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Our History

French River has a rich history of Indigenous heritage, European exploration, fur trade, and the enduring natural beauty of this remarkable region. Long before European contact, the area was inhabited by Indigenous peoples, including the Anishinaabe who traversed its waterways for centuries. The French River itself served as a vital trade route and was named "Petite Rivière des Français" by French explorers Samuel de Champlain and Étienne Brûlé in the early 17th century. 

The fur trade era left an indelible mark on French River's history, as the region became a hub for the exchange of beaver pelts between Indigenous peoples and European traders. The French River played a pivotal role in this trade network, connecting the Great Lakes to the interior of North America. 

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, French River continued to be an important transportation route, especially during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The picturesque landscape attracted artists and adventurers, further cementing its reputation as a natural wonder.

In 1999, French River became a single-tier Municipality through the merger of the Townships of Cosby, Mason and Martland with the surrounding unincorporated portions of the Unorganized North Sudbury District. The Municipality is located on Highway 400/69 south of Sudbury and spans a region that includes numerous lakes and rivers, including the French River itself. French River has evolved into a vibrant community that values our pristine environment, outdoor recreational opportunities, and the preservation of our historical legacy.

Community Information

The Municipality of French River envelops 4 communities, Monetville, Noëlville, Ouellette, and Alban, The Municipality is located along the French River which is 80 km South East of the City of Greater Sudbury, and 100 km North of Parry Sound on Highway 69.

The Municipality has a permanent population of 2,662 which expands in the summer months due to seasonal residents to approximately 5000. We are surrounded by panoramic landscapes and rivers that flow 110 kilometres from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay and is considered the dividing line between Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario.