Ignace, Ontario Canada

Ignace, Ontario: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Ignace, Ontario is a charming township nestled in the Kenora District of Northwestern Ontario, Canada. It is strategically located at the intersection of Highway 17 (Trans Canada Highway) and Secondary Highway 599, and lies on the Canadian Pacific Railway between Thunder Bay and Dryden. The township is situated on the picturesque shore of Agimak Lake and as of 2016, was home to 1,202 residents.

The Historical Roots of Ignace, Ontario

The town of Ignace was named in honor of Ignace Mentour by Sir Sandford Fleming in 1879. Mentour was a key Indigenous guide who led Fleming through this region during his 1872 railway survey, which was documented in George Monro Grant's journal, Ocean to Ocean. Mentour also served with Sir George Simpson during Simpson's final years as governor of Rupert's Land.

In the early days of Ignace, a unique settlement of railway boxcars, known as "Little England", was established by the English residents. Despite being incorporated in 1908, Ignace was somewhat late in adopting modern conveniences, such as the rotary dial telephone, which only arrived in the town in 1956.

Ignace, Ontario: A Hub for Forestry and Tourism

Today, the economy of Ignace, Ontario is primarily supported by forestry and tourism. One of the town's main attractions is the three-storey log White Otter Castle. This impressive structure, located on White Otter Lake at Turtle River, was built by James Alexander McOuat between 1903 and 1914.

Ignace is also one of two Ontario communities being considered as a potential deep geological repository site for Canada's used nuclear fuel. Initial borehole drilling and core sample testing are currently being conducted in the Revell Batholith, a rock formation located south of Highway 17, about 35 kilometres west of Ignace.

Media in Ignace, Ontario

In the 1950s, Ignace's first newspaper, the Village Tattler, was established to serve the town. It was published by the local YMCA. In 1971, Dennis Smyk started the Ignace Driftwood, which was suspended two years later, but was revived in 1979 and ran until 2018. During Driftwood's suspension, the Ignace Courier was published for the town's local news.

Demographics of Ignace, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Ignace had a population of 1,206 living in 551 of its 664 total private dwellings, a slight increase of 0.3% from its 2016 population of 1,202. With a land area of 72.13 km2 (27.85 sq mi), it had a population density of 16.7/km2 (43.3/sq mi) in 2021.

Historic populations of Ignace, Ontario are as follows:

  • Population in 2016: 1,202 (unchanged from 2011)
  • Population in 2011: 1,202 (-16.0% from 2006)
  • Population in 2006: 1,431 (-16.3% from 2001)
  • Population in 2001: 1,709 (-4.1% from 1996)
  • Population in 1996: 1,782 (-7.9% from 1991)
  • Population in 1991: 1,935