Key Harbour


Photo of fishing camp
A fishing camp in the 1940s or 50s
Private collector

Mackenzie and Mann, owners of the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) built Key Harbour in 1908. The original plan called for a shipping facility and refineries to process iron from the Moose Mountain Mine in Sellwood, where the two railwaymen had a major financial interest.

Lack of a nearby source of coal put a quick end to the refinery plan, however they completed the harbour. Following that, shipping of ore pellets began in 1909.

The harbour suffered from a number of ups and downs and finally closed in 1916. The railway transferred shipping to Depot Harbor which had better facilities to handle the larger vessels. Key Harbour reopened in 1929 and became as a coal shipping facility for the Canadian National Railway (CN). There was also a fishery.

There were no homes in Key Harbour. Most of the employees lived in rail cars. A few services, such as a store and school, were available in the nearby section village of Key Junction.

CN abandoned the dock in 1938, however it remained in use by the fishery for a number of years. The railway officially abandoned the line in 1950.

Following the construction of a few cabins and lodges in the late 50s, Key Harbour saw a bit of new life as a tourist region. Nothing remains of the original town site other than the remains of the wharves and some assorted debris. Learn more

How to get there

There are no roads leading to Key Harbour. Also, unless you are an experienced boater who knows these waters well, DO NOT ATTEMPT this journey by boat on your own. The waters in Georgian Bay can be extremely volatile and unpredictable. See a more detailed map

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