Pigeon River was a small border crossing and tourist hamlet, located at the Ontario Minnesota border, about 60 kilometres south of Thunder Bay. The community sprang to life in the early 1920s, following construction of a bridge at the Pigeon River, an international waterway running between Canada and the United States.
One of the earliest businesses was the Pigeon River Hotel, a small tourist lodge with rooms, cabins, a lunch counter and store, first opened in 1923. There was also a customs house and several dwellings for the staff. A short distance east of the settlement stood the majestic Middle Falls which quickly became a major draw for sightseers.
By the 1930s the community had grown to include a post office, gas station, and a number of private dwellings just north of the hotel. In 1918, the government promised to establish a small roadside park along the new road near the Middle Falls. Although its exact date of inception is uncertain, the small 12-acre park was operating by the 1930s. Operated by the Department of Highways, by the late 1940s it had grown into a popular tourist park with camp sites, recreational facilities and lookouts over the falls. In 1963, the government expanded the park, turning it to an official provincial park.
In 1963 the government realigned the highway, bypassing the old border town. They dismantled the bridge and many of the buildings shortly after that. The park, which was quite popular, closed in 2002 due to environmental concerns. A number of foundations and a few original buildings still remain in the old townsite. The park, now classed as non-operating, is still open to the public for hiking. Learn more