November 30, 2013

Mid-Canada Line Site 060 - Relay, Ontario

Site Name: Mid-Canada Line Site 060
Location: Relay, Ontario  
Built: 1956
Operational: 1957 - 1965  
Coordinates: 49.9991, -81.6191
Condition: Remediated
Current Ownership: Unknown
Distance from paved road: ~15 Km, unpaved, in good condition (last ~5 Km by foot)
Condition of access road: Last 5 Km impassable, walk-in only.


The Mid-Canada Line Site in Relay, Ontario was just that, a relay - I don’t think there was anything there before the 1950s when the site was set up.  It was a mid-point between Mid-Canada Line Site 050 - Fort Albany and Mid-Canada Line Site 070 - Mount Kempis.  The troposcatter link couldn't make it all the way from Mount Kempis to Fort Albany, so this was simply a repeater to keep the signal going.  It was set beside the railroad, which facilitated transport of Diesel and supplies.  The facility was powered off diesel generators, perhaps because of the remoteness of the location, or the need for constant redundant power.

Here is their very detailed report, including maps, pictures and details of the remains (prior to 2009 cleanup) at Relay (MCL Site 060)

Here is a video from the remediation of Mid-Canada Line Site 060

Here is another video about the environmental impact the MCL sites are having on aboriginal communities.


Relay is ~90 Km North of Smooth Rock Falls, mostly along HWY 634, which is ~56 Km West of Cochrane along HWY 11.  Take HWY 634 North from Smooth Rock Falls until you reach (49.897534, -81.668710) which is about 77Km along the 634 from Smooth Rock Falls.  Turn right and continue 10.5 Km until you reach (49.973622, -81.609712), then park.  The rest of the way the road was demolished by the contractors who built up the original road. Berms, ditches, and boulders block the way - as can be seen from the satellite photos.  I do not understand why a policy of area-of-denial was in effect, but the road for the last ~5 Km is trashed.  Hiking in is the only way to get to the site. The good thing is that hundreds if not thousands of heavy truckloads of PCB contaminated soil were hauled out of this site just a few years ago, so the roads are in good shape overall.

Trip Report:

I have not yet visited the site, but from the satellite photos and what I've been able to research online, the site was dug up and remediated by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in collaboration with The Department of National Defence, and several private companies who bid on the cleanup effort.


MCL Site 060 Relay Location

View Larger Map

Here are the obstacles along the way:


  1. I like your site and your commentary. Found more information about these sites than I knew before. And I worked on the remediation of both sites 060 and 070.

    1. I did visit the site (finally) and was really impressed with the remediation :) I'd love to hear more about your experience!