Kenora, So Far Away

On June 24, 2010 · 12 Comments

Many months ago, in what seems like a lifetime ago in the world of the Twelve Mile Circle, I focused on rural Southwestern Virginia. I demonstrated through a simple mapping design that one distant corner of the state was closer to the capitals of eight other states than to its own capital of Richmond. This was one of the very first articles I ever posted on the blog so I doubt many of you ever saw it because I didn’t have much of an audience back then. Nonetheless this type of anomaly has long fascinated me and it’s kind-of a shame that I covered it before anyone was stopping by here regularly.

Now, more than two and a half years later and with 400 articles behind me, I have a chance for a do-over. I’ve learned of its Canadian cousin.

The City of Kenora can be found on the far western edge of Ontario near its border with Manitoba. In fact the two provinces once disputed ownership of Kenora. Back then it went by its earlier and less flattering name, Rat Portage. I think they did well by going with Kenora. I can’t imagine anyone would want to live in Rat Portage. Either way, the town became an official part of Ontario in 1889. Aficionados of geo-oddities might know it best as a nearby neighbor and point of access for the U.S. exclave known as the Northwest Angle on the Lake of the Woods. Otherwise it’s fairly obscure.



View Larger Map

However Kenora may now be better known in odd geography circles for something a long distance away rather than something in close proximity: its provincial capital city of Toronto. Kenora’s residents wishing to travel to the capital of Ontario would need to cover an astounding 1,337 kilometres by air or 1,767 kilometres by road before arriving in Toronto. That’s either a solid airline flight or a drive lasting about twenty-five hours.



View Far-Away Kenora in a larger map

Ontario is a massively broad province and Kenora is skewed so far towards its western side that it’s much closer to a number of Canadian province capitals and masses of U.S. state capitals. Kenora is closer to Winnipeg and Regina in all instances, and closer to Edmonton by road. It is closer to eleven U.S. state capitals than to Toronto and about the same distance to another two.

These are the approximate air and road distances between Kenora and various province and state capitals. I used the default Google Maps road distances which favors major highways. Potentially some of these could be shortened by taking minor roads.

km. air & km. road
Winnipeg, Manitoba 192 215
St. Paul, Minnesota 531 689
Bismarck, North Dakota 570 833
Regina, Saskatchewan 726 795
Pierre, South Dakota 747 1,082
Madison, Wisconsin 841 1,010
Lincoln, Nebraska 1,012 1,308
Springfield, Illinois 1,022 1,424
Lansing, Michigan 1,092 1,530
Topeka, Kansas 1,197 1,486
Cheyenne, Wyoming 1,252 1,787
Jefferson City, Missouri 1,259 1,508
Indianapolis, Indiana 1,290 1,526
TORONTO, ONTARIO 1,337 1,767
Helena, Montana 1,345 1,697
Edmonton, Alberta 1,373 1,574
Denver, Colorado 1,387 1,924

It would be interesting to know what the residents of Kenora think. Do they feel a kinship with their fellow Ontarians in the far-flung capital, or do they skew more towards Manitoba?


Totally Unrelated

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when I wondered about the smallest inhabited places enclosed by freeways? Many of you provided great examples. One reader, Steve from the Weather Sealed blog took it a step further. Not only did he find what may actually be the smallest inhabited enclosure, he also meticulously researched the history of how the situation arose and what may happen to it ultimately. The article is called Freeway Bound – A Street Surrounded By LA’s Superhighways. He hopes to profile similar spots later so you’ll want to bookmark this blog.

Check it out!

On June 24, 2010 · 12 Comments

12 Responses to “Kenora, So Far Away”

  1. Matthias says:

    It would be fun to do so in Europe, I guess you can find many spots like that. Such as Freiburg, Germany which is closer at least to Paris and Bern than Berlin.

  2. Katy says:

    You must have also heard of Dalhart, Texas. The town is closer to several other state capitals (including Lincoln, Nebraska) than to its own state capital in Austin: http://www.answers.com/topic/dalhart-texas#Geography

  3. Joe Greene says:

    I don’t know how accurate this is, but GoogleMaps has a program that measures circles from given points. If you plant a point on Toronto, the capital of Montreal, Toronto is closer to states as far away as Florida than portions of far-flung Northwestern Ontario.

    • @Joe Greene: Is that tool available within the Google Maps “My Maps” program, or is it an external application? I’ve been looking for a decent circle tool for quite awhile, and in particular for an article currently in draft form. Could you post the URL? Many thanks in advance…

  4. Chris says:

    Darwin is 3150Km from Canberra, the Australian national Capital. The capitals of eight other nations are as close or closer. Dili (East Timor), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Melekeok (Palau), Bandar Seri (Brunei), Jakarta (Indonesia), Manila (Philippines), Honiara (Solomon Islands), Singapore (Singapore).

  5. Joe G. says:

    It’s in the Google Maps Directory and it’s called “Radius”. If you have trouble finding it, here’s the link. http://maps.google.com/gadgets/directory?synd=mpl&pid=mpl&features=sharedmap,geofeed&backlink=http:%2F%2Fmaps.google.com%2Fmaps%2Fmm%3Fie%3DUTF8%26hl%3Den%26ll%3D37.0625,-95.677068%26spn%3D49.223579,97.294922%26t%3Dh%26z%3D4&hl=en&gl=us

    I’m not sure how accurate it is though, especially with the northern and southern extremes…

    • @Joe G.: It works like a charm. Oh, how I wish I’d had that a couple of days ago when I was creating a couple of 4-mile arcs by hand. It will be great for something I’m working on at the moment though (and in the future) so many thanks for letting me know.

  6. I still say that Cumberland Gap, Virginia, the farthest southwest point in Virginia, can lay claim to the point of being closer to NINE state capitals. According to Google Maps, Cumberland Gap, Virginia is 320 air miles/428 road miles to the Alabama State Capitol building in Montgomery. Cumberland Gap, Virginia is 349 air miles/422 road miles to the State Capitol building in Richmond.

    I recognize that this is a close call and parsing the definitions of closer, but the numbers work.

    (I still try to read and catch your blog about once a month).

  7. DAN says:

    I WAS BORN IN KENORA ONTARIO, AND AM NOW A REBORN TEXAN LIVING IN HOUSTON FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS…….MY HUMBLE OBSERVATIONS OF KENORA THRU THE YEARS IS THAT IF I WAS BORN 26 MILES FURTHER SOUTH THAT I WOULD BE CALLED A DAMN YANKEE TODAY…..ALSO WINNIPEG 120 MILES WEST OF KENORA IS NOW IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE OF THE CFL (CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE) MEANWHILE KENORAITES STILL CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS WEAST ERNERS WITH LEANINGS TO THE WEST…AND THE HOLY CITY OF TORONTO IS A NON ENTITY AS LIVING IN NORTHESTERN AND NORTHERN ONTARIO IS SNUBBED BY THE HOLY CITY,,,,,,,,,,,,
    GLAD TO BE A REBORN TEXAN LIVING THE DREAM IN THE LONE STAR STATE………….

  8. DAN says:

    ALSO IN 1959-60 I WAS ON ASSIGNMENT TO HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA WITH THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY….THE LOCAL HALIGONIANS CALLED ME A HOGTOWNER (NICKNAME FOR THE HOLY CITY OF TORONTO COMMONLY USED IN THOSE DAYS)…..ONE DAY WHILE LOOKING AT A MAP OF CANADA AND WITH A COMPASS AND THE SHARP POINT AT THE HOLY CITY OF TORONTO I DESCRIBED AN ARC TO TOUCH HALIFAX TO THE EAST…..AND WHEN I DESCRIBED THE ARC WEST TO THE VICINITY OF KENORA. HALIFAX WAS AND IS CLOSER TO HOGTOWN OR THE HOLY CITY OF TORONTO……SO THERE WAS DAN CALLING THE LOCAL HALIGONIANS HOGTOWNERS AND THEY WERE MUCH AMAZED AT THIS GEOGRAPHICAL TRUISMS AND NEVER REALIZING HOW LARGE THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO WAS…….

  9. Doug says:

    You missed Des Moines, Iowa! (a state capital, indeed!)

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