Discover Moonbeam, Ontario: A Unique Blend of History and Charm

Moonbeam, a quaint township nestled in Ontario, Canada, is a hidden gem in the Cochrane District. Situated between the communities of Fauquier and Kitigan along Ontario Highway 11, it lies just south of René Brunelle Provincial Park. Moonbeam is renowned for its roadside flying saucer, a feature that is prominently displayed in its promotional material. The town also gained fame through the song "Fly" by the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, featured on their 2006 album, World Container.

The Fascinating Origins of Moonbeam, Ontario

The name "Moonbeam" is steeped in mystery and folklore. Early pioneers allegedly witnessed flashing lights falling from the sky, which they referred to as "moonbeams". These lights were seen reflecting in a creek that flows west from Strickland to Rémi Lake, aptly named Moonbeam Creek. Some believe these lights were the Northern Lights, often visible with moonlight. Another theory suggests that the name originated from passengers on the Transcontinental Railway. After traveling many miles through dark forests, the natural clearing near Moonbeam, illuminated by the moon-lit snow, would strike them with its brilliance. Rémi Lake, a significant landmark in the area, was named after a Great Trunk Pacific Railway worker who tragically drowned there in 1905.

A Glimpse into the History of Moonbeam, Ontario

The completion of the National Transcontinental Railway in 1912, connecting Quebec City with the Canadian Prairies, opened up new opportunities for the northern Ontario region. This development attracted settlers from Montreal, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, and Saint-Jovite to Moonbeam, in search of land for cultivation and mining.

Here are some key historical milestones in Moonbeam's history:

  • Théodule and Valentine Léonard became the first family to settle in Moonbeam in 1909.
  • The first baby born in Moonbeam was Marie Régina Lecuyer in 1914.
  • The founder of Moonbeam, Ovila François Paquette O.M.I., arrived in 1916.
  • The first school opened its doors in September 1919.
  • The first church, Nativité de Moonbeam, was built in 1919-1920.
  • The first cottage on Rémi Lake was built by a wealthy tourist from Rochester, New York, Mr. Buelle, in 1920.
  • Joseph Girouard became the first Reeve of Moonbeam in 1922.
  • The first St-Jean Parade took place in 1922.
  • The District of Fauquier was incorporated on January 9, 1922.
  • The first doctor in the region, Doctor Nicole, started practicing in Fauquier in 1924.
  • The first airplane in Moonbeam, a Curtiss HS-2L, was flown by Captain C.A. Schiller in 1925.
  • The first butter-production firm opened in 1927.
  • Doctor Soucie became the first doctor to open a practice in Moonbeam in 1934.
  • The speed limit was raised to 15 miles per hour between 1930 and 1940.
  • All stores were restricted from selling tobacco to minors under 18 years of age between 1930 and 1940.
  • The chapel at Rémi Lake celebrated its first mass in 1960.
  • The village's sewage system was installed on November 1, 1965.

Demographics of Moonbeam, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Moonbeam had a population of 1,157 living in 524 of its 759 total private dwellings, a decrease of 6% from its 2016 population of 1,231. With a land area of 234.46 km2 (90.53 sq mi), it had a population density of 4.9/km2 (12.8/sq mi) in 2021.

Here's a look at the population trends over the years:

  • Population in 2016: 1231
  • Population in 2011: 1101
  • Population in 2006: 1298
  • Population in 2001: 1201
  • Population in 1996: 1322
  • Population in 1991: 1330

As for the mother tongue of Moonbeam's residents:

  • English as first language: 18.4%
  • French as first language: 78.8%
  • English and French as first language: 1.2%
  • English, French and Other as first language: 0.4%
  • Other as first language: 1.2%

Moonbeam, Ontario, with its rich history and unique charm, is a fascinating destination for those seeking a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.