Canada // Ontario //

Moosonee and Moose Factory Island

The Crees have been hunting and fishing James Bay, a southerly extension of Hudson Bay, for several thousand years and they make up the majority of the population of MOOSONEE, which occupies an incredibly remote and solitary bayside location well to the north of the road network. A French fur-trading company, Révillon Frères, founded Moosonee in 1903 and the Révillon Frères Museum (late June to early Sept daily 10am–6pm; free; t705 336 1209), in one of the original company buildings, traces the history of the settlement and its largely unsuccessful attempt to challenge the local monopoly of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The latter had established the trading post of Moose Factory Island, just offshore, in 1673, which makes it the oldest English-speaking community in Ontario. Water taxis ($10 one way) zip travellers from the jetty at Moosonee to the island, where the Moose Factory Centennial Museum Park (late June to early Sept daily 9am–5pm; free; t705 658 2733) holds the original blacksmith’s shop, graveyard, powder magazine (the island’s only stone building) and a teepee where the locals sell bannock (freshly baked bread). South of here, St Thomas Anglican Church, built in 1860, has an altar cloth of beaded moose hide, prayer books written in Cree and removable floor plugs to prevent the church floating away in floods.

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