Foleyet 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?
There 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.