A Small Town with Potential for Great Opportunities
Situated within the Boreal Forest and the Arctic Watershed Region of Northern Ontario is the Township of Chapleau, home of the world’s largest Crown Reserve. Established in 1925, the Preserve is an exciting eco-tourism destination for wildlife and nature lovers from around the world. Home to various communities, including Chapleau’s francophone community, Chapleau’s Cree First Nation, Brunswick House First Nation, Chapleau’s Ojibwe First Nation and Chapleau’s Metis community, the township is built on a rich cultural history.
Land Area, km2
Transportation and Warehousing, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Sault St. Marie, Sudbury
However, despite its rich history, many of the town’s employers are facing skills shortages and are struggling to find workers with the right skills. And with only few industries in the area – natural resources Tembec and CP Rail being part of the select few – Chapleau is looking to opportunities in other sectors. Talks of mining and renewable energy plans are currently underway.
Youth migration is also a problem for this small community, as most leave for postsecondary education and job opportunities elsewhere and don’t return. But with an active artist community, and future plans to develop both the mining and tourism industry, the hope is to attract more young families and new businesses to the area. Housing for family sized homes will need to be further developed, as currently there are either mostly low end or high end housing, offering little in between.
As well, the French community that has seen its numbers reduced in the last decades is still very active and also contributes to the dynamism and sentiment of pride of Chapleau through the Alliance des francophones engagés de Chapleau. For example, they instigate many cultural activities in the community often in partnership with other cultural groups of the community. Given that the township’s economic development activities are determined through an independent Economic Development Corporation made up of representatives from council, business, industry and the tourism sector, the township has the opportunity to leverage these perspectives to move the town forward. The last few years, the community has seen more young and dynamic leaders contributing to some of the positive changes occurring in the township. Hopefully this intergenerational leadership will continue to bring about positive change into the future.
Read about the Francophone history of Ontario here.