Foleyet – The Home of the White Moose

Foleyet – The Home of the White Moose

Northern Ontario Towns

foleyet-home-white-mooseFoleyet Ontario lies nearly halfway between Chapleau and Timmins on Highway 101. It is also just up the highway from Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park. Foleyet is a quaint little Northern Ontario town with less than 100 houses.

History of Foleyet

For being such a small town, Foleyet does have a very interesting history. Many stories, some true and perhaps some stretched a little bit can be found about the history of Foleyet.

The town began in the early 20th century and was originally on an island. According to legend, a huge fight broke out between the loggers and the clearers. During the melee, a large esker (strain of gravel left from moving glaciers) was blown up by dynamite filling the lake that surrounded it. The lake has never recovered and now why Foleyet is no longer an island.

As The Canadian Northern Railway was building through Northern Ontario, they came through the area where Foleyet is now located. Two local contractors were hired to assist in building the railway, the Foley Brothers and Northern Construction. Foleyet is one of the main stops on the Canadian National railway with many shift crews stationing there.

Another story was the naming of the town. The town was originally founded by the Foley Brothers, two very hardworking contracting pioneers. In honour of their achievements, the townsfolk wanted to name the town “Foley”. However, when they went to register the town they were told that “Foley” was already taken. In an act of defiance, the brother pledged that “They would name this town Foley yet!”, somehow, the term “Foley yet” stuck.

Foleyet, like many other small Northern Ontario towns, has been resilient. Through floods and fires, the little town has seen it all but always come back.

What to See in Foleyet?

foleyet-white-mooseThere isn’t much for attractions in the town but there is one thing that you have to look for. Foleyet is known to be the center of the white moose population in the Timmins area. Although, the local white moose is sometimes mistaken for the Albino strain, it really is a thing of beauty.

Back in 1998, one such white moose was struck by a train and it was forced to be put down. The head hangs in the local Northern Lights Restaurant and attracts many tourists from Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park.

The Canadian National Railway is one of the main employers in the town and many trains pass through Foleyet. The town once had two schools but is now down to one which has not seen more than 10 kids in years.

This small Northern Ontario town is a great stopping point for trains as well as the winding drive between Chapleau and Timmins. The town with a storied beginning is just one of the reasons why Northern Ontario is great.

When in town, make sure to stop in at the Northern Lights Restaurant to see the White Moose. Make sure to stop at the Foleyet general store as well. You may even want to go on an adventure through the many logging roads to see if you can spot one on your own.

Kenora – Lake of the Woods

Kenora – Lake of the Woods

Northern Ontario Towns

kenora-lake-woods-skylineThe Town of Kenora lies near the Manitoba border, just under 200 kilometres from the city of Winnipeg. This “Lake of the Woods” town is one of the last stops as you leave Northern Ontario while heading west along the TransCanada Highway.

With a population of approximately 15,100, it is Northern Ontario’s 6th most populous center and largest town.

History of Kenora

Kenora (formerly Rat Portage or Portage-aux-Rats) was an essential French trading post since its establishment in the mid 1700’s. Kenora is one of the oldest fur trading establishments in North America, following only Sault Ste Marie.

The provinces of Manitoba and Ontario each laid claim to Kenora until 1889 when it was officially declared part of Ontario.

In the mid 1800’s Gold was discovered in the area and by the early 1900’s, 20 gold mines were operating in the area. Mining continues to be an important aspect of Kenora’s economy as well as Forestry and tourism. The Lake of the Woods serves as a significant tourism lake.

It was once an integral route for alcohol smugglers during the prohibition era in the United States.

The Kenora Thistles won the 1907 Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League. Art Ross, who the NHL has a trophy named after, was a member of the team.

What do in Kenora?

Kenora-ontario-city-hallKenora is right on the shore of the Lake of the Woods. A classically beautiful city, any avid outdoorsmen will enjoy this Northern Ontario town.

In homage to the beauty of the local wilderness, there are multiple family friendly campgrounds in the area. Rushing River, Sioux Narrows, Caliper Lake and Blue Lake are all Northern Ontario Provincial parks within close proximity.

The Kenora Winter Carnival is a town wide event that attracts competitors from all over the region and Northern Minnesota. Along with Fireworks, Pancake Breakfast, Kids Fishing derby and a Farmers Market, the Winter Carnival has something for everyone.

The Kenora Harbourfest is the largest three day music festival in Northwestern Ontario. Featuring three separate nights of music, Harbourfest is an all out party. Visitors come from all over the area to participate in the sandals wearing good time. With three separately themed nights of music, there is something for every taste.

kenora-marina-lake-woodsThe Kenora Bass International is a large fishing tournament that attracts teams from all over North America. The Bass International fishing derby always happens on the second weekend of August. First prize in the tournament has reached levels of $30,000. The derby is an homage to the amazing fishing in the area.

What to See in Kenora?

The town has a significant arts culture. The buildings in the downtown core are covered in beautiful murals that depict the storied history of Kenora. The pride of the town shines through in these paintings.

husky-the-muskie-kenoraOn the north shore of the Lake of the Woods sits the town mascot, a 40 foot high muskellunge named Husky the Muskie. The muskie represents the amazing fishing opportunities around Kenora.

A can’t miss attraction, however, is the award-winning museum. Once called “one of the coolest museums in Canada” by CAA, it offers a step back in time for the visitors. Representing indigenous and fur-traders alike, the Kenora museum successfully represents the history of this great town.

Kenora is a beautiful town on the north shore of Lake of the Woods. With a tremendous history, there is something to do for families and travellers of all ages. You would never think that the town is nearly

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Wawa – A Place to Work, Live, and Play

Wawa – A Place to Work, Live, and Play

Northern Ontario Towns

The Town of Wawa lies just over 2 hours from Sault Ste Marie and just over 5 hours from Thunder Bay. Best known for the Big Goose that overlooks the TransCanada Highway, it is the quintessential Northern Ontario town.

With a population of approximately 3,500 people, there is endless opportunity for adventures in Wawa. Being minutes away from Lake Superior one way and bush trails on the other, it truly is an outdoor paradise.

History of Wawa

helen-mines-wawa-ontario
(Credit to Tom Haddow)
Wawa was found after a Gold discovery in the early 1900’s. Although, the gold didn’t pan out, hematite ore was found which is used in the steel-making process. The ore became the main source of employment for the town. The ore was sent by rail to Algoma Steel in Sault Ste Marie as part of their steel-making operations.

As Algoma Steel began going through financial difficulties, the business decision was made to close the Wawa mine site. Although the Wawa economy was hit hard, it did not take long for it to rebound. An oriented strandboard mill opened nearly 20 minutes out of town on the shores of the Michipicoten River. After undergoing a number of ownership changes, the mill was eventually sold to Rentech. Rentech with the intentions of creating a pellet mill, has since run out of money at the mill. Currently, the main employment is mining at River Gold and in nearby Dubreuilville.

What to do in Wawa?

Wawa is steps away from the outdoors. With endless trails for snowmachining, ATVing, and countless lakes nearby, there are tons of opportunities for any outdoorsmen. There is family camping near Wawa around including Lake Superior Provincial Park and Obatanga Provincial Park.

There are three major tourist events that happen in Wawa, that bring many participants in.

  1. Summer Salmon Derby
  2. The summer salmon derby brings participants from all over Northern Ontario and the Michigan upper Peninsula. With large cash prizes, the summer derby is enjoyable for everyone. As a spectator, you can watch the boats fish from the shores of Sandy Beach or as they bring in their fish at Buck’s Marina.

  3. Wawa Ice Fishing Derby
  4. The Wawa Ice Fishing Derby is one of the largest in Ontario. With up to 1,300 participants from all over Northern Ontario, the prizes are in excess of $100,000. Fishermen are able to fish on Wawa Lake, Hawk Lake as well as Manitowik Lake. There are 6 prizes per Lake and have been boats and ATV’s in the past.

  5. National Drag Race
  6. Relatively new to Wawa is the annual Drag Race. The Northern Nationals Drag Race takes place in early August and is a sanctioned NHRA event. Racers come from all over Ontario and Michigan to race in this high speed event. The Wawa drag race will be going into its 5th year in 2017.

What to see in Wawa?

The proximity to Lake Superior and Lake Superior Provincial Park gives plenty of opportunities for things to see in Wawa. With plenty of hiking trails, Lake Superior Park has sights for everyone.

A little closer to Wawa is Scenic High Falls. High Falls has a walking area that you can climb up beside the falls. It is a beautiful area with a gazebo for picnics or weddings.

Wawa-Lake-Highway-101-Ghost-Lake-HillWawa Lake is one of the largest spring-fed lakes in Northern Ontario. Although cold, it produces amazing sunrises and the Lake points almost due east. Nearly 7 kilometers long, there is road at the end of the Lake that can take you to Sir James Dunn pit and one of the best blueberry patches anywhere.

However, the main attraction is the large Wawa goose that watches over Highway 17 travellers. Multiple questions on Jeopardy have referred to the Goose and is a monument known across Canada. Although it has seen better days, money has been pledged to bring it back to its former glory. Geese sit on top of the Wawa Motor Inn and besides Young General store to pay homage to the original Goose.

Wawa is truly an outdoorsman paradise. With miles of trails, lakes and hiking, there is never a dull moment in this truly resilient little Northern Ontario town.

Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Northern Ontario Provincial Parks

Pancake-bay-provincial-parkPancake Bay Provincial Park is located approximately 75 kilometres north of Sault Ste Marie and 150 kilometres south of Wawa in Northern Ontario. Pancake Bay has one of the most beautiful and large sand beaches on all of Lake Superior.

Pancake Bay Provincial Park – The Campground

The Park is 5 minutes north of Batchewana Bay Provincial Park and Batchewana first nation. Pancake Bay boasts over 200 campsites, many with electrical hookups. The Park is spread out over five different individual campgrounds. The campgrounds names are East, East-Central, West-Central, West and Hilltop which is a radio-free campground. Nearly half of the campsites have views of the water but those sites book up fast. The park has three shower facilities, flushing toilets, a store, canoe rentals and five yurts. There are also five large group campsites located at the west end of the park with a more private beach area and very little traffic. The group sites provide families and groups together on one site for campfires and story telling.

pancake-bay-provincial-park-entrancePancake Bay Provincial Park has a very long, significant history. The park was one of the last stopping areas for the Voyageurs as they made their voyage across Lake Superior to Thunder Bay and Old Fort William. Historians called it Pancake Bay because all the Voyageurs had remaining on their voyage was flour to make Pancakes. Others claim because of the beach follows the roundness of the bay out to the two points, it makes the bay look like a Pancake. Either way, the stop was extremely important during the fur trade and many artifacts have been found in the area.

What to do at Pancake Bay Provincial Park

The beach is over three kilometres long of fine sand and Pancake Bay is protected by two points that go out into Lake Superior. There are plenty of areas on the beach where park visitors can enjoy Frisbee, football or swimming in the sand bottom lake. The Day Use Area is located right at the Gatehouse and has ample picnic tables and barbeques to enjoy.

During the Salmon run in the fall, it is normal to see fishermen up to their chest in hip waders casting out into Superior. With the Leaves changing colours in the distance, it is fishing at its finest. Although there is no boat launch at the park, the Pancake River and surrounding Lakes in the park are home to Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout and Salmon. It may take a little while to locate a good lake on the nearby logging roads, the fishing is well worth it.

The Natural Heritage Education staff at Pancake Bay Provincial Park always seem to have an event going on. From nighttime walks on the shores of Lake Superior to look at constellations to catching bugs in the little creeks that run into the Lake, there is something for every age group. The August long weekend always features a fish fry with the Batchewana Fire Department.

Pancake Bay Provincial Park is a Family Friendly Campground near Sault Ste Marie

Pancake Bay campground is very family friendly. From the superior sand beach to the playground area there are plenty of things for Children to do. The Natural Heritage Education staff usually have two events a weekend for kids. The park also features two hiking trails, one that has an Edmund Fitzgerald lookout. For those with young children, the Hilltop campground is radio free and can provide ample opportunity for napping children. At nighttime, the lights from the Wind Farm can be seen across Lake Superior in an interruption of nature but still a cool sight to behold.

A short one minute drive will bring you to Agawa Indian Crafts, a combination of stores that features handmade art and carvings. The proximity to Batchewana First Nation gives many of its inhabitants to use their hands and sale to thousands of tourists a day. One wing of one of the stores has a large moccasin collection and handmade leather goods. The ice cream stand and camper’s store give families the opportunity to have a break to enjoy a treat.

Pancake Bay Provincial Park consistently ranks on top 5 lists for Ontario Provincial Parks. A magnificent beach, plenty of well treed campsites and plenty of history make this a beautiful park that should not be missed. The only downfall is that some of the sites are located relatively close to the Trans Canada highway.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

Northern Ontario Provincial Parks

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park is located almost half way between the city of Timmins and the town of Chapleau in Northern Ontario. The Ivanhoe Lake campground is nestled on the north shore of the lake which has a tremendous history.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park was one of a number of Northern Ontario provincial parks identified by the Government of Ontario as candidates for closure. In 2014, Ivanhoe partnered with the city of Timmins to run the operations in order to keep it open. The park has since flourished as a number of other parks in the area closed.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park – The Campground

Located approximately eight kilometres (five miles) from Foleyet, the Provincial Park boosts over 100 campsites, with over half of them having electrical hookups. The Park is spread out over four different individual campgrounds, Red Pine, Le Rivage, White Birch Hall and La Baie. A majority of the park has views of the water and sites in La Baie are right on the water. The park has shower facilities, flushing toilets, a store, canoe rentals and a boat launch.

What to do at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

There are two main beaches for swimming at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park, one beach is between Red Pine and Le Rivage and the other beach is at the day use area. The beach at the Day Use Area is a marvel to be held, the distance you can walk with the water only rising slightly is phenomenal. Many park visitors enjoy playing Frisbee, football or even just sitting in the shallow water.

Within the Provincial Park, there are many small inland lakes that were formed by glaciers, thousands of years ago. These lakes, often referred to as kettle lakes, were created when the glaciers left large, deep impressions in the earth that filled with water over time. Scratches on rocks and the deposits of sand and gravel, called eskers, are evidence of the last ice age that swept Northern Ontario. Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park is home to what the park has deemed a “quaking bog”, a solid overgrowth of vegetation that has overtaken one of the kettle lakes. Although the vegetation is quite delicate, the entire bed of plants will move as it covers the surface of the water, similar to a water bed.

Fishing at Ivanhoe Lake

Ivanhoe Lake itself and some surrounding lakes are home to some of the best fishing in Northern Ontario. Abundant in walleye (pickerel), smallmouth bass, northern pike and perch there is opportunity for fishermen of all skill levels to enjoy. The side of the lake opposite the day use area, the mouth of the Ivanhoe River and the dam have always been hot beds for fishing. Although many of the lakes in the surrounding area near Foleyet have exceptional fishing as well, those lakes are just more difficult to get to. Even if you don’t have a boat, there is an opportunity to fish. The boat launch area has a relatively steep drop-off so many park goers will grab their rods and fish off the shore.

Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park has a long history in the area. Once a significant logging area, loggers used to run timber down the Ivanhoe River to the town of Nicholson where they would load on the CP Rail Train. Now a ghost town, Nicholson does provide some great stories and the Natural Heritage Education staff has done amazing lumberjack stories in the past.

One of the unique features of Ivanhoe Lake Park is the growth of wild rice. Ivanhoe used to have an annual wild food fest with wild animal meat and wild rice. Although they no longer have the food fest, the wild rice still grows in the area.

Ivanhoe Lake is a Family Friendly Campground near Timmins

Ivanhoe campground is very family friendly. Between the large day use area with playground, the large sand beaches and the sand dunes that you can jump down like a slide, there are many things to do with your children. The park also has a number of hiking trails that take you through different parts of the park including around Saw Lake and the quaking bog. The Natural Heritage Education staff also provides numerous stories about the area, campfire singalongs and activities for the children.

Lake Superior Provincial Park

Lake Superior Provincial Park

Northern Ontario Provincial Parks

Agawa-Bay-Lake-Superior-Provincial-ParkLake Superior Provincial Park stretches 83 kilometers along Highway 17 in Northern Ontario. Lake Superior Park begins approximately 20 kilometers south of Wawa at Treeby Lake and extends to the Montreal River. The south side of the park is approximately 125 kilometers north of Sault Ste Marie.

The Provincial Park runs down the Eastern shores of Lake Superior, often referred to as Gitchee Gumee, the largest fresh-water lake in the world. The Native Americans named the Lake Gitche Gumee which means ‘Big Water’. Inside the over 1,600 square kilometer park, you will find many lakes and Northern Ontario wilderness. Many rivers, waterfalls and streams run through the Park and empty into Lake Superior.

Lake Superior Provincial Park – The Campgrounds

The park once featured three separate campgrounds. Since Crescent Lake Campground is no longer in operations, the Park now features two amazing campgrounds. The two campgrounds are Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground at the North end and Agawa Bay Campground at the South End.

Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground features 60 campsites with one-third of them being electrical. The campsites are located on a small inland Lake that has it’s own beach and boat launch. Rabbit Blanket is just off Highway 17 and provides an excellent opportunity for nature seekers to be at one with the Lake Superior wilderness. The comfort station has flush toilets, showers as well as laundry facilities.

Agawa Bay Campground, many consider one of the best campgrounds on Lake Superior. Along with Pancake Bay Provincial Park, Agawa Bay is right on the Eastern coast of Lake Superior. The campground features nearly 150 campsites with 38 of them being electrical. Half of the campsites are on or right across from the water whereas the other half are through a small forest divider. You can feel the breeze from Lake Superior on every site off of Agawa Bay. There are two comfort stations on site that feature showers, flush toilets as well as laundry facilities. The Natural Heritage Education staff put on many activities for the children as well as movies at the Amphitheatre.

What to do in Lake Superior Provincial Park?

The Visitor Centre at Agawa Bay campground is a reminder of how great Gitchee Gumee is. Relatively new, the features are incredible and open up children’s mind to the Great Lakes. From a large lighthouse to skeletal displays, the Visitor centre is a must visit when you are in the park. The views overlooking Lake Superior will make you stop and just marvel at its beauty.

Lake Superior Park visitors have access to many different hiking trails and picnic areas. The eleven hiking trails in Lake Superior Park range from amateur to advanced and all points in between. The image below outlines the difficulty range, distance and location of every Hiking Trail in Lake Superior Park.

Picnic Areas in Lake Superior Provincial Park

Sand-River-Lake-Superior-Provincial-ParkThere are four main picnic areas in Lake Superior Park. All of these picnic areas are just off of Highway 17.

Beginning on the North End of the Provincial Park, Old Woman’s Bay is the first area. The Bay gets its name from the formation of the cliffs that can be seen from the Beach.
Many boating enthusiasts can see a woman’s face in the rocks, hence the name, Old Woman’s Bay.

Second is Katherine’s Cove. Katherine’s cove is a nice but smaller picnic area that has sand beaches. One of the features near Katherine’s cove is Bathtub Island. Bathtub Island is known for having pools of water that become extremely warm and can be reached from Katherine’s Cove.

Third is Sand River, this picnic area is right beside the rushing rapids of Sand River. The crashing of the water down on the rocks of the Sand River provides harmonious music while lunch is enjoyed. During the spring melt, the rapids at Sand River are a sight to be seen. Sand River rapids can be seen off of Highway 17.

The final picnic area is at the Visitor centre in Agawa Bay. After your lunch, enjoy the rocky shores of Lake Superior. The rocks are so smooth from the waves crashing on the rocks for thousands of years.