The Towns and Cities
of Northern Ontario
Moosonee - James Bay Frontier
Moosonee is a tiny community situated on
the west side of the Moose River and is just 12 miles from James Bay.
Moosonee was first settled by the Revillon Freres fur traders in 1903
and today a museum details their exploits.
The Hudson Bay Company, however, had
established a post at Moose Factory, a small island not far from
Moosonee, in the mid 1600's. Since then the Cree began to settle at the
trading post marking the beginning of the Moosonee town site. The fur
traders often referred to the post as "the moose". The Cree in turn
would use Moosoneek meaning "at the moose".
Once in Moosonee and Moose Factory, travelers can experience real life
on James Bay. The Moosonee waterfront bustles in the summer as giant
barges are loaded with everything from staples to modular buildings for
shipment to remote communities far to the North. Across the river lies
the island of Moose Factory, best known as the main trading post for the
Hudson Bay Company since 1673. A collection of period buildings and
artifacts from the early days of the Hudson Bay Company is especially
worth the visit to understand the history of this oldest English
speaking community in Ontario.
Highlights of a visit to Moosonee include the Interpretive Centers, the
Rail Car and Revillon Freres Museum, tours provided by Two Bay
Enterprises and freighter canoe rides to historic Moose Factory or
Shipsands Island Waterfowl Sanctuary. One of the more popular excursions
is the trip down the Moose River to where it empties into James Bay.
Sometimes, whales can be sighted. There is also a relaxing salt-water
cruise down the Moose River on the "Polar Princess", where travelers
have been known to spot white Beluga Whales. Or take a trip back into
time on Fossil Island, where you can scour the shoreline for 300
Snowmobilers have hired guides to lead them from Moosonee to the edge of
There is excellent accommodation available but reservations in advance
are recommended as they are limited.
Explore the natural riches of the great muskeg. Discover the land as
they have centuries before us.