Centrally located in Northern Ontario in the Grey Clay Belt, is Kapuskasing, a small town offering many activities for outdoor enthusiasts, such as fishing, skiing and canoeing. The town also hosts several popular festivals and annual events, such as the Festival of Lights, the Kapuskasing Lumberjack Heritage Festival and Winter Carnival. Despite being a largely Francophone town, immersion education opportunities are available at some schools, which helps attract people to the area. The Francophone population is a dynamic one, and organizes many festivals and cultural activities in the area.
Land Area, km2
Construction, Manufacturing, Transportation and Warehousing
Formerly known as MacPherson, Kapuskasing began alongside the development of the National Transcontinental Railway. The abundance of black spruce in the area eventually led to the opening of Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company Ltd in 1920 – when many townspeople gradually began to abandon farming to work at the mill or in logging camps. The company eventually became an employee-owned company in 1991, but has played a large role in the town’s development.
Currently, Kapuskasing’s economic development team is trying to expand on its existing resources while integrating into different sectors like solar energy and tourism. A large number of young adults leave the area to pursue education and job opportunities elsewhere. Recently, the town has been collaborating with other nearby regions on initiatives to help counter this issue and bring young adults back to the area. Hearst University, which has a branch in Kapuskasing, is working with the town to develop programs based on the needs of the community.
Like other rural communities, Kapuskasing is facing challenges outside of youth retention. Numerous industries in the area lack employees with the right skills, particularly in the mining industry, which is looking to expand in the near future. In addition, within the next five years or so, approximately half of the population will be retired, which will further widen the skills gap. With the town just a few hours’ drive from Timmins, some of the smaller businesses in the town are suffering, as many people go outside of town for their needs.
Despite its challenges, Kapuskasing has both a strategic plan for the city, as well as for the surrounding communities to help expand on potential opportunities in the area. At the heart of the town are very active community members who participate in a number of different activities and events. With such a strong vision for the town and the right people to carry out these plans, Kapuskasing is well-poised for success in the future.