Rock and Hill

The town of Elliot Lake is an old mining town, and it still looks and feels like that.  Many of the buildings are built on the solid rock of the Canadian Shield, with no basement, while others did have some fill put in to allow for a basement.  The roads throughout the town are up and down, like a roller coaster, with a few main entry points from highway 108, leading into numerous loops of secondary, or side roads.  The houses and apartments which were built for the miners line each side of the roads, with the occasional outcropping of rock here and there, as a natural reminder of what lies beneath.

Many of the small houses are of a similar, simple design, one after the other, but there are also some larger houses, which may have been built later, or upgraded at some point.  There are very few, what I would call, well-to-do houses, and it is very apparent that the economy of this town is struggling, with a number of vacant buildings, and closed businesses.  Still, there are signs of life around town, such as a brand new, huge, No Frills grocery store, which, by the way, has excellent prices, and is very clean and well stocked.  There is also a brand new Shoppers Drug Mart in the downtown area, to compliment the already existing multitude of other pharmacies, two of which have Post Office facilities, even though the main Post Office is just a stone’s throw away.

All the major banks are present, and the ScotiaBank will be moving to a new facility which is slated to be built in the near future.  There is also talk of the possibility of a Walmart, but that probably won’t happen if the existing Zellers store remains as a Zellers, and is not affected by the coming changes with Target taking over some of the Canadian Zellers locations.

I saw what I thought was a Municipal building on the main highway coming into Elliot Lake.  It was one of the more modern buildings, and a fairly large and well kept complex.  It turns out that it was a rehab centre, so I guess that part of our social support structure is well represented here too.  There is a very visible OPP presence in, and around town, and the OPP office is located right beside the Fire Station, which is right beside the Ambulance station.  The hospital facilities are quite large for such a small town, and there are also care centres for the elderly.  Most everything in this town revolves around senior care, but there are also younger families to be seen.

It’s fairly quiet here, I don’t hear a lot of sirens or industrial noises, although there is a healthy presence of Harley Davidson’s out and about.  The surrounding area is the real attraction for me, and for many others it would seem.  There is a Trading Post on the main highway, which I have not been to yet, but I’m told that the guys who run this business know the area very well, and are quite willing to spread the word about how to access the wilderness for recreational purposes.  I have already checked out a few access points, and I was disappointed to find that they were gated.  They didn’t have any No Trespassing signs on them, or anything like that, and it appears that it’s acceptable to walk into any of these areas, but some of these roads go for many miles into the bush, and I was hoping to be able to drive in.  However, there are many other points of access along the highway that I have not yet checked and, at some point, I will make my way over to the Trading Post and get some local advice on the subject, which may be very helpful also.  I will update this situation as I get more information.

There are many access points for boats, with a number of docks and ramps located in and around the town, which can also be used for fishing.  Local parks and picnic areas are abundant, and well kept, some of them having nice beach areas.  Hiking trails are another strong attraction to this area.  There are easy, short trails, and long, more challenging trails to be explored, not only in the immediate Elliot Lake area, but also further outside the perimeter of the town.  Everywhere you go around here you will see Bear signs.  Not the natural kind of signs, like foot prints, but actual steel signs, warning of bears in the area.  It is not uncommon to see black bears right in town, although I can’t report any personal sightings yet, but I haven’t been here all that long.

So, that’s my first impression of the town of Elliot Lake.  I still have a lot more exploring to do, and I will add more commentary on this subject as I get around a bit more.  I will also attempt to add some more pictures, if I can figure out all the settings on this new Olympus camera.  Otherwise, I will have to reinstate my older, but still competent, Nikon camera.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paul on July 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Hey Al,
    Glad to hear from you again. Wasn’t surprised to hear you were headed west, but as you say, this is not a trip! Amongst all the things in short supply, the one thing that is abundant is time. BC will still be there when you are ready, provided it doesn’t sink during the big one of 2012!! When you do get there, if you are truly turned on by old mining towns, head due north until you reach Dawson City. Closest thing to modern day old west that you will find.
    Hear you about the fuel. Its a dream killer. When I was at Ford, a bunch of guys there were doing a really simple sounding conversion on their cars that extracted the hydrogen from water and burned it as fuel. Word was it made a significant difference in mileage. Google it.

    Keep the updates coming, and for Gods sake, fix the damn camera !!!!

    Pauleboy

    Reply

    • Hey Wally;

      Well, actually I never count on having time. I’m not really looking to the future for enjoyment or fulfillment. I’m happy with what I have now, and as I go along, all I’m interested in is what’s happening right now. Sure, I try to create options that might be helpful at some point, but none of us really knows what the future will hold. I really enjoyed finding all those places to camp for free in BC, and many other places, but even as I was doing it, I knew that I may never see any of them, and I was, and still am, completely ok with that. LIfe is not about what we might do, it’s about what we are doing. It’s all about what’s happening right now.
      I’ve read a lot about Dawson City, and I do have some free campsites located close to there. It sounds like a place that I would like. However, I’m making decisions based on what is happening, and how I feel right now, so Dawson City is not on my radar at the moment, but still remains on my list of possibilities.
      Ya, I did read about the hydrogen generator for vehicles, but after a lot of research, I decided that it wasn’t cost effective. This is exactly why you don’t hear too much about the hydrogen fuel cell anymore. It works, but it’s not worth it.
      I will continue to update my blog, especially since I now have a reliable internet connection. I’ll work on getting some better pics too.

      Reply

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