Back Roads Bill: Red Lake, gold country and other gems – by Bill Steer ( – September 9, 2023)

This week Bill, as a tourist, takes us to Red Lake – like other Northern Ontario communities it has its share of gems

When you leave home and travel a short distance away from your usual routine you become a tourist. When you poke around you find interesting stops as you, yet again, visit another Northern Ontario community.

One example is Red Lake a long way to go almost at the end of the road. There is the natural and cultural heritage of the area, the real gems to be found and appreciated on the back roads and waters. There is more than a handful of “neat things” to discover.

It is such a dichotomy. The total population of the group of communities – Red Lake, Balmertown, Cochenour, McKenzie Island, Madsen and the near, almost ghost town of Starratt-Olsen is four thousand people.

In keeping with the whole of northwestern Ontario, almost half of the entire area of our province is inhabited by less than four per cent of Ontario’s total population. At the same time, the area is one of the richest.

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