In the late 1890s, the town of Wawa, in the Michipicoten region, experienced its own gold rush. The Ontario Bureau of Mines created the Michipicoten Mining Division in 1897. The town grew from next to nothing to a going concern with about 1000 inhabitants. Established as a town in 1899, Wawa's "mini Klondike days" lasted until 1906.
In the 1920s, the interest of speculators in Wawa's gold potential was again piqued as new gold veins were discovered at Michipicoten. Settlements sprang up adjacent to gold deposit sites. Wawa remained a significant gold mining centre until the late 1980s. The slump in world gold prices, however, had a dampening effect on the local economy, and drove some interests away from the Michipicoten region.
Wawa and the Michipicoten region, however, were also blessed with significant iron ore deposits, an alternative mining opportunity for speculators and developers. One of the leading players in this mining activity was the Algoma Ore Company. Again, dampening world prices in the 1990s had a dampening effect on the local economy.
More recently, speculation in diamond exploration has renewed the interest of investors and speculators.
Cautiously optimistic, the mood of the town's miners is immediately apparent upon entering Wawa.