Main lakes in the area: Turtle River system, Upper and Lower Marmion Lake, Clearwater Lake West
Atikokan was originally established as a Canadian Northern Railway rail stop. Originally, the “Oschekamega Wenenewak” Ojibway/Chippewa were the first settlers in the area. In 1688 a man named Jacques de Neyon arrived and with his arrival came the expansion and exploration of the Atikokan area. The first residents of Atikokan were Tom Rawn and his wife in 1899 after arriving by canoe. The gold in the area and the plans by the CNR to build a divisional point lured him and his wife to the area. Tom saw an opportunity after hearing that shelter was needed for railway workers, and built the Pioneer Hotel. He was also the first one to strike a claim for iron ore in the Steep Rock. Atikokan’s population had grown to 3,000 people by 1950. After this, two large mines opened, Steep Rock Iron Mines and Caland Ore Co. and they stayed running for about 30 years. The town’s economy has survived mainly on tourism and resource based industries like forestry.
Atikokan, Ojibway for “caribou bones” is a community located on Highway 11 and is fondly known as the “Canoeing Capital of Canada”. It has a population of approximately 2787. The main industries include forestry, a thermal generating station and tourism. The town has many drive-in resorts and fly-in outposts making it a great destination for Canadian wilderness vacations.
Atikokan is a fantastic tourist destination and has many activities for both winter and summer seasons. In summer you can spend the day fishing hiking, swimming and enjoying the beautiful scenery. If you want an educational experience why not visit the local walleye fish hatchery? The town also has a native friendship center, pioneer center, mining attractions and the Atikokan Centennial Museum which has a collection of heavy equipment from early logging, mining and railroad days. The ancient native rock art at the pictograph gallery is another interesting place to visit while staying in Atikokan. The rock art can also be found on many of the lake shores near town. Atikokan has many hiking trails throughout the community. This small town is a starting point for canoe trips in famous Quetico Provincial Park which is located just south. If you are planning a paddling trip in the park, there are many canoe outfitters that offer packages to suit all needs. The area has large populations of moose, deer and bears which make it an ideal location for a hunting trip in the fall. In winter activities include ice fishing, snowmobiling, tobogganing and snow shoeing.
As noted above, Atikokan is known as the “Canoeing Capital of Canada” thanks to its many lakes and canoe trails. Every year the town holds a small mouth bass fishing tournament, the Atikokan Bass Classic, which takes place in August.