National Transcontinental Railway
Like most northern communities, Kapuskasing began with the development of the National Transcontinental Railway. The Canadian Government built this railroad to connect our country from east to west. The MacPherson station (known as Kapuskasing starting in 1917) was simply a water stop until the establishment of the MacPherson/Kapuskasing World War I Internment Camp.
Prisoner of War Internment Camp
During World War I, the Canadian government worried about enemy aliens residing within the country; their solution was to create internment camps across the country. The Government decided that, coupled with their wish to create an Experimental Farm in Northern Ontario, MacPherson's remoteness was ideal. The internees were isolated and could work to clear the land for the Experimental Farm. A small cemetery about 2 km west of the community is the only remnant of the internment camp, except for an extensive collection of photographs at the Ron Morel Memorial Museum.
Farming & Industrial Development
During and after the war, the Canadian government wanted to continue the growth of Northern Ontario by increasing its population. In order to do so, the government offered 100 acres of land to soldiers and sailors returned from service in the Great War, who wanted to become pioneers in the north. It is during this period that people began realizing the value of the abundant black spruce in the area. In 1920, the Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company Ltd. opened its doors in Kapuskasing. Spruce Falls brought much wealth and comfort to the residents, who gradually abandoned farming and took up work at the mill or in the many logging camps.
In 1991, the newsprint manufacturing mill became an employee-owned company and in 1997, Tembec acquired all of the company shares. In 2017, Rayonier Advanced Materials acquired Tembec and is still the owner of the Kapuskasing mill. Since its establishment, the pulp and paper mill has played a major role in the development of the community.
For more information on Kapuskasing please visit the Town of Kapuskasing website.