November 22, 2012

CFS Moisie and GATR Site

Moisie was mentioned to me by a colleague at work, and I figured I should take a look at what I could find on the current state of the former site of CFS Moisie, which is about a ten hour drive from Montreal, past Quebec City, just past Sept-Iles.

RCAF Station Moisie came online in 1953 as an early warning radar station, and was renamed CFS Moisie in 1967.  The station was decommissioned between 1987 and 1988.  It was placed on a peninsula located east of Sept-Iles on the north shore of the St Lawrence.  From the vintage pictures, I'm sure the sand beaches were appreciated by those who served at Moisie in the summer, but I would think the winters would have been rather harsh from the high snow banks.

At the time that I'm writing this post, it seems that Bing has the best satellite imagery of Moisie

Google Maps shows a slightly older picture, at a poorer resolution

View Larger Map

The older 1984 Topographic maps show the locations of DND property
The newer online topo map doesn't have as much detail, but I have circled the operations and GATR sites
As far as I can tell the domestic portion of the base is still standing, some of the auxiliary building are still there, but the main operations site was demolished in the 1980s.  I'll need to research further, but I believe the base has been sold to the closest First Nations tribe - or perhaps it was part of a larger settlement.  I'm not sure of any details.

I'm still curious as to how Senneterre and Moisie's operations buildings changed from the 1950s to the 1960s.  Clearly from the below photos the site started with three radomes atop three buildings, but over time grew to six buildings (which would have had Radomes at one time) with two radomes in 1982.

Aerial photo RCAF Station Moisie - 8 May 1956 - Courtesy ADC Museum

Fire Hall at RCAF Station Moisie - June 1957 - Courtesy Brian Sutcliffe

Aerial photo RCAF Station Moisie - February 1962 - Courtesy ADC Museum

Ice on the shores and the Operations site in the background - April 1962 - Courtesy ADC Museum.

Aerial photo of RCAF Station Moisie - August 1962 - Courtesy ADC Museum

CFS Moisie viewed from a CF SAR Helo - May 1982 - Courtesy Roger Bird

Site Plan for RCAF Station Moisie


  1. The images brought back very fond childhood memories for me. My father was stationed at CFS Moisie in 1975 and 1976. I was 8 and 9 years of age and I lived with my parents and sisters on the base. It was fun trying to identify the PMQ we lived in on the sattelite image. There was a playground between our home and the school which I couldn't find on the map. I remember the blackflies and the spray truck that circled the neighbourhood on summer evenings sending out a cloud of insecticide that friends would bike back and forth through. I was never allowed to ride my bike behind the truck. I had smart parents. Thanks for the memories.

  2. i was there 76 77 and lived at the end of the road down from the rink.i remember all the things you mention and see the place is just a ruins.

  3. Yes, sadly most of the Pinetree Line is in the same state. A some of the bases (like CFS Carp, or RCAF Station Alsask) have been preserved in some form. I think most are too far gone to make them into proper "museums"; but having them designated as some sort of park or national heritage site, I think, would be appropriate considering the contribution they made to Canadian history.

    Thank you for your comments Vern and Brian :)

  4. Somes peoples told me that Under the base site was a lot of tunnels (bunkers) Do you know if it's true and why?

    1. I have not heard or seen any evidence of tunnels, as far as I know all the heating ducts, steam, water, power, etc. were above ground. However, I have found a service elevator shaft at CFS Ramore which I believe is attached to an equipment room where the motor was located which powered it. It is currently filled with water, and I can't tell how much space is below. Same with Lac St Denis; there are flooded openings in the floor that seem to go to a basement or shaft. Considering how high the water is near CFS Moisie, I would assume any potential tunnels would have risked being flooded quite often, and if they existed, would surely be flooded now.

      I have heard that there were "tunnels" or "bunkers" under the operations site at RCAF Station Parent - which is false. What people thought were "tunnels" were water storage; I guess they are sort-of tunnels, but they were never meant as bunkers, just storage for water. Same at Casey; there were underground reservoirs for water there too, near the domestic site where personnel would have lived.

      Let me know if you find anything more about tunnels under CFS Moisie!

    2. There are tunnels under CFS Moisie. I live there and I confirm it! (sorry my English, I speak French :p)

  5. I'm glad I found this page. Thanks for your work. Dad served at Moisie in the 60s and mentions it often.

  6. We lived there from 1966 through 1969. Dad was in the Military Police and Mom looked after we four kids. I remember being so involved in the choir at church, brownies, at the library because Dad was librarian too, swimming in the pool that was a second home, and watching movies at the Rec Centre. A fond memory was watching the helicopters land in the the yard between the two schools which always livened up the day, as well as blueberry picking through swarms of blackflies. With no english TV we spent a lot of time outside and reading. Walking along the beach and finding huge shells, and occasional rocks with flecks of gold in them. Winter carnival was always something special to see, and the summer bike rodeos for the kids were fun to practice for...good memories.

  7. I born 26 august 1957 and live there my first 3 years

  8. I have great memories of Moisie! My father was stationed there in 1972-1974. I was I was nine and ten years old. I lived with my parents, two sisters (one was born in Sept Isles!) and brother. We loved the playground and the maypole and marble corner. We'd ride our bikes everywhere, and sneak down to the beach beside the river. Best of all, though, was the huge slide in the field between the two schools. We had a lot of fun in Moisie! :)