Towns & Cities in the North
A unique and exciting blend of northern sub-arctic environment, Cree culture, and early fur trade history awaits visitors to Moose Factory Island, one of Ontario's oldest English settlements.
The Hudson Bay Company established a post here in 1673, in the middle of the Moose River. This island is still an important fur-trading post. Moose Factory was the administrative centre of the Company's James Bay or southern department while York Factory, on Hudson's Bay, was the northern hub.
The trading posts and churches that were built on the shores of James and Hudson Bays during the eighteenth centuries became the focal points for Cree settlements. Today, descendants of the Hudson Bay Lowland Cree live mainly in the seven villages in Ontario along the coast. Hunting, fishing and trapping are still maintain their level of importance in the daily lives of the residents. Some families maintain a seasonal lifestyle, living for extended periods of time in the interior of the bush.
The Omushkegowuk or swamy Cree have held an intimate relationship with the Moose River and the surrounding wetlands for countless generations. Moose Factory island, just a mile or two across the water from Moosonee, is about 18 kilometres from the mouth of James Bay.
Moose Factory and Moosonee are closely linked. One community hosts the area’s high school while the other has the area’s hospital. (See the ‘Moosonee’ page for more information on the area.)
The Moose Factory Centennial Museum Park shows the history of the settlement, the original blacksmith's shop (circa 1740), graveyard, the old powder magazine (the island's only stone building), and a teepee where the locals sell bannock (freshly baked bread) and crafts.
Travel to the area is usually by air or by the Polar Bear Express.
Moose Factory - a gateway to the Artic.
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