Burchell Lake Ghost Town

September 2004

Burchell Lake is a company mining town, built in the 1950's, and abandoned in the 1960's after the Burchell Lake mine closed. Burchell Lake is situated about 120 km east of Thunder Bay. At:

The town itself is behind numerous no tresspassing and warning signs. The picture above shows the gate. We didn't want to venture straight through the threatening signs, so we looked for another way into the town. We did find another way that did not go past any no trespassing sign. From the main gate, go on the side road on the right. This road has a trench dug through it at some point to make it unpassable. Keep going to the gravel pit at:

Go through this gravel pit, and up the hill, and you are in the townsite.

There are numerous small houses, mostly with the same floorplan, but slightly different styles on the outside. The houses are in remakably good condition for having been abandoned that long. I imagine the company that owns the town still did a bit of maintenance to the town some years after the mine closed, just in case, or they wouldn't be in that good a shape.

It helps that they are far enough off the beaten path that the sort of people that like to vanalize don't get there.

The insides of the houses are all empty. It being a company town, people cleared them out when they left, rather than just leaving random junk behind. This does of course make them less interesting to explore.

The houses do mostly have their copper plumbing ripped out of them. Wonder wy - hard to imagine the price of copper making it worthwhile to rip the plumbing out of the walls.

There is also a two room school. This is the largest building still standing, but it looks still quite solid. Nothing really of interest inside the school. There also was a baseball diamond near the school, but the only thing that gives that away is the back stop, which is still standing. The field iteslf is completely overgrown.

Another interesting building is what was probably some sort of store and / or community center. Its a long building, which used to have a relatively flat roof which is now mostly collapsed. At one end, there was a bit of a 'stage' - the sort that would be used for publich school 'christmas concerts' or that sort of thing.

Also on the site, near the front enteance with all the no trespassing signs, is a two bay auto service center. The wooden siding makes it look rather ramshackle, but from the inside, it looks to be in quite good condition.

The Burchell Lake mine itself would probably have been interesting to see. Unfortunately, that mine has been 'cleaned up', and the only reminder that there was a mine is a landscaped mound that was the tailings pile, and some water sampling wells around it. However, the ghost town of Burchell Lake is still largely intact.

Check out Pat's Mining Towns in Canada blog about life in mining towns like this one.

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