2 Chateau Drive, Kirkland Lake
Explore the impressive chateau of the eccentric Sir Harry Oakes (1874-1943), the famous prospector of the gold-mining era that put Kirkland Lake on the map.
Harry Oakes discovered gold at Kirkland Lake in 1912 and, unlike most prospectors, was able to develop his discovery and maintain a controlling interest in it. Oakes became a multi-millionaire. He used profits from his Tough-Oakes Mine to develop the Lakeshore Mine in Kirkland Lake in 1917. In 1919, Oakes' original house burned down and in 1929, he built this one for his use during visits to his mining properties; his permanent home was in Niagara Falls. The house is a combination of the Craftsman and Shingle styles. One of its interesting features was its six-car garage in the drive-through basement. Covered by a distinctive copper roof, it boasts unique architectural and design features, and four fireplaces. The nursery walls are adorned with plaster reliefs of fairy tales, toys and wildlife.
The chateau was a place to entertain the "movers and shakers" of the local gold-mining industry. Oakes himself worked in the mining camps throughout the world before hitting the jackpot in the Kirkland Lake gold boom. In 1934, Oakes moved to the Bahamas as a protest against the Canadian tax system. He was knighted by King George VI in 1939. Four years later, Oakes was murdered at his Bahamas home. The crime remains unsolved.
The Ontario Heritage Trust acquired the Harry Oakes Chateau in 1981. It is now operated by the City of Kirkland Lake as the Kirkland Lake Museum of Northern History.