Ah, Moonbeam. It’s so cute. And so goofy. That’s why it’s so neat. I like Moonbeam.
Moonbeam is a small francophone town of about 1000 (which is big compared to places like Mattice, let alone Harty!) It is so clean, so well kept, and, well, so spunky.
From what I’ve been told, the town got its name from railway workers who insisted that a beam of light from the moon hit the tracks one night. And thus Moonbeam was named. And with the help of hippies and a few dedicated locals, the name stuck.Moonbeam loves its space theme. The flying saucer is one of Highway 11’s most famous monuments and is known throughout Ontario. There is the Blue Moon Motel and Chip Stand (motel + chip truck = awesome combo) which features space stuff on its signs. Moonbeam has its own mascot which is a little green alien whose name I can’t remember. He’s on all their signs which are all over Highway 11’s eastern portion. I think I even have him on a shirt pin.
But it’s not all rockets and asteroids with Moonbeam. They have a vision and they’re realizing it. There’s the Centre Culturel and the Leonard Art Gallery. The town has some of the best hiking, cycling, and walking trails in northeastern Ontario. Moonbeam has its own snowmobile club with trails that are groomed in the winter (it’s the first place I’ve ever seen a snowmobile trail groomer.) Just north of town there is Remi Lake and René Brunelle Provincial Park, which I’m told has a waterslide. There is also fishing, swimming, and canoeing/kayaking.
Moonbeam’s most famous son would be sculptor Maurice Gaudreault. Gaudreault is well-known within Canadian ceramic circles for his work depicting life in northern Ontario through clay.
There’s also a short film called Leaving Moonbeam about a young girl trying to hitch a ride out of Moonbeam.
Moonbeam actually has a fair amount to do and is totally worth a stop, or even more so, an actual visit.