An area view of Fryatt©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Fryatt was another one of those small railway hamlets that sprung up on the National Transcontinental Railway (NTR later CN). After the NTR opened up the large clay belts of northern Ontario, the provincial government was quick to promote its excellent soils. Unlike Southern Ontario where railroads already linked existing communities, rail lines in the north were in effect a modern day colonization road. They enabled farmers to quickly ship out lumber and farm products to distant markets, and offered freedom of movement to people who were otherwise restricted by their remote location.
In 1915, the NTR ran its line through Devitt Township at mileage point 112.8, somewhere between the future towns of Kapuskasing and Hearst, and established a tiny whistle stop at Fryatt. The first settlers came from Quebec and within a decade nearly 25 farms were established in the area.
To accommodate the new influx of settlers, the railway erected a shelter stations. A post office was also established in 1928 in Joseph Noel Bernard's home on Lot 6, Concession 5, in Devitt Township. J.H. Dallaire opened a general store in 1921. He expanded the store in 1930 to include the post office. The store stood across from the station and grew to include several additions throughout the years. A few homes were clustered along the dirt road that separated both buildings. A French-speaking separate school that was first established in 1928 was enlarged in 1940. Adelard Lacasse added a small blacksmith shop in 1935.
Although the community survived for awhile, decline was apparent by the 1940's. The blacksmith closed in 1943, followed by the general store and post office in 1949. The following year the school closed. A handful of residents that were still left in the 1960's had pretty well dispersed by the end of the decade. Today only a few cellars tell the story of a once proud community that is no more.