Kirkland Lake: A Jewish History

Creator(s): Museum of Northern History at the Sir Harry Oakes Chateau

The town of Kirkland Lake once had a vibrant and thriving Jewish community. Its origins were found in the great waves of migration to Canada in the early 20th century, from the area of Eastern Europe known as the Russia Pale. One of the earliest settlements of Jews in Northeastern Ontario was in Krugerdorf, where a farming colony was established with the assistance of the Baron de Hirsch Institute of Montreal, an organization that helped Jewish immigrants to Canada. With the development of Northern Ontario's mining and other resource-based industries, new opportunities arose, bringing more immigrants to the region and attracting many of Krugerdorf's early settlers to the new towns and cities, including Kirkland Lake. The Kirkland Lake community prospered for many years but when the regional economy suffered after World War II, the Jewish communities of northeastern Ontario dispersed. Over the past 40 years, the Jewish presence in the town has dwindled to virtually nil.

This exhibition keeps their stories alive through the voices of past and present members of the Jewish community of Kirkland Lake.

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