Moosonee: I never cared for the satellite dish—although it blends in here. A snowy owl ran into it and died.
June 23, 2010 2:11 PM   Subscribe

After checking the USGS map for the earthquake that happened on the Ontario-Quebec border region today, I bet you were wondering the same as me: What is the deal with Moose Factory? It's the island off the coast of Moosonee, the ancestral home of the Swamp Cree, the home of the Hudson's Bay Company, the site of the first English settlement in the Province of Ontario (1673) and is the home of the Moose Cree First Nation. Here are recent and historical photos of the region.

People also travel there including ecotourists, the roving dentist and train enthusiasts. To the best of my knowledge there was never a real moose factory there.
posted by jessamyn (28 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Relevant AskMe
posted by griphus at 2:14 PM on June 23, 2010

No, it's where they make meese.
posted by GuyZero at 2:21 PM on June 23, 2010

Moose Factory is the home town of the Ottawa Senators' Jonathan Cheechoo, recently aquired in a trade for disgruntled Dany Heatley, which was the the last major thing to shake up Ottawa without actually making an impact.
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:30 PM on June 23, 2010

Also, Moose Factory is no Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Also, to forestall the inevitable question, yes, it does what it says on the tin.
posted by GuyZero at 2:32 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Someone totally needs to make a video of stuff like this with this as the soundtrack.

Anyway, the REAL Moose Factory is here.
posted by maudlin at 2:39 PM on June 23, 2010

For those wondering, I believe "Factory" in this (and other) places refers to a place a factor (a representative of the Hudson's Bay Company, the dominant European monopoly of the fur trade) lived.
posted by docgonzo at 2:42 PM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the link to the intensity map. I've filed my report!

The photos of Moose Factory are fascinating. I just finished reading Joseph Boyden's Three Day Road, and it's interesting to see how my imagined versions of Moose Factory, the Cree, the residential school kids, and the nuns, compare with reality.
posted by Kabanos at 2:42 PM on June 23, 2010

No mooses were injured in the earthquake.
posted by storybored at 2:47 PM on June 23, 2010

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 2:53 PM on June 23, 2010 [5 favorites]

I have been to Moose Factory. To your list of who is likely to travel there, you might add dieters: during horsefly season, I reckon you can lose a couple of pounds of blood a day.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:01 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

What, you think those moose just make themselves?
posted by Naberius at 3:17 PM on June 23, 2010

For those wondering, I believe "Factory" in this (and other) places refers to a place a factor (a representative of the Hudson's Bay Company, the dominant European monopoly of the fur trade) lived.
"The name 'Moose Factory' is derived from its location on the Moose River as well as from the fur trade era of the Hudson Bay Company. The officer in charge of the fur trading post was referred to as the 'factor.' Another account is that the name originates from the name of the river and a furniture factory that was once located within the community." *
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2010

My favorite Canadian town name.

OK, so it pretty clearly refers to an "arm" of the river, but I like to picture a guy with a fish for an arm. Try and stop me, you jerks!
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:05 PM on June 23, 2010

I always remember Moosonee because Margaret Atwood name-checks it as the "hot" place for the rich and famous to enjoy the beautiful weather in her environmentally dystopian novel Oryx and Crake.
posted by saucysault at 4:06 PM on June 23, 2010

Silly USGS; they don't include Hull/Gatineau in their city names. Well we're only 240,000 here, so it's no big deal.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:08 PM on June 23, 2010

Is there any kind of tectonic fault in that area?
posted by qvantamon at 4:51 PM on June 23, 2010

My uncle is half-blood Cree (I think) and his extended family all relocated to Moose Factory sometime in the mid 20th century. I heard a small bit about it from my aunt who had visited a couple of times. There was some kind of coersion involved in the relocation; they moved there or were moved there because they couldn't stay in their homes (not sure where). Many of them had been through Canada's disastrous residential school system; my uncle was one of the fortunate few who avoided that fate - I think he was taken in and looked after by a white family after his parents died - and went to university and became an engineer and lives a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. He was the example his community looked up to as almost none had the opportunity or the means to go to college. Not sure what life is like up in Moose Factory these days - I expect it's a struggle for the First Nations, it usually is - but I heard a little bit about a big annual hunt that the whole community does together; I had to Google to find more but found a description of the spring goose hunt which sounds about right.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:52 PM on June 23, 2010

but I like to picture a guy with a fish for an arm.

Is his name Joe Batt?

Probably not, that arm would have to be really long to reach from Newfoundland to BC. Rumor has it you don't want to shake hands with old Joe Batt though, he hasn't washed since hanging out in Lower Sackville.
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:57 PM on June 23, 2010

All I know is that if you catch a case of Moose Jaw, you've got to wear the Medicine Hat.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:27 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Running back to Saskatoon.
posted by ovvl at 6:05 PM on June 23, 2010

Strange to read this. Through marriage (my oldest sister's) I'm "related" to Jonathan Cheechoo. My brother-in-law Roy (same last name) is his uncle. I've been to Moosonee and Moose Factory twice on family visits (they've moved to North Bay since). We'd park the car at Kapuskasing and ride the Polar Bear Express. It was a different world for a painfully white Mennonite family. We'd go to "Chilly Willy's" for ice cream, sing hymns in the full gospel church, and have boat rides in these crazy long and wide cedar canvas square back canoes powered by Johnson outboard motors (Some guys would put two 20 hp engines side by side to get more zip - it was a pretty big summer tourist industry, boating people across the Moose River from Moosonee to Moose Factory and back again.). My brother-in-law took us up the river to the mouth of James Bay in his blue canoe with the new 20 hp Johnson. My mom hung on - white-knuckled. We picnicked on the rocks up there. Roy told us stories of the Spring Goose hunt, and about bears. Mom was happy to get back into the boat and head back. Good times.

I bought the coolest leather headband with the letters M-O-O-S-O-N-E-E on it. You'd have to walk around me to read it. I thought it was so cool. It'd probably be a little inappropriate to wear it today, but for a white kid in the 70s a headband made by an Indian in Northern Canada ... whoa! I'm going to go hunt for it right now I think. That and those crazy pictures of me and my 'fro.
posted by kneecapped at 9:57 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

My bad. We parked the car at Cochrane (not Kapuskasing).
posted by kneecapped at 10:12 PM on June 23, 2010

My personal fave, St-Louis-Du-Ha!-Ha!
posted by phirleh at 5:58 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Apparently if you have Dry Lips you Ought To Move To Kapuskasing.
posted by GuyZero at 9:42 AM on June 24, 2010

posted by Jaltcoh at 5:15 PM on June 24, 2010

ovvl, your link is borked... are you referring to Running Back to Saskatoon?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:52 AM on June 27, 2010

Damn, I'm late to the party, but I brought the music... A song dedicated to the Moose Factory train: Polar Bear Express!
posted by anthill at 12:49 PM on June 27, 2010

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