Kenora Businesses and Organizations

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Organizations, Sites and Events

Kenora Downtown

Elsewhere I have attempted to cover the history of buildings: Here I will attempt to cover the history of organizations, sites and events that don't fit into simply one building. Where a business is almost synonymous with a building I will most likely cover the two under the building. Where the business is more than the building I will expand coverage of the business to this site. My hopes is that reader who possess information will assist me by emailing relevant histories

Alphabetical Index

A. McDonalds Wholesale House (Building on Matherson Street became Hudson Bare Warehouse)

BDO Dunwoody

After graduating with his CA in Winnipeg Tom Saul he moved to Kenora and opened an office above the Ranoke Cafe. He then became an original partner in the formation of Dunwoody, Saul, Smith & Co. with offices in Winnipeg, Kenora, Fort Frances and Thunder Bay.  Jack Cortens became a partner. When Dennis Zrum came to Kenora in 1963, he became Partner & Managing Partner. Jack Cortens took over the Dryden office. In 1964, the firm of James M Dunwoody & Co. from Toronto and Dunwoody, Saul, Smith & Co., which had a joint investment in the Vancouver office, merged and became Dunwoody & Company. Tom Saul retired at that time. He spent much of his work investigating areas to establish new offices and the Partnership expanded across Canada, United States and the world.

The firm of Stills Sutton merged with the firm bringing in Gerald Ouellette and Harry Green. Other Partners included Jake Weibe, and Don Parfitt.

Cameron & Heap

Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School

Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School was built in the summer and fall of 1901 and opened in January 1902 It was located on Shoal Lake, 45 miles West of Kenora. In 1927 the Dominion Property Commission assigned it to The Presbyterian Church in Canada. A new building located 3 miles from Kenora was formally opened and dedicated on November 6 1929.

The following Principals served the school,

Rev A.D. Menzies (1927-1929)

Mr E.W. Byers 1929-1940

Mr Douglas Pitts 1940-1948

Mr T.C. Ross 1948-1951

Mr R. S. MacCallum 1951-52

Rev J.C. E. Andrews 1952-53

Mr Eric Barrington (acting Principal 1953-54)

Mr Ivan Robson 1954-57

Mr Howard Neely 1957-58

Mr Stephen Robinson 1958-1966

Mr Colin Wasacase 1966-1969

Mr Wasacase's tile changed from Principal to administrator in 1967. Responsibility for the school was transferred to the Federal Government in 1969

Canadian Tire

photo curtesy of Bill Richards

The Canadian Tire has moved around the Kenora Landscape. In 1967 it was located on the corner of Matheson and First Street Sounty. In 1984 it was located near the bottom of Main Street and \matheson Street at the prsent location of Shopper's Drug Mart.

in 2017 it was located at 1229 Highway 17 E,

Past Franchise Owners discovered to date included Webster, Earle Trouten Ken Chanbers and Mike Wright.

Central House or Hotel

Located on Matheson Street opposite the C.P.R. (on land that is now McLellan St) from abhout 1888 . It burned in 1917

Owned by William McVeigh until sold in March 1908 to Burger Brothers for $40,000

Sources: Through the Kenora gateway, Page 51, Kenora Miner and News

Coney Island Music Festival

In the summer of 2009 the first Coney Island Music Festival took place. Ferg Penner has played a key role in the event. The Ms Kenora has generally provided transportation to the event. The event starts around noon and continues to about 5 PM The event is held in support of the Lake of the Woods Arts Community. The event in 2017 is scheduled for Saturday July 30.

Coney Island is located within the City of Kenora and is accessible during the winter by a foot bridge located at the west end of Seventh Avenue South. It is the home of many summer residence and a few all year residents. Its main attractions for non residents of Coney is a fine sandy public beach.

Dodd's Camp

Andrew "Andy" Dodds

Dufresne's Esso

In 1922 the station at Second Street and Matheson was owned by J.A.Link. In 1959 the father of Doug DuFresne bought the station and operated it as a car storage and gasoline outlet until 1969 when son Doug took over.

The business was sold in November 1983 to a consortitium including David Pearce and in February of the next year Saan opened a store.

Source Kenoa Minor and News Nov 10 1983

Excel Bus Line

Alphonse "Alf" J. Plante came to Kenora in 1927 to drive a bus for Jim Fox. He drove the line from Kenora to Keewatin along an old rough road.

In 1934 he went into business for himself. He ran a contest to give the business a name and the winner Miss Eleanore Malluish suggested "Excel". He purchased a "beautiful" 17 passenger chevrolet powered brown and yellow bus.

The bus depot started in the "Olympia Cafe (Now site of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Latter it moved to Pitt's Store (Now Donny B) . Next it moved to in front of Cheyne Electric (Latter to become White Rose Service Station and subsequent Kenora Daily News building). In 1947 the company built a garage on Ninth St South.

In 1948 he built a modern bus depot on Main St (Now site of Pizza Hut). His daughter Annette Romenak and husband Len managed the lunch counter.

The Business was ultimately sold to Gord McTaggart.

Hudson Bay 1836 - 1918

Most sources agree that the first reference to the Hudson Bay company in or near Kenora was the trading post on Old Fort Island in 1836. Donald MacKenzie was appointed to take charge of the business. McKenzie was, on and off, in charge of the Rat Portage post until 1850, when he retired to the Red River Settlement. Donald McKenzie’s son James succeeded him at the Rat Portage post and he was there until 1858, when George McPherson took over.

In the summer of 1861 the post was moved from Old Fort Island to the North East corner of Fort Street later names Fist Street South and Main Street South.

In 1870 Captain Huyshe Of The Wolseley Expedition Of 1870 wrote:

The Hudson’s Bay Company’s post at Rat Portage is but a small affair, three log houses roofed with bark and enclosed by a wooden palisading. The Company maintained thirteen men at this post, but nine of then are employed at small outlying posts in the vicinity. Mr. MacPherson, the official in charge, was most civil and obliging. He is a Scotch half-breed, a quiet, gentlemanly, elderly man, who has received a good education in Montreal. He had been for thirteen years buried alive at this post! It is not a most extraordinary thing, that men of any education can be found to stand a life like that, utterly cut off from the rest of mankind, receiving news from the outside world only once or twice a year, to all intents or purposes dead or sleeping? … I ventured to question Mr. MacPherson on this subject, and he replied simply that he had long since ceased to feel anything of the kind; he had his little farm and his wife and family, and was quite happy and contented… Mr. MacPherson had a few acres of wheat, barley and potatoes, some pigs and cows, and any number of mangy-looking pariah dogs. These dogs are of all sizes and colours, nasty-looking brutes, but very useful. They do all the winter work, galloping for miles over the frozen snow, dragging small sledges.

Hudson Bay

McPherson was succeeded by Robert Laurenson, who in 1874 was transferred from Rat Portage to the North West Angle. Peter Sinclair was left in charge at Rat Portage, but disappeared one night and was never heard of again. Louis Kittson filled in at Rat Portage until Captain Gilbert Hackland took over for the remainder of 1874-1875. Laurenson to Rat Portage for a few years but left at the end of May 1877. He was replaced by Charles S. Crowe and later A.R. Lillie. Chief Trader Alexander Matheson took charge at Rat Portage in 1880.

In the early 1881, the Company moved into another building. This building was damaged by fire in 1886 when the Rideout House burned down. The company then built a stone building in . J. R. Bunn succeeded Matheson in 1892. The company moved from fur trade to sale shops. The early 1900s were not kind to the Hudson Bay in Rat Portage and the Company’s business continued to decline for the next two decades. With the completion of the Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Pacific Railway lines, business had been very unsatisfactory and no improvement was expected. In the spring of 1918 the decision was made to close the store permanently.

Sources: Through the Kenora Gateway , Lake of the Woods Newsletter Volume 14 No 2.


The annual Harbourfest started up about 1991 and is now advertised as "the largest three day music festival in North Western Ontario. This event is scheduled for August 4 to 6th in 2017 at the Whitecap Pavilon. (More information at

Husky the Musky

Husky the Musky stands 40 feet tall, 2.5 tons of fibreglass, wood and steel. Designed by Jules Horvath, Husky was erected by the Chamber of Commerce i9n 1967 and is the most photographed landmark in Kenora. Husky was given his name by Bill Brabrook who won the naming contest. He wewnt through extensive renovations in 1995 carried out by local craftman artisan Ross Kehl.

J.B. Grocery

"J. B. Grocery" building on Matherson was built in 1894 by A.S. Horswill . William Jackson family lived upstairs. Reynard and Jack Smart were owners before business was sold to J.B. Grocery. In 1945 Peter Ratuski bought J. B. Grocery.

Johnson's Pharmacy Keewatin

Owned by Carl Johnson located where \restuarant 901 is on Ottawa street Keewatin

Johnson's Pharmacy Kenora

There has been three Johnson's Pharmacies in the Kenora area with the only surviving one being located at 116 Mains St South. This pharmacy was owned by Ian Johnson.

Earlier a Johnson's pharmacy was located at the corner of Matheson and Second Street Sounth and this pharmacy was first owned by Ian Johnson and subsequently Ken Rice and finally Shopper's Drug.

The other Johnson's Pharmacy located in Keewatin was owned by Carl Johnson.

Keewatin Flour Mills Company Limited

Retson photo taken at Lake of the woods Museum with permission, January 26 2019 at a presentation given by Braden Murray

The Keewatin Flour Mills Company Limited was incorporated  on May 21 1887 with John Mather as President and David L. Mather as a Director . The company was formed for the purpose of carrying on a general flour milling business. The Company purchased the site previously chosen by the Keewatin Paper Company. Land was acquired in 1887 and building began the same year. In August 1887 the foundation of the mill began. One acre of land was acquired from Keewatin Lumber and Manufacturing Company about the same time South of the CPR line for the building of a barrel factory. Included in the barrel factory was a stave mill, cooper shop and drying kilns. At the second annual meting it was reported that the grain elevator was completed with a capacity of 140 bushels. The barrels were required by customers elsewhere in Canada.
During the summer of 1891 the Lake of the Woods Milling Company bought the Portage Milling Company at Portage La Prairie.

In 1903 May 1903 J. N Greenshields and David Russell purchased the assets of Lake of the Woods Milling Company and were authorized to use the name “Lake of the Woods Milling Company”. On January 1904 the Keewatin Flour Mill Company Limited was incorporated and chose for their mill site the property  of the Ottawa Gold Milling Company which was a few hundred feet East of the Lake of the Mill Company. On April 16 1906 the Lake of the Woods Milling Company took over the Keewatin Flour Mills Company. This site became Known as Mill C while the mill built in 1887 was called Mill  C. Mill B was at portage La Prairie. In 1907 a new tugboat was purchased to pull logs from various points on Lake of the woods to the barrel factory. In 1914 the Medicine Hat Milling Company at Medicine Hat was purchased and designate Mill D. World War years caused problems.

On Monday July 3 1967 now a subsidiary of Ogilvie Flour Mill was completely destroyed by fire. The Company sold under the brand of “Five Roses”.

Resource: Keewatin History Book Committee, The History of Keewatin, 1973, Pages 43-58

Sweet, Ed, Keewatin Reflections, Pages 29-31

Keewatin Lumbering and Manufacturing Company Limited

The Keewatin Lumbering and Manufacturing Company Limited was incorporated on 18 July 1879. The 160 shares issued by 1882 were held as follows:

Richard Fuller 41  

The closest railway connection at the time was at Cross Lake over 60 kilometers away, hence the mill equipment had to be hauled by horses during the winter of 1879-1880. A hole was blasted through the rock and a turbine facility installed. A dam controlled the flow of water that activated the mill. A planning mill operated by water power was built in 1880-1881. The saw mill operated each year from 1880 to 1905 with a low yearly production of 1,498, 777fbm in 1880 to 18,758, 554 fbm in 1903. General Manager John Mather resided in Ottawa, his sons David L. and Robert A. resided in Keewatin. David L. was in charge of woods and mill operations and Robert A. joined in from 1884 to 1905 in charge of sales and finance. David resigned in 1893 while Robert who joined in 1884 continued in charge until business was wound up many years after a disastrous fire in October 1905 completely destroyed the mill. The mill was taken over by

John Mather 56  
Hon W. H. Brouse 14  
W.H. Brouse 6  
D. L. Mather 2  
R.A. Mather 2  
H.N.Bate 10  
W. Buchanan 11  
James Corcoran 11  
W.R. Thistle 7  
Robert Fuller
Vice-President & General Manager
John Mather

Secretary Harry B. Whitton    

Backus Brooks on 9 January 1906. After the Keewatin operations were closed the mill was relocated within Kenora boundaries near the East end of the new bridge crossing the mouth of Portage Bay. In 2015 the site was operated by the Kenora Forrest Products.

Kelly and Kimberly

Partnership of James Kelly and Robert Kimberly formed in 1923.

The form worked on many miles of sewer construction, the Norman Dam, the bridge over the Winnipeg River and the CPR. It also erected many large buildings including the Brydon Block, the Nova Scotia Bank Building, The Tourist Hotel (Kenrica), Lakewood High School. The firm was

Kelvin's Woolens Store

Located on the ground floor of the Kenrica and owned by Kelvin Winkler this store was the first to sell Hudson Bay Blankets in Kenora along with Jackets moccasins and Souvenirs.

Kenora Association for Community Living

The exact origins of the history may be lost in the recall of various parents whose children have been served by the Kenora Association for Community Living over the years but it is clear that the energies for its birth and preservation were provided by families near and dear to those served. The name of Doctor Playfair is often mentioned as one of the early supporters.

Kenora Areas Resource - Northland


Kenora Bread 320 Third Street North

Kenora Bread (possibly Kenora Bakery) first opened in the fifties, possibly earlier and operated until the early seventies. The owners were Mike and Mary Sirtonski. He was Polish and she was Ukrainian. Their son, Bernie, was their salesman and driver. They were primarily wholesalers, selling to stores and to individuals who were prepared to take twenty loaves at a time. The wholesale price from 1964 to 1967 was 25 cents a loaf. Mrs. Sirtonski also had a sideline, making wedding cakes to order.

Don Zabloski who worked Saturdays and summers, 1964 to 1967, described the business:

The building had a large, brick, gas-heated oven. The sandwich loaves were baked in metal pans that held four loaves. The oven could hold 160 loaves. They also made a french loaf in both white and rye. Because they weren't in pans, they needed more room and consequently we could only bake 120 of these at a time. There was a large mixer that required a set of mobile steps to reach the top to pour the flour in. It would take 100 pounds of flour at a time. There was also a water tap directly above the mixer for adding water.
The baker's table, for cutting, weighing and rolling the dough was an old pool table which had been elevated and which had a hardwood top resting on it.

On Saturdays we would make a special baguette loaf, again in white and rye. We would bag it directly from the oven, load the bread in a couple of large boxes, and deliver it to Safeway, steaming hot.

The Sirtonskis lived in a house directly behind the bakery. Mr Sirtonski went to the bakery every morning around three am to make the first bread mix of the day. He would go back to bed and return again around 8:00 am. This he did six days a week for decades.

Source: Don Zabloski

Kenora Daily Miner and News at 33 Main St. S.


"Newspapers are an invaluable source of information and a storehouse of memories for a community, and tracing nearly a century of newspapers in our community has made me realize their value even more - Judy Brown, The History of Newspapers in Kenora

According to Judy Brown in "The History of Newspapers in Kenora, a copy of which can be found in the Kenora Public Library, The Argus was the oldest newspaper she found. It dated back to 1883 and was subtitled “and Northwestern Ontario Mining and Lumbering Report.” As written in the Sept. 21, 1883 edition, The Argus was published every Friday afternoon at Rat Portage, cost two dollars per year (or 60 cents for 3 months) and payments were strictly in advance

Another paper mention by Judy Brown was “The News” as a forerunner of the Daily Miner and News. The Daily Miner and News have a couple of old bound copies for the years 1894/95 and from Volume and Issue number reference in their Page One flag and the statement “Fourteenth Year” it would seem they had started publication in 1881, likely in early June. It was a weekly publication owned by Mr. Edward Arthur Chapman.

Edward Chapman was born May 5 1850. In the 1891 census he is described as a Railway conductor and in the 1901 Census as "Publisher". He was married to Cordelia Jane Ritchie and had two children Charles E. Chapman born April 20 1876 in Quebec and Kate Elizabeth Chapman He died April 18 1902.

The news was bought out by Joseph Pattulo Earngey in 1904 through the Rat Portage Miner Publishing Co. of Rat Portage Ltd. He came to Rat Portage in 1897. The exact ownership of this “Rat Portage Miner” and its start date are somewhat uncertain. Using Volume and Issue numbers it appears to have begun publication as early as July of 1891. According to Gertrude Horan in the History of Rat Portage, a copy of which is located in the Kenora Library, Joseph Earngey started a paper located in the basement of what for some time was the Town office at the west side of main. His office was upstairs and his machines in the basement The Daily Miner and News have bound copies of this publication back to 1897. It carried a Page One masthead name of Rat Portage Miner and Rainy Lake Journal at that time and was published weekly on Thursdays, with a single copy price of 5 cents, subscriptions rates were "$2.00 for a year, $1.00 for six months, 50 cents for three months paid in advance." On March 5, 1901 it shifted to twice weekly publication — Tuesdays and Fridays — and the Rainy Lake Journal name was dropped from the masthead. Fred J. Bowman was the publisher and J.P. Earngey the editor. Its head mast boast "Largest circulation in the Ontario Gold Fields".

On July 21, 1903 the name of the Rat Portage Miner was changed to the Rat Portage Miner and News. In subsequent issues it was called the Rat Portage Miner & Semi-Weekly News. It is assume the two publications merged or the Miner bought the News. The new publication was still being put out by the Miner Publishing Co. of Rat Portage.

On March 16, 1906, the name of the paper was changed to Kenora Miner and News, in line with the town itself being renamed around that time from Rat Portage to Kenora.

Immediately following the Second World War the Miner and News operations were moved to the building which had been occupied by the Royal Canadian Legion on Second Street. / Mr Earngey was the owner and publisher until his death in 1939. Mr. Percy Williams and Harry Donley purchased the Kenora Daily Miner and News following the death of Joseph Earngey.

in 1934 Herb Hauck of Fort Frances moved to Kenora and started a a daily mimeograph sheet he called the Daily Reminder. Hauck’s Reminder is believed to have been the first daily paper in Canada to be printed by the offset method — originally on ‘foolscap’ 8 1/2” x 14” size. With total circulation it captured a growing percentage of local advertising dollars. Production was fast and most economical. Initially it captured a growing percentage of local advertising dollars.

In contrast the Miner and News produced by traditional hot metal equipment, linotypes, saw and router, casting equipment etc. The large press was slow and not always reliable. The Tuesday Friday delivered by mail adding delay. In 1939 Allan Sherrett editor of the Miner and News enlisted in the war effort and Tom Johnson of Keewatin took over his position. With the help of Stu King of the Winnipeg Free Press, a carrier delivery service was set up in Kenora and Keewatin. Stu Kings part time involvement with the paper ended 15 months latter when Tom Johnson joined the army's P.R. Branch.

Advertising dollars declined with the war and the equipment at the Daily Reminder was aging. The Daily Reminder had developed a scandal sheet image and had been threatened with several libel suits. In December 1942 Herb Hauck approached Stuart King with the suggestion that he purchase the Daily Reminder for the price of $5000. King worked hard as owner, publisher, editor, salesman, and circulation chief. The $.10 weekly charge for the paper had to be shared with the carriers. Advertising rates could not be increased because a poor advertising market during the war. He ran the paper until 1947 when due to poor health he sold the Daily Reminder to Clarance Dusang. Clarance Dusang had been involved with the Daily Reminder before the war and returned to it following the war. It published until 1960 when Stuart King, who owned the Miner and News at that time, bought out Dusang.

After bowing out of the publishing field with the Daily Reminder, King took up a partnership with Clarence Tilly with Patricia Drugs on Main St. for two years. In 1950, he joined Northwest Communications Ltd as a small investor and assistant to the president.

On November 1 1951 he took a three month's option to purchase the Kenora Miner and News. Ultimately eight people became involved in the proposed purchase from the owners of the Miner and News, then Percy Williams and Harry Donley.. They were A. M. Brown, Earnie Fortier, Jack MacDonald, Al Sherrett, Doris Lang, Dr. R.G. Davidson, Ambrose O'Flaherty and Tom Saul. All but Doris Lang and Earnie Fortier were local Rotarians. At that time women could not join the Rotary Club. Al Sherrett was the editor of the newspaper. On January 13 1953 all but Earnie Fortier sold out their shares to Stu King. Another Rotarian Laurence Toole played a role in securing additional financing from the bank of Nova Scotia as told by Stu King in his book Lake of the Woods History and Heritage. Within a few years King bought the remaining shares from Fortier to become the sole owner of the company.

In February 1952 the Kenora Miner and News switched to six-day publication in February 1952 to compete with the Reminder which had always been published six days a week.

In 1960 Stu king also purchased the Daily Reminder from Clarance Dusang.

In November 1973, Bowes Publishers Ltd. purchased the newspaper, naming Bill Dempsey of Grande Prairie, AB as publisher and Ken Nelson of Wallaceburg, ON as editor.

The name of the paper was changed again in 1977 to the Daily Miner and News when Don Sinclair was publisher and the newspaper moved into its new building at 33 Main St. The building was constructed on the former site of the White Rose gas station and half of the building originally housed Donny Bs for almost a decade and later law offices for a short period. The name change was made to reflect the fact the newspaper served more than just Kenora, but also the neighboring towns of Keewatin and Jaffray Melick, which comprised a single tri-municipal area. These municipalities amalgamated Jan. 1, 2000 to become the City of Kenora.

Under ownership of Bowes Publishers, the Daily Miner and News expanded its operations to include publication of a summer weekly, The Holidayer, in 1974. 

In the 1980s and early 1990s, further product expansion — a weekly TV listings and entertainment package and a real estate guide — came under the leadership of publishers Ralph Milliard, John Buchanan, Bob Ponton and Ted Weiss. After several years of five-day a week publication, the Daily Miner and News, now guided by publisher Mitch Wolfe, began publishing the Saturday Miner and News in November 1996. A competing weekly, The Kenora Enterprise, published by Thompson Newspapers hit the streets Dec. 1, 1996. It was later sold to publisher Jim Blight, who brought the newspaper into the Daily Miner and News fold in July 2003.

References. Brown, Judy The History of Newspapers in Kenora, Kenora Public Library 971.311 Bro; Horan, Gertrude, History of Rat Portage, Kenora Public Library, 1879-1905 971.311 HOR. King, Stuart, Lake of the Woods History & Heritage. Appreciation expressed to Lloyd Mack who provided information compiled from a file submitted to Bowes Publishers head office in the 1990s for the Bowes 20th supplement — much of the background from an article by Clarence Dusang wrote in 1977 on the newspaper office’s move to Main Street.

Kenora Examiner

James Weidman

Kenora District Agricultural Society's Fair

In 1911 the Kenora Agricultural Society was charted by the former Department of Agricultural of Ontario for the purpose of promoting the agricultural industry in this area. In that era the agricultural industry was a very important and essential part of the local economy. Over the decades the level of agriculture has decreased, however the Kenora Agricultural Society has adapted and continued on. The 106th year of the Kenora Agricultural Society Fair will take place at the Kenora Rec Center on Aug 3 to 5, 2017. For further information see

Kenora Rowing Club

The following Kenora Rowing Club History is based largely on research by Kyle Ferguson accessed on June 24 2017

In 1890 the Rat Portage Rowing Club was formed changing its name to the Kenora Rowing Club when the town of Rat Portage changed to Kenora in 1905. The first lapstreak four oar boats were purchased in 1891 from the Winnipeg Rowing club, one for the Rat Portage Rowing Club and two for the Keewatin Rowing Club to allow for local competition. The original purchase price was $26.50 per boat plus $13.20 delivery charge. The first regatta was held on Dominion Day, July 1, 1891

The first one and one-half storey boat house was erected in the central downtown area in 1892 for a cost of $1260.00. Along with rowing It was the Exhibition Hall for the Kenora Agricultural Society and local dance hall and used in the winter as a curling rink.

In 1894 the Rat Portage Rowing Club joined the Minnesota-Winnipeg Rowing Association, established in 1885. The first local rower to catch the attention of the world was John L. Hackett, known to his peers as Jack. A St. Paul newspaper after the 1894 regatta commented

“In Hackett, the Rat Portage Rowing Club has undoubtedly the fastest amateur sculler in America today, and he is only a beginner. There are those who venture the prediction that if he follows up rowing he will be able to beat any oarsmen in the world, three or four years hence….He possesses three qualifications that are not always found even in the most successful oarsmen—exceptional lung power, great strength and a long sweep. He can row as fast and strong at the finish as at the start and his hardest efforts do not seem to cause the least exertion.”

Hackett went on to the professional rowing circuit competing for purses of up to $1000 dollars and $100 for expenses. He never challenged the world famous sculler and fellow Rat Portage resident, Jake Gaudaur, for the World Championship title but they did team up as a dynamic double sculling crew.
Jake Gaudaur was born in Orillia, Ontario in 1858 and moved to participate in the mining boom from near St. Louis, Missouri to Rat Portage in 1897 and joined the rowing club upon his arrival. Standing six foot two and 175 pounds he made an impression on his fellow citizens. He held the title of World Rowing Champion from 1896 to 1901. On September 7, 1901 Gaudaur (age 43) brought national attention to his small town for the $2500 prize purse race against George Towns (age 31) from Australia.

From the Rat Portage Weekly Record
“Strangers in large numbers are arriving in town every day, to be present at the great boat race between Towns and Gaudaur. All permanent hotel accommodation is being taken up by telegraphic messages, and the question of housing visitors is beginning to cause some anxiety. The CPR Company will shortly announce a $2 return rate between here and Winnipeg and the NPR is to follow suit to reduce rates from St. Paul and Minneapolis in order to get a big crowd across the border. The Rainy River Navigation Company has made arrangements to handle all the water traffic, and will run excursions from Mine Centre, Fort Frances and all intermediate points on the American and Canadian side of the river. Contingents from eastern cities including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa are also making ready to start for Lake of the Woods. A party of Englishmen and Australians are now on the water and will be here in time to witness the great event”

This was to be Gaudaur’s last competition. He was beaten decisively by Towns and took the defeat with the same grace with which he competed. In his 20 years of competing he collected over 200 first place finishes in single and double races.

After a hiatus due to the Spanish-American and Boer wars regional racing resumed under the auspices of the newly formed Minnesota and West-Canada Rowing Association in 1906. In 1909 the Association changed its name again to become the Northwest International Rowing Association commonly known as the NWIRA. Kenora hosted its first NWIRA regatta in 1910. In 1914, Sir Thomas Lipton, a wealthy tea merchant from England donated a trophy for use as the NWIRA championship cup valued at $5000.00. As extra incentive each member of a winning crew would win the association’s official gold medal at each annual regatta. A few days before the declaration of World War One Kenora hosted the 9th annual NWIRA regatta. The regatta had a royal flare as the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Princess Patricia arrived in town on July 25, 1914 to a warm small town welcome. The NWIRA regatta did not occur during WWI from 1916 to 1919 and after the war rebuilding was initiated as many young men never came home and those that did had not been in a boat for many years. The first post war regatta occurred in 1920 in Winnipeg. Kenora was finely able to win the coveted Lipton Trophy, with a fifteen member club in 1930.

From the Kenora Daily Miner and News
“Unleashing a dogged, determined, irresistible drive for championship honours to row at times to Herculean feats of pluck and endurance, the Kenora oarsmen swept in a triumphant wave to the crest of victory on Saturday afternoon to win the Twenty-first NWIRA Regatta defeating their Winnipeg opposition with an effectiveness and decisiveness that left little doubt as to the superiority of the Kenora crews, and in the magnificent final race, the junior eight only lost to the powerful St. Paul eight by eighteen inches defeating en route the much vaunted Winnipeg eight stroked by the experienced Culver Riley”

From 1931-1935 the depression prevented travel outside of Kenora for the local club except for one crew a year going to the NWIRA, meeting the hosting requirements of the NWIRA and ensuring the return of the regatta to Kenora in 1936. During this time of little work and much time the rowers all trained twice a day. In 1936 they were well prepared and for the second time on their home course won the Lipton Cup.

In 1940, economic hard times once again affecting the community, the membership fee dropped from $10.00 to $5.00 for the season. At this point, high school students were invited to join a club previously comprised solely of working men. In 1953 the membership dues were $5 for high school students and $ 10 for all others. In 1955 K. (Bud) Malmo joined the club and remained a driving force and participant in rowing activities for six decades. He was able to witness firsthand the perennial rise and fall of membership from one rower to as many as forty members. Other names of the day like Jim Francis and Tom Maluish also remained active and involved for decades. In years with larger numbers of members more equipment was needed. In the late 50’s an eight and a four were acquired, the first new boats since the beginning of WWII.

In 1963 two successful crews of four combined to win the junior heavy eight and the Minneapolis trophy at the NWIRA. Since that time we have had a variety of successes, with many of our smaller boats winning NWIRA gold. At this point the Lipton Cup makes an appearance every two years as we host the NWIRA regatta.

The Kenora rowing club building was demolished in 1970. Without a clubhouse for a year, the club rowed out of the Norman Hotel with a four and an eight while all the other boats were put in storage. The new club, a cinder block construction on Lake of the Woods at Norman Beach. Once again, the club membership had been falling, until late in the 1960’s with the introduction of women to the sport. It took until 1977 for the NWIRA to decide that women’s points would count towards acquisition of the Lipton Cup. Our women were strong and competitive it was not uncommon in those years for them to win more points for the Kenora club than the male crews.

In 1980 the Kenora Rowing Club held its first annual regatta on Rabbit Lake in Jaffray Mellick. The 79th annual NWIRA regatta in 1982. It was suggested at that regatta by the NWIRA officials to make Rabbit Lake the permanent home of the NWIRA championships. By 1990 the recurring peak and valley cycle of membership left two members at the club and another cycle of rebuilding. During this same time period, Masters rowing (over the age of 27) began to take hold across North America. It took many years of lobbying but eventually Masters races also counted toward NWIRA points for the Lipton Cup. A group of Master rowers, developed a business plan and secure funding to relocate the club house to Rabbit Lake. The final move for the club occurred in 2001 when the last boats stored at Norman, on Lake of the Woods during the winter and in trailers at the west end of Rabbit Lake for the summer, were put on a new rack system in the current boat house. Home to the NWIRA regatta every second year, our own Tops and Bottoms annual junior/master regatta and recently the Mantario Rowdown between Pinawa, Winnipeg and Kenora. The site was been chosen to host the Canadian Master National Championship Regatta in 2002 and 2015 and in 2017 the first Canada Summer Games rowing event on Rabbit Lake during Manitoba’s year to host Canada Summer Games.

For further information see

King Cash Grocery

King Cash Grocery was operated by a Partnership of Ernest Appleton and John Partington between around 1890.


First KFC located in Hing's Building across from present Restuarante Italian - Eric Ringstrom

Second Building on corner of Forth and Second Street South

Third Location on Highway East - Tory Bridges

Knights of Columbus Hall

Jubilee Church of God

Knox Presbyterian Church - Knox United Church

Knox United 1

Knox United 2

Knox United 3

The Reverent James Robertson came to Rat Portage in 1882 and organized a mission for the Presbyterian Church. The mission arranged a student from the Manitoba college to conduct services during the winter months.

Two lots were purchased on the north side of First Street North and in 1884 the first Presbyterian Church in Rat Portage was built.

In1897, a Zion Methodist Church was built on the North West corner of Third Street South and Fourth Ave South.

In 1898 Knox Presbyterian Church was built on the North West corner of Second Street South and Fifth Ave South. In 1917 fire destroyed the Zion Methodist Church and as discussions were being carried on for the amalgamation of the two churches Knox Presbyterian Church invited the Methodist church to attend that Church.

Lake of the Woods Brewing Company

lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods

On June 29 2013 the micro brewing store and pub opened up at 350 2nd St. S.

According to the website at it all stated in 1898 when entrepreneur Abraham Kingdon opened the doors to the original Lake of the Woods Brewing Company in downtown Kenora.

John Reeves in The Lake of the Woods Brewing Co Ltd reports on the reopening of a micro brewery in 1927.

Lake of the Woods Cemetery

The Lake of the Woods dates back before at least 1890.

LOWISA Lake of the Woods International Saling Association

Established in 1966 LOwisa now runs races on lake of the Woods each summer.

Mr. Clyde Ryberg, originator of the first Regatta.

In the summer of 1974 Ryberg, wife and two of thir children sailed around Lake of the Woods. As a result of his efforts and Henry T. McKnight, a Minnesota state senator who paid all his travel expenses during the year it took to organize the first LOWISA.

At the annual banquet of LOWISA 10,  Saturday, August 9th, 1975 the first 10 Commodores of Lowisa were honoured: Clyde Ryberg 1965, Bill Marr 1957, Bill Holt 1957, John Olin 1968, Allan Rutherford 1969, Jack Culley 1970, George Kent 1971, Ralph Blattner 1972 Ian McDonald 1973, Bill Sorem 1974, Clarke Popham 1975. For more information see

Lake of the Woods Milling Company (L.W.M.Co)

Relatively cheap hydro power and after 1881 rail access provided the support for Keewatin's Lake of the Woods Milling Company which started up on 21 May, 1887. Formed from the board of Canadian Pacific Railway, including George Stephen, 1st baron Mount Stephen, William Cornelius Van Horn and James Ross with the headquarters were in Montreal and milling milling operations in Keewatin. The first mill was completed in 1888 with vice-president John Mather overseeing construction. At its peak production it produced 10,000 barrels of flour from 62,000 bushels of wheat a day and at the time was the largest flour mill in the British Commonwealth. It marketed under the name five Roses.

A barrel factory consisting of a stave mill, heading factory, cooper shop and drying kilns was built side of the tracks on land acquired from the Keewatin Lumbering and Manufacturing Company In 1913, Lake of the Woods released the first edition of the Five Roses Cook Book his day. Frank Armstrong was its guiding hand In addition to Frank, George Armstrong worked in the barrel factory and Bill, Jack and Dick worked in other departments. In the twenties and thirties the company switched to jute, cotton and paper. The barrow factory was closed in 1944. The construction of the Curling Club in November 1944 across the Low Road effectively sealed it off as a through fare.

In 1904 The Keewatin Flour Mills Company was incorporated and acquired the site east of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Mill. Before this Mill went into production in 1906 the L.W.M. Co. offered to buy control of the company and the offer was taken up.

The business suffered during World war 1 due to restrictions and quotas imposed by Government. When Backus Brooks pressed a lawsuit alleging "unlawful use of Water" severe concerns were expressed by the company but ultimately settled in favour of the Flour mill. The mills operated in Keewatin for 79 years, closing in 1967 following a disastrous fire..

Lake of the Woods Museum


The museum was established in 1964. In that same year, the Land Titles building was transferred from the Province to the Town and served as the first museum. When the museum was first established, the collection centred on the artifacts of Captain Frank Edwards, an Indian agent in Kenora from 1920 until his death in 1945. In August of 1986 the new museum building was opened. The collection numbers in excess of 25,000 articles. Many displays are changed annually and feature First Nations and pioneer artifacts, natural history, minerals, textiles, pictorial and archival material, all illustrating the history of the Lake of the Woods and the surrounding area.

Lake of the Woods Railway Museum

Situated at Norman Park on Lakeview Drive the Lake of the Woods Railway Museum consists of a yellow Caboose, red engine and a railway station. In the railway station basement is a model railway which includes the historic Kenora and Keewatin Station.

Lake of the Woods Townscape Murals

The Lake of the Woods heritage townscape began in 1994. One of the biggest supporters was the Kenora Rotary Club. The Murals include:

The Way Things Are, The Things We Do Artist, Alan Wylie located corner of Second St. and Hannepin Lane

Sharing the Dreams, Artist Mike Szob located on Kenora Telephone Building Matheson Street

The Picnic, Gus Froese located Standard Insurance Building, Second St. South

Flame on the Water, Artist Dan Sawatsky located on Lake of the Woods Raquet Club, Main St. South

The Jubilee, Artist Lewis, located corner of Main St. South, First St. South

Main St. Dock, Joyce Kamikura, located on Scotia Bank Building

The Rendezvous, Artist David Carty, located corner of Main St. S. and First St. South

Games Room, Artist Kelly Morrell, Lake of the Woods Hotel, Matheson St.

A Forest of Men, artist Bill Dixon & Ken Faulkes located on Frosted Foods Building, First Ave. South

Anishananabe Ahsi, artist Louis Ogemah, corner of Matheson and Third St. South

From Hot Lead to High Tech, artist German Jamillo, located at Main St. South

Celebrate the Past...Envision the Future, artist Kaole Marious Main St

The Power of Vision, artist Joseph Cross, located Ottawa Street

The Tradition Continues, artist john Hood, located on Kenora Recreational Centre

By honouring Our Past We Will Built Our Future, located on Bernier Drive

Seniors Centre Mural, artist Kelley Morrell, Kenora Rec Centre, lower level

The Romance of the Railway, artist Con Makela, Railway Museum Lakeview Drive

The Old Kenora Fish Market, 231 First Avenue South

Land Titles Office -Services Ontario

W. L. Baker built a red brick building for his general store around 1880. Around 1890 this store was occupied by Smith and Company as a general store. G. Westin opened a pool hall on this location. Acme Heating company occupied the location after the pool hall and before Lakeland Dairy purchased the building. The building was demolished and and replaced by a building for the Land Titles Offices. In 2013 it was occupied by Services Ontario.


The first library in town was a library maintained by the CPR for the use of Employees of the CPR from around 1881. It was located near the first CPR Roundhouse.

Around 1895 -96 and Frank Carpenter, D.H. Currie, and J. W Humble with Mrs. Lakeman established a "Mechanic's Institute" . Mr Humble gave the use of a room in his block on Main St. and the committee secured a small government grant to purchase books. carpenter, Currie, and Humble took turns keeping the library opened until the first Librarian Mrs. Lakeman could be hired. There was a $2.00 subscription fee. The library was opened to the public from 10.A.M to 10.P.M.

In 1901 the library contained over 2000 books and several magazines with Miss M.F.A Thibadeau (Thboudau) in charge

Mr Humble was the first President of the Library Board, followed by C. W. Chadwick in 1899 and J. Warren in 1901.

In 1905 the library was moved to the Sharp block on second street. Later it was in the rear of Bevan's Tobacco and fruit store on Main St.

In 1916 a new library was built with the help of the Carnegie Foundation Fund.

After the Fire Hall on Main Street was burned, the Hudson Bay Company gave land for a new Fire Hall. The Library got permission for this to be used as a Library.



Lila's Gift Shop

The original site of Lil's Gift Shop was located where Ella Lynns was located on the East side of Main Street South. It was moved to the ground store of the Dalmore Hotel when this building was purchased by Mayor Kelvin Winkler around 1974-75.

Matiowski Farmers Market

McLeod Pary

The little park along side the Winnipeg River exit from Lake of the Woods was named in honour of Dan McLeod, one-time owner of the Rat Portage Lumber Company and later, general manager of the paper mill. In January 1890 the Canadian Milling and Reduction Company of Chicago began construction of a reduction works on that small parcel of land east of the River. It was was reorganized under the Province of Ontario as the Lake of the Woods Gold and Silver Reduction Company. Completed in the fall of 1891, the reduction works consisted of a 20-stamp mill, chlorination plant, stables, docks, tramways to the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a complete system for reducing ore to bullion. It operated only one year closing in August 1892. The derelict mill was consumed by fire on April 26, 1906. Lumberman John W. Short, purchased the land and started a tie mill operation. The ties supplied by the mill were used in the double tracking of the railway. The mill burned to the ground in 1914.

In 1921 Short sold the property to the Keewatin Lumber Company in 1921, who in turn transferred it to the Backus-Brooks Pulp and Paper Mill in 1925. The roadway running from Kenora west towards Norman ran along the south part of the railbed, untill 1958-1959, the construction of a new hospital bridge south of the original bridge. Part of the Park was expropriated to reallign the road greatly reducing the size of the Park.

In 1967, the Chamber of Commerce commissioned the building of a 40-foot Husky the Musky. The tugboat James McMillan was subsequently added as testament to the lumbering history of the area.

Murphy Brothers 1982-1928

Robertson "Bob" Pierce Murphy was born in Andover, New Brunswick August 27 1858. He farmed there until 1881. He moved to from Andover New Brunswick to Rat Portage in 1882.

He founded his cartage business on Sept. 14 1882 with a two wheeled cart and the first horse brought to Kenora. The firm expanded in 1897 with brother Henry Sherman Murphy and thereafter was known as Murphy Brothers.

Murphy's Brothers Wagon

The business developed into the largest teaming and transfer business in the district. The firm expanded to cope with construction work on the various camps on the lakes in the early years and in winter hauled heavy machinery across the ice to various construction sites. In April 1913 the Murphy Brothers purchased the ice business or Eric Holstrom.

Old King Cole Parade

In 1928 the business sold to John Kron and son.

Olympic Cafe

The Olympic cafe, two doors to the north{of Dalmore Hotel], seemed to be the busiest of many restaurants in town. Owner Joe Thompson had come from Rivers, some 25 miles northwest of Brandon, so right away we had plenty to talk about; mainly contrasts in topography and lifestyles. He suggested that I eat three meals a day for a flat fee of $10.00 a week; anything on the menu. Sure , he conceded, he might lose the first week or two, but even a 19 - year old can only eat so much-so long! How wrong he was. Circa 1933, Stuart King, Media Days

Pat's Stationary

Located on 1st St. S.

Pineland Ice Cream Store by Kenora Jail or River Street

Post Office (Rat Portage -Kenora)

Post Office

The first post office was located beside the lane on the North Side of Second Street South. It was relocated to the location of City Hall on the East Side of Main Street in 1898. In 1970 it was once again relocated to the New Federal Building on the South side of Park St.

Presbyterian Church 200 Fifth Ave S.

Presbyterian Church

In 1925 when the two churches united nationally not all Presbyterians wished to unite and property was carefully divided across the country. Those who did not wish to join began to meet in the former Christian Reformed Church on the North East Corner of Second Street South and Fourth Avenue. In 1954 the congregation built a church at 200 Fifth Ave S, South West Corner of Second Street South and Fifth Ave.

Rat Portage Cold Storage Cold Storage and provision Comapny

Designed and built by Edward Francis Head for his brother-in-law JEP Vereker in 1898 on the corner of Matherson and what was then Fiort Street (1st St South)

Furniture Store, also undertakers

Rat Portage Cold Storage Cold Storage and provision Comapny

Red River Co-op

Red River Co-op has located a full service, convenient store, restuarant amnd motel in Kenora aqt 740 Lakevierw Drive for at least 4 decades.

Rideout and Davidson, later Rideout and Turner

In 1896 E.M Rideout and R. Davidson opened the Rideout Furniture Store. This was replaced by Northern Development Offices which were destroyed by fire. Until this past year the Kenora Tourist Information Center was located on the site of the Old Rideout Furniture store. (Gerald Stuart Early Business in Downtown Kenora 1975)

I beleive Gerald Stuart was in error on the Rideout who owned this business as on Page 195 of Gertrude C. Horan's History of Rat Portage it is reported that E. M. Rideout's brother entered into business with R. Davidson. It is beleived that brother Edward Manning Rideout had moved to Beausejour in 1885. Harding Rideout sold the business around 1917 and died May 31 1932

Rideout House

Edward Manning Rideout, brother of Harding Rideout came to Rat Portage in 1879. In that year he built the Rideout House. In 1881 it was a three story boasting a coat of white paint, the only painted building in town. It was also known as Construction House as it was used by the men in charge of the construction of the railway.

Source: Early Settlers of Rat Portage, Volume 2, Page 215.

Rotary Goodwill Geyser

The Rotary Goodwill Geyser was built by the Kenora Rotary Clun in 1990 as a a sign of respect for the majesty and beauty of the Lake of of the Woods a nd as a testament to the many water projects the Club has sponsored arounbd the world in India, Africa and Central America. During the summer, the fountain erupts every 15 minutes from 8 A.M. to 11P.M. and continously during noon hour.

Salisbury House

1951 "Youg Men 18-25 $30 a week

Salvation Army at 104 Matheson St.

Salvation Army

St. Alban's Cathedral at 312 Main St. S

St Alban's  

Squash Club

Squash Club

Standard Insurance

The Standard celebrated their 118 anniversary with a annual charity barbecue on Aug. 26 2015. At that time Gord McCool indicate there were 8 offices in Northwestern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

New Management team which had taken over during the past two years included Gary Forsyth, Gord McCool and Wade Robertson.

Sutcliffe's Insurance Agency

Founder Jim Sutcliffe , Location of first Office First Street South back end of what in 2015 is King's Furniture, Next Location Shoppers Mall present site of Northern Reflections, 1982 foot of Main St.

Other Significant Players over the years

Ches Scott, Tom Horsfall, Charles Strachan (1965-) , Gail (McCoy) Zrum (1865-1968), Jon Ouellette, Gary Forsythe

Business sold to Canada Broker Link, then Ing and then Standard Insurance

Vacationland Dairy on 9th St

Vereker Block

Destroyed by fire (see Miner & News March 3 1917) located at the corner of Matheson and First Street (the Fort Street) across the street from Hings Resturant.

Westario Motors Limited

Graham "Mike" Holland joins staff in 1951

Ye Olde Chip Truck at Market Square.

In 1957, John Hutchuk, a bush pilot from the Toronto, who flew seasonally for Parson’s Airways in Kenora, bought an old delivery van and proceeded to refit it. He built the fryers and all the fittings, and installed the burners for the fryers himself. The Coleman burners used Naphtha gas to heat the grease. George Granger, the base manager at Parson’s Airways, a good friend of John and helped him on a regular basis with peeling potatoes, cutting them up and working the truck. The vehicle would park on the street near its current location during the summer.

For at least one winter, the truck headed back to southern Ontario. In May each year it would open beside what would become the Shop Easy grocery store. In 1964, Hutchuk took a job with the Seagrams company in Winnipeg. He sold the business to Mary Lukianchuk who became known as Chip Truck Mary. She would set up on Chipman street but move one step ahead of the town officials who would try and get her to take out a business license if she was parked too long in one spot. In 1967 she met with an unfortunate accident that claimed her life. Her husband sold the truck to Gus Sloboda in 1968. A year later in 1969 the business was sold to Jack Venus and partner Leo Dubroy. Within the year, Jack bought out his partner and operated the business with his wife, two full time employees and part time staff as required.

In 1969, Jack took the truck into Winnipeg and refitted the truck with two additional fryers, a potato peeler and had the Coleman burners converted to propane. He arranged with Western Grocers, the then owners of the lot to permanently set up the truck in their parking lot. This site is now Kenora Market Square.

In 1972, Jack’s took on a partner, Buzz Haines, to help run the business. In 1973, they sold the chip truck to Herb Paul. He ran the truck on a seasonal basis until 1984 at which time it was sold to Tim and Deanna Treadway. During Treadway’s ownership the truck was put up on permanent blocks and the burners converted to natural gas. The Treadway’s kept the truck until 1991 when they sold it to Harry O’Hara of HOH Investments. He ran it with his brothers for a few years until they sold it to John Tresoor who in turn sold it to the Rob and Lisa Bell in 2001.

Research taken from May 22 2014

YMCA - Legion


Index of Businesses and Organizations

Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School
Central House or Hotel
Coney Island Music Festival
Dodd's Camp
Kenora Areas Resource - Northland
Dufresne's Esso
Excel Bus Line
JB Grocery
Johnson's Pharmacy Keewatin
Johnson's Pharmacy Kenora
Keewatin Flour Mills Company Limited
The Keewatin Lumbering and Manufacturing Company
Kelly and Kimberly
Kenora Association for Community Living
Kenora Bread 320 Third Street North
Kenora Daily Miner and News at 33 Main St. S.
Knights of Columbus Hall
Knox Presbyterian Church - Knox United Church
Lake of the Woods Brewing Company
LOWISA Lake of the Woods International Saling Association
Lake of the Woods Museum
Lila's Gift Shop
Matiowski Farmers Market
McLeod Pary
Murphy Brothers 1982-1928
Pat's Stationary
Pineland Ice Cream Store
Post Office (Rat Portage -Kenora)
Presbyterian Church 200 Fifth Ave S.South and Fifth Ave.
Rat Portage Cold Storage Cold Storage and Provision Comapny
Red River Co-op
Rideout and Davidson, later Rideout and Turner
Rideout House
Rotary Goodwill Geyser
Salvation Army
Salisbury House
St. Alban's Cathedral at 312 Main St. S
Squash Club
Sutcliffe's Insurance Agency
Vacation Land Derry
Vereker Block
Ye Olde Chip Truck at Market Square.