Espanola, Ontario Canada

Discover Espanola, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity

Espanola, Ontario, a town in Northern Ontario, Canada, is nestled in the Sudbury District. With a population of 4,996 according to the 2016 census, this town is situated on the Spanish River, approximately 70 kilometres west of downtown Sudbury. It is also located just south of the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 17. Espanola is renowned as the place where the first experimental rules for the sport of ringette were created in 1963. Today, it is considered "The Home of Ringette."

The Origin of Espanola, Ontario

The name "Espanola" dates back to the mid-18th century. According to a popular story, a First Nations Ojibwa tribe encountered a man who had travelled far from Spain. This man, named Frise Espagnol, married a local Anishinaabe (First Nations) woman and taught her and their children to speak Spanish. When French voyageurs and coureurs des bois discovered the settlement and heard fragments of Spanish spoken by the local natives, they remarked "Espagnole". This term was later anglicized to "Espanola", and the river was named the Spanish River.

Espanola, Ontario: A Company Town

Espanola was founded in the early 1900s as a company town for the employees of the Spanish River Pulp and Paper company, a subsidiary of the Mead Corporation. The town quickly expanded, boasting a hotel, school, and theatre. However, Espanola also witnessed one of the CPR's worst railway accidents on January 21, 1910, when a Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train derailed off a trestle 10 kilometres east of the town, resulting in 43 fatalities.

Recent History of Espanola, Ontario

Espanola was officially incorporated as a town on March 1, 1958. The town gained fame when the 1969 CBC Television series Adventures in Rainbow Country was filmed nearby. In 2001, a group of volunteers staged a fundraiser for the local hospital by attempting to set a world record for the world's longest ice hockey game. They played for over three days straight, successfully setting the record.

Demographics of Espanola, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Espanola had a population of 5,185 living in 2,304 of its 2,450 total private dwellings. This represented a change of 2.7% from its 2016 population of 5,048. Ethnically, Espanola is 87% European, 11.5% Indigenous, and 1.5% Visible Minority (mostly Chinese and South Asian).

Transportation in Espanola, Ontario

Espanola is served by Highway 6, which connects the town with communities to the south and reaches its land terminus at South Baymouth. The town was historically a station stop along the Algoma Eastern Railway (AER). In 2018, Ontario Northland announced a major service expansion west of Sudbury, which included Espanola. The town is also part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail for walking and cycling.

Public Services in Espanola, Ontario

Espanola is home to three primary schools and two secondary schools. In 1999, a modern recreation complex was constructed, replacing the aging arena and community swimming pool. Espanola also has a public library.

Espanola, Ontario in Popular Culture

Espanola is a pivotal location in The Marrow Thieves, a young adult novel written by Charlie Dimaline.