Red Lake has a very rich First Nations history with evidence of indigenous people inhabiting the area over 2000 years ago. In the early 1920's the fur trade brought Europeans into the area which resulted in the discovery of gold. This discovery ultimately led to Red Lake becoming home of the world's last great gold rush in 1926 bringing thousands of people to the area.
Red Lake's aviation history stems from this period. In 1936 Howey Bay in Red Lake was listed as the busiest airport in the world! The bush plane donning either floats in summer months or skis in the winter became the preferred method of transportation in and out of Red Lake during the gold rush. The historic Canadian made Norseman Float Plane was made popular at this time and continues to be an symbol of Red Lake's history. As a result, Red Lake has been dubbed "The Norseman Capital of the World" and to this day a full size Norseman plane is on display in Norseman Park.
History of the Municipality
The Red Lake area is comprised of five (5) geographically separated townsites, each of them originating around present or previously operating mine sites:
- Red Lake
- McKenzie Island
- Madsen/Starratt Olsen
On July 1, 1998, the Municipality of Red Lake amalgamated all townsites to form one Municipality. The Municipality of Red Lake encompasses all the above mentioned townsites within a vast 73,686 hectares of land.
Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre
Red Lake is home to the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre. A place where history and culture of our region comes alive! Take the time to tour this building and view the many interesting and informative exhibits and collections showcasing Red Lake's unique history and culture.
The Heritage Centre boasts treasures of First Nations History, relics of the world's last great gold rush, the history of aviation in the region and many interactive displays relating to the history of Red Lake. The Heritage Centre also offers various year-round programs suitable for all ages and interests.