Red Rock-Nipigon River scene

Near Schreiber

The power lines and water tower west of Schreiber are part of a hydropower generating system, taking advantage water in the Aguasabon River (which crosses the highway west of Terrace Bay) diverted into Lake Superior from Long Lac, formerly flowing northward into the Albany River system. By international agreement, since 1939 this water diversion scheme was constructed (along with another, into Lake Nipigon) to increase the Canadian allocation of water for hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls.

Hays Lake

Work was halted on the highway 17’s progress easterly from Schreiber towards White River when World War II broke out in 1939, and was not resumed until 1947. By that time, Ontario Hydro had finalized plans to dam the Aguasabon River near Terrace Bay and flood the former river valley, to provide power for new industrial plants (pulp mills)  in the Terrace Bay area.  As a result, a 15 km section of Hwy 17 had to be realigned onto higher ground south of the enlarged lake. Some of the old 1930s alignment of Hwy 17 now sits on the bottom of Hays Lake.

rock Cut east of Thunder Bay

Rock cut just east of the Jackfish River

From the historic marker on the north side of the highway a steep-sided hill (cuesta) is visible. You can see alternating layers of red Sibley sandstone alternating with brick·red limestone and capped by a thick layer or “sill” of diabase, which is erosion-resistant. Fragments of Sibley have been found in the northern United States as a result of glacial movement. Below this stone Is another type of rock: granite. All three layers can be seen from a viewpoint 0.64 km east of here.
1930 era Ontario highway map

Rock Cut at Cavers Bay

At Cavers Bay a historic plaque describes the Precambrian Shield. A 4.5 m (13 ft) rock cut on the north side of the highway has some fine crystals of amethyst and fluorite. The veins in which they lie became exposed during rock blasting for highway construction. Amethyst, a semi-precious gem that is a clear purple or bluish violet variety of crystallized quartz. Fluorite is a transparent or translucent mineral in many colors, and is mostly calcium fluoride and is used in glass-making.

Other Highway improvements

Other work has been planned to upgrade the facilities of the Trans-Canada:

2016: rehabilitation of the Ozone Creek Bridge, replacement of the Gravel River Bridge, near Rossport east of Nipigon, and the replacement of the 208 metre long Pic River Bridge, east of Marathon  to be completed in 2022.

Terrace Bay Lighthouse2017: replacement of the two Pays Plat River Bridges, east of Nipigon, the Prairie River Bridge east of Terrace Bay, and the White Lake Narrows Bridge, east of Marathon 

2020: replacement of the 1948 Aguasabon River Bridge, crossing the Aguasabon River Gorge near Terrace Bay

2021: Black Sturgeon River to Red Rock Four-lane widening

2019: West of Ouimet CPR Overhead to Dorion East Loop Four-lane widening

2020: 11/17 -Hwy 587 to Pearl Creek Four-lane widening

2018: 11/17 – 5.0 km west of Hwy 587 easterly Four-lane widening

Viewpoint west of Steel River

pearl islands, west of Terrace BaySteel River has a high highway bridge and a railway bridge just tto the south with some lanf barely visible over the distant trees.  Just west of the Steel River, there are a series of rock cuts  as the highway climbs a hill, that provides good view of the Slate Islands in Lake Superior, on which there is a herd of about a hundred woodland caribou. On these islands the natural environment of the caribou has been disturbed logging operations and fire, just like on ‘the mainland by but the islands have no predators.

Neys Provincial Park

Trans-Canada Highway North Of Superior Around MarathonNeys Provincial Park, located west of Marathon,  has low sand dunes of sand blown up from the shore of Lake Superior, which happened several thousand years ago, before there was an extensive cover of trees and other. The Ice Age glaciers pulled back 10,000 years ago, but vegetation does not appear immediately, and the thick boreal forest covering the area today took thousands of years. The park was used during World War II as a camp for German prisoners of war. In summer, park naturalists offer an Interpretive program.

On a clear day, travellers get a good view of the area by driving up a rough gravel road, away from the park for about 5 km to a microwave tower on the top of the hill. There, you can see the direction in which the glacial ice moved across the rock by comparing the rounded (stoss) side of the outcrop to the angular (lee) side, from which fragments were plucked away as the ice sheets scraped in that direction.

Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map

Use mouse to drag/move map. Click on “+” or “” to zoom in or out. “Satellite” combines map & photo.