Discover Hornepayne, Ontario: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Hornepayne, Ontario, a township in the Algoma District, is home to a population of 980 people according to the Canada 2016 Census. Established in 1915 as Fitzback, the town was renamed Hornepayne in 1920 after British financier Robert Horne-Payne.

The Rich History of Hornepayne, Ontario

First Nations people have lived in the Hornepayne area for centuries, with archaeological evidence such as potsherd fragments found around Lake Nagagamisis and the Shekak River. In the 19th century, they became involved in the fur trade and the mercantile activities of the Hudson's Bay Company. By the early 1900s, they consisted of three Cree families living at Lake Nagagamisis, along with a number of Ojibwe who were possibly originally from Heron Bay. With the opening of the railway, they abandoned their existing trading post on Lake Nagagamisis in 1926 for a new settlement on Shekak Lake, which was closer to the rail line. By the 1940s, many of them had moved to Hornepayne to work in the railway and timber industries based in the town. A number of their descendants are members of the Hornepayne First Nation, a member organization of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Hornepayne differs from a number of older Northern Ontario settlements due to its distance from major waterways, making it relatively inaccessible before the advent of rail transportation in the north. The townsite was originally surveyed in 1877, when possible routes for the Canadian Pacific Railway transcontinental mainline were being explored. Instead of Canadian Pacific, however, Hornepayne would become associated with the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR), one of several railways which were later amalgamated into the Canadian National Railways (CN) system during the 20th century.

The Geology of Hornepayne, Ontario

Hornepayne is situated in the Horseshoe of Rock, which forms the Pre-Cambrian area, which surrounds Hudson Bay. It is the oldest rock in the world, containing the famous Keewatin Greenstone. Massive Granite intrusions, of which Tank Hill to is a good example, is the predominant rock in the area. Greenstone can be found six miles north along highway 631 and in numerous bands along Government Lake Road.

The Climate of Hornepayne, Ontario

Hornepayne experiences a unique subarctic microclimate (Dfc) due to its elevation of 336 meters (1,101 feet) and location in Northern Ontario. Winters are long, snowy, and very cold for Ontario. Summers are generally warm with cool nights. Winter usually begins around Halloween, lasting through March and into April, though wintry days can sometimes be experienced even later in the season.

Demographics of Hornepayne, Ontario

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Hornepayne had a population of 968 living in 439 of its 515 total private dwellings, a change of -1.2% from its 2016 population of 980. With a land area of 203.04 km2 (78.39 sq mi), it had a population density of 4.8/km2 (12.3/sq mi) in 2021.

Transportation in Hornepayne, Ontario

Highway 631 runs through Hornepayne and connects it to Highway 11 in the north and Highway 17 at White River in the south, both of which are part of the Trans-Canada Highway system. Hornepayne is served by the Canadian, Canada's transcontinental passenger rail service, which is operated by Via Rail and stops at Hornepayne station. The town is also home to the Hornepayne Municipal Airport.

Hornepayne, Ontario in Popular Culture

Hornepayne has been home to several notable figures and has been featured in popular culture. Retired ice hockey players Mike McEwen and Goldie Goldthorpe were born in Hornepayne. Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations for NHL Kris King, was raised in Hornepayne. The town was also mentioned in Gordon Lightfoot's song "On the High Seas" and was featured on an episode of Survivorman with Les Stroud and a slew of NHL hockey players.