Tuesday, 21 January 2014

LAKE NIPIGON - FUTURE MECCA

Some wintertime dreaming of 72 years ago.

Reprint from a Daily Times-Journal Editorial, Saturday January 19,1957

LAKE NIPIGON - FUTURE MECCA

Douglas Oliver, the Travel editor of the Toronto Telegram, was a speaker here (Port Arthur) 15 years ago. ( 1957 minus 15 equals  1942)  He had something interesting to say. He told his audience that the day would come when that inland sea known to the maps as Lake Nipigon would be regarded as Ontario's greatest single travel empire.

Reminiscing the other day, Mr. Oliver recalled that he had predicted an adequate highway encircling its 3,000 square miles of water, and pleasure cruisers plying them daily and at weekends.

"Well, " writes Mr. Oliver, "We got a laugh for our pains.  And little wonder, because there was no time for dreamers in those pioneer promotion days.  And, so, there are no steamers on Nipigon as yet. And if you compare your latest Ontario map with that of 1941 vintage you'll find that, save for a short stretch of road connecting Nipigon townsite with Cameron Falls, the highway servicing situation thereabouts remains unaltered."

'However, we still think we are right.  We still believe that Lake Nipigon is the prize tourist package it always was.  Just crying for some competent authority with vision, know-how, and above all courage, to unwrap it for public inspection and approval."

" Hon. Bryan Cathcart, minister of travel and publicity, could do many less important things than give this idea the immediate consideration to which we believe it to be entitled."

"For, whether Ontarioans like the thought or not, the impression is now fairly general that this predominant province's tourist trade may soon have to find new and specific appeal on which to base its future publicity campaigns."

"Lake Nipigon (the core of the provincial forest of similar name) could well prove to be the answer to this situation.  However, from the purely vocational standpoint few people appear to know much about it."

"The transcontinental line of the Canadian National Railway taps its most northerly extremity at Willet Station.  Highway 11 coursing north from Nipigon town, touches it briefly at Orient Bay, before angling easterly to Beardmore, Longlac and Hearst."

"Meanwhile, the maps still carry it, in all its great sweep of travel kingdom potential.  And some day, perchance, some government may suddenly sense its importance travelwise, and do something about it.  Knowing Mr. Cathcart as we do, we have a hunch he'll tell us that the idea will be looked into.  But, "looking into" a situation is not quite the same as "looking after" it."

"Therefore we propose that representatives of Queen's Park departments of travel and publicity, lands and forests, highways, and planning and development jointly focus their exploratory lamps on the Nipigon."

"Cost money?" Of course such a Nipigon tourist development would cost money. And oodles of it! It couldn't be brought into full fruition at once.  It would, admittedly, have to be an orderly process. Possibly a five-year plan at the speediest.

'Wonder that the lakehead people of today would think of this dream." Wonder if it would win the immediate second-reading, or "in principle" support of the Legislature.  At least most of these travel conscious representatives know what can be done when they put their minds to it."

"For, as we hear it, but for their stubborn insistence, the present highway to Atikokan and the fabulous Steep Rock enterprise might never have been constructed. And what a tourist draw this road already is destined to become."

It can be observed that Mr. Oliver's picture of the future of the Nipigon must be fairly accurate.  As a direct highway is opened from International Falls and Fort Frances, with improvements to be made to the entrance at pigeon River, and especially with the completion of the Trans-Canada from Fort William to Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Nipigon is due to become a major Tourist attraction in Canada."

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