Until 1901, the main settlements within the Township of Morley were Boucherville and the original town of Rainy River a few miles west, both situated along the Rainy River itself. The town of Beaver Mills later took the name Rainy River. In 1901 the Canadian Northern Railway came to the area roughly two miles north of the settlement of Boucherville. An immediate move was made to establish a town-site close to the railway station. Railroad officials named the new town Stratton after J. R. Stratton, a provincial secretary. Stratton quickly became the business centre of both the Morley and Pattullo townships. In 1903, Morley Municipality, an amalgamation of these two townships, was formed, and Stratton became the seat of administration.
The history of Morley covers a little more than one hundred years, but is the story of courage, vision and hard work. Morley Township was formed in 1879 and named after the Honourable John Morley. The promise of free land on which to build a new home and a new life lured many people to this area. At first, nearly all the newcomers were from southern Ontario - English, Irish and Scots. They found the land rich in virgin timber with only Indian trails through the bush.
The Long Sault Indian Reserve was on the east side. It was once the site of an Ojibway Village, a favourite meeting place for the tribe, coming from each direction. Only the burial mounds remain to tell of their former importance. Many of the Indians sickened and died, and the survivors were moved to the Manitou Reserve. Most of the new settlers travelled by train to Rat Portage (Kenora) and then on wood burning steamers through Lake of the Woods to the Rainy River. The Edna Bridges, the Agwinda and the Kenora were a few of these boats. The settlers brought their furniture and their livestock with them. These boats also brought supplies of food and mail. When they came to the rapids at Long Sault and Manitou, the Indians hauled them over with ropes. They were paid with bags of flour. The settlers sold wood to the boats to fire the boilers. The first homesteads were laid out in lots along the river front.
In 1901 the Canadian Northern Railway was completed linking the west with the east. The hamlet of Stratton was born. It was named after J.R. Stratton, Provincial Secretary. The streets were laid out and the main Street was called Strathcona. In 1903 the Municipality of Morley, combining Morley and Pattullo Townships, came into being. Mr. Boucher was the first Reeve and Fred Watts the Clerk-Treasurer. Mr. Guy Gamsby was clerk for over fifty years, retiring in 1958. His son, Fred carried on until his death in 1976. In the thirties, many families of European origin settled on the many unclaimed homesteads. They quickly became part of the community adding their skills and culture to the pattern of living. Later came the Dutch who now operate successful dairy farms. In the sixties, many of the local farms were bought by Mennonites from Mexico and Manitoba. And so we have become a multicultural society working and playing together in harmony.
In 2004, the unincorporated townships of Sifton and Dewart were added to the boundaries of The Corporation of the Township of Morley.
Stratton United Church
Christian Fellowship Chapel
Our Lady of the Way Catholic Church - -located in Pinewood, ON (approx 11km to the west)
Things to Do in Stratton, Ontario
For thousands of years aboriginal people have lived and gathered on the banks of the Rainy River at Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung, "Place of the Long Rapids." Here, traces of Ojibway villages are found among the burial mounds and village sites of more ancient aboriginal peoples. Also known as Manitou Mounds, this place was at the centre of a continent-wide aboriginal trading network. Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is sacred to the Ojibway and to other first peoples of North America, thus marking an enduring spirituality.
Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is a place of outstanding beauty and spirituality. Designated as a site of national historic significance in 1970, it's importance has been acknowledged for generations by natives and non-natives alike, who have lived, traveled and admired the majestic Rainy River. As one of the most significant centres of early habitation and ceremonial burial in Canada, Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung has deep cultural and spiritual meaning to indigenous peoples throughout North America.
Located only 40 miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi River, this was the centre of a vibrant continent wide trading network. Here, people gathered to trade, share, celebrate and mourn. The history that remains through artifacts reflects a diverse trading network that brought copper from Lake Superior, marine shells from the far south and exotic stone for tool making from the west and north.
Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre is located 55 kilometers west of Fort Frances, Ontario. It is just south of Highway 11 between Stratton and Barwick. It is owned and operated by the Rainy River First Nations. For more information, call 807-483-1163.
Special Events in Stratton
The following is a list of Special Events in the Township of Morley (Stratton). For exact dates and more information, please call the Corporation of the Township of Morley at 807-483-5455.
Mens and Ladies Curling Bonspiel - End of February
Mixed Curling Bonspiel - Mid March
Open Curling Bonspiel - End of March
Truckers & Loggers Curling Bonspiel - Beginning of April
Stratton Fishing Derby - May Long Weekend
Manitou Rapids Fish Fry - May Long Weekend
Manitou Rapids Fish Fry is held annually every spring at Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung. The event is held to honor our partnerships and celebrate the successes of the community. Please contact 807-482-2479 for more infomation and for exact dates.
Rainy River First Nations Pow Wow - June
Held annually on Father's Day Weekend. Open to the public. Camping available. For more information please call 807-482-2479.
Stratton Community Fall Supper - Mid October
Stratton Boxing Day Curling Fun Spiel - December 26
New Years Eve Party - December 31