Dryden, Ont, incorporated as a city in the Kenora District in 1998, population 7617 (2011c), 8195 (2006c). The City of Dryden is situated on Wabigoon Lake in northwest Ontario, 340 km northwest of Thunder Bay. Lumbering operations and gold prospecting began in the Wabigoon area in early 1880s with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but permanent settlement dates only from 1894 when the Ontario minister of agriculture, John Dryden, opened the region to agricultural settlement by establishing a provincial experimental farm at New Prospect.
In 1897, the year the first sawmill was constructed, the town name was changed to Dryden, and in the next 2 decades successive provincial governments advertised widely the farming potential of the area. It was incorporated as a town in 1910. The year 1913 saw the commencement of the predecessor company to the modern Great Lakes Forest Products, and quickly the Pulp and Paper Industry became the economic mainstay of the community.
Population growth was relatively slow until shortly after WWII when the town expanded rapidly from about 1700 to 4400 in 1955. Because of its air, road and railway links to Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, Dryden today serves a trading area of 35 000, not only for the Wabigoon area but also for the entire Patricia Development Region.
Dryden was the site of an Air Ontario crash in 1989, killing 24 people (see also Disasters).