Horneypayne three bears highway11.ca

Hornepayne is home to three bears, as compared to White River‘s one

Hornepayne was founded in 1928.  The town sign doesn’t announce the population.  I don’t think it can be more than 500, although everything I’ve read since my visit says that it is closer to 1000.  It is about an hour and a half southwest of Hearst on Highway 631.

“Home of the three bears”, Hornepayne is a railway town that’s seems to be in a bit of decline now that the railway isn’t so important.  Hornepayne proudly boasts having one of the last indoor roundhouses in the world.  Via trains still stop here.

For food, there is the Packsack Deli in an old barn across from the train tracks (turn left at the three bears), as well as Virginia’s Diner which opens at 6 AM for breakfast.  There’s also what they call a mall with an LCBO, a Northern Store, Craig’s Bar, and a sign advertising “Bars, Rooms, Food” so I assume there is some kind of motel inside.  For shopping, there’s Cindy’s This and That and the Passtime General Store.

Hornepayne highway 631 highway11.ca

Hornepayne used to have a little mall, but it closed in 2011 after 29 years.  Sad.  (Photo credit: P199 from Wiki Commons)


Hornepayne, Ontario mural highway11.ca

In the wilderness for the wilderness; Hornepayne, Ontario mural

I don’t know how much there is to do, although there is a snowmobiling club in the winter, and, of course hunting and fishing nearby.

And I can’t comment much more than that. Hornepayne is pretty out of the way, so I’ve only been through it once. And that time was at 7AM on a stat holiday so it was pretty quiet.  It is one of those visits where, in hindsight, I can’t believe I was willing to be so conspicuous as to take random photos of random things in a town so small and out of the way.  I guess I was gutsy in the summer of 2006.

If you’re stopping in Hornepayne to use a washroom, use the newer gas station south of the town.  The Esso north of town is cramped, and there are few spots to safely pull over your car on the road north of town if the wilderness arouses the call of nature while you’re on your way to Hearst.

Hornepayne highway11.ca

In the right light, Hornepayne can be kinda cute (Photo credit: P199 from Wiki Commons)

37 thoughts on “Hornepayne

  1. I am working on my family tree and having a difficult time finding any information on my Father-In-Law’s father, who was born in Hornepayne in 1928. Does anyone know where I can find some historical data on people who used to live in Hornepayne? Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. Lived in Hornepayne childhood teenager yes moved in 1980 was 17 years old moved to Niagara Falls still here after 42 years but never forget memories there Haven’t been there since 1992 My true bros are from there and still same Scot Steven’s aka Billy James whent ahe and unfortunate mu 3rd bro not with us anymore but some day we’ll meet again victor aka

  3. Loved reading the old Hornepayne memories. I’m writing a book on Goldie Goldthorpe…Anybody remember the Goldthorpe’s?

  4. June 1971, traveling west on the Super Continental, I met Tony,
    CN engineer stationed in Hornepayne. Unfortunately I am not sure
    of his last name anymore, but it doesn’t start with G for sure. I believe
    he moved away from Hornepayne.
    I love to get in touch with him to share railroad stories etc. and inquire
    about his well being in general.
    If anyone knows of his whereabouts, please contact me via
    e-mail at: anitaw7@telus.net

  5. I worked with Ken as a fellow Train Dispatcher from 1974 to 86.

    He was on one of my Dad’s best friends and we cruised the Key River in an old Kay Ketch and in his 28 ft Fiberform Cruiser to Jenise Bay.

    I was a piano payer and one night Ken taught me to play the white notes so that I could play Jazz with his horn ;o)

    What an Electrical Digital Fundamentalist and talented person and most of all my friend.

    Ron Deavy.

  6. I see Ken Menzies commented on the Menzies Hotel I was also there during that time and lived two doors from Ken and left HP 1953 and now live out west in BC.If ken you read this or anyone that knows Kens email or facebook handle ,it would be much appreciated.
    my facebook name is backupchuck

  7. We lived in Hornepayne from 1979 when the town was booming.When the free trade agreement was signed and two country wide recessions business moved south and so did the railways.No minerals being mined very little timber left, no jobs for the youth and the town is slowly dying.Its not the people of hornepayne its the system and its canada wide.Oba, Foleyet, Nakina, Armstrong, Longlac Hearst, Cochrane all these towns prospered at one time but now are on the decline.I doubt if the next three generations will survive there. Our provincial goverment gave up on the north years ago and there is no sign of change.Those of us who experienced these communities were very lucky but those days are gone.I doubt if a call center would locate there today.

  8. I lived in Hornepayne for 18 Years, fond memories, worked in Taylors Hotel, as a waitress and a cook, My Father (Kelly)Calvin Martyn , work on the railroad in the station. Will always remember Hornepayne,great place to grow up as a kid

    • betty i never knew your das real name but i have told people here in windsor that on paydays before we had the bank he used to stay at work on his own time to cash cheques and keep the change from each one for his troubles,i wouldnt doubt that in those days he may have taken home more from this endeavour than his own cheque

  9. we moved to hornepayne in 1950 came back to moncton in 1959. my father worked for cn rail i also worked for cn but now retired. would like to hear from somebody.inthat time frame if p[ossible. i plan in going up in sept of this year thanking you john caissie

    • john ive often wondered where you went to when you left hornepayne and if you were hanging on,the most memorable thing i can remember about you is that in those days you started every sentence with AND

      • t thank you for the reply did not know tailors burned would like to know what happened to the lewises the svobodas and ida provost thanking you john

  10. My grandparents founded and owned the “Taylor’s Hotel” back in the early days of Hornepayne. My grandmother Angeline Appleby service as town councilwoman for 8 yrs. I am looking for as much information and pictures if possible from the time of the Taylor Hotel being there (prior to the fire). If anyone could share information, or lead me to where I could get it, that would be much appreciated. I am currently working on Family Tree and Ancestry, and my mom was adopted by the Taylors (who were well to do in those days. Any help or direction would be great! Thanks !

    • Hello… I’m doing some research for a friend and ran across your comment… I’d like to discuss with you, please email me to go in to more detail?


    • Hi Tracey! I too am trying to find out more about my families history and they owned the Menzies hotel (we believe that to be the name) There was the Taylors and the another hotel which belonged to my family if you know of any info that would be great too! Their names were Fred(Fredrick) and Helen Menzies they worked in the CN rail and owned Lumber camps!
      Thanks in advance

      • My Grandfather Fred Menzies built the hotel. I lived in the
        hotel briefly. My Dad was the foreman/manager of
        Menzies lumber at mile 11 and we lived there until it was
        sold around 1946. Fred was the second CN conductor
        from Winnipeg to move to “Fitzback” (Hornepayne) when
        the rail link was completed . I was born in Hornepayne,
        moved to Ottawa, then Capreol, a retired train dispatcher.

        • My mothers grandfather (Fred Menzies) owned the Menzies hotel. My grandmothers (Fred’s daughter) name was Eva Menzies, who married Roderick MacKay and their daughter Winnie is my Mother.
          My mom says 3 of her uncles ran the kitchen in the cafe.
          Funny, I read parts of a book called Hornepayne 1928-1988 and it hardly mentions my grandfather at all or the hotel, cafe, pool hall, etc. There is a picture of my mom (Winnie MacKay) in it and one with my aunt Joan (Toots) but it’s like the author erased the name Menzies out of history. Wondering if the writer had something against Fred Menzies?

        • My mom is Eva candace Mantha daughter of rosabell Menzies. She speaks of the hotel often and I would love to connect her with some of her roots!

    • Looking for lost family for a friend and l came across this message. Any chance you had a brother adopted out about 1976.

    • Tracey – I knew Carol at Alma College and only recently found out she had passed away. I see from her obit that she spent many years in special care. Can you tell me what illness she had? She was a a fun girl and very popular at Alma, sorry she is gone so soon.
      Donna Robertson

      • Hello
        So sorry for the many years passed. I am only now continuing my search for any pictures or descendants that worked for my grandparents Robert and Angelina Taylor, owners of the Taylor hotel
        My mom Carole suffered a brain aneurysm in 1975. I was 5 yrs old.
        She was in long term care for 34 years until her passing in 2010

        Do you have any pictures of her from Alma?

  11. Sorry to tell you this but this is the same story of a huge part of rural north America. And sad to say but is was wonderful capitalism that brought good paying jobs to the towns. Capatialist jobs also payed income taxes that paid the government job wages. Government just lives on the wage earner/tax payer so be thankful for the free market capatilist system. \nothing is perfect but it is better than socialism.

  12. I’ll miss hornepay, another 18 years gone by, last time I was there in 92, i worked as security for hallmark 6months. Was the last time I saw my brother kim too. He’s gone west also – I’ll never forget memos, and that jukebox and all my friends long gone. 30 years ago we played pool and games at Norms pool hall, and I worked for Cecil and Guy at cecils taxi in trade for a home to live. Rest in peace my friends – farewell hornepayne.

    • Hi Kevin, are you on Facebook? I’d love to catch up with you after so many years! My brother and I still talk about flying in with our Dad (Allan Redgrift) to visit your family. Hope to hear from you soon. Rosemary Redgrift

      • Thats a coincidence if I ever saw! 🙂 I was just on Facebook this morning and found Toms page, I sent a request to him and with a hint who I am.

        Of course i use a diff name on fbook, lol.

        I couldn’t wait till summers when your Dad would fly in with tom to play with me, after all what i had was dogs and a dumb cat.

        Give brother a hug for me will ya?

        He was my best friend 🙂

        Kinda wishing I would move my family to Ontario, miss the clear waters and bear free trails.

        Looking at maybe doing it to retire.

        Kids would love to see the trap line I grew up on, damn so many memories.

        I was in Hornepayne in 92 briefly, was sad to hear about your Dad too.

        This is even hard to write, God Bless you all…stay safe 🙂

  13. Hornepayne is suffering from a loss of identity.The railroaders and the millworkers built the town from old fashioned blood, sweat, and tears.Yet they, and many towns and communities all across the country, have succumbed to capitalism.No profit, no interest.Since the Hallmark Center closed it’s doors for good, the people are left with a graveyard.”The mall” as it was called was the community center, a high school;a police station;a bank;the liquor store;the post office;the Northern department store;an elderly residence;the town gym and pool;a hotel;the CN bunk house;two bars;a restaurant;video arcade;convenience store;pharmacy;dentist;First Nations affairs;and there was probably more, but I’ll stop there. A lot of displaced businesses and people, not to mention some important institutions.And why was it shut down?No profits, no interest.

  14. My ole man and his friends gave Hornepayne its value, too bad they all let the tourist garbage in. I miss the ole timers, my best buddy Danny Fisher’s dad worked the via rail customer service.

    We were one of a kind, yep – we are the folks who lived on the foch – or as we loved to call it – stony river – or as the cnr would have it, mileage 27, and every single railroader knew us.

    The Boyes & the Persson’s

    Thank you Hornepayne, rest in peace.

    Glen Persson (son of Soren Persson)

    • Glen, I have many fond memories of flying in with my Dad, Allan Redgrift to see your family on the Foch River. Would love to catch up and find out how you have fared in life. Are you on Facebook? Rosemary Redgrift

    • glen i remember a bob boyes who lived up the tracks when i was a kid and i also remeber the family living in a teepee in pauls back yard but i think that was probably before your time

      • Yes Ron, that was my step father where i spent 14 years.

        Everything went to hell in the late 80’s when the gov let the companies cut down our 20 square miles of forest and lively hood.

        My Moms gone (Doris died of MS in January 2000) and Bob is somewhere out west near Vanderhoof from what i know.

  15. How old is this thing, Packsack? ok Virginias has been closed for a few years, the new, new gas station south of town is good, and as far as not safely stopping on the north hwy? did you notice all the traffic? LMAO

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