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French River, also known as Rivière-des-Français, is a municipality in the Canadianmarker province of Ontariomarker, in the Sudbury District. The municipality had a population of 2,659 in the Canada 2006 Census. Along with the municipalities of St. Charlesmarker and Markstay-Warrenmarker, it is part of the region known as Sudbury East.

Communities

Historic train station from circa 1900 in French River Station.
The municipality comprises the communities of Alban, Bigwood, Chartrand Corner, Delamere, French River Station, Happy Landing, Jamot, Monetville, Noëlville, North Monetville, Ouellette, Rutter, Sucker Creek Landing and Wolseley Bay.

Alban

The community of Alban was originally established in 1907 as Rutter, named for the nearby railway station in 1907, but in 1937 the community was renamed for Rev. J. Alban Filiatrault.

Bigwood

Bigwood is named for American born, civil engineer William Bigwood, associated with the Graves, Bigwood and Company sawmills at Byng Inletmarker in the early 1900s. Bigwood is divided between the municipalities of French River and Killarneymarker.

Monetville

Originally known as Martland, the community was first settled in 1895 by Cyrille Monette and four other pioneers. It became a municipality in 1906 and adopted the name Monetville.

For many years the Greenway Hotel was one of the few notable buildings while driving through on the highway.

The local graveyard has a Canadian World War II hero buried there. Sgt. Wallace Edmond Firlotte, who served with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment during the war, was bestowed six war decorations. However, he was one of only a very few Canadians that was bestowed the Order of the Bronze Lion for heroism from the Crown of the Netherlands. This award is presented for "Deeds of extreme bravery and leadership in battle favouring the Netherlands". The Prince personally presented this Order to Sgt. Firlotte by Royal Decree on December 8, 1945.

Noëlville

Noëlville
Noëlville, originally known as Cosby, was founded in 1905 with the arrival of settlers in the region. Noëlville families travelled by boat, to the south-west end of Lake Nipissingmarker, to establish themselves between Lake Nipissingmarker and the French River. To pay homage to Noël Desmarais, the village's first merchant and the first businessman of the region, the town of Cosby became Noëlville in 1911. Noël Desmarais was one of the first to start his family business in Noëlville.

Many other families soon followed. Development accelerated with the opening of shops and industries, and the community rapidly became, and remains today, the economic heart of the Sudbury East region. Noëlville celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005.

Since Noël means Christmas in French, this town is often referred to as "Christmas Town". The town was known for holding festivals and special activities for its "Christmas in July" celebrations. It is believed that during the Christmas season, some have their mail sent through Noëlville for the "Christmastown" postmark.

Every year, in February, Noëlville hosts the largest and longest running family hockey tournament in Canada. Five years after the Noëlville Community Centre was built in 1972, the Noëlville Family Hockey Tournament was founded in 1977 by Claude Mayer, Gerry Gratton, and Dan Pitre. There were 17 teams. The first game was played on New Year’s night when the Carrière family played against the Mayer family. This tournament survives to this day and has become a much anticipated event in this small town where families reunite when friends and members of the extended family return 'home' to compete in this annual event. Over the years, this tournament raised over $150,000 for local charities.

In 2007, Noëlville made the top five communities in CBC Television's Hockeyville competition. The neighbouring city of Greater Sudburymarker offered its support to Noëlville, although the community ultimately lost out to another nearby city, North Baymarker.

North Monetville

The North Monetville area straddles the municipal boundary between French River and West Nipissingmarker.

Rutter

Rutter takes its name from Fred Rutter, who was a resident engineer on the Torontomarker-Sudburymarker branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900s. It is located just east of the junction of Highways 64 and 69.

Wolseley Bay

Wolseley Bay, the easternmost community in French River, is located at the end of Highway 528, at the mouth of the Wolseley River.

References

  1. Noëlville: Hockeyville
  2. CBC.ca: Hockeyville
  3. Noelville makes final five in CBC Hockeyville contest


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