Foleyet – The Home of the White Moose

Foleyet – The Home of the White Moose

Northern Ontario Towns

foleyet-home-white-mooseFoleyet Ontario lies nearly halfway between Chapleau and Timmins on Highway 101. It is also just up the highway from Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park. Foleyet is a quaint little Northern Ontario town with less than 100 houses.

History of Foleyet

For being such a small town, Foleyet does have a very interesting history. Many stories, some true and perhaps some stretched a little bit can be found about the history of Foleyet.

The town began in the early 20th century and was originally on an island. According to legend, a huge fight broke out between the loggers and the clearers. During the melee, a large esker (strain of gravel left from moving glaciers) was blown up by dynamite filling the lake that surrounded it. The lake has never recovered and now why Foleyet is no longer an island.

As The Canadian Northern Railway was building through Northern Ontario, they came through the area where Foleyet is now located. Two local contractors were hired to assist in building the railway, the Foley Brothers and Northern Construction. Foleyet is one of the main stops on the Canadian National railway with many shift crews stationing there.

Another story was the naming of the town. The town was originally founded by the Foley Brothers, two very hardworking contracting pioneers. In honour of their achievements, the townsfolk wanted to name the town “Foley”. However, when they went to register the town they were told that “Foley” was already taken. In an act of defiance, the brother pledged that “They would name this town Foley yet!”, somehow, the term “Foley yet” stuck.

Foleyet, like many other small Northern Ontario towns, has been resilient. Through floods and fires, the little town has seen it all but always come back.

What to See in Foleyet?

foleyet-white-mooseThere isn’t much for attractions in the town but there is one thing that you have to look for. Foleyet is known to be the center of the white moose population in the Timmins area. Although, the local white moose is sometimes mistaken for the Albino strain, it really is a thing of beauty.

Back in 1998, one such white moose was struck by a train and it was forced to be put down. The head hangs in the local Northern Lights Restaurant and attracts many tourists from Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park.

The Canadian National Railway is one of the main employers in the town and many trains pass through Foleyet. The town once had two schools but is now down to one which has not seen more than 10 kids in years.

This small Northern Ontario town is a great stopping point for trains as well as the winding drive between Chapleau and Timmins. The town with a storied beginning is just one of the reasons why Northern Ontario is great.

When in town, make sure to stop in at the Northern Lights Restaurant to see the White Moose. Make sure to stop at the Foleyet general store as well. You may even want to go on an adventure through the many logging roads to see if you can spot one on your own.

Kenora – Lake of the Woods

Kenora – Lake of the Woods

Northern Ontario Towns

kenora-lake-woods-skylineThe Town of Kenora lies near the Manitoba border, just under 200 kilometres from the city of Winnipeg. This “Lake of the Woods” town is one of the last stops as you leave Northern Ontario while heading west along the TransCanada Highway.

With a population of approximately 15,100, it is Northern Ontario’s 6th most populous center and largest town.

History of Kenora

Kenora (formerly Rat Portage or Portage-aux-Rats) was an essential French trading post since its establishment in the mid 1700’s. Kenora is one of the oldest fur trading establishments in North America, following only Sault Ste Marie.

The provinces of Manitoba and Ontario each laid claim to Kenora until 1889 when it was officially declared part of Ontario.

In the mid 1800’s Gold was discovered in the area and by the early 1900’s, 20 gold mines were operating in the area. Mining continues to be an important aspect of Kenora’s economy as well as Forestry and tourism. The Lake of the Woods serves as a significant tourism lake.

It was once an integral route for alcohol smugglers during the prohibition era in the United States.

The Kenora Thistles won the 1907 Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League. Art Ross, who the NHL has a trophy named after, was a member of the team.

What do in Kenora?

Kenora-ontario-city-hallKenora is right on the shore of the Lake of the Woods. A classically beautiful city, any avid outdoorsmen will enjoy this Northern Ontario town.

In homage to the beauty of the local wilderness, there are multiple family friendly campgrounds in the area. Rushing River, Sioux Narrows, Caliper Lake and Blue Lake are all Northern Ontario Provincial parks within close proximity.

The Kenora Winter Carnival is a town wide event that attracts competitors from all over the region and Northern Minnesota. Along with Fireworks, Pancake Breakfast, Kids Fishing derby and a Farmers Market, the Winter Carnival has something for everyone.

The Kenora Harbourfest is the largest three day music festival in Northwestern Ontario. Featuring three separate nights of music, Harbourfest is an all out party. Visitors come from all over the area to participate in the sandals wearing good time. With three separately themed nights of music, there is something for every taste.

kenora-marina-lake-woodsThe Kenora Bass International is a large fishing tournament that attracts teams from all over North America. The Bass International fishing derby always happens on the second weekend of August. First prize in the tournament has reached levels of $30,000. The derby is an homage to the amazing fishing in the area.

What to See in Kenora?

The town has a significant arts culture. The buildings in the downtown core are covered in beautiful murals that depict the storied history of Kenora. The pride of the town shines through in these paintings.

husky-the-muskie-kenoraOn the north shore of the Lake of the Woods sits the town mascot, a 40 foot high muskellunge named Husky the Muskie. The muskie represents the amazing fishing opportunities around Kenora.

A can’t miss attraction, however, is the award-winning museum. Once called “one of the coolest museums in Canada” by CAA, it offers a step back in time for the visitors. Representing indigenous and fur-traders alike, the Kenora museum successfully represents the history of this great town.

Kenora is a beautiful town on the north shore of Lake of the Woods. With a tremendous history, there is something to do for families and travellers of all ages. You would never think that the town is nearly

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Wawa – A Place to Work, Live, and Play

Wawa – A Place to Work, Live, and Play

Northern Ontario Towns

The Town of Wawa lies just over 2 hours from Sault Ste Marie and just over 5 hours from Thunder Bay. Best known for the Big Goose that overlooks the TransCanada Highway, it is the quintessential Northern Ontario town.

With a population of approximately 3,500 people, there is endless opportunity for adventures in Wawa. Being minutes away from Lake Superior one way and bush trails on the other, it truly is an outdoor paradise.

History of Wawa

helen-mines-wawa-ontario
(Credit to Tom Haddow)
Wawa was found after a Gold discovery in the early 1900’s. Although, the gold didn’t pan out, hematite ore was found which is used in the steel-making process. The ore became the main source of employment for the town. The ore was sent by rail to Algoma Steel in Sault Ste Marie as part of their steel-making operations.

As Algoma Steel began going through financial difficulties, the business decision was made to close the Wawa mine site. Although the Wawa economy was hit hard, it did not take long for it to rebound. An oriented strandboard mill opened nearly 20 minutes out of town on the shores of the Michipicoten River. After undergoing a number of ownership changes, the mill was eventually sold to Rentech. Rentech with the intentions of creating a pellet mill, has since run out of money at the mill. Currently, the main employment is mining at River Gold and in nearby Dubreuilville.

What to do in Wawa?

Wawa is steps away from the outdoors. With endless trails for snowmachining, ATVing, and countless lakes nearby, there are tons of opportunities for any outdoorsmen. There is family camping near Wawa around including Lake Superior Provincial Park and Obatanga Provincial Park.

There are three major tourist events that happen in Wawa, that bring many participants in.

  1. Summer Salmon Derby
  2. The summer salmon derby brings participants from all over Northern Ontario and the Michigan upper Peninsula. With large cash prizes, the summer derby is enjoyable for everyone. As a spectator, you can watch the boats fish from the shores of Sandy Beach or as they bring in their fish at Buck’s Marina.

  3. Wawa Ice Fishing Derby
  4. The Wawa Ice Fishing Derby is one of the largest in Ontario. With up to 1,300 participants from all over Northern Ontario, the prizes are in excess of $100,000. Fishermen are able to fish on Wawa Lake, Hawk Lake as well as Manitowik Lake. There are 6 prizes per Lake and have been boats and ATV’s in the past.

  5. National Drag Race
  6. Relatively new to Wawa is the annual Drag Race. The Northern Nationals Drag Race takes place in early August and is a sanctioned NHRA event. Racers come from all over Ontario and Michigan to race in this high speed event. The Wawa drag race will be going into its 5th year in 2017.

What to see in Wawa?

The proximity to Lake Superior and Lake Superior Provincial Park gives plenty of opportunities for things to see in Wawa. With plenty of hiking trails, Lake Superior Park has sights for everyone.

A little closer to Wawa is Scenic High Falls. High Falls has a walking area that you can climb up beside the falls. It is a beautiful area with a gazebo for picnics or weddings.

Wawa-Lake-Highway-101-Ghost-Lake-HillWawa Lake is one of the largest spring-fed lakes in Northern Ontario. Although cold, it produces amazing sunrises and the Lake points almost due east. Nearly 7 kilometers long, there is road at the end of the Lake that can take you to Sir James Dunn pit and one of the best blueberry patches anywhere.

However, the main attraction is the large Wawa goose that watches over Highway 17 travellers. Multiple questions on Jeopardy have referred to the Goose and is a monument known across Canada. Although it has seen better days, money has been pledged to bring it back to its former glory. Geese sit on top of the Wawa Motor Inn and besides Young General store to pay homage to the original Goose.

Wawa is truly an outdoorsman paradise. With miles of trails, lakes and hiking, there is never a dull moment in this truly resilient little Northern Ontario town.