Moosonee, Ontario, Canada

The Moosonee photo page was getting very long and slow so it has been split up by year. There are also individual pages for annual spring breakups in 2004, 2005 and 2006, as well as buildings and people. Pictures of the Polar Bear Express train are found on the Moosonee Trains page. After 2010, pictures pages are links from another site,

Moosonee pictures from 2012

Moosonee pictures from 2011

Moosonee pictures from 2010

Moosonee pictures from 2009

Moosonee pictures from 2008

Moosonee pictures from 2007

Moosonee pictures from 2006 

Moosonee pictures from 2005

Moosonee pictures from 2004

Moosonee pictures from 2003

Pictures contributed by Richard L. Provencher 1967-72


Moosonee is a small town located on the shore of the Moose River a few miles from the south end of James Bay which is the southern portion of Hudson Bay in northern Canada. It is best known as the northern terminus of the "Polar Bear Express" train that starts in Cochrane. The train runs five days a week all year and six days a week in the summer. Formerly, this was a summer only excursion train and there was also a three times a week mixed train called the "Little Bear". Now the "Polar Bear" carries a few extra cars to handle mail and express, flatcars for motor vehicles, a special car for canoes in summer and a boxcar for snowmobiles in winter. There are also two freight trains a week. The trains are operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission which also provides telephone and internet service to Moosonee and Moose Factory.

Moosonee is at latitude 51 North - not very far north, not even far north in Ontario but it seems remote to many people as it is beyond the end of the road network. While it is possible to drive a bit further north (as far as Otter Rapids), for most people there is no road travel north of Cochrane. You can come here on the train or fly (Air Creebec) from Timmins. From Moosonee you can fly further north to Fort Albany, Kashechewan, Attawapiskat and Peawanuck in Ontario and Waskaganish (formerly Rupert's House) in Quebec. Goods brought to Moosonee by train can be shipped north by Moosonee Transport's barges to more remote communities in Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut.

During the winter there is a road that runs north from Moosonee to Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat. This is very popular with people who live in these communities and it is common for them to come down to Moosonee to shop (it is about four hours from Attawapiskat to Moosonee when the road is in good condition). The road has also been used by DeBeers to move equipment and supplies to their Victor Diamond Mine that is located west of Attawapiskat.

Moosonee is across the Moose River from Moose Factory Island. Each community has a population of about 2,000 people. The original 2001 Canadian census figures for Moosonee showed its population as having been cut in half -- the incorrect figures were due to incomplete enumeration and revisions have been posted. The 2006 census showed the population as 2006 but local government estimates place the population at closer to 3000. Transportation across the river is by boat (water taxis charge $10.00 per person each way and somewhat higher when there is a lot of ice on the river), regular taxi (when the river is frozen) and helicopter (when the river is breaking up or freezing over). Because Moosonee is close to James Bay, the Moose River is a tidal the tides are not as dramatic as found in places such as the Bay of Fundy, they do result in an ever changing river that can be difficult to navigate.

Moosonee was the location of a military base that was part of the Pinetree Air Defence Line. Part of town is still called "the base", more than thirty years after the facility closed down and many former military buildings are still in use.

Moose Factory Island was the site of the first English settlement in what is now the Province of Ontario. It is the home of the Moose Cree First Nation and the site of the main medical facility in the area, Weeneebayko General Hospital.

Some of the pictures on these pages are shown in higher resolution at and