Elliot Lake

Elliot Lake

Elliot Lake, city (1991 pop. 14,089), S central Ont., Canada, W of Sudbury. The focus of a 1950s uranium-mining boom, it is now a retirement home center.

Elliot Lake (2006 population 11,549) is a city in northern Ontario, Canada, north of Lake Huron in the Algoma District, midway between the cities of Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.


Until the 1870s an Ojibwa village existed near the present hospital site on the lake's shoreline.

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. 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.

In 1959, the United States declared that it would buy no more uranium from Canada after 1962. 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. In the years since, the city looked elsewhere for its survival, finding some success promoting itself as a retirement community and tourist destination.


  • Stanleigh Mine (1956-1960 and 1982-1996), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 14 million tons of ore.
  • Spanish American Mine (1957-1959), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 430,000 tons of ore.
  • Can-Met Mine (1957-1960), operated by Denison Mines Ltd., produced 2.6 million tons of ore.
  • Milliken Mine (1957-1964), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 6.3 million tons of ore.
  • Panel Mine (1957-1961 and 1978-1990), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 15 million tons of ore.
  • Denison Mine (1957-1992), operated by Denison Mines Ltd., produced 69 million tons of ore.
  • Stanrock Mine (1958-1960 and 1964-1985), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 6.4 million tons of ore.
  • Quirke Mine(s) (1955-1961 and 1965-1990), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 44 million tons of ore.
  • Pronto Mine (1955-1970), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 2.3 million tons of ore.
  • Buckles Mine (1956-1960), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 276,000 tons of ore.
  • Lacnor Mine "Lake Nordic" (1956-1960), operated by Rio Algom Ltd., produced 3.4 million tons of ore.
  • Nordic Mine (1956-1970), operated by Denison Mines Ltd., produced 13 million tons of ore.

Geography and environment

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.


  • Average precipitation: 104.2 mm

Average Minimum Temperature
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
°C −17.7 −17.6 −11.1 −2.6 4.0 9.5 12.2 11.4 7.7 2.9 −3.9 −12.3 −0.8
°F 1.4 0.3 12.0 27.3 39.2 49.1 54.0 52.5 45.9 37.2 25.0 9.9 30.6

Average Maximum Temperature
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
°C −6.4 −5.2 0.8 8.2 15.9 21.5 25.0 22.3 17.7 11.9 3.0 −3.7 9.8
°F 20.5 22.6 33.4 46.8 60.6 70.7 74.5 72.1 63.9 53.4 37.4 25.3 49.6


Relatively isolated, Elliot Lake is only connected to the south by Highway 108, a 30 km distance to Highway 17, also known as the Trans-Canada Highway. Elliot Lake Municipal Airport has no regularly scheduled flights.

Elliot Lake Transit provides daily bus service on an hourly basis, with the exception of Sundays and statutory holidays.

Arts and culture

Local festivals include the Jewel in the Wilderness Festival, Heritage Weekend and the Deer Trail Studio Tour Arts Festival.

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.


Current Schools

Defunct Schools


  • Elliot Lake ATV Club
  • Stone Ridge Golf & Country Club
  • Mount Dufour Ski Area
  • OK Tire North Shore Challenge Drag Race
  • Mountain Bike Ontario Cup Race
  • The Jewel in the Wilderness Ontario Cup Road Race
  • Tri-it in the Wilderness Triathlon
  • Bell Ididarace Sled Dog Race
  • Deer Trail Scenic Touring Route



  • Elliot Lake Prestige
  • Elliot Lake Magnums
  • Elliot Lake Minor Fastball Association


  • Elliot Lake Girls Slow-pitch (Youth)
  • Elliot Lake Mixed Slow-pitch (Adult)
  • Elliot Lake Mixed Slow-pitch (Youth)


  • Elliot Lake United


  • Elliot Lake Aquatic Club (ELAC)




Elliot Lake has one commercial radio station, CKNR-FM, 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 or Timmins.

Print and web media

People from Elliot Lake


External links

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