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Who’s Who: Frank Dennie, founding father of Capreol

Frank Dennie

The owner of the Hanmer Hotel, Frank Dennie purchased land in the Township of Capreol after he learned the Canadian Northern Railway was building a junction where the rail line coming north from Toronto would meet the line being built from Montreal. He erected the first building close to the river where the grocery store is today.

According to the book, Capreol: The First 75 Years, Dennie agreed to give the railway land that it needed if it promised to make Capreol a permanent divisional point with shops, a roundhouse and other railroad buildings. With this agreement, economical survival of Capreol was ensured. This agreement was the sole reason the CNR was prevented from moving the entire rail operation to North Bay in the late 1950s.

Dennie fought for Britain in the Boer War in 1898. During his life he was a lumberman, a political organizer, a mining promoter, and a builder. He worked for a time as a bartender in Sudbury before buying the Hanmer Hotel.

In 1903, Dennie was commissioned by Thomas Edison to supervise the cutting of a baseline for a mining exploration project near Garson. Dennie unfortunatly encountered quicksand and missed a nickel discovery by a mere 100 metres. In 1929, Thayer Lindsley of the Falconbridge Mining Company would discover nickel a few feet away. * Source: Rainbow Routes

Dennie would go on to become the first postmaster of Capreol, and opened the town’s first real estate office with Cyril T. Young.

Several streets in Capreol are named after the Dennie family: Dennie, James, Lloyd, Clyde, Glenn, Randolph and Hanna. The history of Capreol is directly linked to the history of the railroad. The Township of Capreol was named Frederick Chase Capreol. He was an English civil engineer who worked to develop many concepts for the building of railways, canals, and bridges.

Dennie suggested the new railroad town be named after the township. The Town of Capreol was incorporated in 1918. Historically, First Nations people roamed throughout this section of the province. A fur trading post was erected on the shore of Lake Wanapitei about eight miles from Capreol.

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