Business View Civil and Municipal | Volume 2, Issue 9

102 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 2, ISSUE 9 I n the heart of the vast and verdant Boreal forest, about 150 miles northeast of Timmins (the regional centre for this part of the province) on the Mattawishkwia River, the Town of Hearst, Ontario nestles in an area known for its outdoor pursuits and winter sporting activities. The self- proclaimed “Moose Capital of the Canada”, Hearst offers incredible hunting, fishing, and cross-country skiing opportunities, and features well over 600 miles of snowmobile trails. The town is also famed for its rich railway heritage, owing its founding to the construction of the National Transcontinental Railway in the early part of the 20th century. Originally known as the town of Grant, Hearst renamed itself in honor of Sir William Howard Hearst, a lawyer and politician who went on to serve as the seventh Premier of Ontario (1914- 1919). Created in 1912, Hearst was founded around the time that the Northern Ontario Clay Belt was opened for agricultural settlement. Eastern Europeans were among the first settlers to arrive in the region of Hearst and by 1920, about 100 French-speaking families lived there, several of which went on to become prosperous sawmill owners. As it became clear to farmers that the soil conditions, preponderance of rock, and short summer season made agriculture less profitable than forestry, more and more immigrants worked as lumbermen in their first job on arrival. Over the years, the French-Canadian population in Hearst – once a minority – grew to account for 95% of the population. Today, the region is home to more French speakers than anywhere else in Ontario. tario GREAT OUTDOORS