The 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 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.
The 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.
On 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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