Rooted in the origins of Canada, the history of the Pickle Lake area dates back to the fur trade – in 1786 the Hudson Bay Company established the Osnaburgh House trading post on the shores of Lake St. Joseph. Harvesting furs remained the most prominent industry in the area until 1928, when gold was discovered along the banks of the Kawinogans River. Pickle Lake, being the closest lake to the two new gold mines at Pickle Crow and Central Patricia, became the transportation centre of the area.
Over the area’s 50 years of mining history, as with most mining communities, there were a series of booms and busts. The first bust occurred in 1951, when the Central Patricia gold mine closed. After 30 years and 1.5 million ounces of gold, the Pickle Crow gold mine stopped production in 1966, bringing an end to the boom which had started in 1935. From then, Pickle Lake experienced further series of boom and busts with the opening and closing of the Umex Thierry Mine, Placer Dome Inc. Mine and Bond’s Gold mine. Although no longer a typical mining town, the history of the mines still drives the working spirit of the community.
Pickle Lake was officially incorporated as a township in 1980 which includes the sites of Central Patricia and the decommissioned site of Pickle Crow. Today Pickle Lake serves as the transportation hub for people and goods travelling to the remote communities in Northwestern Ontario. Though transportation has become the town’s main industry, tourism also has a strong influence in Pickle Lake with outdoor enthusiasts, fishers and hunters coming to enjoy the pristine and untouched wilderness of Northern Ontario’s Last Frontier.