Rainy River, Ontario

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Rainy River
Town (single-tier)
Town of Rainy River
Rainy River ON 2.JPG
Rainy River is located in Ontario
Rainy River
Rainy River
Coordinates: 48°43′N 94°34′W / 48.717°N 94.567°W / 48.717; -94.567Coordinates: 48°43′N 94°34′W / 48.717°N 94.567°W / 48.717; -94.567
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Rainy River
Settled 1895
Incorporated 1901 (township)
Incorporated 1902 (town)
 • Type Town
 • Mayor Deborah Ewald
 • Federal riding Thunder Bay—Rainy River
 • Prov. riding Kenora—Rainy River
 • Land 2.99 km2 (1.15 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 842
 • Density 281.5/km2 (729/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code P0W 1L0
Area code(s) 807
Website www.rainyriver.ca

Rainy River is a town in north-western Ontario, Canada, southeast of Lake of the Woods. Rainy River is situated on the eponymous Rainy River, which forms part of the Ontario-Minnesota segment of the Canada–US border. Opposite Rainy River across the river is the town of Baudette, Minnesota. The two towns are connected by the Baudette – Rainy River International Bridge. Rainy River is at the western terminus of Ontario Highway 11.


  • 1 History
  • 2 Demographics
  • 3 Notable people
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Incorporated as the town of Rainy River in 1904, the actual community was first formed around 1895 along the East shore of the Rainy River about 2 km from the current town center by a group of lumbermen whose mill was purchased by the Beaver Mills Lumber Company in 1898. The small village took the name Beaver Mills until it was incorporated as a town. In 1901 the Ontario and Rainy River Railway completed a bridge connecting Minnesota to Ontario, but Beaver Mills town site was in the way of the Eastern end and so they created a new town further up river and in between the two large Mills. The only method of transport at the time was by Steam ship so parts of the bridge arrived addressed to "Rainy River". The town eventually accepted this as their name.[2]

Rainy River Town Hall, formerly the railroad station.

The town grew rapidly because of the thriving lumber industry and its two large Mills and bolstered by the Railway. In 1910, a forest fire known as The Great Fire of 1910 originating in northern Minnesota swept north and destroyed the Mills. Across the South side of the River the two villages of Baudette and Spooner were completely burned out with much of the population being saved at the very last moment by a group of brave citizens from Rainy River who backed a Train of box cars across the bridge and pulled them out. The mill industry relocated as a result, contributing to a drop in population from more than 2000 people to its current less than 800.

However, due to the railroad, (absorbed by the Canadian Northern Railway in 1915) since taken over by Canadian National Railways, the growing hunting/fishing tourism industry, the town remained firmly established. The town has had many industries in the past, a Rail Round House, in the 1960s the Rainy River Boat company, in the 1970s Arctic Cat Apparel among some of the major ones, all have now closed and the current town faces a dismal future.[3]


Canada census – Rainy River, Ontario community profile
2011 2006
Population: 842 (-7.4% from 2006) 909 (-7.3% from 2001)
Land area: 2.99 km2 (1.15 sq mi) 2.99 km2 (1.15 sq mi)
Population density: 281.5/km2 (729/sq mi) 303.9/km2 (787/sq mi)
Median age: 50.8 (M: 49.2, F: 51.9) 47.8 (M: 44.8, F: 49.3)
Total private dwellings: 457 452
Median household income: $49,117
References: 2011[4] 2006[5] earlier[6]

Population trend:[7]

  • Population in 2011: 842
  • Population in 2006: 909
  • Population in 2001: 981
  • Population in 1996: 1008
  • Population in 1991: 968

Notable people[edit]

  • Bronko Nagurski, Hall of fame NFL player
  • James Arthur Mathieu, businessman and politician
  • Angela Bulloch, sound and installation artist
  • Dr. John Roberts, economist and Professor Emeritus, Stanford University Graduate School of Business

See also[edit]

  • The Great Fire of 1910
  • SS Keenora (River Ship)
  • Ontario and Rainy River Railway


  1. ^ a b "Rainy River census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  2. ^ "History « Town of Rainy River". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  3. ^ "Economic Development « Town of Rainy River". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  4. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  5. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  6. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census

External links[edit]

  • Town of Rainy River
  • The Rainy River Record
  • Canada Census 1901