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.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

Northern Ontario Provincial Parks

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park is located almost half way between the city of Timmins and the town of Chapleau in Northern Ontario. The Ivanhoe Lake campground is nestled on the north shore of the lake which has a tremendous history.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park was one of a number of Northern Ontario provincial parks identified by the Government of Ontario as candidates for closure. In 2014, Ivanhoe partnered with the city of Timmins to run the operations in order to keep it open. The park has since flourished as a number of other parks in the area closed.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park – The Campground

Located approximately eight kilometres (five miles) from Foleyet, the Provincial Park boosts over 100 campsites, with over half of them having electrical hookups. The Park is spread out over four different individual campgrounds, Red Pine, Le Rivage, White Birch Hall and La Baie. A majority of the park has views of the water and sites in La Baie are right on the water. The park has shower facilities, flushing toilets, a store, canoe rentals and a boat launch.

What to do at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

There are two main beaches for swimming at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park, one beach is between Red Pine and Le Rivage and the other beach is at the day use area. The beach at the Day Use Area is a marvel to be held, the distance you can walk with the water only rising slightly is phenomenal. Many park visitors enjoy playing Frisbee, football or even just sitting in the shallow water.

Within the Provincial Park, there are many small inland lakes that were formed by glaciers, thousands of years ago. These lakes, often referred to as kettle lakes, were created when the glaciers left large, deep impressions in the earth that filled with water over time. Scratches on rocks and the deposits of sand and gravel, called eskers, are evidence of the last ice age that swept Northern Ontario. Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park is home to what the park has deemed a “quaking bog”, a solid overgrowth of vegetation that has overtaken one of the kettle lakes. Although the vegetation is quite delicate, the entire bed of plants will move as it covers the surface of the water, similar to a water bed.

Fishing at Ivanhoe Lake

Ivanhoe Lake itself and some surrounding lakes are home to some of the best fishing in Northern Ontario. Abundant in walleye (pickerel), smallmouth bass, northern pike and perch there is opportunity for fishermen of all skill levels to enjoy. The side of the lake opposite the day use area, the mouth of the Ivanhoe River and the dam have always been hot beds for fishing. Although many of the lakes in the surrounding area near Foleyet have exceptional fishing as well, those lakes are just more difficult to get to. Even if you don’t have a boat, there is an opportunity to fish. The boat launch area has a relatively steep drop-off so many park goers will grab their rods and fish off the shore.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park has a long history in the area. Once a significant logging area, loggers used to run timber down the Ivanhoe River to the town of Nicholson where they would load on the CP Rail Train. Now a ghost town, Nicholson does provide some great stories and the Natural Heritage Education staff has done amazing lumberjack stories in the past.

One of the unique features of Ivanhoe Lake Park is the growth of wild rice. Ivanhoe used to have an annual wild food fest with wild animal meat and wild rice. Although they no longer have the food fest, the wild rice still grows in the area.

Ivanhoe Lake is a Family Friendly Campground near Timmins

Ivanhoe campground is very family friendly. Between the large day use area with playground, the large sand beaches and the sand dunes that you can jump down like a slide, there are many things to do with your children. The park also has a number of hiking trails that take you through different parts of the park including around Saw Lake and the quaking bog. The Natural Heritage Education staff also provides numerous stories about the area, campfire singalongs and activities for the children.