Day 47 – Moonbeams

We breakfasted with Greenstone’s Mayor, Ron Beaulieu, at the Longlac Pizzaria this morning, and learned a lot about the region and the challenges it faces. With the changes in local industry over the last few decades, with mining tapering off in the late 70s and now with forestry in decline, many Northern towns are going through periods of change and adaptation as they try new ways to sustain their vibrant communities — vibrant communities that also have a lot to offer those travelling through.

Greenstone, with its many trails and canoe routes, rich and colourful history, and unique attractions — such as the Fire Management Headquarters and world-class ice and rock climbing sites — is itself an out-of-the-box wilderness destination. Ron, like many residents of the area, utilizes and appreciates the gifts of his region, recently snowmobiling from Longlac to Mont Tremblant in Quebec entirely on trail systems, and is working to develop promotion of the snowmobile trail system around Greenstone.

After breakfast, we meditatively covered the peaceful 200km of nothing but forest, bush, and waterways along highway 11 between Longlac and Hearst. 100km after Hearst, we poked around Kapuskasing’s fascinating train museum, then stopped in little Moonbeam for a picnic lunch and a visit with the UFO. The name Moonbeam is attributed to early pioneers who allegedly witnessed flashing lights falling from the sky, which they called ‘moonbeams’. It’s thought that these lights could have been aurora borealis, the northern lights, as they often appear with the moonlight.

We arrived in Timmins at the magic hour of just before dinnertime, and settled in to our lovely cozy chalet at Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa. The chalets are fully self-contained housekeeping homes, with a spacious loft bedroom, wraparound covered porch right on the river, a full kitchen, laundry room, and comfortable living/dining area. If you’re in Timmins on an extended stay for business, this is where you want to be. It was a luxury to have a full indoor kitchen to work with, and we indulged in our craving for healthy food with a big kale salad and red pepper paella.

Tomorrow — To Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world!

Photo by Alexandra Sawicki

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