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Key Junction began as a small community at the junction of the Canadian Northern Railway and Key Harbour (north of Britt). It was established when the CNR was in the process of stretching their railway lines north to Sudbury's Moose Mountain Mine,where supply of iron pellets was plentiful. In order to reach Key Harbour the CNR required a 12 mile spur from the main line into Key Harbour. This would allow the iron pellets to be transferred to the docks by the use of an "incline" (a conveyor belt).
By 1908 the harbour would be completed and a seven mile spur connected it to the CNR's main line. Where there was railway, there would be people required to maintain it and a small railway station and accompanying section house were built at the junction. Two of the handful of station agents who were employed here were a Mr. MacKarrel and a Jack Macleod.
In addition to the station, other structures included a coal storage facility, coal chutes and water tower. The Moose Mountain Mine closed in 1920 and the CNR took over the railway line.
By now Key Junction was a small little town that consisted of six homes, a bunkhouse for the workers, CNOR railway station, and section house. Water was provided by two public water wells.
A school house was built and opened in 1929 for the children. A teacher 's salary would be approximately $70 per month, almost seven times that of the postmaster.
A coal dock was opened in 1928 at Key Harbour bringing new life to the area. A year later there were enough children to build a new school and convert the old one into a town hall.
Two years later, in 1930, a section hand by the name of John Krystia opened a store. His wife, Josephine became the post office's (est. 1915) postmaster which operated out of her husband's store. The job of postmaster at the time paid a mere $10 per month.
As the CNR was not willing to pay for passenger service between the railway and Key Harbour on Georgian Bay, it was tendered out. Year-round passengers and local freight were carried in four-wheeled dollies that were towed by converted vehicles. The locals initially referred to the service and devices as "Old Sparky". This nickname would later be replaced with "Toonerville Trolley", as in the comic strip.
When the coal docks closed in 1938, to be moved to nearby Britt, the population of Key Junction began to diminish. The spur continued to be used by fishermen looking to bring their fish to the main line of the railway. By 1948 both the school and post office were closed. Children would have to walk the mile and a half to nearby Pickerel River to attend school.
The spur was abandoned in 1955 and the rails were lifted in 1960 to be sold for scrap.
Directions: Key Junction is located along the CN Railway just past Bigwood (leaving Sudbury). It can be reach by travelling Highway 69 and accessing the water. There are no roads leading to the settlement.
* In the middle of the 1900's other ghost towns listed on this site also had a Department of Lands and Forests' fire tower lookout located on a nearby hill. These include: Pakesley, Key Junction, Key Harbour, Dufferin Bridge, Bummer's Roost, Pickerel Landing, Lost Channel, Byng Inlet, Moon River, Cheddar, Germania, Ormsby, Uphill, Biscostasing, Renabie Mine, Milnet, Armstrong, Metagama, Cheminis, Wavell and Pineal Lake . For more info. on Ontario's Fire Tower Lookouts go to this link: Ontario's Fire Tower Lookouts.