Fort Albany First Nation

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Fort Albany 67
Fort Albany Indian Reserve No. 67
Fort Albany 67 is located in Ontario
Fort Albany 67
Fort Albany 67
Coordinates: 52°20′N 81°46′W / 52.333°N 81.767°W / 52.333; -81.767Coordinates: 52°20′N 81°46′W / 52.333°N 81.767°W / 52.333; -81.767
DistrictsCochrane, Kenora
First NationsFort Albany, Kashechewan
 • Land362.93 km2 (140.13 sq mi)
 • Total2,031
 • Density5.6/km2 (15/sq mi)
Fort Albany, 1886

Fort Albany First Nation is a Cree First Nation reserve in Cochrane District in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. Situated on the southern shore of the Albany River, Fort Albany First Nation is accessible only by air, water, or by winter road.

The community is policed by the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, an Aboriginal-based service. It shares the Fort Albany 67 Indian Reserve with the Kashechewan First Nation. Fort Albany First Nation controls the Fort Albany Indian Settlement on the south shore of the Albany River, and the Kashechewan First Nation controls the Kashechewan Indian Settlement directly across the river.

Fort Albany was established in the seventeenth century as one of the oldest and most important of Hudson's Bay Company posts.


The community of Fort Albany is accessible by air, water, and the winter road. The winter road is used only during the months of early or late January to early or late March, depending on the weather conditions. Air Creebec provides Fort Albany with daily passenger flights, with connecting flights to Toronto and/or other points of travel. These arrangements are done in Timmins on Air Creebec, Air Canada, Thunder Air, or Bearskin Airlines.

Fort Albany is also accessible via the waters of James Bay and the Albany River. Moosonee Transportation Limited provides barge service, carrying supplies at least once or twice each summer by traveling up and down the coast to each community. Freighter canoes can travel from Fort Albany to Calstock and return whenever the water levels are sufficient to make river travel possible.

During the summer months, the people use outboard motors and canoes for other activities, such as hunting, trapping, and fishing. During the winter months, skidoos are the main transportation around the community. There are pick-up trucks, vans, and all-terrain vehicles owed by both businesses and individuals.

The winter road was completed in the early spring of 1974. It is also used extensively during the winter months. This road is maintained by contractors. The road links all the surrounding communities, such as Attawapiskat, Moosonee, Moose Factory, and Kashechewan. Feasibility studies have recently been undertaken on construction of a permanent all-season road to the communities.[3] The project, if undertaken, will entail a "coastal road" connecting the four communities with each other, as well as a road to link the coastal road to the provincial highway system at Fraserdale, Kapuskasing or Hearst.[4]


Air Creebec transports passengers and provides freight services through Fort Albany Airport. The present passenger rate is $921.90 for an adult return trip to Timmins. These rates increase on an annual basis. Seat sales are available, which are less expensive than the regular fare price. The seat sales have to be booked ten (10) days in advance. Air Creebec also provides charter flights when required.

Thunder Airlines transports mail and provides daily passenger service and freight services.

Air Creebec handles the Patient Transportation up the coastal communities on a daily basis, Mondays to Fridays. These flights are intended only for hospital patients requiring out of the community hospital care. Other private small airlines, like Thunder Air and Wabusk Air, also provide charter services, which sometimes are cheaper than a regular flight on Air Creebec.


Fort Albany has a subarctic climate (Köppen Climate Classification Dfc) with mild summers and severely cold winters.[5] This is characterised by a yearly mean temperature below the freezing point at −2 °C (28 °F). There are very short transitional periods. Fort Albany’s climate becomes colder after the bay freezes over. During summer, temperatures reach an average high of 22 °C (71.6 °F). However, October temperatures are relatively mild, on average six degrees milder than April. The annual precipitation rate averages 569 millimetres (22.4 in), which is noticeably higher in summer than at other times of the year.[5]

Climate data for Fort Albany
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −15
Daily mean °C (°F) −22
Average low °C (°F) −28
Average precipitation mm (inches) 26
Source: [6]


The basic economy of the area is a subsistence allowance. There are seasonal jobs that involve construction work for the major capital projects like the dyke, the new school, and the Mid Canada Line. There are the traditional economic activities like trapping, fishing and hunting. There are a small number of employment opportunities including the Fort Albany First Nation Administration office, Mundo Peetabeck Education authority, Peetabeck Health Services. Fort Albany Power Authority, James Bay General Hospital, Northern Store, Air Creebec, and other small private owned businesses.

The new De Beers Diamond mine in James Bay may also provide many new opportunities.


Health care in Fort Albany is provided by a 17 bed Fort Albany Hospital staff 24/7 by nursing staff with consultation by doctors with Weeneebayko Area Health Authority as well as transfers to Timmins and Kingston.

In January 2021, the 311-kilometre James Bay Winter Ice Road was under construction, to connect Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Moosonee.[7] It opened some time in winter 2021 and was said to accept loads up to 50,000 kilograms in weight. The road was operated by Kimesskanemenow LP, "a limited partnership between the four communities it connects".[8]


The majority of the population speaks Mushkegowuk Cree. Many men and women, younger and to the age of fifty, are bilingual in Cree and English. Children are taught in Cree and English at an early age. The community consists of quite a mixture of linguistics, with English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Oji-Cree spoken.


The two main forms of spirituality practiced in Fort Albany are Christianity (Roman Catholicism) and Cree spirituality.

Old Fort Albany[edit]

Fort Albany, 1898

Old Fort Albany, which was on an island between the two modern day communities, became separated into Anglican and Roman Catholic sections. Then the Roman Catholic mission, and the Roman Catholic portion of the community, moved to the current site of modern-day Fort Albany (on the southern shore). The Anglican portion of the community some years later moved to the current site of Kashechewan. Up until the 1970s Fort Albany and Kashechewan shared the same chief and council. In the 1970s they came to have separate Band Councils. Fort Albany and Kashechewan are treated as separate bands, and function as separate Bands today. New Fort Albany is mostly a Roman Catholic community, while Kashechewan is mainly Anglican.

Hudson's Bay Company Post[edit]

Fort Albany was one of the three original Hudson's Bay Company posts on James Bay the others being Moose Factory on the south shore and Rupert House on the east. The fort was built inland from the river mouth, partly for defense, and moved several times. Ships from England had to lay at the river mouth at Albany Roads. The east-flowing Albany River drew furs from as far west as Lake St. Joseph. From there a portage ran west to Lac Seul, the English River (Ontario), the Winnipeg River and beyond. A north-flowing branch, the Kenogami River led upstream toward Lake Superior at Wawa, Ontario and another branch, the Ogoki River led toward Lake Nipigon. Until around 1775 the English were content to remain on the coast and let Indians bring furs to them. The whole area was exposed to French competition from Montreal.

About 1675 the area was explored by Charles Bayly and Fort Albany established in 1679. In 1683 Henry Sergeant was directed to make it the chief post. In 1684 a Monsieur Péré reached the fort from French Canada. He was arrested and his two companions sent to Charlton Island. In 1685 the French built Fort des Français at the juncture of the Albany and Kenogami Rivers to block Indians from coming north to trade. In 1686 all three posts were captured by an overland expedition from Quebec (Hudson Bay expedition (1686)). In 1688 the English sent ships to reestablish their posts but were defeated by French ships that had come to re-supply the forts (Battle of Fort Albany). In 1693 the English retook the fort (Battle of Fort Albany (1693)) and held it thereafter. By the Treaty of Ryswick (1697) Albany was to be returned to the French, but nothing was done until war resumed in 1702. In 1709 the French tried and failed to capture the fort (Battle of Fort Albany (1709)). In 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht gave the Bay to the English. Sloops from Albany would trade along the east coast until a new post build on the Eastmain River in 1723-24 and Moose Factory was reestablished in 1730. In 1743 Henley House was built 160 miles up the Albany. In 1777 Gloucester House was built 243 miles above Henley House and in 1786 Osnaburgh House at the outflow of Lake St. Joseph. This westward expansion significantly increased the trade of Fort Albany. In 1793 the Governor of Albany Fort established posts on the Rainy River and Winnipeg River. Until the union of the two companies in 1821 posts supplied from Fort Albany competed with North West Company men from Lake Superior and even HBC posts supplied from York Factory,[9]

Some Chief Factors were: 1728: William Bevan (sloopmaster); 1730: Joseph Adams (HBC chief factor); 1734: Thomas Bird (HBC chief factor); 1743: Joseph Isbister; 1768: Humphrey Martin; 1800: John Hodgson (HBC Chief Factor):[10] 1810: Thomas Vincent[11] (This is a partial list; please expand!)


  1. ^ a b "Fort Albany (Part) 67 census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Fort Albany (Part) 67 census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Ontario's far north one step closer to building all-season road". CBC Sudbury, September 17, 2017.
  4. ^ "All Season Road". Mushkegowuk Council.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Albany, Ontario". Weatherbase. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Construction of the James Bay Winter Road underway". Retrieved 15 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "THE JAMES BAY WINTER ROAD IS OPEN TO HEAVY LOADS UP TO 50 000 KGS". Retrieved 14 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Arthur S Morton,"A History of the Canadian West"
  10. ^,,
  11. ^

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