The History of Wawa: From Iron Ore Mountain to the Gansa Monument

Michipicoten, more commonly known as Wawa, is one of the oldest place names in existence, appearing on Samuel de Champlain's 1632 map. The area was home to an iron ore mountain, which was mined for a century before operations were closed in 1998. In the Solomon Islands, Marau Wawa is a small island whose last remaining Wawans disappeared about a century ago, taking their language with them. In Nicaragua, the Wawa River flows through an isolated and sparsely inhabited jungle. In an effort to attract tourists to the area after the road bypassed the city center, Al and other local businessmen came up with the idea of the Gansa Monument.

The name of the monument comes from the Ojibwe word for wild goose or land of the big goose. Wawa is located 15 miles west of Hawk Junction Station on the Canadian National Railway, on the Sault Ste. Marie-Hearst Highway. In the second half of the 1950s, the city's name was temporarily changed to Jamestown in honor of Sir James Hamet Dunn, but it was later returned to Wawa at the request of community residents.

Gold mining in the Wawa area prospered and regressed several times in the 20th century, and continues today. With the fall of the milk delivery business in the early 1960s, Wawa moved to convenience stores and gas stations, opening its 900th store in New Jersey on June 18th. Wawa is a municipality in Ontario located within Algoma district and associated with Lake Wawa. Throughout the 1990s, Wawa and Algoma's Ore Division continued to face international market problems affecting gold and iron mining industries.

Since the shutdown, Wawa's economy has suffered a near-total collapse due to job losses and population decline. The history of Wawa is one of resilience and determination in spite of economic hardship. From its iron ore mountain to its Gansa Monument, this small town has made its mark on history.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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