Attention All Bikers ...The Bikers’ Reunion began in New Liskeard in 1999. Their goal was to raise money to help fight cancer and to promote motorcycling. Since 2004, it has been an annual event, taking place on the last weekend in June. Last year, it welcomed more than 6,000 riders and approximately 25,000 visitors from across Canada. The participants gather at the New Liskeard Fall Fair grounds on the beautiful shores of Lake Temiskaming. Attractions for riders and visitors of all ages include concerts, food courts, children’s rides and kiosks from local businesses.
The high point of the weekend is undoubtedly the Freedom Ride. This tribute to cancer patients starts at the Fair Grounds and ends at the Temiskaming Hospital. Last year, the motorcycle parade extended over 10 kilometres. To date, the Bikers’ Reunion has raised more than a million dollars to help fight cancer. Unfortunately, The Biker's Reunion had its final freedom ride in 2016.
Motorcycling Lake Temiskaming Tour
In 2013, the Lake Temiskaming Tour was the second largest motorcycling tour in Ontario. This world-class circuit crosses the highways and hilly roads of Northeastern Ontario and Quebec. It is open throughout the biking season and can be accessed anywhere along the circuit. Starting from North Bay, here are a few places along the route that are worth mentioning:
Downtown North Bay is one of the most beautiful urban areas in Northern Ontario. Visitors can move from the waterfront to the downtown area through a tunnel connected to the old train station. The North Bay waterfront, with its unique design, is a good starting point for the circuit. Before beginning your ride, take a long walk along the Lake Nipissing sidewalk and stretch your legs while admiring the scenery. Choose among the variety of food options along the walk, from snack bars to a full restaurant in a moored ship. You can also take a cruise on the Chief Commanda. The whole family will enjoy the miniature train and a ride on the restored carousel.
Traveling north towards Marten River, stop at the Rock Pine Motel & Restaurant to refuel and enjoy a home-cooked meal – most motorcyclists recommend the deep-fried apple pies. Just look for the twelve metre-high walleye pike outside the restaurant, it can’t be missed. Farther north is Temagami. For over 125 years, tourists have enjoyed camping and canoeing here amidst the beautiful crystal-clear lakes and towering white and red pine trees, some of which are more than 400 years old. This region is home to one of the oldest forests in the province. Stop in town to admire the picturesque waterfront and to examine the work of local artists.
Drive another 32 kilometers to Latchford - ‘‘The Best Little Town by a Dam Site." Have a lovely picnic near the roaring Montréal River and enjoy the spectacular view. This river was indispensable in the growth of the mining and forestry industries. Just 100 metres from Highway 11 is the smallest covered bridge in the world (according to the Guinness Book of World Records).
Travel a little farther north and take Highway 11-B to Cobalt, the site of Ontario’s first silver boom, which began over 100 years ago. Recent renovations to the Cobalt Railway Station have restored this historic building to its original beauty. Inside, an interpretative centre acquaints visitors with the area’s exciting history; Cobalt produced more valuable minerals than the famous Klondike gold rush! The Cobalt Mining Museum boasts one of the world’s largest displays of silver ore as well as thousands of historical photographs. Watch a play in the restored Classic Theatre. Take a walk along the self-guided Heritage Silver Trail in town, or drive along the 17-kilometre historical loop to see the remains of the mining boom. Cobalt’s rich history is also displayed in two parks, which are landscaped with mining and milling equipment. The underground mine tour offered by the Cobalt Mining Museum is another must.
Drive another eight kilometres to Haileybury, the town in which the wealthy mine owners lived in the early 1900’s. During the summer, Art in the Park is free to the public on Wednesday evenings. Walk among the various art exhibits as musicians play. From the waterfront, you can also enjoy the superb view of Lake Temiskaming and the sailing regattas hosted by the Haileybury Sailing Club. The Redstone Automotive Miniature Gallery on West Road has more than 3,500 miniature cars on display.
Excellent accommodations in the Temiskaming Shores area include several international chain motels in New Liskeard as well as smaller motels in Haileybury. You are also welcome to stay in the Presidents’ Suites: tastefully restored historic homes that once belonged to Haileybury’s millionaires. Gillie’s Truck Stop in New Liskeard, with its unique décor, is the ideal restaurant for motorcyclists.
Before continuing around Lake Temiskaming, explore the gold mining towns of Matachewan, Kirkland Lake, and Elk Lake. Elk Lake Eco Centre, a beautiful resort area on the shores of the Montreal River, has wonderful restaurants and a fascinating ecological program. If you continue on Highway 65 to Matachewan, and then on Highway 66 to Kenogami, watch out for moose at dusk. The spiral chips at the Kenogami Bridge Inn on the edge of Lake Kenogami are another must.
Farther along Route 66 is the gold mining town of Kirkland Lake. Kirkland Lake had its heyday during the Great Depression in the late 1930s, when gold prices remained high. Today, Kirkland Lake has fewer than 10,000 residents, but large gold mining companies are still operating, and provide employment for many. Drive downtown and learn about the town’s history for yourself.
Highway 66 continues to the Québec border, where it becomes Highway 101 South. Take Highway 391 to Angliers for a beautiful panoramic view of the Lac des Quinze and visit the Gédéon Lumber Camp in the forest. This historic camp provides a glimpse into the loggers’ lives, with its interpretive panels and reconstructed buildings from the 1930’s.
Continue on Route 391 and take Highway 101 towards Ville-Marie. The road is dotted with farms and offers magnificent views of Lake Témiscamingue. Walk along Ville-Marie’s waterfront and visit the local chocolate factory, “Les Chocolats Martine”. Take a break at Chez Eugène’s patio, eat at the tasty bistros and trendy restaurants, or sample beer from the local microbrewery: beers include “La Blonde du Frère Moffet” and “Devil’s Rock”. Accommodations include campgrounds, chalets, and motels, most of which have stunning views of Lake Témiscamingue.
Leaving Ville-Marie, the National Historic Site of Fort Témiscamingue, located a few kilometres off Highway 101, is a must. Stroll along Lake Témiscamingue’s magnificent pebble beach, and you’ll find yourself imagining that a fur trapper carrying beaver pelts could appear! Make the most of your visit to Fort Témiscamingue by visiting the site’s exhibitions and watching The Voyageurs, a film that tells the story of the fort’s important contribution to Canadian history. Obadjiwan is an interactive exhibit that brings to life the fierce rivalry between the French and British in their attempts to exploit the fur trade. From the tip of Fort Témiscamingue, one can see St. Claude Mission located on the Ontario side of Lake Temiskaming.
Continue south on highway 101 to the village of Laniel, located on the shores of beautiful Lake Kipawa. A 110-metre-high wall tells the story of this small hamlet. From here, the road leads to the town of Temiscaming. Enjoy a meal in the old railway car and a dessert in the nearby creamery, all the while being serenaded by the town’s beautiful waterfall. Take some time to visit the museum in the train station and to view the priceless bronze works of art in town.
Cross the dam on the Ottawa River into Ontario, and take Highway 63 then Route 533 towards Mattawa. Although this section of the trip along the Ottawa River is beautiful, especially in the autumn when the maple trees are at their greatest splendor, the pavement is rough and the road zigzags back and forth. Since the 1600’s, when Étienne Brûlé first visited the area and Samuel de Champlain stopped here to repair his canoe, Mattawa has been a popular resting spot for travelers. This bilingual community welcomes newcomers with open arms. Twenty-two giant wood statues that grace the downtown streets depict the town’s fascinating history.
From Mattawa, it is a short ride to Route 17 and back to North Bay. By now you will definitely be planning a visit with your friends for next year!
Here is a list of venues, restaurants and accommodations that cater to motorcyclists.