Fort Frances, Ontario, incorporated as a town in 1903, population 7952 (2011c), 8103 (2006c). The Town of Fort Frances is located in northwestern Ontario at the west end of RAINY LAKE, where it drains into Rainy River. The river forms the boundary with the US, and Fort Frances is linked by a bridge to International Falls, Minnesota. Located along the traditional canoe route to the western fur country, it was the site of Fort Saint-Pierre, which was constructed in 1731 by La Jemerais, LA VÉRENDRYE's nephew.
The date of the establishment of Fort Lac La Pluie has not been determined, but it was used by the NORTH WEST CO after its establishment in 1776. Subsequently the HUDSON'S BAY CO also established a post, which was named Fort Frances after the wife of the HBC governor, Sir George SIMPSON.
As settlers were attracted to the western plains, it became a staging post on the Dawson Route, an artery of lakes, rivers and wagon roads linking Lake Superior to the Red River, inaugurated in 1870. The turbulent falls at the site attracted milling activity and the town became a centre for sawmilling in the late 1800s. A hydroelectric dam was built 1905-10 to provide power for the paper mill. It is also at the hub of popular fishing and hunting country, and tourism is the town's second-largest employer.