Latlng: (48.787220, -86.958611)

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Jackfish (ghost town)

Thunder Bay District, Ontario

Location Owner Jaimie R
Creation Date Jan 01 2006
Status Unknown
Category Ghost Town
Location Thunder Bay District, Ontario
Site number #381

Jackfish began in the 1870's as a small Scandinavian fishing village. With the Canadian Pacific Railway's tracks being laid across Canada it was necessary to refuel the train's water and coal supplies. During the 1880's the CPR chose Jackfish as one of their coal stops. A 600 foot long dock was constructed in 1895 to allow the supply ships from Pennsylvania to unload coal. Two cranes at the dock would take up to three days to unload the ship's supply of coal, some of which weighed up to 10,000 tons. A water tower near the tracks supplied water to be used as steam power. Up to 300 men would work at the coal dock facilities during peak periods. With the trains now stopping at Jackfish, the Scandinavian fishermen were now able to export their catches to markets in Toronto and Montreal. After the day's catches were pulled in, the fishermen would hang up their large nets along the shore to dry. In order to accomodate the growing population, Jackfish built a church, cabins, school and boarding houses. The three storey Lakeview Hotel was constructed during the 1890's by Bill Fraser and would become the town's primary source of social events with it's popular dances and dinners. Business boomed even further when thirsty ship crews docked and found themselves craving alcohol. The Lakeview often saw drunken brawls. During one of the hotel's fights, a chair was thrown across the room, missing its intended target and knocking out another man's eye. By 1916 the Ontario Temperance Act had come into effect and Jackfish became a "dry" town with the prohibition of alcohol. The act was eventually repealed in 1921. After the act was no longer in effect, Lakeview was purchased by the Spadoni Brothers in 1930. The brothers sought to improve the hotel's business by selling a bottle of beer for 25 cents and by extended the bar to allow up to 100 patrons. They also added water, electricity and toilets. From 1932 until 1938 young Japanese men (Nisei) were sent to road construction camps to work on the Trans Canada Highway. These camps allowed men to work during The Great Depression, when employment was difficult to obtain. One of the camps was located in Jackfish where men initially worked only for room and board but eventually earned from .30 cents to $5.00 per hour. These men would work for a few months and then move on to other work placements in Ontario. Jackfish's demise began with the introduction of the diesel locomotive as well as the construction of the Trans Canada Highway. With trains no longer requiring Jackfish's coal supply and a road which bypassed the town, the population began to decline. The fishermen suffered hardship when sea lamprey were introduced into the Great Lakes. These fish contributed to the decline of fish population. Then during the midnight hours of 1960, the Lakeview Hotel (managed by Mr. and Mrs. Percy McCluskey) burned to the ground. By 1963 Jackfish was a ghost town.

Latlng: (48.787220, -86.958611)

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