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|
|St. Paul, Minnesota||531||689|
|Bismarck, North Dakota||570||833|
|Pierre, South Dakota||747||1,082|
|Jefferson City, Missouri||1,259||1,508|
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?
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!