Vast, remote, deep and cold, with sheer rock cliffs rising on the N shore, the lake's austere beauty has become part of the Canadian imagination. The tale of billions of years of GEOLOGICAL HISTORY is exposed in its rocks. Stromatolites, the oldest fossils found anywhere, have been found in the rocks along Whitefish R - evidence of life 1.8 billion years ago. At AGAWA BAY, volcanic action has created one of the finest pebble beaches in the world. The rocks around Superior also contain valuable mineral deposits, especially IRON ORE in the great Mesabi Range in Minnesota. Silver was taken from beneath the lake at SILVER ISLET and copper was mined by the Indians long before the arrival of Europeans. Gold has been discovered at Hemlo, some 30 km E of Marathon.
Étienne BRÛLÉ was likely the first European to see the lake (1622). Hugues Randin was in the SAULT STE MARIE area around 1670, and Sieur DULHUT laid formal claim to the area around the lake in 1679. For 100 years the voyageurs braved the storms of Superior and carried furs along the N shore to GRAND PORTAGE and later FORT WILLIAM. Ft Michipicoten, at the eastern end of the lake, was established in 1725 and operated until 1904. After 1855 a ship canal was operated at Sault Ste Marie, and steamers passed in increasing numbers as huge quantities of grain and iron ore were carried to the lower lakes. Today, THUNDER BAY is one of the largest ports by volume in Canada. LAKE SUPERIOR PROVINCIAL PARK fronts on the lake between the Montréal and Michipicoten rivers and PUKASKWA NATIONAL PARK between the Pukaskwa and White rivers. The parks preserve a rugged environment of ancient mountains scoured in the last ICE AGE.
Author JAMES MARSH
Links to Other Sites
Library and Archives Canada
The website for Library and Archives Canada. Offers searchable online collections of textual documents, photographs, audio recordings, and other digitized resources. Also includes virtual exhibits about Canadian history and culture, and research aids that assist in locating material in the physical collections.
Pukaskwa National Park of Canada
This illustrated Parks Canada website focuses on local aborigial history and recent resource management projects in Pukaskwa National Park.
The official website for the Town of Marathon.
The Great Lakes Atlas
This very extensive website covers the history, geography, ecology, and just about everything else you may want to know about the Great Lakes. A joint production of Environment Canada and the American E.P.A.
Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario
This online slide show captures the striking beauty of Pukaskwa National Park in Ontario. Part of the “Canada's Aquatic Environments” website from the University of Guelph.
An online travel guide covering popular destinations and recreational opportunities in Northern Ontario.
The website for the Township of Nipigon. Offers information about municipal services and local recreational opportunities.
Sault Ste Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada
A fascinating look at the many Canadian engineering innovations built into the original canal that provided safe passage between Lake Huron and Lake Superior. From Parks Canada.
Lake Superior Provincial Park
The website for Lake Superior Provincial Park highlights recreational opportunities. Click on "Park Information," then "Park Info," and then "Park History" to access details about the famous Agawa Rock Pictographs.
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada
Visitor's guide to the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada, the world’s largest freshwater marine protected area. From Parks Canada.