Cochrane, Ontario: A Hidden Gem in Northern Ontario

Nestled in the heart of Northern Ontario, Cochrane is a small town with a big personality. Known for its natural beauty, friendly locals, and rich history, Cochrane is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors and experience the charm of small-town Canada.


Cochrane is home to a variety of attractions that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Here are just a few of the must-see sights in the area:

  • Polar Bear Habitat: This unique facility is the only one of its kind in the world, offering visitors the chance to get up close and personal with polar bears in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Heritage Village: Step back in time and explore the history of Cochrane and the surrounding area at this living history museum, which features a variety of historic buildings and exhibits.
  • Tim Horton Event Centre: This state-of-the-art facility is home to a variety of sports and entertainment events throughout the year, including hockey games, concerts, and more.
  • Cochrane Railway Station: This historic train station is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of rail travel in Canada. Visitors can explore the station and learn about the important role it played in the development of the region.

Natural Wonders

Cochrane is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Canada. Here are just a few of the natural wonders that visitors can explore in the area:

  • Lake Commando: This pristine lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and swimming in the summer months.
  • Abitibi River: The Abitibi River is a great spot for canoeing and kayaking, with plenty of scenic spots to stop and take in the natural beauty of the area.
  • Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat Trail: This scenic trail winds through the forest surrounding the Polar Bear Habitat, offering visitors the chance to see a variety of wildlife and enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Cochrane Waterfront Trail: This paved trail runs along the shore of Lake Commando, offering stunning views of the lake and the surrounding landscape.

Festivals and Events

Cochrane is home to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating everything from the town's rich history to its natural beauty. Here are just a few of the must-see events in the area:

  • Cochrane Winter Carnival: This annual event celebrates the joys of winter with a variety of outdoor activities, including ice skating, snowshoeing, and more.
  • Cochrane Summerfest: This popular festival features live music, food vendors, and a variety of family-friendly activities.
  • Polar Bear Express: This historic train ride takes visitors on a scenic journey through the wilderness surrounding Cochrane, with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way.


Cochrane was founded in 1908 by the Ontario Northland Railway, which was looking to establish a new town along its rail line. The town was named after Francis Cochrane, who was the Minister of Railways and Canals at the time. Cochrane was officially incorporated as a town in 1910, and has been an important hub for transportation and industry in Northern Ontario ever since.


Whether you're looking to explore the great outdoors, learn about the history of Northern Ontario, or simply relax and enjoy the charm of small-town Canada, Cochrane has something for everyone. With its friendly locals, stunning natural scenery, and rich history, Cochrane is a hidden gem that is just waiting to be discovered.


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