masthead image

Moiles Mills


Town site photo

A sandy street lined with homes, presumably for the workers.

Photo courtesy: YMCA

Moiles Mills began as an extaordinary tale of a stolen mill, hauled over international seas from DeTour, Michigan. The mill, owned by the four Moiles brothers, was on the verge of being repossessed by creditors for non payment. The brothers were bound and determined to prevent that from happening. Thus they developed a beautifully orchestrated scheme to steal the mill, and haul it over to Canada, where it would be safe from seizure.

Once they were safely arrived, the brothers chose a site on John Island in what was then prime timber land. The brothers should have made a fortune but it seems they were either extremely disagreeable or just lousy businessmen. Their relationships with their customers were poor, resulting in numerous complaints and lost clients.

The Moiles established a town site close to the harbour lined with houses for their employees. Poor business practices finally drove the brothers to sell the operation in 1903. Under new ownership, the mill prospered. The town site was eventually expanded to include a school, store, dance call, pool hall, and a baseball diamond. At its height over 200 people lived in the community.

The mill thrived until 1918 when it burned down. The owners decided not to rebuild and eventually the property was acquired by the Bell family of Sudbury. The Bells went on to donate a large portion of the land to the YMCA to establish a summer camp.

Today the summer camp remains active. The site is off limits to all except for staff and campers. Fortunately the YMCA has made a dedicated effort to both preserving and archiving the community's history for future generations to come.