HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIP OF SCHREIBER

The Township of Schreiber was first established in the years 1883 and 1884. It was then known as Isbester’s Landing after one of the original engineers who worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway line. During this time, the town served as a docking area and construction camp for the railway and the settlement consisted of log cabins and tents. The preliminary work on the 200-mile Lake Superior section of the CPR railroad was done in the winter and spring of 1883. Two years later, in May 1885, the last spike connecting the transcontinental railway was driven into the track at Noslo, near Jackfish. The town was renamed Schreiber in that year for Sir Collingwood Schreiber who was chief engineer of Government railways. Thus began the long connection between the township’s history and that of the railroad.

In 1890, Italian immigrants from the city of Siderno began pouring into Schreiber to find employment. Many worked on the railway and consequently played a major role in its completion. Cosimo Figliomeni was one such individual and he was responsible for sponsoring other Italian families in coming to Canada. Many of their descendants remain in Schreiber today and the town still boasts of their strong Italian heritage.

Schreiber was officially incorporated as a township on July 13th, 1901. The first meeting of the municipal council was held on August 10th in the school house and the first elected reeve was William Henry Wadlund. One hundred years later, on August 10th 2001, Mayor Bob Krause and council held a special meeting to commemorate the event, at which he remarked: “Over the past 100 years, we haven’t grown that much, but we are still a friendly community with a rich history to share.”

By the early 1900’s, Schreiber’s population had begun to expand and different services were required to meet the increasing needs of the residents. A four-room schoolhouse was soon erected on the corner of Ontario and Winnipeg streets. Churches were being built to accommodate the diverse congregations. In 1909, Dr. Henry S. Crowe, Schreiber’s first family doctor arrived in town and continued to serve the area between Nipigon and White River. In 1924, the Schreiber Continuation School was founded and a four-room annex was added to the public school. The town was showing clear signs of growth and prosperity.

In 1935, Schreiber celebrated its 50th anniversary. Two years later, the highway between Schreiber and Port Arthur was opened, following the completion of the Nipigon Bridge. Prior to the highway’s completion, Schreiber residents could only travel by rail. This event opened up new means of transportation between the communities. In 1939, the King and Queen of England embarked on a Royal Tour of Canada and visited Schreiber to the delight of the residents. The decades following the war showed great changes in Schreiber.

1985 marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Schreiber Township and centennial celebrations were held between July 15th and July 21st. Also during this period, two events were held that would later become Schreiber traditions. The Peel-Off Winter carnival was first held in 1989, and Heritage Days celebrations began in 1993. Schreiber’s ties with the railway were formally recognized in 1994 with the CPR station receiving a heritage designation. Today, visitors can view the beautifully restored 1955 Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive which is located in Schreiber’s downtown park.
 
At 122 years old, Schreiber has a vast and interesting history that can be found in its landmarks and in its people.

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