masthead image

Pigeon River


Town site photo

The Pigeon River Hotel, ca. 1925.

Photo: Lovelady Brothers, Source: Private collector

Pigeon River was a small border crossing and tourist hamlet, located at the Ontario Minnesota border, about 60 kilometres south of Thunder Bay. The community sprang to life in the early 1920s, following construction of a bridge at the Pigeon River, an international waterway running between Canada and the United States.

One of the earliest businesses was the Pigeon River Hotel, a small tourist lodge with rooms, cabins, a lunch counter and store. There was also a customs house and several dwellings for the staff. A short distance east of the settlement stood the majestic Middle Falls which quickly became a major draw for sightseers.

By the 1930s the community had grown to include a post office, gas station, and a number of private dwellings just north of the hotel. Also in the 1930s, a small roadside park was established near the Middle Falls. By the late 1940s it had grown into a commercial tourist park with camp sites, recreational facilities and lookouts over the falls. In 1959 it was purchased by the province and turned into a provincial park.

In 1963 the government realigned the highway, bypassing the old border town. The bridge and many of the buildings were dismantled shortly after that. The park was closed to tourism in 2002 due to environmental concerns.