Ramore

Ramore is a quiet community about one minute east of Highway 11 on road 572.  It is 15 kilometres south of Matheson and is made up of three streets (Fergus, Timmins, and one other street I forgot to write down.) Ramore, surprisingly, was the home of two air bases, part of the Mid-Canada and Pinetree Lines.

Ramore, Ontario church off Highway 11

Church at sunset in Ramore

Predominantly francophone, Ramore (and its cousin Holtyre) reminds me a bit of Val Gagné – small, quiet, clean, about 40 houses (probably more) – except with more agriculture.  The area is surrounded by farms – some fallow, others still producing – which gives the area a relaxed, summer feel and some pretty fields and old barns. (And for some reason, there’s a house with a Canada flag and a Barbados flag.)

Ramore was a railway town, forestry centre, and agricultural area, but in 1950, the Americans came to town and built a Pinetree Line radar station – not by accident. The mountain the radar site was located is a high-point in the region. The mountain next to it on the west side of the highway is called Kempis Mountain. Both are prehistoric volcanoes that are long dead. Near the Radar Base, is an airstrip – not widely known. Most still think that the military built it, but that is not so. The airfield was built in the 1930’s as a make-work program during the Great Depression. It was part of some sort of larger aerial mapping program. The strip was built, but WWII came along. Not sure how much use it really got, until the Air Base was built, nearby.

Ramore church shrine, Highway 11 Ontario

Shrine at the church in Ramore

The Air Base played a large role in the area, both socially and economically, from Kirkland Lake to Matheson. In 1962, the Americans turned the base over to the Canadians. It was part of a deal that resulted due to the cancellation of the famed Avro Arrow Program. Canada would “lease” 66 F-101 Voodoos and take over 12 Pinetree Radar Bases – this included Ramore. Supposedly due to budget cuts and changing technology, the Base was closed in 1974. A similar base at Lowther was dismantled in 1984.
Interestingly, up until the mid-60’s, Kempus Mountain had a small “air base detachment” separate from the Ramore base. This is because, Kempus Mountain was part of the Mid-Canada radar system. Kempus was a relay station for the Mid-Canada line (which was a different line of radar stations than the Pinetree line), which operated generally around the 60th parallel. This is one of the few places in Canada where the Mid-Canada Line and Pinetree Lines met. As the site of two former air bases, one can say, that Ramore had a very strong connection to the Cold War. Today, one of the bases lay abandoned and some people still explore it, however it is not recommended due to the physical hazards and the potential of running into harmful contaminants.  (Click here for photos of a visit to former base location in 2002.)

South of Ramore on Highway 11 is the Ramore Flea Market.  Albeit small, this is a real flea market, not like the North Cobalt Flea Market.  I haven’t had a chance to look around, but it’s worth a stop since it’s right on Highway 11.
Raymore also hosts a Country and Western Festival every September, complete with concerts, demonstrations, and competitions.  I don’t know if there is a midway.

Ramore Flea Market, Ontario Highway 11

Drove past at least 20 times. Always wished I had stopped by.

Ramore has a church, a baseball diamond, a small library, a caisse, and Bouchard’s Grocery and LCBO outlet, which is more like a convenience store with food.  Just south of the town is Rolly’s Motel and Home Cooked Meals, which has rooms and food but no gas.  There are blueberry stands both north and south of Ramore, as well as a family that sells vegetables from a stall.

Thanks to Dwight for the info and for pointing me towards the photos of the radar base.

For an archive of the 40 comments that were posted to Highway11.ca’s profile of Ramore between 2008 and 2012, please click here.

43 thoughts on “Ramore

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  2. I worked on the base about 50 years ago. At the time there was joint command and the Canadian CO had just been replaced by a USAF officer. Due to its location, it was a bit of a stir crazy place and the corporal’s club was the place to be. Probably due to local land features, it was a great place to meet mosquitoes even from a north Ontarian’s perspective. This was in the days of force unification so there were a few army guys in the motor pool and one lonely navy guy who was the rec officer (his first and hopefully only posting not on a ship). Many of the civilian workers commuted each day from New Liskeard by bus. I always transferred from train to bus Mondays and Fridays (coming from/going to North Bay) at the Swastika station.
    There was an antique spider’s web radar antenna no longer used even back then but still somewhat maintained. All of the action was in the domes on the hill (great view from up there). The ‘air field’. was just a field where the weeds were mowed about twice a year and the ‘hangers’ were 3 sided sheds barely large enough for single engine planes; the only aircraft that I saw were either helicopters or small float planes that occasionally landed on the lake. Hitching on the highway at Ramore was about as productive as Wawa :(.

  3. Né à KL, j’ai habité Ramore de 1948 à 1956 et j’en garde d’excellents souvenirs d’enfance. David Bastien et Catherine Legault avaient migré de l’Ile-du-Grand-Calumet… à Ville-Marie… pour s’établir à Ramore au début des années 20. Le magasin Bastien était situé presqu’en face de la station de chemin de fer gérée par Lionel Vallières, l’un des rares francophones à occuper un poste de chef de gare à ce moment dans les gares de l’Ontario. Magasin général, bureau de poste, maire… David était responsable de la distribution des chèques du secours direct durant la crise de 1929. Il eut l’idée de faire travailler les bénéficiaires à débroussailler la piste d’aviation à proximité du lac à Mud… site qui allait accueillir la base militaire 25 ans plus tard d’abord américaine puis canadienne par la suite. Je suis fils de Hélène Bastien mariée à Joseph Ryan qui fut maire du canton de Playfair de 1950 ;a 1956. Mémére Blanche (Racicot épouse d’Albert Bastien (fils de David) en première noces, de Louis Trudel en deuxième noces) fut secrétaire de trois écoles de rang à la même époque. Un incendie détruit le site du magasin le jour même de notre départ de Ramore le 16 mai 1956. Même année du départ du curé Marcel Routhier et du “principal” d’école René Thibault. Mémére est décédée en 1994 à l’âge de 95 ans.
    mes coordonnées: marc_ryan@hotmail.com

  4. j’ai vécu à Ramore de 1953 à 1966.Je connais les Loiselle,Coutu.Bouchard,Carbonneau.Provencher,Breton

  5. mon non est Suzanne Bouchard fille de Lucien Bouchard et Rose-Aime Gelinas je vient de Ramore j ai habiter de 1961 a 1978 un jour j aimerais bien retourner y vivre

  6. My grandfather Lionel Valliere was station master at the Ramore train station from 1921 until 1948. Does anyone have any pictures of the station? My family lived 5 miles away in Holtyre from the 1940′s until the 70′s.

    • On Facebook there is a group called “Where is Ramore / Cherchez Ramore”. You can ask there , somebody will probably find a photo for you .

    • We have very few pictures of Ramore that we an say are from 1910 to 1970 , I am sure there are thousands , but people are not posting them and little by little these photos deteriorate , I’ve asked that they send them to me for scanning , but that project has not been successful. I remember going to play and run on the long platform at the station, I wish I could find a picture also.

    • Hello Dianne. I remember you well. And your late parents Cy and May who used to play cribbage with my parents the late Jos and Helen. Dad was reeve of Playfair Twp from 1950 to 1956 when our family moved to Kirkland Lake. Great-grandpa David Bastien was the first “mayor” in the mid 20s when the village became a municipality. Some history written above is not quite exact and we need a person like Raymond Fortin (Vénérand’s son) to set the records straight… as I believe he is writing a history of Ramore.

    • Why I’m looking here. It occurred to me to wonder after all this time to wonder why I always used the Swastika station when going to Ramore in the late 60s since the rail line goes right through.

  7. Just wanted to point some errors in your great article. Ramore has 2 avenues Timmins avenue and McIntyre Avenue , 1 Road ( in the town business section) Ferguson Rd ( or Hwy) , there is no Fergus street , Bastien Street, Knox , Denning , Ennis and St-Joseph. There are maps that I have seen, that show names of streets that were planned but never built. Rollys Restaurant and Motel which started as Rolly’s Restaurant named after the original owner Roland Fortier , they did serve gas , but that ended in the 1990′s .

  8. I was stationed at CFB Raymore 1970- 1973 We lived in Holtyre and had a son born in Matheson. I sold a 1964 Pontiac 327 4 speed to a young man from Raymore but cant remember his name. Would like to hear from him if possible. Sorry I cant supply more info. By the way loved it in your area and have many fond memories of the area.

    • There is a Raymore out west , but the Ramore you are referring to doesn’t have a ‘Y’ in it . Did you know that Holtyre use to be farming land that was part of Ramore, but when gold was found and the Ross Mine opened, the 2 companies in the project Hollinger and McIntyre , merge part of their names to create the new town of Holtyre

      I had a friend who had a 1967 327 , but auto , red car, Maybe if you went to the facebook page called Where is Ramore , I’m sure Monique Coughlin’s husband would know , I’m sure he knows everycar of those years going back to 1960 on. He was a body man and loved and still dabbles in vintage cars.

  9. My name is Lynne. I lived in Ramore until I was 8 years old. Moved to Hamilton in 1995. Lived in a house on MacIntyre with my parents Marcel and Celine. I miss Ramore very much!

    • Lynne, your father was in my class from grade 1 through High school , I remember the house you lived in , the house is still up.

      The vibrancy of the town has changed, losing the top minds year after year for those who go to university and college , few return. My parents still live there , my mother was the librarian, I’m sure you know her, Lucille Robillard , she was the organist in church , still is when there is a mass.

      • Hello Pierre. My name is Rob Simpson and I collect Ontario fire station histories. You appear to know quite a bit about Ramore. If you know of anyone in the community who has knowledge of the evolution of the Ramore Fire Department I would enjoy hearing from them. I did swing into the Ramore a few years ago and took a picture of the fire station. My webpage is http://www.robbysroost.ca Anything will be appreciated, thanks Rob

  10. Bonjour à tous. J’ai été baptisé en 1934, première communion et confirmation à l’église de Ramore car nous n’avions pas de curé à Holtyre. Le curé du temps était le Père Félix Leduc. J’aimerais si quelqu’un pouvait me dire ou il a fini ses jours car lors de mon dernier voyage au Nord, j’ai visité le cimetière et il n’est pas enterré avec les autres prêtres qui ont oeuvré à Ramore. Il était complètement aveugle la dernière fois que je l’ai rencontré, en 1953 ou 54.

      • Exact. J’ai servi la messe du père Leduc, diabétique et aveugle à ce moment. J’avais appris les réponses en latin de Ti-Paul (Napoléon) Cloutier qui nous donnait un John Collins en récompense. Ont suivi l’abbé Marcel Routhier et le vicaire Alexandre Roberge jusqu’au moment de mon départ de Ramore en 56.

  11. Bonjour a tous les residents de Ramore!
    Je connais votre petit village parce que j’allais visiter le Cure Perron qui etait pretre a votre eglise catholique! Monsieur le Cure Perron etait pretre dans notre paroisse a North Cobalt avant qu’il soit transfere a Ramore. Il etait un ami tres cher de mes parents et de notre famille. Est-ce que le Cure Perron a ete longtemps pretre a Ramore? Est-ce qu’il est decede lorsqu’il etait cure chez vous? Quel etait son prenom? J’aimerais bien recevoir les reponses a ces questions.
    En terminant, j’aimerais vous dire que les gens qui habitaient dans votre village etaient des personnes tres sympathiques et chaleureuses… ceci m’a marque pour la vie! Merci beaucoup!
    Edna (adresse courriel: eddy57@sympaticoca)

    • Allo mon nom est /my name is Jean -Marie Robillard (I was a alter boy from 1960-64) j’etait enfant de coeur dans les annees 1960-1964/ in Ramore
      si ma memoire est bonne je pense que le Cure Perron est mort dans l’anne 1962 ou 64
      mon addresse jeanrobillard713@yahoo.ca
      my email addess jeanrobillard713@yahoo.ca
      il a ete replace ma le cure de holtyre pendant qu’il lui trouvait un replacement pour le cure Perron / he was replace by the priest from Holtyre until they found a replecement priest Perron

      si il a des ,persone qui se sounvient de c’est anne informations;il voul plait

    • Le curé perron s’appelait Clement , il y avait le Pere Desahies a Ramore dans ces annees la aussi, C’est le pere Perron qui ma baptisee en 1959 et je me souviens vaguement de ces funeraille en l’église St-Laurent de Ramore ( qui en 2017 celebrera sont centennaire)
      Il fut remplacer par le curé Matte

  12. Just found this site From Marie Lafreniere who came from Ramore. Would like to hear from other people I went to school with. Thanks Marie.

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