The municipality of Red Lake includes five towns — Red Lake, Balmertown, Cochenour, McKenzie Island and Madsen — which date back to an era when each mine had its own townsite.
With a strong tradition of mining in the region* it is no wonder the Red Lake Branch of CIM has an active annual program.
The branch hosts three social events each year. The Annual General Meeting (a.k.a. Seafood Night) in October is very well attended with majority of our members renewing their membership for the upcoming year. In November, over 100 people gather for the Lobsterspiel, sponsored by RC Moffat Supply, combining curling with a lobster dinner. In July the branch hosts a Best Ball 9 Hole Golf Tournament sponsored by Boart Longyear. Other mining-affiliated companies also participate in this event by sponsoring each hole. This summer event has approximately 100 golfers teeing off.
The branch hosts dinner meetings at the Lakeview Restaurant during the year, inviting speakers from the CIM Distinguished Lecturer series and local speakers to make presentations to the membership. The dinner meetings have been averaging 36 dinner guests.
The branch’s Scholarship Program, recently renamed the John Kovala Memorial Scholarship, awards $1,000 to a graduate of the local high school or a returning university or community college student entering into a mining-related field. A new scholarship was announced in 2011/12 for Confederation College's Mining Techniques program at the Red Lake Campus. The award recipient will receive $1000 and membership to the Red Lake Branch for the year. See the Scholarships page for more details.
*Interesting facts about Red Lake's history as shared by Bill & Jeannette Kostyunk
Larry Wilding was employed by Mr. Michel (owner & baker of the Lakeview Restaurant) to work his claims in the Dixie Lake Area. Larry transported his helper Clint Campbell and all the equipment for the job with his dog team. Larry went on to marry the widow owner of Selco in Hamilton, where he lives today.
Bill Hall (an early Red Lake entrepeneur) had a lime kiln at Pipe Stone Bay in the mid 1930s. He employed approximately ten men mining the open pit and hauled the lime by horse drawn wagons to his kiln where he roasted the lime and bagged it. It was then transported to Red Lake via a scow.
The Red Lake community’s mining history is reported & displayed at the Red Lake Museum. The municipal office in Balmertown is home to the Erle Crull Rock and Mineral Collection which displays rocks and minerals from around the world.