Moose Factory

Moose Factory, Ont, unincorporated place. Moose Factory is located on Moose Factory Island in the MOOSE RIVER opposite of MOOSONEE, 20 km from JAMES BAY. Founded in 1672-73 by Charles Bayly, it was the Hudson's Bay Company's second post and the first English settlement in what is now Ontario. Originally called Moose Fort, it was captured (1686) by the French in a daring overland attack led by Pierre de TROYES. It was returned to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1713 by the Treaty of UTRECHT; trading activities resumed in 1730. Fire destroyed most of the post in 1735 but it was quickly rebuilt.

Among the restored buildings at this historic site is the blacksmith's shop (1740), likely the oldest wooden building in Ontario. This building is part of the Moose Factory Centennial Museum Park. The altar cloth and liturgical vestments at St Thomas Anglican Church (built between 1864 and 1885) are of beaded moosehide. Most of the island is part of the reserve lands of the Moose CREE First Nation, and 60% of the island's 2000 residents belong to the reserve. Employment is found in the hospital, which provides medical services for the entire James Bay region, and with the reserve. Tourism is also an important sector focusing on outdoor experiences and the Cree culture. The Cree Cultural Interpretive Centre tells the area's history and presents the culture of the Mushkegowuk Cree people.