Inside the power house ca. 1936
Key Harbour was built in 1908 by Mackenzie and Mann, owners of the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR). The original plan called for a shipping facility and refineries to process iron from the Moose Mountain Mine in Sellwood, where the two railwaymen had a major financial interest. Lack of an nearby source of coal put a quick end to the refinery plan, however the harbour was completed and shipping of the ore pellets began in 1909.
The harbour suffered from a number of ups and downs. In 1916, it was closed and shipping was transferred to Depot Harbour, which was better equipped to handle larger ships. The harbour reopened in 1929 and was used as a coal shipping facility for the Canadian National Railway (CN). There was also a fishery.
There were no homes in Key Harbour. Most of the employees lived in rail cars. A few services, such as a store and school, were available in the nearby section village of Key Junction.
The dock was abandoned by the railway in 1938, however it remained in use by the fishery for a number of years. The railway officially abandoned the line in 1950.
Following the construction of a few cabins and lodges in the late 50s, Key Harbour saw a bit of new life as a tourist region. Nothing remains of the original town site other than the remains of the wharves and some assorted debris.