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Rainy River is an active member of the community with local offices situated both near the project site in the town of Emo, as well as in Thunder Bay. Regular public information meetings combined with site tours are some of the ways in which the Company has continued to engage and inform the local population on the progress of the project.
The Rainy River Project Site is located in the Township of Chapple, District of Rainy River, in Northwestern Ontario, approximately 65 Kilometres northwest of Fort Frances, and 420 kilometres west of Thunder Bay. The majority of the Rainy River Project employees live in the Rainy River District. The District has eight townships which are: Alberton, Atikokan, Chapple, Dawson, Emo, La Vallee, Morley, and Lake of the Woods, and two towns: Rainy River and Fort Frances. The largest of the townships is Emo, with a population of 1,252 while the largest of the towns is Fort Frances with a population of 7,952 both as of the 2011 census.
The town of Emo is located along the Rainy River, directly north of the state of Minnesota. Fort Frances is located approximately 30 minutes southeast of Emo, while Rainy River is located approximately 40 minutes west of Emo.
The town of Fort Frances is the judicial, medical, and business centre of the Rainy River District, offering a blend of big city conveniences with small town comforts. Located near the Minnesota border, Fort Frances services both Canada and the US through air courier, truck, Highway 11 and the Canadian National Railway. The Fort Frances airport serves as the local hub for flights within Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota.
Small rural townships and communities are scattered throughout the District. Originally a region based on agriculture, tourism and forestry, entrepreneurs have continued to ensure that communities remain vibrant and accommodating.
The climate of the Rainy River Project area is typical of that of Northwestern Ontario, experiencing warm summers and cold winters, with the bulk of the precipitation occurring during the warm weather months. Average monthly maximum temperatures range from -15C to -6C in winter to between 22C to 25C in the summer. Average monthly minimum temperatures rang from -21C to -16C in winter to between 6C to 12C in the summer.
There are two school boards within the Rainy River District – the public and the separate school boards.
In Emo, both the Donald Young School and Sturgeon Creek Alternative program educates students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. High school students travel to Fort Frances High School. There are also elementary schools throughout the rest of the District, including the communities of Rainy River and Stratton.
In Fort Frances, students can attend Kindergarten to Grade 8 at Robert Moore or JW Walker Schools, or St. Michael’s or St. Francis Schools. Grades 9 to 12 students attend the Fort Frances High School.
There are two post-secondary institutions in the Rainy River District, Confederation College and Seven Generations Education Institute. Both local campus’ offer a broad range of programs for part-time and full-time studies.
The Riverside Health Care is a fully accredited multi-site, multi-faceted health care system providing service throughout the entire Rainy River District and includes Emo Health Care in Emo, La Verendrye General Hospital, Rainycrest Long-Term Care Home and District-wide Community Home Support and La Verendyre Non-Profit Supportive Housing in Fort Frances and Rainy River Health Care in Rainy River.
Emo and rural residents can access a wide range of medical services through the Emo Health Centre, Emo Clinic and Emo Dental Clinic. Services include long-term care, chronic-care, x-ray and physiotherapy facilities. In addition, home care is offered through the Community Care Access Centre.
Recreation in Fort Frances is geared toward families and outdoor enthusiasts, with fishing, swimming and sun bathing, and access to docking facilities at the Sorting Gap Marina. Each year on the last weekend of July, the Marina hosts the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, where 120 teams compete while attendees enjoy a week of entertainment and a boat parade. Residents can also enjoy the Border Concert Series, which features 6 to 8 concerts through the fall and winter months, held in neighbouring International Falls, Minnesota. The Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts is a two-week event showcasing a wide range of local talent. Actors Without Borders is a non-profit, community-driven organization, whose mandate over 35 years has been to promote live theatre in the Rainy River District, including dinner theatre, full length productions and short vignettes. The Tour de Fort Concert Series is also a non-profit organization, bringing affordable entertainment to the District. In addition, the Fort Frances Museum collects, preserves, researches, exhibits and interprets the artefacts that depict the story of man and nature as it relates to the history of Fort Frances and the surrounding Rainy River District.
Similarly, recreational activities in Emo are community-oriented and geared toward the active, from fishing to snowmobiling, hockey, curling and racing. The Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society Fall Fair is one of the biggest annual events, while the Emo Walleye Classic catch-and-release tournament features 65 teams from Canada and the U.S. In the spring and summer, hear the roar of engines on Saturday nights as the Emo Speedway’s quarter-mile track hosts the Borderland Racing Association's Street Stock. Featuring local businesses and services, Spring Fever Days is held in April, while Holly Daze is held on the first weekend in December and features a parade and fireworks.
Other townships throughout the District offer a variety of recreational activities, often centered on nature and outdoor life. There are also interesting and unique museums and historical sites in the district which bring to life the thousands of years of district living, ranging from First Nations history to European settlement.