The History of O’Connor
The Township of O’Connor celebrated it’s 100 Anniversary in 2007
Township of O’Connor – The Past – 1898
The history of our Township did not properly begin until the arrival of a considerable number of settlers, as before that it was simply a No-Man’s Land. The area was comprised of a fine stretch of valley land, eight miles by six or approximately thirty thousand acres, well watered by numerous creeks and the Whitefish River. Most settlers came here by the P.D. & Canadian Northern Railway and in 1901 the Ontario Government began building Colonization Roads into the new Township. The task confronting these first pioneers was tremendous, as the Township, at this time, was nearly a solid forest.
On January 9, 1901 a board of trustees was formed and a site was chosen for the first school, which was then built in 1904. The school tax rate for this year was 10 mills for general purposes, and 11 mills for the school building.
The “unorganized” Township decided to become organized, and did so on January 1st, 1907. Opportunities were plentiful in the construction and lumbering businesses. Many of our first settlers in the Township still have families living on the same homestead or elsewhere in the Township.
In 1915, Mr. Lindsay Cardiff was appointed Township clerk and in 1928 he became the Clerk-Treasurer of the Township. He was the clerk and treasurer for 53 years. Mrs. Ruby Delyea was hired as the Township’s Clerk-Treasurer in January 1974 and she retired in June of 2001 after 27 1/2 years of dedicated service.
Township of O’Connor – The Present
Today the Township has a population of 663 with 284 households. It is mostly a residential area, with the majority of its residents working in the City of Thunder Bay.
There is one businesses operating within our Township – Firesteel Contracting. There are also several small businesses operating out of the residents’ homes. The Township is also the home of Solid Wood Lumber which has been closed now for several years.
In 1974, the Municipal Office was moved to the old O’Connor school building and in 2010 we were fortunate enough to build a brand new accessible office next door to this building, also known as the O’Connor Community Centre. The Township employs 4 full time and 4 part time staff. The community is served by a Volunteer Fire Department, a Fire Department Auxiliary, and the O’Connor Community Club . Our two churches, the Baptist and the Free Methodist, also serve the community well.
Our residents have always enjoyed the country atmosphere of our Township. Some of our residents are farmers, a number of residents have riding horses, enjoy cross country skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, small game hunting or the peace and quiet of country living.
Township of O’Connor – The Future
The Township of O’Connor’s future will continue as it is today, with a certain amount of growth, but not enough to spoil the country atmosphere our residents have come to enjoy and expect. We will welcome small business and other economic development opportunities that present themselves.
Township of O’Connor – Crest
- Trees represent a rural area and forestry workers
- Rock and water represent fishing and recreation
- Trillium representing the province.
- In 1995 a new crest was designed by former Mayor Ron Nelson to make it more versatile in its use as a logo for the vehicles as well as a new design for a township pin. The same significances remained in the new design.