North Bay Firsts ...
- June 28, 1881 four miles east of the Station; Alex. Dreany chopped the first tree on the         " right-of-way " for the C.P.R.
- July 1881 C.P.R. started to cut right-of-way through forest.
- 1882 Robert Carter and Thomas Wilson were with an exploring party that came up to          spy out a route from Gravenhurst to Nipissing Junction for the Government Road           which later became the Grand Trunk.  Carter stated " the woods, rocks and                   swamps were almost impassable in places, and all the way was rough! "
- Nov. 1882 John Ferguson built the first shingled house.
- Dec. 1883 C.P.R. built " The Company Row ".
- Early 1883 William McDonlald started first General Store. ( He later took over the                Post Office from John Ferguson who was first Postmaster. )
- After McDonald; William C. Caverhill & Edward Walsh opend stores.  (Walsh sold to           George Fee, a future proprietor of the Mackey House. )
- Stone quarries were opened on Main Street west of Ferguson Street, for the
         railway's building material.
- The first improvements were made on a lot owned by John Ferguson and became the
       business part of town.
- 1884 On the property of  T. & W. Murray to the west of Government Road, a town
       addition was laid out.  Eventually boasting some of the finest residences in town.
       Thomas Murray was Provincial member of Parliament for North Renfrew, but also
        had charge of Nipissing since it had no member.  His list of credits include the
        town Recorder's Office, the Jail and the Government Road to the far north into
        wilderness country.  This 85 mile road was constructed to Lake Temiskaming. Mr.
        Murray lost faith in his local holdings and sold out.  He had built many residences,
        several stores and the north country's finest hotel, the Pacific.  The Murray
        addition became largely owned by North Bay's first mayor Mr. John Bourke.
- Jas. Agnew was the first school teacher.
- The first school house was on the rear end of the Baptist Church lot.
- Rev. Silas Huntington was the first preacher.
- B.W. Coyne was the first resident Superintendent of the C.P.R.
- The first real jail was on George McGillis' lot across from the Cecil Hotel.  George was
       the first barber.
- John G. Cormack was the first druggist and first city clerk.  He arrived a poor man               from Pembroke, but died a most honored and wealthy citizen of North Bay.
- Dr. A. McMurchy was the first physician.
- The first church was the Methodist.
- The first newspaper was " The Nipissing Times ". with Stewart Huntington owner and
       first editor.  It started April 1st 1885.  In 1890 N. Phelps took it over.
- James Worthington was the first magistrate.
- John Doran was the first Stipendiary Magistrate. Followed by his brother Wm. Doran.
- 1885 the Township of Widdifield was organized.  Surveyed by Alex. Niven and named
       for Dr. Widdifield, Sheriff of York County. ( Sixty voters were required to organize           a township, so twenty voters were borrowed from neighbouring Ferris.  Fortunately
      statutes didn't say from where they must come! )
- 1885 George Fee was the first Reeve of Widdifield Township.
- 1888 A.G. Browning was the first lawyer in North Bay.
- 1889 John Loughrin of Mattawa was elected the member of Local Legislature
       representing District of Nipissing.
- Jan. 1st 1891 the village of North Bay incorporated into a town separating from the
       township of Widdifield.
- 1891 John Bourke became the first Mayor of North Bay.
- 1893 The community's first tragedy took place on Nov. 7th.  Twenty one men burned
       to death aboard the steamer " John Fraser " ( owned by Davidson & Hay, lumbermen )
       Fire broke out aboard the vessel as it neared the Manitou Islands with supplies
       and men for the lumber camps.  It was a perfect day without a ripple on the water
       as the " Fraser " departed Callander for the French River.  Its a mystery why more
       men didn't survive with boats up on deck and a barge following.  The cause of the
       tragedy is also a mystery!  Visit this external link for more on the JOHN FRASER
- March 18th 1895 the Traders was the first bank.
- 1896 J.B. Klock was elected the first member for the Dominion House.
- Some of the first people to come with the C.P.R. were: John Ferguson, D.J. McKeown,
       George Fee, Jas. Fallon, Jas. Linsay, Jas. McCluskey, Jas. Mcllvenna,
       John Lavary, Thos. Reynolds, Lott Britton, I. Phillips and several others.
- 1882, North Bay pioneer resident William McFarlane built the first house. Home to the
        first religious service. ( The McFarlane home wasn't a beautiful house, but all pioneers were welcome! )
- The first marriage was that of John Cochrane ( an Algonquin Indian )
- The first white child born in town was a son of John G. Campbell
©  2004-2016  All Rights Reserved.
from the book "Gateway to Silverland" by Anson Gard 1909