Kenora District

Kenora District is a district and census division in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The district seat is the City of Kenora.

Kenora District
Location of Kenora District in Ontario
Coordinates: 49°46′N 94°29′W
Country Canada
Province Ontario
RegionNorthwestern Ontario
  MPsEric Melillo (CPC), Charlie Angus (NDP)
  MPPsGreg Rickford (PC), Guy Bourgouin (NDP), Sol Mamakwa (NDP)
  Land407,213.01 km2 (157,225.82 sq mi)
Highest elevation
505 m (1,657 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
  Density0.16/km2 (0.4/sq mi)
Time zones
West of 90° west/Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First NationUTC-6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (Central Daylight (CDT))
East of 90° westUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern Daylight (EDT))
Pickle Lake/Mishkeegogamang First NationUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
Postal Code FSA
P0V, P0X, P0Y, P8N, P8T, P9N
Area code807
Largest communities[3]Kenora (15,177)
Dryden (8,195)
Sioux Lookout (5,183)

It is geographically the largest division in Ontario: at 407,213.01 square kilometres (157,225.82 sq mi), it covers 38 percent of the province's area, making it larger than Newfoundland and Labrador, and slightly smaller than Sweden or roughly the land size of California. Kenora District also has the lowest population density of any of Ontario's census divisions (it ranks 37th out of 50 by total population).

The district was created in 1907 from parts of Rainy River District. The northern part (north of the Albany River) only became part of Ontario in 1912 (transferred from the Northwest Territories).[4] The separate Patricia District upon transfer, it was in 1937 annexed to Kenora District and known sometimes as the Patricia Portion.[5]


As with the other districts of Northern Ontario, the Kenora District does not have an organized government like those of counties or regional municipalities in Southern Ontario. All government services in the district are instead provided by the local municipalities, by local services boards in some unincorporated communities, or directly by the provincial government.


The climate is very harsh because of the influence of the cold waters of Hudson and James Bays: most of the region is taiga characterized by discontinuous permafrost, but on the extreme northern coast there are – remarkably for a latitude of only 54°N – patches of true Arctic tundra and continuous permafrost. This is the southernmost point in the Northern Hemisphere reached by the circumpolar line of continuous permafrost on any continent.

Kenora District is geographically extensive enough to share borders with both the contiguous United States (the boundary between it and the Northwest Angle is located in the Lake of the Woods) and the Canadian Arctic waters (Hudson Bay), the only district in Canada to do so.

The District contains the Sturgeon Lake Caldera, which is one of the world's best preserved Neoarchean caldera complexes and is some 2.7 billion years old.[6]



City Population Ref.
Dryden 7,749
Kenora 15,096
Red Lake, Ontario


Town Population Ref.
Red Lake 4,107
Sioux Lookout 5,272


Township Population Ref.
Ear Falls 1,026
Ignace 1,202
Machin 935
Pickle Lake 425
Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls 567

First Nations reserves

Reserve Population Ref. Reserve Population Ref.
Attawapiskat 1,549 Northwest Angle 33 187
Bearskin Lake 461 North Spirit Lake 263
Cat Lake 489 Pikangikum 2,100
Deer Lake 763 Poplar Hill 473
Eabametoong 1,014 Rat Portage 38A 362
Eagle Lake 27 227 Sabaskong Bay 35D 387
English River 21 639 Sachigo Lake 443
Fort Albany 67 (part) 2,031 Sandy Lake 1,861
Fort Severn 89 361 Shoal Lake 39A (part) 388
Islington 29 832 Shoal Lake 40 (part) 101
Kasabonika 681 Shoal Lake 34B2 97
Keewaywin 340 The Dalles 38C 195
Kenora 38B 394 Wabauskang 21 75
Kingfisher Lake 462 Wabigoon Lake 184
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug 904 Wapekeka 355
Lac Seul 872 Wawakapewin 21
Lake of the Woods 31G N/A Weagamow Lake 87 677
Lake of the Woods 37 46 Whitefish Bay 32A 670
Marten Falls 190 Whitefish Bay 33A 79
Mishkeegogamang 1,920 Whitefish Bay 34A 126
Muskrat Dam Lake 281 Wunnumin Lake 565
Neskantaga 265

Unorganized areas

  • Kenora, Unorganized (including the local services boards of Greater Oxdrift, Melgund, Minaki, Redditt, Round Lake, and Wabigoon)


As a census division in the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Kenora District had a population of 66,000 living in 24,818 of its 32,914 total private dwellings, a change of 0.7% from its 2016 population of 65,533. With a land area of 395,432.07 km2 (152,677.18 sq mi), it had a population density of 0.2/km2 (0.4/sq mi) in 2021.[7]

Canada census – Kenora District community profile
Population65,533 (13.8% from 2011)57,607 (−10.6% from 2006)
Land area407,213.01 km2 (157,225.82 sq mi)
Population density0.1/km2 (0.26/sq mi)
Median age
Total private dwellings31,19129,606
Median household income
Notes: Excludes census data for one or more incompletely enumerated Indian reserves.
References: 2016[2] 2011[1] earlier[8][9]
Historical population figures
2006 2001 1996
Population 64,419 61,802 63,360


Most of the population is concentrated in the district's extreme south where some agriculture is possible: the main crop is barley. Traditional native activities such as hunting and fishing dominate the north of the district outside of mining settlements.


The area near Lake Minnehaha saw a gold rush between 1902 and 1909. The settlement of Gold Rock served 14 area mines, which included the Big Master, Laurentian, Detola and Elora. According to Barnes, "Approximately 180,000 ounces of gold was won from 27 mines in the Kenora district from 1880 to 1976," with "over 331 known gold occurrences." The more successful mines included the Bully Boy, Cameron Island, Champion, Combined, Cornucopia, Gold Hill, Golden Horn, Kenricia, Mikado, Oliver, Olympia, Ophyr, Regina, Scramble, Severn, Stella, Sultana, Treasure and Wendigo.[10]

Mining is currently extremely extensive in northern Kenora District, which contains some of the world's largest and highest-grade reserves of uranium and some of the world's major producers of nickel. A major mining exploration project is currently underway in the Ring of Fire region, centred on the district's isolated McFaulds Lake.


Highway 599, longest secondary highway in Ontario

Permanent roads (Highway 599) only reach about halfway to the northernmost point of Kenora district, with the provincial highway network ending at Pickle Lake. Some more northerly communities connect seasonally through an ice/winter road network to the Northern Ontario Resource Trail.

Year-round air and summertime river transport are the only means of reaching the most remote parts of the district.

The major railroad lines between Toronto and British Columbia pass through the south of the district.

Patricia Portion

Provincial boundaries of Canada prior to 1912. The portion of Ontario's modern boundaries which is not represented as part of Ontario in this map constitutes the "Patricia Portion" of Kenora District.

The Patricia Portion is the part of the Kenora District lying north of the Albany River, which was transferred from the Northwest Territories to Ontario on May 15, 1912, in The Ontario Boundaries Extension Act.[4] This area was originally a separate division, Patricia District, but became part of Kenora District in 1937.[5]

With the exception of a few communities along the northernmost ends of Highway 599 and the Highway 105/Highway 125 corridor, the Patricia Portion consists almost entirely of remote First Nations communities that are only accessible by float plane or winter road. Accordingly, the term "Patricia Portion" is still sometimes used to distinguish the region from the relatively more populated and road-accessible southern portion.

See also


  1. "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 21, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  2. "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 12, 2021.
  3. Compilation of Northwestern Ontario's 2006 census data
  4. The Ontario Boundaries Extension Act, S.C. 1912 (CA), 2 Geo. V, c. 40.
  5. Patricia Act, RSO 1937, c 5 (retrieved March 26, 2016).
  6. Caldera Volcanoes Retrieved on July 20, 2007
  7. "Population and dwelling counts: Canada and census divisions". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  8. "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 20, 2019.
  9. "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 18, 2021.
  10. Barnes, Michael (1995). Gold in Ontario. Erin: The Boston Mills Press. pp. 23–26. ISBN 155046146X.
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