Mining and murder: One of the world’s best unsolved crime stories – by Karen Bachmann (Bradford Today – June 8, 2024)

Sir Harry Oakes was murdered in 1943 and his story is still talked about today

Much has been said recently about the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau in Kirkland Lake. Owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust and operated by the Town of Kirkland Lake, the chateau is a monument commemorating the early days of the Northern Ontario gold rushes, the prospectors who made the discoveries and the men who developed the mines and the communities in the region.

Since 1983, the Museum of Northern History, which originally lived in the assay office of the Wright-Hargreaves Mine, has been housed in Sir Harry’s former abode. The chateau was built in 1929 after Sir Harry’s original Kirkland Lake house was destroyed by fire.

The copper roof and the craftsman and shingle style design are impressive. The home also boasts a six-car garage with a drive-through basement (I assume he was a car nut). The house was used primarily when Sir Harry and his family were visiting town, his mining properties and interests.

His permanent residence was Oak Hall, a 37-room, Tudor-style, three-storey monstrosity-of-a-mansion in Niagara Falls (now serving as the headquarters for the Niagara Parks Commission, since 1982). So, who was this Northern Ontario big-wig, and why is his story still talked about today?

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