Thunder Bay

Journey to the geographical centre of Ontario goes through Hornepayne

Bill Steer, general manager of the Canadian Ecology Centre, is leading a snowshoe hike to the geographical centre of Ontario, near Hornepayne on Saturday.

'You take in the longitude, latitude and extremities, you do the math' says Canada Ecology Centre manager

Bill Steer mapped out and marked the geographical centre of Ontario last year, and now he wants to share the journey. On Saturday February 15, Steer will bring participants on a two kilometre snowshoe to the destination. (Supplied/Bill Steer)

Eager adventurers will have the opportunity Saturday to hike to the geographical centre of Ontario, which is found just outside the northwestern Ontario town of Hornepayne, about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Bill Steer, general manager of the Canadian Ecology Centre (CEC),  and his friend Brian Emblin, a mining engineer in Timmins, put in the work to calculate the measurements and locate the spot. 

Now they want to share the journey. 

"The geographic centre of Ontario comes from metadata that's provided by the province," Steer told CBC News.  "When you take in the longitude and latitude and extremities, you do the math and... we found out where the coordinates are and had them verified."

A 'magnificent' location for centre

Steer describes the location of the geographical centre, tucked neatly inside a mature boreal forest as "magnificent" and hopes it might spur tourism in the area. 

"This designation will help our cause to bring more visitor accommodation to the town which we are sorely lacking," said Steer.

Currently the closest communities to Hornepayne with visitor accommodations are Hearst and White River, which are both approximately 100 kilometres away. 

Steer and Emblin hiked into the boreal forest in December of 2019 to mark the location, and now they want to share destination with the residents and neighbours of Hornepayne. 

"It will be a real feeling of accomplishment to make it to the geographic centre of our vast and magnificent land," said Bill Steer. "The CEC invites the municipality of Hornepayne, its residents and neighbours from near and afar to snowshoe to the centre, found within your backyard."

Steer is leading a two-kilometre snowshoe hike Saturday to the marked geographical location.

Interested participants are asked to congregate on "Norm's Road", just north of Hornepayne on Highway 631 at 10 a.m. The hike is free of charge and requires a low level of snowshoeing experience.

Interested participants can visit the Canadian Ecology Centre website for more information on the event.