Traveling to the Extreme

I’ve found my Schitt’s Creek aka Manitouwadge! Last month, I traveled to the extreme North, or 12 hours from where I live, to the other side of Lake Superior. I wanted to know if it was true. Could I buy a house in this town for less than $50K?

When I arrived, I learned way more than what you could find on Google.

Manitouwadi is an Ojibway word meaning “Cave of Great Spirit”. Legend has it that Manitou, the mighty spiritual father, made camp in the area one night. The following morning he was so filled with a sense of well-being that he created the lakes, hills, iron, lead, and zinc deposits and forests. When finished, he was extremely pleased with his work and so, to commemorate his stay, he names the place Manitouwadge, literally meaning “Lodge of the Great Spirit.”

A second legend dating back tot he 1800s suggest that it was a young brave who discovered the hidden lakes. Upon entering the eastern end of the lake, he shouted and was startled to hear his voice echo back to him. He quickly returned to his companions, telling them he had discovered the Wadge of the Great Spirit. From then on the lake was known as Manitouwadge – Cave of Great Spirit.

One item, I did know was that Manitouwadge is considered a mining town. There have been several staking claims throughout the years.

In the summer of 1953 three Geraldton prospects staked a claim in the Maintouwadge area and by October Geco Mines Ltd. was incorporated. This began one of the biggest staking rushes in Canadian history. By March 1954, more than 5,000 claims were staked and it wasn’t long before the ground had been staked solid for 25 miles east to west from the original Geco discovery.

Between the years of 1953 and 1977 there were other small mining operations and surveys that produced smaller amounts of ore concentrates. These include: Lunch Echo Gold Mines, Wilecho Mines Ltd., and Big Nama Creek Operations.

In an attempt to shine new light on this old mining town, Manitouwadge has created a new brand focused on tourism and leveraging its natural surroundings.

“Play in the extreme” summarizes the community’s new identity and commitment to cultivating its tourism potential. The first rush was for gold but today you can come for the pure adrenaline. Unspoiled wilderness, breathtaking scenery and pristine lakes…it’s exhilaration in the extreme.

Hiking is available from one extreme to another. A variety of trails and challenges range from gentle paths that meander through the lush forest floor to rugged exhausting excursions that will test the limits of any expert.

Flowing rivers allow canoe lovers to travel through our great forests and wilderness. There is a multitude of picturesque sites to be appreciated, many of them unseen by the majority because of their remote and isolated locations.

Manitouwadge is located at the hub of our regional TOPS Snowmobile Trail System and the heart of the Superior Snow Challenge Loop. There are four main trails leading into Manitouwadge, with over 1000 km of groomed trails in the surrounding area.

With a population of 2000 Manitouwadge is a model, progressive community in every sense of the word with an infrastructure that has been designed to accommodate future growth and expansion.

Three school boards serve the township of Manitouwadge and the community boasts a modern, well-equipped high school completed in 1998. Thirty-five percent of the population speaks French so education at all levels is available.

Opened in 1996, our hospital has 18 beds and offers a number of outpatient services. Twenty-four hour emergency services include air ambulance transfer, helicopter first response capability and off-road rescue in both official languages.

There is a municipal 9-hole golf course with full club house facilities. Canada’s fist lake side driving range, campground facilities for trailers and tents, water skiing, tennis courts and a recreation centre with an outdoor swimming pool and a great fitness centre.

The town also offers separate curling and ice rink facilities, the Kiwis Ski Hill Chalet with 3,480 meters of groomed trails and over eight runs and a vertical drop of 94 meters, plus miles of cross country ski trails.

Now, last I checked they already have 3 feet of snow so traveling to the extreme in the extreme will have to wait until the spring. But, I’m really looking forward to experiencing more of what this little unique town has to offer.

Glasses from $9

Richelle Sibolboro
Richelle Sibolboro

Design strategist and content creator for hire with a passion for arts and culture specifically in design, architecture, and travel. She has produced content for designboom, Azure magazine, Open City Projects, Digifest, and World Design Weeks. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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