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Orient Bay

Orient Bay is a 8km long bay of Lake Nipigon located northeast of Nipigon, Ontario. The origin of its name is unknown, but to the north lies Pijitabawik Bay (pronounced PEE-GEE-TUH-WAW-BIK) and is bounded by the Pijitawabik Palisades. Pijitawabik in the Ojibwe language means “Bay of the Rock Faces.”

When the railway was built alongside the bay and later opened for traffic in 1915, a station was constructed where the bay narrows and the Shadow Creek empties into its waters from the west. This location became known as Orient Bay Station and was situated at Milepost 41.3. As the major stop between Jellicoe and Nipigon, Orient Bay boasted a full station, telegraph operator, water tank and large siding (which it retained until the line was removed).

In 1916, CNoR opened a 20-25 guest fishing and hunting lodge near Orient Bay Station, which would allow for easy access the waters of Lake Nipigon and the Nipigon River. Known as the “Nipigon Lodge,” it was operated as an annex to the company’s Prince Arthur Hotel in Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ontario, 107 miles to the west. In 1919, the lodge played host to its most famous guest, HRH the Prince of Wales, who would later become King Edward VIII. As part of his Royal Tour of Canada that year, he arrived at the lodge from Nipigon and began a 3-day adventure on Lake Nipigon and the Nipigon River. You can read more about his visit here: 1919 Royal Tour in Nipigon.

Eventually more businesses and industries began to establish themselves in the bay. In the 1930s, the Abitibi Power and Paper Company constructed a marine base at what would become Cove Inlet, 1.5 miles south of Orient Bay Station. This would become the headquarters of their water operations on Lake Nipigon until the 1970s. It was eventually sold and became Sandy’s Cruiser Service, which catered to fishermen and tourists visiting the area. You can see some images of the marine base here: Abitibi Marine Industries Base at Cove Inlet

Most of the resorts and businesses on the bay have shuttered their doors in recent years. The Nipigon Lodge, renamed the Royal Windsor Lodge (in honour of the Duke of Windsor, Edward VIIIs title after he abdicated the throne), closed in 2017 after the passing of its last owner, Olga Jalkanen. Sandy’s Cruiser Service is up for sale, and there are few if any fishing charters left. The only operating resort is McCollum’s Reflection Lake Resort, which is located at the southern end of the bay.

There are a number of videos of Orient Bay, both historical and recent, in the playlist below:

 

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