West Nipissing | The Canadian Encyclopedia


West Nipissing

West Nipissing (also Nipissing Ouest), Ontario, incorporated as a municipality in 1999, population 14,364 (2016 census), 14,149 (2011 census). The name West Nipissing reflects the municipality's location on the northwest end of Lake Nipissing, 37 km west of North Bay. The region has a rich francophone history, and approximately 60 per cent of the population (8710 people) speak French as a mother tongue language (see Francophones of Ontario).


The area has long been of historic significance to the Indigenous people there, as it lies alongside the water route linking the Ottawa Valley and Lake Huron. European activity began with the fur trade (see also Fur Trade Routes).

Development and Economy

Since the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1880s, the resource economies dominated the economy. Today, the population is employed in government services, retail, forestry, agriculture and recreation-tourism. The municipality's fur-trading past is preserved at Sturgeon River House Museum.

The Municipality of West Nipissing is a mixture of former towns (Cache Bay and Sturgeon Falls), formerly incorporated townships (Caldwell, Field and Springer) and 17 and one-half previously unincorporated townships. The municipality's administrative centre is Sturgeon Falls.