As my trip to Elliot Lake comes to an end I
thought it would be worth while to give some of my impressions of the
should say that it wouldn't have been possible to have done so much
without the help of James and Joyce MacKenzie and John Muir and my
heartfelt thanks to James & Joyce for organising so many things for me to
do and for running me around the area. A big thanks to John Muir for
providing accommodation and broadband access without which these many
pages would not have been possible.
My overall impression is that if you are an
outdoors type you're going to love Elliot Lake as there is just so much to
do and see. The wildlife is great with bears, moose, elk, foxes, ducks,
geese, birds of all kinds.. You can canoe the many lakes and rivers, sail
and boat around them as well. ATV 1200k of trails, snowmobile, ski, hike,
camp, fish, hunt, and lots more. There is genuine all year round activity.
They are also in the process of building an 18 hole golf course which
should be ready by August 2005 but there are three other courses within an
hours drive of the area. There are even some beaches in the area and parts
are set aside for children with life guards in attendance. Lots of picnic
spots with BBQ facilities as well as camping and RV sites.
Yes there are black flies to contend with but
usually May/June and it's all over. Mosquitos are around in the evening
but not for long. There are also a lot of bears around the area so one
needs to be aware of that when coming here but no-one had been killed that
I am aware off but certainly they can give you a good scare. I would add
that I didn't see one while I was here!
As this city is being promoted for retirement
living there are plenty of facilities for seniors with loads of clubs and
organisations just ready to engage you if you want. There is even a good
are properties for rent and for sale and Lakeshore Properties are selling
lots around the various lakes in the area where you can build your own
Shopping I would say is
adequate and there are various fast food places like Tim Hortons,
MacDonalds, KFC, and a good local Fish and Chip shop. Various pubs in town
cater for most needs and also do meals. There are two larger city's around
2 hours drive either way which have everything you would need. Sears also
have a drop off point in the city so you can order from their catalogue
and have items delivered to Elliot Lake.
The city also has its own airport where
charter flights come in and out and if you enquire in advance you can
likely catch a lift on one. There is an Air Transport Service which can
drive you from Toronto airport to Elliot Lake and back.
What the city does need is
more tourism and it's likely going to have to spend some marketing money
to tell people about the place. Certainly I'd never heard of Elliot Lake
and some attention should be paid to getting the word out about the area.
I was provided access to the Internet through
Economic Development for which many thanks and they did provide some
information which I included here. I would observe however that they
really didn't take the opportunity to present a case to me for why
businesses should locate here. This is a general fault of Economic
Development departments all over the world however. Generally
speaking I would say there is a general lack of web marketing for the area
in common with all other areas I have visited. So no change there.
You can certainly not fault the welcome you
receive from all the organisations in the city and certainly through them
I got to see lots I wouldn't have seen otherwise. Local people are very
friendly and helpful and you'll know I got to do a canoe trip and take an
ATV ride. There are plenty of people around that will help learners like
myself through these activities.
Properties I got a boat ride around Dunlop Lake where they showed upcoming
developments that will be available for sale. They likely need to do more
to assist people to see the potential of these and give an insight into
how to build a home on one. As these developments come into being you will
of course get a better idea of what is possible.
I got to meet all the local
councillors in the city as was able to attend a council meeting. I'd also
note that if you have cable TV their meetings can be viewed on the TV
every two weeks. That is a very open system and they are to be commended
for making this available to the residents.
They have an excellent hospital with very good
facilities so health care is well taken care off. They have an excellent
museum which I'd highly recommend you visit although there is not much
evidence of this history around the city. I can't help feeling that one of
the mines should have been left open for the public here to enjoy. I was
told of miles of roadways inside them which could possibly have been used
for winter activities or for that matter all year round activities but of
course I don't know the cost of that but just seems an opportunity missed
There is a
local newspaper and radio station to keep you in touch with what is
happening in the area.
There is decent hotel accommodation in the
area and four lodges not far outside where you can rent a cabin at very
reasonable rates. Cost of living here is very reasonable and if you come
from the UK I'd say it is very inexpensive. You can hire a car while up
here to get you around.
Talking to the local residents they all seem
to be very happy here in Elliot Lake. The usual wee moans you get in all
communities but nothing significant.
Having done a canoe trip and an ATV trip I can
see the attractions of both. Problem is I wouldn't even have considered
them as they weren't something I saw much of in Scotland. Even if I had
seen them I don't think I would have felt I was fit enough for either. The
fact that there are people here that will take out learners must be a big
opportunity but you need to tell people that they can do this. I feel that
tourism needs to be addressed in a different way here to really capture
the potential of the area.
I also feel that
responsible tourism is needed in the area especially for novice adventure
folk. For example I was kindly offered a walking trip in the area but on
advice of locals I declined as it was likely too energetic for my fitness
level. I later learned that one on the trip had a wee accident and another
felt it was really too far even though he was an experienced hiker. Given
that, I can see I could have been in real problems as I didn't even have
hiking boots. So from a health and safety point of view these things
should be considered on the marketing front.
Like other remote areas young people are
leaving for the larger city's to get jobs so Economic Development needs to
look at what is possible. The fact more retired people are coming here
does mean that jobs are available in health care and tourism but industry
is needed and I didn't see a case for that while I was here. Mind
you there is only so much I can see when I come to a place so without
knowing more I can't really comment on any activities that are available
to attract new business.
Certainly Elliot Lake is a great place to come
for a visit and it's truly one place where I felt like I was on holiday.
The weather was excellent although to my Scottish blood quite warm and on
occasion a touch humid. You do however get a nice breeze from the Lakes
which do cool you down and I did get a real good tan while I was here :-)
So overall I would say do come to Elliot Lake.
It is a great experience for the tourist. The outdoor types will have a
fantastic time and to the high percentage of tourists that wouldn't
normally consider an active holiday this is really a place where you can
dip your toe in the water under expert guidance. It's also a great place
for water activities or even just soaking up the sun and scenery in a
remote part of the country.
Thanks Elliot Lake... I had
a great time while I was here and you sure did Canada proud with your