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Reesor Siding

Introduction

Town site photo

The monument at Reesor Siding

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Reesor Siding was a small settlement located almost 3 kilometres east of Reesor. It began as a railway siding around 1916. Shortly after that, groups of Mennonite and French Canadians settled near the siding and slowly a small community began to emerge.

By the 1920s, Reesor Siding contained a small store, goverment-owned sawmill, a Mennonite church and cemetery, school, and a tennis court, an oddity for such an isolated area. At its height the community had a population of about 100. By the late 40s, the school and church were closed and most of the land was abandoned. That should have been the end of it.

In 1963, Reesor Siding made national headlines, following one of the most horrific and bloody labour disputes in Canadian history, later known as The Reesor Siding Incident.

It began on February 10, 1963. Fuelled by an illegal strke in nearby Kapuskasing, an employer that refused to negotiate with the union, and a dispute between striking workers and contract farmers over rates, a confrontation arose between the farmers and a group of 400 strikers. One of the farmers fired a warning shot. Police protection was insufficient and by the end of night, three of strikers lay dead and five more lay injured.

A monument now stands near the site of the tragedy to commemorate the three fallen men.