|St. Thomas' Anglican Church|
|• Type||multiple governments|
|• Federal riding||Timmins—James Bay|
|• Prov. riding||Timmins—James Bay|
|• Land||5.25 km2 (2.03 sq mi)|
|Elevation||7 m (23 ft)|
|• Density||473.3/km2 (1,226/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC−5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC−4)|
|Postal code||P0L 1W0|
Moose Factory is a community in the Cochrane District, Ontario, Canada. It is located on Moose Factory Island, near the mouth of the Moose River, which is at the southern end of James Bay. It was the first English-speaking settlement in Ontario and the second Hudson's Bay Company post to be set up in North America after Fort Rupert. On the mainland, across the Moose River, is the nearby community of Moosonee, which is accessible by water taxi in the summer, ice road in the winter and chartered helicopter in the off-season (break-up or freeze-up).
The settlement is mainly inhabited by the Cree, but the hospital which provides healthcare services to the people of the island and surrounding area (collectively known as the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority)  attracts a diverse group of people as an employer.
The term "Factory" refers to the jurisdiction of a factor (a business agent or merchant in charge of buying or selling) of the Hudson's Bay Company. Just as a rector presides over a rectory, a factor holds authority over a factory.
The area was explored by Pierre-Esprit Radisson in the winter of 1670/71 from the base at Rupert House. In 1673, Charles Bayly of the Hudson's Bay Company established a fur-trading post originally called Moose Fort. Besides trading, it was also intended to protect the company's interests from French traders to the south. The fort was profitable and had a direct impact on the fur trade in New France. So in 1686, Chevalier de Troyes led a small contingent of French soldiers north on an expedition to raid HBC forts. The English defenders were caught by total surprise and surrendered. The French captured Moose Fort and renamed it to Fort St. Louis. Ten years later in 1696, the English recaptured it and burned it to the ground. No trace has remained of this original fort.
The Hudson's Bay Company set up a new fort in 1730, one mile upstream from the old site, to accommodate Cree traders for whom travel to the other James Bay posts was too dangerous. Five years later, this one also was destroyed by a fire that started in the kitchen, but was rebuilt over a period of seven years.
In 1821, when the Hudson's Bay Company merged with the rival North West Company, there were no longer any serious threats and the post expanded beyond the fort's palisades. Thereafter it came to be known as Moose Factory. It became HBC's main base on James Bay, being the administrative headquarters of the Southern Department. The Governor of Rupert's Land and Council met frequently there to plan for the coming year's operations.
In 1905, the Cree signed a treaty (Treaty 9) with the government that established the Factory Island Indian Reserve. Around the same time, the Parisian furrier company Revillon Frères set up a trading post on the west bank of the Moose River. This post, first known as Moose River Post, grew into the town of Moosonee and provided stiff competition to the HBC Moose Factory post. In 1931, the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway was completed at Moosonee. This allowed supplies to be delivered from the south by train, thereby making sea voyages redundant that could only be done once per year. In 1936, the last supply ship arrived.
After World War II, the Hudson's Bay Company transformed into a retail business, and in 1960 it opened a modern retail store in Moose Factory. The HBC staff house and other historic properties were converted into the open-air museum of Centennial Park that opened in 1967. The HBC continued to operate in Moose Factory until 1987, when its operations in northern Canada, including Moose Factory, were sold to The North West Company. Today, the North West Company operates a grocery and general goods store at the Moose Cree Complex and a furniture, outdoor vehicles, fast food outlet and convenience store near some of the historic HBC buildings.
The economy of the island is based on the healthcare, service, tourism, and construction industries. The largest employer is the Weeneebayko General Hospital, followed by Moose Cree First Nation and Northern Stores.
Northern Stores, G.G.'s and QuickStop are the main stores on the island. "The Complex" is the retail and community centre containing a grocery store (Northern Stores), a restaurant, a Canada Post outlet, a pharmacy, and offices.
Although few people practice a solely traditional lifestyle (i.e. living only off the land), the majority of people still participate in the spring and fall goose hunt. Traditional skills such as preparing and tanning of moose hides as well as the creation of moccasins and moose hide mitts with beading are still practiced today. Other crafts practiced in Moose Factory include the production of tamarack geese, snowshoes, and soapstone carvings which are sold locally.
Originally designed as a tuberculosis hospital serving both First Nations and Inuit patients, today Weeneebayko General Hospital provides medical services to Moose Factory, Moosonee as well as Fort Albany, Ontario, Attawapiskat First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation and Peawanuck First Nation. The medical staff (consisting of 12 family physicians, 1 anesthetist and 1 surgeon) work with their tertiary care facilities in Kingston, ON, Toronto, ON and Timmins, ON. Weeneebayko General Hospital is also the only island hospital in Ontario.
The hospital provides various specialized services:
- 24 hour emergency services
- family medicine clinics
- occupational and rehabilitative services
- general surgery and anesthesia
- traditional healing program (with counselors and traditional healers)
- diabetes education services
- regularly scheduled specialities including: pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, geriatics rheumatology, ophthalmology, rehabilitation and neurology
- diagnostic imaging (x-ray and ultra sound)
- laboratory services
Chartered aircraft "schedevacs" or "medivacs" are used to provide patients with transportation to diagnostic tests (e.g. CT and MRI) and specialize care. Queen's University is the primary university link with many medical students completing placements at the hospital. However there are also associations with the University of Toronto, McMaster University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
Moose Factory has three schools:
- Ministik Public School is a public elementary school operated by the Moose Factory Island District School Area Board. The school opened in 1984 and has JK to Grade 6.
- Delores D. Echum Composite School is a senior elementary and secondary school operated by the Moose Cree Education Authority. The school opened in 1997 and has Grades 7 to 12.
- Moose Factory Academy of Christian Education is a private elementary school and opened in 1995.
Some post-secondary programs are provided by Northern College via distant learning (correspondence, video, and web-based courses) or Ontario Learn Courses (web-based). James Bay Education Centre Northern College-Education Complex is a liaison base for the community college.
The island is politically divided into two entities:
- Factory Island 1 (population: 1451) - Indian reserve of 3.08 square kilometres (1.19 sq mi) that make up the northern two-thirds of the island, belonging to the Moose Cree First Nation and is governed by an elected Chief, Deputy Chief, and Councilors. In 2005, Patricia Faries-Akiwenzie, a practicing lawyer from Moose Factory, became the first woman to be elected as Chief.
- Unorganized Cochrane District (population: 1007) - Unincorporated southern third of the island, home to the old Hudson's Bay Company post and government services, governed by the provincial Local Services Board and the federal Weeneebayko Health Ahtuskaywin that administers the regional medical facility, Weeneebayko General Hospital.
The Electoral districts includeinclude:
- Federally, Moose Factory is part of the Timmins--James Bay electoral district.
- Provincially, Moose Factory is part of the Timmins-James Bay electoral district.
Attractions and tourism
Notable attractions in Moose Factory include:
- St. Thomas' Anglican Church - a historic Carpenter Gothic style Anglican church, completed in 1885
- Centennial Park:
- Hudson's Bay Company staff house - originally the "officers' dwelling" for HBC doctors, captains, clerks, and secretaries, it is now used as a museum and tourism office. The staff house was built between 1847 and 1850, making it the oldest building in the James Bay area and the last surviving HBC officers' dwelling.
- Hudson's Bay Company cemetery - the oldest tombstone is dated 1802 and marks the grave of the Cree wife and children of John Thomas who was the post's factor at that time. There are only a few graves of British men, since they would return home upon retirement or completion of their contract. In total, 51 graves stones can be found here.
- Joseph Turner House - the oldest known surviving servant house of the HBC, built in 1863 and named for HBC trader Joseph Turner (1783-1865), son of an English surveyor and Ojibway wife.
- William McLeod House - the carpenter's house built in 1889-90 by HBC carpenter William McLeod.
- Ham Sackabuckiskum House - the only surviving Cree summer home and one of the first balloon-frame construction house in Moose Factory, built in 1926 by the HBC as an incentive to ensure loyalty from Cree trappers.
- Blacksmith shop - last known surviving HBC blacksmith shop, built in 1849 and was used until 1934.
- Powder magazine - the only stone structure, built in 1865, was part of the palisaded warehouse complex. In the early 20th century, it was converted from gunpowder to general storage.
- Cree Cultural Interpretive Centre - an interpretive centre that displays many aspects of Cree culture and crafts.
- Cree Village Eco-lodge - an eco-tourist lodge and restaurant.
Outdoor tourism in summer and winter, such as trap-line tours, canoe expeditions, and snowmobile trips, are locally provided. The Tidewater Provincial Park is nearby on the adjacent island facing Moosonee.
Notable residents of Moose Factory
- William Bevan (sloopmaster) - chief factor and commander of Moose Fort in 1732.
- Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation - Moose Factory Community Profile
- Moose Factory - An Exploration of Frontier History, Ontario Heritage Foundation, 2002, 07-02-12M-9002-2002
- Hudson's Bay Company - Our History: Forts & Posts - The Staff House at Moose Factory
- Revillon Frères, The Moosonee Development Area Board, 2002
- "Factory Island 1 community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
- Moose Factory Buildings, Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada
- Moose Factory Buildings. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Moose Factory.|
- Moose Cree First Nation - official website
- Hudson's Bay Company Post at Moose Factory
- Moose Cree Education Authority