Foymount is highest populated community in Ontario, located on the edge of the Ottawa Bonnechere Graben west of Lake Clear in Renfrew County. It was formerly the site of a Pinetree Line radar base, which closed in 1974. Currently it is the home of Black Water Designs, manufacturer and distributor of high quality outdoors equipment and clothing (Sierra Designs).
2008 April 16
Back in the mid to late 1980s, we purchased a Sierra Designs "Domicile" tent. It has served us well, but last fall we had a problem with one of the poles. Since the tent is still in good condition, we contacted Black Water Designs to investigate replacing/repairing the poles. Stephanie, in charge of warranty returns, suggested sending the poles to them and they would see what they could do. This was all the excuse we needed — hey! the lakes were still frozen, the bush and our lawn were still buried in snow, and we were suffering from spring-induced cabin fever. So on April 16, we headed off to Foymount.
Foymount is an interesting location. It is currently the home of Black Water Designs; it was formerly a radar base on the Pinetree Line; and it is situated on the edge of the Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben. (An entertaining article describing the history of Foymount was published by Country Connection Magazine in 2004.)
At the height of the cold war and before the days of spy-in-the-sky satellites, Canada, assisted by the U.S.A., operated three lines of radar stations to detect bomber attacks approaching over the Arctic from the U.S.S.R. The DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line was the farthest north, the Pine Tree Line was the most southerly, and the Mid-Canada Line was in between. (Wikipedia provides a good general account of the Pinetree Line.) One of the Pinetree Line stations was Foymount, an RCAF base with about 400 personnel, which operated from 1952 until 1974. A 1968 map of the site and a 1969 aerial photograph show the locations of the various buildings and facilities. These images are from a site dedicated to the Pinetree Line, which includes extensive information about the Foymount base and a large collection of photographs from the years it was in operation.
Foymount, the highest populated site in Ontario, is located on the edge of the Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben. The Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben is a rift valley, originally perhaps a kilometer deep, that formed during the breakup of the ancient supercontinent Rodina. It has subsequently been subjected to more than 500 million years of erosion. Now the elevation difference between the floor of the graben (the surface of Lake Clear, let's say) and the highest point at Foymount is a little less than 1000 ft., but it remains an impressive geological feature. The graben, tens of kilometers wide, is bordered by an escarpment east of the Ottawa River and on the west by the "Opeongo Mountains". (The graben is a current interest of ours: see The Ottawa Bonnechere Graben in our Notes Section.)
A good day — a beautiful spring drive, magnificent country, courteous and fair treatment by Black Water Designs, and our tent is ready to go again. All we need now is open water.