“Originally a fur trading and lumber settlement”
The history of the Rainy River Valley begins long before the arrival of European settlers. The regions First Nations heritage is a rich and beautiful one, still reflected in the generous Native communities and cultural sites where history and heritage come alive. The first Europeans arrived to trade furs with the local tribes, establishing the area as a future site of settlement.
When, in 1895, lumbermen established a lumber mill at the present location of the town, a community began to grow around it, the promise of international trade across the border drawing many. The community took on the name of the mill, known to all as Beaver Mills. With the building of a Roundhouse and the 1901 construction of the Canadian National Railways (CNR) bridge to span the wide river, the future of this blossoming community was bright. By 1904, the township of Rainy River was officially born.
Like much of Canada, the community grew even further with the arrival of the CNR, acting as a vital centre for transportation and trade to both the Canadian east and south into the United States, even on to international markets. To this day, the railway is a defining symbol of this community that is celebrated through the 4008, a fully restored steam locomotive, and the railway museum inside a restored antique passenger car.
In addition to the river and the railway, Rainy River is also famed for another major transportation highlight: the terminus of Yonge Street (Hwy 11), the world longest street, which begins on the shores of Lake Ontario in downtown Toronto. In total, the street is over 1900 km long.
For more information on local Attractions, click here.
For a fascinating, more detailed history of the town, see “Rainy River: Our Town, Our Lives”, by Marg Thompson. One of the most exhaustive records of the regions history, the book also includes many historic photographs spanning more than 50 years.
For information on purchasing a copy of this interesting volume, contact :
Don Ricci, Box 533, Rainy River, ON, P0W 1L0