Situated at the west end of Main Street, the Museum of Atikokan is an oasis of cultural history and an excellent starting point to begin your visit to Atikokan. The Museum captures the region’s unique history: geology, industry, and sport, and features many paintings by local artists. Each year visitors are welcomed from all parts of Canada and the United States. Parking, free of charge, is at the front entrance.
Atikokan is an authentic northwestern town, first settled when the Canadian Northern Railway established a Divisional Point here on the rail line that connected Winnipeg with the port cities of Port Arthur and Fort William on Lake Superior. Located in the Canadian Shield, the physical beauty of this area is outstanding and surrounds Atikokan.
Voyageurs and Indigenous peoples travelled local rivers during the fur trade. Prospectors searched for mineral ore and lumber barons of another era ran their camps and mills. The people of Atikokan embraced their challenges and forged a community that survives to this day. Their stories are here, and you don’t know Atikokan until you know its history!
One of the greatest sagas in the history of Canadian mining took place at Steep Rock Lake, a few miles from the community. Mining the iron ore in these deep pits presented problems that were overcome with determination, ingenuity, and lake dredging of a previously unknown magnitude. Photographs and artifacts reveal this history in the exhibit. A footbridge over the Atikokan River, next to the Museum leads to the mining artifacts in the Historic Park. View up close the Lima Shay Locomotive, designed for heavy loads over rocky terrain, and imagine the logging industry of the early 1900s. The self-guided walking tour of downtown Atikokan will take visitors to the mini-exhibits with actual mine equipment, and murals of the iron mines.
That’s not all! Atikokanites have a strong paddling tradition. From competitive cross-Quetico paddling between the Unites States and Canada to Canada’s Centennial cross-country races and cross-continent solo paddling. Contemplate the audacity of the three-man crew and see the kayak they paddled from Rocky Mountain, Alberta to Montréal, Québec. The now-famous Outers High School Wilderness Survival program was established in 1965 with widespread community support and continues today with the grandchildren of the first Outers Brigades.
Our history runs deep! From the famous mine engineering accomplishments to the feats of our athletes and the work of talented artists. You will leave with an understanding of the depth of our history and the people who made and make Atikokan a community.
Atikokan is on the doorstep of one of Ontario’s most traditional wilderness areas, as Quetico Provincial Park stands among the best for its beauty and its ruggedness. We’re only too happy to have you here, whether it’s for a day, for a week, or a lifetime. We are the Canoeing Capital of Canada. We are the Gateway to Quetico Provincial Park. We are Naturally Wild.