Commanda General Store Museum


Around Town

Alfred Thomas Smith








The history of Commanda is rich and vast, and very much inter-twined with the surrounding area. Commanda is the second to last town, north, named for an Ojibway chief. In the late 1800's, the community of Commanda sprang up as a way station along the Old Nipissing Road, one of the last routes built to entice immigrants to Ontario's near north. This road was a colonization route constructed between 1866 and 1873 to promote settlement in the last section of the province to be opened and deemed suitable for agriculture. The Commanda General Store is historically significant for its association with the development of Commanda and the surrounding area. Built in 1885 by James and Elizabeth Arthurs, the store is strategically located on the Rosseau-Nipissing Road. During the boom years of settlement in the Southern Canadian Shield, the Commanda General Store served as an important supply centre for the pioneer lumbermen and farmers of the region .

Sold in 1907 by James Arthurs, who went on to become the area's Member of Parliament from 1908-35, the structure continued to function as a general store until 1977, and the community Post Office from 1911 to 1977. It was an important fixture of the community that once was home to a flour mill, sawmill, hotel and churches plus a school, as well as a variety of merchants.

Reflecting the lessened importance of the Rosseau-Nipissing Road, and the increased importance of Highway 522 and east to west travel, the store was moved a few lots north to its current location, in 1933, to take better advantage of the highway trade.

The Commanda General Store is the only victorian aged, commercial structure to survive from the pioneer era.





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