McGarry, Ontario

McGarry is an incorporated township in Timiskaming District in Northeastern Ontario, Canada.[1]

Township of McGarry
Canton de McGarry
Coordinates: 48°08′47″N 79°34′14″W[1]
Country Canada
Province Ontario
  ReeveMatt Reimer
  Federal ridingTimmins—James Bay
  Prov. ridingTimiskaming—Cochrane
  Land86.67 km2 (33.46 sq mi)
Elevation327 m (1,073 ft)
  Density7.0/km2 (18/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Postal code
P0K 1X0
Area code(s)705, 249

The township includes the communities of Virginiatown and Kearns. It is situated on the border with Quebec to the east, along Highway 66 between Kirkland Lake and Rouyn-Noranda. The northern border of the township forms part of the border between Timiskaming District and Cochrane District. Highway 66 was rerouted in 2017 due to concerns of collapse due to aging mine shafts under the existing road.[4]

J.T. Kearns (for whom the village was named) staked a claim in 1907, which became the Chesterville Gold Mines (1938-1952). An 854-metre shaft connected 20 levels, and its 500-ton stamp mill produced a total of 458,880 ounces of gold. Virginiatown and North Virginiatown were built to house the Kerr Addison workers. Kerr Addison Gold mines started in 1936, and employed 1,456 people by 1959. Annual production was 500,000 ounces of gold from 1957 to 1961, and in 1960, produced the most gold in the Western Hemisphere. The 10,000,000th ounce of gold was produced in 1982. However, production reduced to 47,211 ounces in 1984 from a workforce of 329. The renamed Kerr Mine produced 15,350 ounces in 1993, and 22,000 ounces in 1994.[5]


In 1906,[6] the discovery of silver deposits in Cobalt began slowing down, forcing prospectors and miners to venture further north in search of their dreams. Some traveled the water systems up the Blanche River to Tomstown by steamboat, challenged the portages to Wendigo Lake (which took a better part of a day) and courageously braved the river with nine portages to "Larder Lake". Some traveled another 25 miles fighting the underbrush and many carry-overs.

The fall of 1906 gold was found on the northeast arm of Larder Lake (Virginiatown) by Dr. Robert Reddick. Word spread quickly setting the stage for a new township (McGarry) and the beginning of a gold rush for this area.

Tom Pearl built a trading post near the narrows of Larder Lake which the locals today, fondly refer to as "Pearl Beach" in his memory.

In 1910, a dentist from Toronto, Dr. George A. MacKay, with the financial aid from his brothers, bought up claims as Tonene Old Indian Mining Company. The ambitious Dr. McKay wooed prospective shareholders from Toronto transporting them in luxurious train coaches. He successfully sold many shares that year to enthusiastic investors enabling him to buy even more claims. Included in these claims were two claims that two medical doctors, Louden and Addison along with Hugo Kerr (manager of a Cobalt mine) had owned.

Dr. MacKay was very focused in finding his treasure of gold and with some struggles, coupled with pressure from his stakeholders, by the time the year 1937 rolled around, Chesterville and Kerr Addison mines were in full production attracting people from all over in search of their dreams and forming two economically booming towns Virginiatown and Kearns. Now combined to be the Township of McGarry.


The McGarry economy has historically been supported by the mining industry, and continues to be today. The Armistice Gold mine was purchased by Bonterra Resources from Kerr Resources in 2016,[7] and gold exploration and modelling was done to update the resource to a 43-101 Compliant Resource.[8]

Gold Candle Ltd. and investors purchased the old Chesterville Gold Mines and Kerr Addison Gold Mines property in 2016,[9] and conducted a feasibility study and gold exploration with Canadian Exploration Services Limited (CXS Ltd.)[10] on the old Chesterville Gold Mines and Kerr Addison Gold Mines property.

Small businesses being operated out of McGarry include:[11]

  • Armstrong Transportation Services
  • Cheminis Lodge
  • H.R. Contracting & Equipment LTD.
  • Godin Enterprises
  • Income Tax Service
  • Min Com Cambridge INC.
  • JCA Automotive
  • River Valley Rooms & Restaurant



Larder Lake

Being situated on Larder Lake, and being home to large amounts of anglers, the McGarry Lions Club hosts an annual fish derby consisting of prizes for the largest pike, trout, and pickerel. There are also events for children, including catfish mini-derby and fish fry.

With a playground and several docks and boat launches, McGarry is the perfect place for a family day on the lake, be it for tubing, skiing, or fishing.

Mount Cheminis

For the adventurous, there are hiking trails to take you to the summit of Mount Cheminis for a picturesque view of both McGarry, and the surrounding area.

Country Jamboree

Hosted annually on Labor Day Weekend, various country artists flock to the McGarry community center to play music and dance with family and friends.



Located within minutes of the Kanasuta Ski Hill,[12] McGarry is fantastic for those who enjoy the winter months.

Poker Run

Every winter the McGarry Volunteer FireFighters Association has a snowmobile poker run where many snowmobilers can unite, meet new friends, catch up with old friends and spend a fantastic day of snowmobiling with family and friends.

Infamous Robberies

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Kerr Addison Gold Mine was one of the most productive gold mines in North America and employed over 1,000 of the town, on December 21, 1972, masked thieves targeted the bank as it was payday for the miners. The armed men burst inside the bank and demanded the considerable amount of money. Witnesses driving by alerted the local small town police, however, all the tires were slashed presumably by one of the thieves or by one of their aids, this consequently slowed them down and gave the thieves time to work with. However, a "vigilante" named David Mann, a World War II veteran who fought in the Dieppe Raid ran a service station nearby and had his .303 hunting rifle by his side and sees the robbery taking place, he loads the rifle and attempts to shoot at the masked men, one bullet hitting the porch. Afraid, the getaway driver takes off and leaves his partners in crime behind. The men inside grabbed bank manager, Bob Emmell and used him as a "human shield" to prevent being shot by the vigilante. The men walked in the middle of the street, Bob Emmell in front of them and stopped two sledders and stole both of their snowmobiles, the three men fled to a nearby town, now apart of the McGarry township, Kearns and up the hill towards the Quebec border, it is speculated that the thieves took a detour into the woods to avoid detection from the police that were coming from Rouyn-Noranda. The 3 (possibly 4) men were never discovered. [13]

However, a threatening letter was mailed to David Mann, the man that attempted to help the police with the robbery by the thieves, the letter threatened David Mann to move out of the town or he will be killed as consequence for trying to sabotage the stick-up. Dave told close friends about the situation and never reported anything to the police, moving out one week later to Kirkland Lake, a town only approximately 30 kilometers east, after a few years Dave returned to Virginiatown and ironically started working in the Kerr Addison Gold Mine where he had a successful career, being promoted to Underground Captain, a position he held until his retirement in 1985. [14]


Historical population
Source: [15][16][2]

Private dwellings, excluding seasonal cottages: 294 (total: 345)

Mother tongue:[17]

  • English as first language: 30.5%
  • French as first language: 63%
  • English and French as first language: 1.5%
  • Other as first language: 5%

See also


  1. "McGarry". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  2. "Census Profile, 2016 Census: McGarry, Township". Statistics Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  3. Elevation taken from Google Earth at geographical coordinates, accessed 2014-05-20.
  4. "Ontario investing in Highway 66 at Virginiatown". Northern News. October 2, 2015. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015.
  5. Barnes, Michael (1995). Gold in Ontario. Erin: The Boston Mills Press. pp. 33–37. ISBN 155046146X.
  6. "About Us". Township of McGarry. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  7. "Bonterra Resources Acquires Larder Project from Kerr Mines Consisting of Two Gold Deposits and 9 km of Cadillac-Larder Break". Kerr Mines, Inc. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  8. "Larder Project". Bonterra Resources. Archived from the original on June 1, 2018.
  9. "Supplementary Application Record between Gold Candle Ltd. and GSR Mining Corp. and AJ Perron Gold Corp" (PDF). Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  10. "Canadian Exploration Services Limited". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  11. "Local Businesses". Township of McGarry. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  13. "The Virginiatown Bank Robbery – Michael Barnes". Republic of Mining. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  14. "David Mann - Obituaries - Kirkland Lake, ON - Your Life Moments". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  15. Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census
  16. 2011 Census Profile
  17. "2006 Community Profile".
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.