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The Tri-Towns: Cobalt, Haileybury, New Liskeard

The Tri-Towns

by Michael Barnes

The area covered by this book is less than six hours drive from Toronto, Michael Barnes yet few outside the region are aware of the term Tri-Towns to express the collective gathering of Cobalt, Haileybury and New Liskeard. Motorists continue north to North Bay along Highway 11 and then turn right into the northeastern corridor. Within an hour they reach the Temagami wilderness area and enter the District of Temiskaming, a country ranging from rolling grasslands to rocky hills and mountainous ranges.

Within the center of this area are three small towns, each no more than five miles apart on a north-south axis, which are the focus for the region. New Liskeard and Haileybury grew as settlement followed from travel on Lake Temiskaming and prospered in the exploitation of lumber and agriculture. Cobalt by contrast was a child of the Ontario government railway, brought into being by the discovery of a huge deposit of silver in the early part of the twentieth century.

A view from the air makes a good introduction to the area. The land south around South Lorrain and Cobalt is rugged, rocky terrain on the Ontario side of Lake Temiskaming. This is heavily treed bush country with the spines of rocky hillsides never obscured by the carpet of dense forest. Cobalt is surrounded by small clearings, host to abandoned mine workings easily picked out by large patches of grey, sandy slimes or mine tailings. The silver town is a picturesque place and the aerial view tends to lessen the scarring of open pits, earth-stripped hillsides and deep rock cuts.

As the rocky areas fade in a swing north, the land that hosts Haileybury slopes gently toward Lake Temiskaming. New Liskeard hugs the lakeshore on a flat plain, while beyond there are rich fields where herds of dairy and beef cattle graze and oats and forage crops fill every arable field.

This is the setting for the story of the beginnings, growth and present situation of the Tri-Towns, home now to about 12,000 people, yet commercial host to a wider area and deserving to be known beyond the confines of Northern Ontario for their accomplishments and rich diversity.

Go Here for Table of Contents

ISBN: 0-88954-412-3 | Hard Cover | 8.5 x 11" inches approximately | 184 pages | $29.95

Table of Contents



Making the Land

Those Past Few Hundred Years

Settling Down

Becoming Established

Progress and Boom

Solid Growth

Peak and Slow Down

Fire Out of Season

Recovery, Depression and Conflict

Recent Years


The Nipissing Central Railway

The Ragged Chutes Wonder

Songs of the Tri-Towns

Selected Bibliography