Ontario Geographic Names Board
6th Floor, Whitney Block
Parliament Buildings, Toronto
June 21, 1972
Mr. L.M. Lein,
Thank you for your letter of June 12, 1972, requesting information on several names for features in the Nipigon area. Mrs. Lacusta has attempted to trace down these names and has, after researching various sources, obtained the following:
The earliest reference noted in our records for the name Alexander as applying to Camp Alexander was in a geological report on Lakes Superior and Nipigon by Robert Bell in 1869. Alexander Camp was mentioned twice in Bell's report which appears in the Geological Survey of Canada Reports publication, 1866-69, page 337 -
"...The upward course of the river leaves the west side of this lake nearly at right angles to the shore. For six miles from this point, in a north-westerly direction, it has a width of about 5 chains, with deep water and a moderately strong current, flowing in a bed of alluvial sandy clay, with Laurentian gneiss close to the east side, sometimes approaching quite to the brink of the river; while on the west side, the same rock comes to the water towards the end of this stretch. Here the river makes a sharp bend to the right and is broken by a slight chute at Camp Alexander. At one-quarter of a mile above this point the Long Rapids begin, and continue for two miles; but in ascending the river they are avoided by turning into a brook on the west side, and following it for about three-quarters of a mile, and from it a portage of one mile and a half brings us to the foot of Lake Jessie..."
page 364 ..."For the immediate purpose of colonizing the shores of Lake Nipigon a waggon - road might be constructed from Camp Alexander on the Nipigon River, across to South Bay on the lake, the distance being not much over twelve miles. From this point, vessels on the lake would have access to upwards of 580 miles of coastline, exclusive of islands, many of which are inhabitable..."
Camp Alexander is shown on the "Map of the Thunder Bay and Lake Nipigon Regions to illustrate a report on the Geological Exploration made by Robert Bell", 1869. The name is also shown on the plan of the Township of Booth, surveyed by B.J. Saunders, O.L.S., in 1892, and is mentioned in Saunders' report to the Commissioner of Crown Lands in 1893.
A series of letters dated from June 30 to July 5, 1926 between the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario, the Geographic Board of Canada and the Ontario representative on the Board, indicate that the proper spelling is Alexander not Alexandra; however no origin is noted although a reference to the Geological Survey Reports, 1866-69 is made as being the source of the name.
The designation Alexander Falls appeared in a Port Arthur Publicity Community Booklet dated 1939-45. Unfortunately we have been unable to determine why the name Alexander was used and what the camp actually consisted of.