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Post-war: 1950s and 1960s

Black and white photograph of baseball players and bat boy, most are in uniform. The team sponsor of Joe Dash is written on each shirt.

Local merchant Joe Dash (centre front row) sits with his sponsored ball team, early 1950s


Despite the challenges of the previous decade, Kirkland Lake and its people remained a strong community. The Canadian economy quickly rebounded after the Second World War, with new infrastructure, industry, and building projects across Ontario creating jobs for tens of thousands.

National immigration policy at the time continued to prioritize the resettlement of those from Europe over refugees from elsewhere.

Black and white photograph of 22 men sitting and standing in front of a curtain. The men are wearing suits. A Ukrainian National Federation logo hangs on the curtain and wall behind the men.

Ukrainian National Federation, Kirkland Lake branch, 1953

Many Europeans were eager to relocate to Canada to escape the hardships of a still recovering post-war economy in their own countries.

In the case of Eastern European countries, people were hoping to escape Soviet rule.


The majority of immigrants and refugees stayed in larger urban and industrial places like Toronto and Hamilton after their arrival in Ontario, but some were willing to travel to rural areas.

Kirkland Lake was able to attract some of these newcomers. It was a busy town, and its mines, industries and businesses continued to need new workers. Gold production slowed since its peak year in 1941, but the mines remained open during the 1950s and most of the ‘60s as the main employers in the region. The town offered a safe place of steady work, good schools, and plenty of activities for families.

Black and white photograph of about 40 children sitting around a long table having a meal. Boys are dressed in dark suits, girls in mostly white dresses. Standing in the background of the hall are men and women, with a priest and two nuns.

First Communion Dinner at the Ukrainian Hall in Kirkland Lake, 1952


Marriage in a Mining Town

As in earlier years, many of these British and European immigrants signed 2-year work contracts with the host nation. After the contract was complete, the worker would be able to move to where they wanted in Canada. The married workers who chose to stay in their new hometown of Kirkland Lake brought over their wives and children soon after.

Black and white photograph of young men in suits and women in dresses dancing on a gym floor.

KLCVI high school graduation dance in the 1950s

While chain migration continued for some, other people found their future spouse in Kirkland Lake. Groups like the Italo-Canadian Club held dances where younger men and women of Italian heritage from across the district could meet and mingle.

Since Kirkland Lake’s early days, there were also opportunities for residents from different backgrounds to connect. This was made easier through communal places like school and work, and even social events like dances and festivals.

This meant people were not necessarily limited to marrying someone who shared the same cultural heritage. These new families became a blend of often more than just one culture – and sometimes more than just one religion.