History of the Trans-Canada #17 from Ignace to Thunder Bay, Ontario



Mamigwess Lake, near Ignace In 1924, Atikokan highway (from Fort William) opens for traffic, providing access to mining, lumbering and tourist areas. The original routing of Highway 17 travelled into Port Arthur along the Dawson Road, now Highway 102.

In 2016, Little Firesteel River Bridge replaced, west of Upsala

In 2018, planned Revell curve realignment (for 4 kilometres) west of Hwy 622, west of Ignace

Ignace welcome sign

Highway Rock Cuts

About 9 km east of Ignace, you will pass through some rock cuts. The sand, gravel and rock through which the highway cuts here belong to the Hartmann moraine, piled up by a glacier 10,000 years ago. Many 01 the stones In the soil are rounded and smooth as a result of glacial action.

Atlantic Watershed at Raith

Large river, near Ignace West of Raith is the division between the Central and Eastern time zones. A sign should tell you to move your watches an hour back or ahead (if you are travelling westward or eastward, respectively)

This spot also marks the boundary of the Atlantic Watershed: North of this watershed all flowing water eventually reaches Hudson Bay, while south of it all watercourses drain into the Great Lakes system, and the Atlantic.

There is a ridge of land following an erratic course for 2,200 kilometres across Ontario. A historical marker by the roadside stales: "This watershed was declared the inland boundary of the tract surrendered to the crown by Ojibwa Indians in the Robinson Superior Treaties of 1850. It was also widely considered to be the southern limit of Rupert's Land, the vast, ill-defined Hudson's Bay Company Territory transferred to Canada in 1870, and figured prominently In the Ontario-Manitoba boundary dispute of 1883-84."

At the point where one of the CNR and CPR rail lines diverge north of the Trans-Canada (driving westbound), you pass the historic Savanne Portage which extended from Lac du Mitieu to the Savanne River and formed part of the Kaministikwia canoe route, crossed the course of the present highway. The lakes and rivers of northwestern Ontario formed the viral arteries of the fur trade 300 years ago Druden - aerial view

Rock cuts east of Finmark

The rocks making up this outcrop are greenstones which, because of Intense folding due to lateral compression in the earth, now stand vertically with their eroded upturned edges exposed to view. Some of the greenstones are created by ancient basic lava flows, while others are agglomerates, fragmental materials resulting from explosive volcanism which in turn have accumulated as thick deposits between the lava outpourings. In other areas the greenstones are younger and contain valuable mineral deposits.

Kakabeka Falls and the Kamistokaia River

Kakabeka Falls The city of Thunder Bay traces its history back more than 300 years, when the French explorers Radisson and Groseilliers first visited the shores of Lake Superior. They were followed by other adventurers and traders, followed Du Luht, De Noyon, and La Verendrye, who explored the waters of the Kaministikwia, establishing forts and trading with the Indians. This led to the establishment of Fort William at the mouth of that river.

Kakabeka Falls are the point where the roaring waters of the Kaministikwia River plunge nearly 40 metres into the gorge below. "Kakabeka" is an Ojibwa word meaning ·'thundering waters".

Dawson Road Agricultural Belt

Kaministiqua River west f Thunder Bay In the mid·nineteenth century, it was silver fever that led to the establishment of Port Arthur, based on a rumor that the mother lode of gold and silver lay close to the old Sioux Trail. This drew prospectors from near and far, and around 1845 there were 30 properties discovered and producing in the area. They were soon joined by settlers from eastern Canada who helped to build the Dawson Road and cleared farms fronting on it

Dawson Road is the core of a thriving agricultural area, in marked contrast to the Boreal Forested to the west. Area dairy farmers have milk producers able to fully supply area's population of 120,000. The slightly acidic silt loam soils are also ideal for potato growing, aided by the long days of the growing season and comparative absence of insects and diseases. Forage crops are also grown to feed livestock, and produce eggs, beef, pork and lamb for local consumption.




Other Resources

Ignace to Thunder Bay itinerary Northern Ontario Highways Maps Southern Ontario Highways Maps History of Ontario Ministry of Transportation 50 Years of Trans-Canada

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