Ontario Travel Guides

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Waterway Guides

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Ontario Travel Gudies
Ottawa River Waterway

The Ottawa River Waterway offers boaters a unique cruising opportunity to experience and learn about one of Canada's most significant heritage rivers. The mighty Ottawa River, first an ancient Native people's trading path, then the waterway route that carried the earliest explorers inland, fur traders and later hardy lumbermen harvesting the timber "gold" along its shores.

The story of the Ottawa River Waterway is one of challenge, awe, excitement, spectacular beauty, pristine wilderness, romance, adversity and reward. What more could anyone want from the cruise of a lifetime?

Thanks to a group of innovative thinkers and doers, this historic waterway is again open to broad navigation and rediscovery by those with the spirit of our forefathers—a special chance awaits to explore as they did centuries ago—on the water! Boaters can travel the river that glides some 750 miles along the shores of Ontario and Quebec from its origins at the head of Lake Temiskaming in the north down to Ottawa and on to Montreal to its eventual meeting with the St. Lawrence River.

Instead of building a canal system to get around river obstacles like rapids and dams, a special network of trucks towing hydraulic adjustable trailers are employed at key points along the river to move boaters around barriers.

If boaters are trailering in on their own simply pick one of the numerous cruising regions available and plan the trip of a lifetime. Today's waterway voyageurs don't have to worry about roughing it in the bush either. Many of the Ontario and Quebec towns and villages that border the Ottawa River have over the years developed well-equipped marinas to meet the needs of local and visiting boaters.

These communities also offer visitors the opportunity to come ashore and discover all they have to offer in terms of provisions, shopping, dining, accommodations as well as museums, cultural attractions and special events. The neighbouring Quebec side of the Ottawa River also provides a great chance for visitors from "afar" to experience the flavour and warm hospitality of French Canadian culture that exists in these harbour settlements.

Temiskaming Shores

The City of Temiskaming Shores was created in 2004 when the former communities of Haileybury, New Liskeard and Dymond amalgamated.

Situated on the northwest point of Lake Temiskaming, Temiskaming Shores is the business centre of the South Temiskaming region. The community offers numerous restaurants, a variety of unique gift shops and retail stores and accommodations to suit every need. The Waterfront Marina has over 120 slips and a public boat launch site, as well as providing fuel and pumpout services. The Haileybury Marina offers an additional 175 slips also with fuel and pumpout service as well as an outdoor pavilion. There are three public boat launches within the community.

Temiskaming Shores is rich in both natural and cultural history. You will find some of the oldest fossils in North America plus French, English and First Nations culture all within a 20-mile drive. The loop tour of Lake Temiskaming is an experience never to be forgotten.

For further information visit www.temiskamingshores.ca.

Notre-Dame-du-Nord, PQ

Notre-Dame-du-Nord is another charming little town located at the nortern extremity of Lake Temiskaming. A well-marked channel will guide boaters into the municipal marina and town, where they will find all services needed for a pleasant stay. Don't miss El Rodeo, the biggest event of its kind in Eastern Canada with a festival and transport truck races. Take advantage of the lighted boardwalk along the waterfront. Visit the Thematic Fossil Centre and its exhibition that reveals the marine environment of Temiskaming over 420 million years ago.

For further information visit www.municipalite.notre-dame-du-nord.qc.ca

Ville-Marie, PQ

Halfway up Lake Temiskaming, boaters will find that the town of Ville-Marie offers an excellent home base for those interested in exploring the lake. Ville-Marie has maintained its original 19th century look and offers many, cultural activities for visitors. Here you'll find unique restaurants, boutiques and entertainment, all in a francophone environment. Be sure to visit the Maison du frère Moffet, the oldest standing home in the region.

The annual Foire Gourmande de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue and of North Eastern Ontario is a culinary event showcasing the best food and beverages the region has to offer. At the south of the town, Fort-Témiscamingue-Obadjiwan, a National Historic Site of Canada commemorates the role played by this fur trading post. The full-service municipal marina is located within easy walking distance of downtown.

For further information visit www.ville-marie.ca.

Témiscaming, PQ

Established in 1920, Témiscaming was built according to the garden town concept and has the advantage of a very wealthy natural environment. A guided tour will reveal its numerous attractions: from belvederes, breathe in the beauty of the landscapes and then learn about the history of the Italian artwork imported there; visit the Sainte-Thérèse church and its famous statues, and also the Canadian Pacific Railroad museum, recently declared a historic monument. Finally roam the streets and discover the Anglo-Saxon architecture and also the company houses. For a hike or bicycle ride, explore the linear path. It will guide you to a bridge that offers a breathtaking view of the falls on Gordon Stream. You may also take advantage of the various services offered by the new Témiscaming cultural and recreation centre. The Lake Témiscamingue and Ottawa River Waterway is accessible thanks to the hydraulic tows that can transport your boat past the dams with the help of well-trained staff.

For further information visit www.temiscaming.net.


This picturesque bilingual town is nestled in the protective Laurentian Mountains at the junction of the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers; hence the name Matta (meeting) wa (waters) in Ojibway.

The town boasts a rich and colorful history stretching back to the early days of European exploration when this was an important meeting place and hunting ground for the local Algonquin tribes that inhabited the area. Again because of its location, Mattawa was a popular rendezvous for voyageurs and missionaries traveling west. Mattawa was also the meeting point of two important canoe routes, one of which followed the Mattawa River to Lake Nipissing and westward, the other continuing north along the Ottawa River to Lake Temiskaming and Hudson's Bay.

There are three marinas including the Mattawa Waterfront Marina located at historic Explorer's Point. Two docking slips provide easy access to the downtown shopping area as well as fuel, washrooms, showers, launching ramps and pumpout station. The Otto Holden Hydroelectric Generating Station located 10 km north of Mattawa on the Ottawa River is bypassed by one of three lift systems, turning what was once an obstruction into a major point of interest. One of Mattawa's main summer events, Voyageur Days takes place July 26-29 at Explorers Point.

For further information visit www.voyageurdays.com.


At the confluence of the Petawawa and Ottawa Rivers, lies the town of Petawawa. Petawawa is a recreational haven with pristine beaches for swimming and picnicking, eight different trail systems some offering paved paths for bicycling, rollerblading and jogging, whitewater for rafting and serene waters for world-class sport fishing, kayaking and canoeing, Petawawa is also the gateway to spectacular Algonquin Park. This wild and rugged park boasts 7,725 square kn of forests, lakes and rivers.

Canadian Forces Base Petawawa is one of Canada's largest military bases and the marine facilities are found here at the Jubilee Lodge Marina. The lodge, located on the shores of the Ottawa River offers many amenities including a bait and tackle shop.

For further information visit www.petawawa.ca.


Pembroke is located on the shores of the Ottawa River in the heart of the Ottawa Valley. This friendly city has a wide variety of restaurants, shops, services and activities. Visit the Champlain Trail Museum and the Hydro Electric Museum or stroll through historic downtown Pembroke where you will see many large scale murals depicting the changing lifestyles and landscapes of the area. Riverside Park on the walking trail has mini-golf, horseshoe pits, playground, picnic area, washrooms, snack bar and information centre. During July and August, nightly concerts are held at The River Walk Amphitheatre and in September the Fiddling and Step Dancing Competitions come to town. Outfitters nearby offer white water rafting and kayaking on the spectacular Ottawa River.

The Pembroke Marina provides docking for up to 100 vessels as well as a double launching ramp, fuel and pumpout station, marine repair, charts and 24-hour service.

For further information visit www.pembroke.ca.


Much of the Ottawa River’s history is built around the exciting years of the waterway’s logging and timber industry that opened up this part of early Upper Canada. For close to 150 years the hearty hewers of wood would venture out and fell millions of lofty white pine destined for export markets in Britain and Europe. Every Spring monster-sized timber rafts would be floated hundreds of miles down river to Montreal and Quebec City for shipment overseas.

Arnprior, located where the Ottawa and Madawaska rivers meet, owes its beginnings to the logging era and is proud of its timber heritage. Today, this waterfront community is blessed with well-preserved and expansive waterfront park areas where visitors and residents can wander and gain a feeling for the mighty Ottawa and the forests that once graced its shores. The town’s municipal marina offers 84 slips for both transient and seasonalboater accommodation.

The town of Arnprior offers many restaurants, accommodations, souvenir shops along with walking trails, great fishing opportunities, super swimming and a beautiful picnic area complete with splash pad, playground and breathtaking scenery at Robert Simpson Park; all this is within walking distance of the marina.

While in Arnprior attend the free Sunday concerts in the park, throughout July and August. And don’t miss the White Pine Festival that takes place the last weekend of August.Along with a boat launch, Arnprior Marina also offers a fuel service and pump-out facilities.

For further information visit www.arnprior.ca.


The United Counties of Prescott and Russell are comprised of eight municipalities located on the south shore of the Ottawa River, less than an hour from Ottawa and Montreal and one hour from the US border. Its settlement dates back to the mid-1700’s when colonization of the area known today as the Village of L’Orignal first began. The population here is 70 percent French speaking.

The township of Alfred-Plantagenet contains the villages of Curran, Alfred and Plantagenet and also Lefaivre, Treadwell and Wendover, which are located on the Ottawa River and have marinas.

The village of Casselman has a park on the South Nation River that features a picnic area and water access ramp.

While in the Township of Champlain visit the village of Vankleek Hill, the “Gingerbread capital of OntarioEand admire the murals painted by local artists. In L’Orignal, you will find the marina and municipal park and campground well equipped for recreational activities. Take a walk through the small town and admire the beautifully restored historic buildings.

City of Clarence-Rockland, a rural community, offers all the advantages and conveniences of a city, with a small town feeling. The launch ramp here gives you access to many scenic views on the Ottawa River.

The Town of Hawkesbury is located on the Ottawa River and with the Long Sault Bridge crossing the river it is the gateway between Ontario and Quebec. The full-service Golden Anchor Marina is situated here. Hawkesbury offers good shopping, many boutiques, numerous restaurants and even a golf course right in the heart of the city. The Info Tourist Centre is located at the Maison de I’lle, where you will find restrooms.

Located on the Ontario and Quebec border, East Hawkesbury Township and its villages of Chute-a-Blondeau, St-Eugene and Ste-Anne-de-Prescott are centres for tourism and agriculture. The Voyageur Provincial Park is on the shore of the river at the Carillon Dam. Limoges, Forest Park, StAlbert, St-Bernardin, Ste-Rose, Fournier, Riceville and Pendleton are the small agricultural communities that make up the Municipality of The Nation.

The Township of Russell is comprised of the four communities of Russell, Embrun, Marionville and Limoges. Here, you can see many examples of 19th century architecture. Prescott-Russell’s wide open spaces and the rich green farmland provide for many outdoor activities: farm tours, fairs, concerts and festivals, antique and art shows, horseback riding, golf, hiking and the waters of the Ottawa and South Nation Rivers are perfect for watersport enthusiasts.

There is plenty to see and do in the city, towns and villages of Prescott-Russell. Visit theatres and cultural centres, browse in antique and craft shops or dine in unique restaurants.