of origin of name; the earliest appearance is on the Dominion map of 1901. The townsite name was approved on August 14,1952. Elliot Lake was incorporated as a city in 1990.[3]

Uranium mining

The city was established as a planned community for the mining industry in 1955 after the discovery of uranium in the area, and named after the small lake on its northern edge. By the late 1950s, its population had grown to about 25,000.[4] It was originally incorporated as an improvement district. Geologist Franc Joubin and American financier Joseph Hirshhorn were instrumental in its founding. The principal mining companies were Denison Mines and Rio Algom. The population has varied with several boom-and-bust cycles from the 1950s to the 1990s, from a high of over 26,000 to a low of about 6,600.

By 1958 it was apparent that world production of uranium was far outstripping demand and Canadian producers received unofficial notice that US options on Canadian uranium production between 1962 and 1966 would not be exercised. This was confirmed in 1959.[5]

During the 1970s, federal plans for CANDU Reactors and Ontario Hydro's interest in atomic energy led the town, anticipating a population of 30,000, to expand again. However, by the early 1990s depleted reserves and low prices caused the last mines in the area to close.

Area uranium mines


In the years following the cessation of mining, the city looked elsewhere for its survival, finding some success promoting itself as a retirement community[4] and tourist destination. In the late 2000s, mineral exploration began taking place in the area by start-up miner Pele Mountain Resources.[7][8]

On June 23, 2012, part of a roof collapsed at Algo Centre Mall, sending metal and concrete debris crashing down through two floors of the shopping centre. The accident killed two people.[9] Pearson Plaza has sinced opened.

Health concerns

In 1974, uranium miners in Elliot Lake became alarmed about the high incidence of lung cancer and silicosis, and they went on strike over health and safety conditions.[10] The government appointed a Royal Commission to investigate health and safety in mines. Chaired by Professor James Ham, it became known as the Ham Commission.[11] According to University of Toronto history professor Laurel Sefton MacDowell in her 2012 article 'The Elliot Lake Uranium Miners’ Battle to Gain Occupational Health and Safety Improvements, 1950–1980', the health concerns over radiation in the local environment are perpetual, and must be monitored perpetually.[12]

Geography and environment

Elliot Lake seen from the Fire Tower Lookout

Situated on the Canadian Shield, the city is surrounded by dense forest, muskeg swamps, numerous lakes, winding rivers, and hills of Precambrian bedrock. The local forests are mixed deciduous and coniferous, with colourful displays in the autumn.

Local wildlife include moose, white-tailed deer, American black bear, beaver, loon, muskrat, otter, Canada goose, and lynx, to name but a few. Fish species include lake trout, speckled trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, pickerel (walleye), and sturgeon.

Since December 1990 the town has been home to the Elliot Lake Research Field Station, established by Laurentian University to investigate environmental radioactivity.

Acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has taken landscape pictures of uranium and nickel tailings during the mid-1990s, providing evidence of the after-effects to the ecosystem.




Relatively isolated, Elliot Lake is connected to the south only by Highway 108, a 30 km distance to Highway 17, also known as the Trans-Canada Highway. North of the city, Highway 639 extends for 24 kilometres to its terminus at Highway 546, an almost entirely unpopulated route used primarily as an access road to Mississagi Provincial Park and a few private wilderness recreation lodges. The Deer Trail Route, a part of the Ontario Tourist Route network, follows a circle consisting of Highways 17, 108, 639 and 546.

A 1991 study by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation proposed the extension of Highway 555 (Granary Lake Road) from Blind River to meet Spine Road in Elliot Lake, creating a new route which would reduce the length of a commute between the two communities by approximately 20 kilometres.[19] Although the ministry has announced no firm plans to construct the proposed road, Elliot Lake City Council passed a motion in August 2015 calling for the project's revival.[19]

Elliot Lake Municipal Airport has no regularly scheduled flights.

Elliot Lake Transit provides hourly bus service except on Sundays and statutory holidays.

Intercity motor coach service is provided by Ontario Northland.

Arts and culture

Local festivals include the Jewel in the Wilderness Festival, Heritage Weekend and the Elliot Lake Arts on the Trail festival.[20]

The city is home to Denison House, a hotel and convention facility located in the former corporate lodge of Denison Mines, and the Elliot Lake Mining and Nuclear Museum. Two community monuments, the Uranium Atom Monument downtown and the Miners Memorial Monument on Horne Lake, are also found in the city, as well as a scenic lookout at the former fire tower.

In 1975, Canadian musician Stompin' Tom Connors recorded "Damn Good Song for a Miner," about the city of Elliot Lake and its mining culture in the 1960s. Elliot Lake is also a prominent setting in Alistair MacLeod's award-winning novel No Great Mischief.

Tourist attractions

Mount Dufour ski hill


Current schools

Defunct postsecondary and adult schools




Martial Arts





Elliot Lake has one commercial radio station, which operates two transmitters due to signal deficiencies in parts of the city. All of its other radio services are rebroadcasters of stations from Sudbury.

Frequency Call sign Branding Format Owner Notes
FM 90.3 CBEC-FM CBC Radio One Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBCS-FM Sudbury
FM 94.1 CKNR-FM Moose FM Adult contemporary Vista Broadcast Group
FM 98.7 CKNR-FM-1 Moose FM Adult contemporary Vista Broadcast Group Additional transmitter due to signal deficiencies
FM 101.7 CBON-FM-5 Ici Radio-Canada Première Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBON-FM Sudbury
FM 102.5 CJTK-FM-3 KFM Christian music Eternacom Rebroadcaster of CJTK-FM Sudbury


OTA channel Call sign Network Notes
3 (VHF) CICI-TV-1 CTV Rebroadcaster of CICI-TV Sudbury

Elliot Lake was previously served by CBEC-TV, VHF channel 7, and CBLFT-TV-6, VHF channel 12, which rebroadcast the Toronto-based stations CBLT-DT (CBC Television) and CBLFT-DT (Ici Radio-Canada Télé), respectively. These rebroadcasters were shut down in 2012 due to budget cuts at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Print and web media

The Elliot Lake Standard is the city's newspaper, owned by Postmedia. In 2017, the Sault Ste. Marie-based company Village Media launched the news website elliotlaketoday.com.

The North Shore Bulletin is the city's bi-weekly advertising flyer, that also prints current news events.

People from Elliot Lake

See also


  1. ^ a b "Elliot Lake census profile". 2016 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  2. ^ Bélanger, Paul R. (15 October 2014). "History of Elliot Lake". Report of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry (PDF). Government of Ontario. p. 16. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  3. ^ Hamilton, William (1978). The Macmillan Book of Canadian Place Names. Toronto: Macmillan. p. 146. ISBN 0-7715-9754-1.
  4. ^ a b Clyde H. Farnsworth (Jun 3, 1996). "Elliot Lake Journal: Snug Retiree Haven Where Uranium Mine Stood". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Hunter, William D.G. (1962). "The Development of the Canadian Uranium Industry: An Experiment in Public Enterprise". The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science. Canadian Economics Association. 28 (3): 349. doi:10.2307/139666. JSTOR 139666.
  6. ^ Rio Algom Ltd (2001). "Elliot Lake Uranium Mine Site Reclamation: Information Package" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2009-01-28. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "Elliot Lake miner edges closer to uranium mine.". Northern Ontario Business, July 1, 2008.
  8. ^ Mawhiney, Anne-Marie; Pitblado, Jane, eds. (1999). Boom Town Blues: Elliot Lake: Collapse and Revival in a Single-Industry Community. Dundurn. ISBN 9781554881031.
  9. ^ "Elliot Lake mall searchers recover 2nd body from debris". CBC News. June 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  10. ^ Lopez-Pacheco, Alexandra (June–July 2014). "The strike that saved lives". CIM Magazine. Montreal, Canada. Retrieved 22 April 2020.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  11. ^ "Ontario's Work Laws". Government of Ontario. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  12. ^ McDowell, Laurel Sefton. "The Elliot Lake Uranium Miners' Battle to Gain Occupational Health and Safety Improvements, 1950–1980". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  13. ^ "Elliot Lake A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  14. ^ "Draft Community Profile – The City of Elliot Lake, ON" (PDF). Hardy Stevenson and Associates. July 17, 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  15. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  16. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  17. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  18. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Council considers old idea for new road" Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine. Elliot Lake Standard, August 5, 2015.
  20. ^ "Elliot Lake Arts On The Trail". Retrieved June 7, 2019.