"55 degrees north" Fort Severn by mapakettle

Fort Severn Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 11 photos

da plane, da plane

I was bumming a ride with a friend of mine, Dr. Vee Skobe, a dentist who traveled into the north to provide dental care to the indian population. Besides me, he was accompanied by Fonzie, his monkey. Vee had found that when he set up shop in the various communities, the kids were conspicuously absent during clinic hours, due most likely to the fact that dentists tend to use needles and drills.
So, Vee needed a hook, some type of ploy to bring the kids out, hence, Fonzie.
Worked like a charm. He never had trouble from that moment on.
We flew in an old Beaver, noisy, drafty, and not overly confidence inspiring.


As we circled the community of Fort Severn, we watched a group of townspeople butchering 'something'
on the beach. From the air we could see the cloud of flies buzzing around, still gives me the willies thinking about it.

I'll never forget the sight of whales, circling around and around just off the shores of the Hudson Bay, almost like a parade of old cars cruising up and town Main Street.

The townsite...

Well, certainly leaves a lot to be desired. The buildings were weathered wood sided rectangles, with three planks serving as the entryway.
The most impressive building was the Hudson Bay Post, which served as the only real store for the area.
The kids were very interested in us, and followed from a distance, giggling and calling out to Fonzie. Eventually we were surrounded by half the village, and the smokey scent from their clothing was overpowering, but oddly comforting.
This trip occurred over twenty years ago, and I doubt if a lot has changed since then.
I wander what the people were butchering ??? I wonder if I ate any of it while I was there, I'm hoping not


Fort Severn First Nation Reserve is the most northerly community in the province of Ontario. It is located at the edge of the tree line, nine km from the mouth of the Severn River where it drains into Hudson Bay. The approximate size of the reserve is 3,959 hectares. It is located approximately 720 km northeast of Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

The community is situated in the Hudson Bay lowlands or tundra and the terrain is flat, poorly drained and covered by clay soils and sand. The subsoils remain frozen at some depth year round (commonly known as permafrost). The Reserve is located at the top of a high river bank overlooking the Severn River.

The climate in the area has long cold winters and short warm summer months. Winter usually sets in the middle of October and lasts until the end of April. The river normally freezes in late October and it usually breaks up in the first week of May.

The animals that live around this area include black bears, polar bears, moose, caribou wolves, foxes, lynx, fisher, marten, otters, beaver, rabbits and minks. Some birds are the Canada and snow geese, ducks, swans, eagles, hawks, falcons, sandpipers, grouse, ptarmigan and many species of smaller birds. Aquatic life consists of whitefish, brook trout, arctic char, northern pike, suckers, etc. There is also the beluga whale and seal.

Most of the animals mentioned are used by the residents for food because of the high cost of living, due to high air freight costs for goods. Some vegetation that is used by locals is berries. There are gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries. Another vegetation that is commonly used is the plant called Labrador tea.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:people were extremely friendly
  • Cons:flies, flies, flies
  • In a nutshell:great memories, but glad I don't live there.
  • Last visit to Fort Severn: Jun 1986
  • Intro Updated Sep 14, 2004
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Reviews (10)

Comments (8)

  • Azri_Azmi's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2006 at 6:48 PM

    Hi Ma & Pa, nice mini page of Fort Severn. Do they organize a Beluga Whale watching here? The fishing activities should be a fun thing to do here I guess, fishing for Salmon? Take care Ma and take care Pa, regards from Melaka, Malaysia.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2005 at 8:09 AM

    An interesting page on a really Off the Beaten Path destination! That reminds me, it is about time to dig my canoe out of winter storage!

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2005 at 4:51 AM

    Already you've talked me out of going there!

  • travelgirl3's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2005 at 11:08 AM

    Well, I'm sure you have memories for Ft Severn, but I can honestly say, no thanks!! Just seeing all those flies from the air would be enough to make me say 'turn it around'! Penny

  • Elena_007's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2005 at 2:35 PM

    That misquito looks deadly! Beautiful whale shots, whoever took them. Great info here, and funny too. Perhaps I should call Mary? I wonder if she is still there... ~Elaine~

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2004 at 8:10 PM

    Interesting pages - the far north has always fascinated me. Any Polar Bears in the Ft. Severn Area? Stephen

  • CdnJane's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2004 at 3:55 AM

    VT is a great teacher about places within your own country. When I saw FORT Severn I thought that you had mistyped PORT Severn, which is thousands of miles to the south! Thank you for education on someplace definitely off the beaten path!

  • KristaB's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2004 at 3:37 AM

    I think I know what they were doing on the beach. Survival essentials. One needs a sharp sense of humour to stay sane there, eh? I'm a hydrant today, have to read some more ...


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