The Lake Temiskaming Tour region boasts world-renowned canoeing and kayaking destinations. The legendary Grey Owl, the Group of Seven, Father Charles Alfred Paradis, and many more have been inspired by the magnificent forests, lakes, and rivers of this area, as well as by the rich history of its Aboriginal communities.
The other lakes in the region: Kipawa, Temagami, Nipissing, des Quinze and Simard are genuine inland waterways that offer endless paddling adventures!
Ontario Parks manages the Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park and the Obabika River Provincial Park, which comprise a large part of the territory. In order to plan and fully enjoy your trip to this region, contact one of the outfitters such as Temagami Outfitters, which has existed since 1926 and is located in the heart of Temagami. This region also has two of the highest points in Ontario, which inevitably attract many hikers. The Ishpatina Ridge, which is accessible only by water, is the highest point in Ontario, with a peak rising to 693 meters above sea level. Maple Mountain – the sixth highest point in the province – is also located in Temagami. In 1904, Father Charles Alfred Paradis, a colonizing priest, was one of the first white men to operate a tourism business on Lake Temagami. He followed in the footsteps of the First Nations people, who had settled there thousands of years ago. In fact, the name Temagami means “deep water near the shore” in the Algonquin language. The lake has a length of over 50 kilometers from north to south and is 35 kilometers wide. The lake has 1,259 islands, including Bear Island, which an area of just fewer than 3 square kilometers, and is home to the Temagami First Nation. Lake Temagami is one of the few places with an ancient growth forest still intact.
Temagami is probably better known worldwide as a conservation area thanks to the work undertaken by Archie Belany, a famous Briton known as Grey Owl. He came to the area in 1906, when he was 17, to achieve his dream of living among the Indians. His love for Gertrude Bernard (Anahareo), a young Iroquois woman, inspired him to devote his life to the preservation of the environment.
Since the 1900s, the Temagami region has offered summer canoe camps for youth, who come from all around the world. Today, six camps offer programs ranging from one to six weeks. Thanks to these camps, more than 400 young people per week have the opportunity to discover this majestic waterway system and explore the regions of North-eastern Ontario and North-western Quebec.
The Temagami Canoe Festival is a three-day event, which takes place in mid-July. The festival promotes sports, music, and culture. Canoe enthusiasts will relish the canoe demonstrations, courses, and workshops on the history and fabrication of canoes.
For over twenty years, Zec Kipawa has managed a territory of 2,500 square kilometers. It offers six canoe loops for novices and advanced paddlers. If you wish to discover this region, you can also visit the Algonquin Canoe Company (located on Long Sault Island in Thorne), which is a business specializing in outdoor tourism. You can rent equipment, cottages, or even book a guide for your canoe trips on Lake Kipawa, Lake Temiskaming, the Ottawa River or the Dumoine River.
Once a year, after the Saint-Jean Baptiste holiday in late June, canoe, kayak and rafting enthusiasts gather to celebrate the Kipawa River and ensure its protection. The one-day excursion, which covers a distance of 16 kilometers from Lake Kipawa to Lake Temiskaming, includes 18 rapids and a 30-meter waterfall. The Kipawa is considered one of the best white-water rivers in Canada, so be prepared to live an adventure. In the evening, gather with the participants around a campfire for fresh fried fish. In 2016, the festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
From the community of Mattawa, it is possible to navigate over 100 kilometers without portaging, which is a true delight for sea kayak enthusiasts. For those who are not afraid of portages, the Mattawa River from North Bay offers a 64-kilometer-long descent with nine portages. For over 35 years, the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority has been organizing a canoe race during the Voyageur Day Festival in late June. The celebration takes place in Mattawa. A family-friendly version of this race is available departing from the Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park and spanning 13 kilometers.
On the Spurline beach in New Liskeard, the New Liskeard Lions Club organizes the New Liskeard Dragonboat Festival yearly on the second weekend in July, on Lake Temiskaming. The races are very exciting and inspiring to watch.