In Search of the Spirit Moose

They are not albino, but they are extremely unique and treasured. These highly protected animals are considered very spiritual.

Foleyet is a small, traditionally Francophone community located midway between Chapleau and Timmins on Highway 101. The town was originally established as a divisional point on the Canadian Pacific Railway system.

Now, Foleyet is better known for its red pine forests and healthy fish and wildlife populations. There are many lodges in the area that provide fly-in, boat-in, or drive-in accommodations for those legendary fishing and hunting adventures. Sightings of waterfowl, bear, and moose are frequent in the area.

Air Ivanhoe
A scene from Air Ivanhoe, a local fly-in fishing & hunting lodge

Over the years, there have been increased sightings of white moose (sometimes referred to as a spirit or "ghost" moose). These white moose aren't albino and are definitely not a different species. Their colour is the result of a recessive gene strain called the Armstrong White Gene Strain, named after Jane Armstrong who discovered the first white moose in Foleyet over 40 years ago. The province of Ontario protects these animals and placed a ban on their harvest.

White Moose

Sightings near Highway 101 are most common.

Local residents and business owners also work to protect the white moose population. Their efforts have brought attention to the need for responsible fishing, hunting, forestry, and energy usage in the area.

A note from the 2018 Ontario Moose Hunting Regulations: The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, prohibits the hunting of predominantely white-coloured (over 50% white) moose in Wildlife Management Units 30 and 31, an area near Timmins, Chapleau and Foleyet.


White Moose sighting
A sighting close to Timmins

Sightings of the white moose typically occur between Foleyet and Timmins, on Highway 101. Of course, sightings are not guaranteed, though many people visiting the area have been graced with their presence unexpectedly.  

If you set off in search of this wild creature but come up empty-handed, we recommend a stop at Cedar Meadows Resort's Wildlife Tour in Timmins. There you'll see many (brown) moose, bison, and deer from the comfort of a tour vehicle.

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About Jamie McIntyre

Hey! I'm a outdoors enthusiast with a passion for travel in Northeastern Ontario. Check out my articles for ideas on where to travel. 

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