The community of Gillies is dynamic and well positioned for success in the global economy, through collaborative encouragement and support of entrepreneurship and business development, and the provision of an excellent quality of life for its citizens.
Gillies Township offers many benefits as a potential location for business investment. The Township and the surrounding area are home to skilled trades people and a steady supply of post-secondary graduates. Close to the geographic centre of Canada and the US border, and accessible by rail, air, the Trans-Canada Highway and the Lake Superior shipping lanes, Gillies Township presents a great opportunity for investors and has been identified as a prime location for the manufacturing of value-added wood products.
Silver was discovered in the area in the 1840’s and mines were opened along the Silver Mountain Road. By 1850, there was a townsite at the Beaver Mine, complete with school, homes, boarding houses, bank and stamp mill, all visible from the Silver Mountain Road. In 1893, the Township was opened for settlement, the Port-Arthur Duluth railway was ready for business but the silver mines had been worked out. Since the Township was full of white pine, lumbering and clearing of land for farming took over in primary importance and by 1901 a large influx of settlers had arrived in Gillies. Sawmills became a thriving business as the land was cleared and our two villages, South Gillies and Hymers, were established. Each village had a general store, post office, church and school. Hymers, at one time, even had a bank and a doctor from New York City. The doctor missing the Broadway plays started a drama group in the village
With the advent of the car and modern highways, Gillies’ residents began commuting to Thunder Bay for employment and goods and services. The Township has remained, however, the centre for area services such as a postal outlet, Whitefish Valley School and the Hymer’s Fair. We have local businesses such as Green Acre Variety Convenience Store and Gas Station, Rose Valley Lodge and Restaurant, Dreamfields Riding Stable, Mitchell's Autobody, a Bed and Breakfast, various small agricultural farms that sell beef, lamb, eggs and bedding out plants and there is still a lumber mill. And once again we have a drama group, “Milehill Melodrama”, housed by the Gillies Community Centre, which has provided entertainment to the community for many years.
It is expected that Gillies will continue to remain a small rural community with residents enjoying the advantages of living close to a large economic centre, yet being able to have their home in a country setting where they can continue to enjoy the peace, solitude and sense of community which initially drew them to this picturesque area.
Freda Kamstra, designer of the Township logo, expresses the idea that Gillies is the place for a good life filled with golden opportunities. It depicts much of the natural beauty of the area – rock cliffs, green hills, fields and pine trees. Characters such as the big pumpkin symbolize the Hymers Fair and the tracks symbolize the P.D. Railroad.