The Lake Temiskaming Tour by Bus
The Lake Temiskaming Tour is an ideal destination for tour companies that would like to organize two- or three-day excursions. The starting point can be anywhere along the tour on either side of the Lake. The history of the areas along this route and the particular beauty of the landscape are major attractions for tourists.
This city offers several points of interest. First, a stop at the Canadian Forces Aerospace Museum is a must. In the 1950s and 60s, during the Cold War, North Bay played a significant role in the security of North America, as it was the location of an underground base for NORAD; the museum highlights the importance of this unique role.
North Bay is also world renowned for the largest fur auction in North America. The Fur Harvesters receives thousands of furs from trappers across North America, and hosts several auctions every year where manufacturers from all around the world to buy their furs. A visit to the auction house is available upon reservation.
A hike on the shores of Lake Nipissing is an essential activity if you’re visiting the city. Attractions include the breathtaking views of the lake and the carousel and miniature train. From there, a tunnel provides easy access to downtown North Bay. There are more than 125 shops and boutiques, so visitors can indulge in many hours of shopping. There are about a dozen restaurants downtown from which to choose. Also, a luxurious cruise on the Chief Commanda II is a great activity for larger groups. Passengers enjoy the opportunity to discover the vast Lake Nipissing, and especially to admire the dramatic colours in the fall.
TemagamiWhile driving north on Highway 11, a stop in Temagami is highly recommended. A daunting fire tower, 1300 feet above sea level and at the top of Caribou Mountain, is located a short drive from downtown. The site is very well laid out and easily accessible by bus. Visitors who are unable to climb the 100-foot tower can still enjoy the panoramic view of the forest right from the observation deck. A network of eight trails is available for those who would like to explore this ancient forest, which is one of the oldest white pine forests in North America.
As you continue your trip north, the next stop on the tour is Cobalt, the cradle of the mining industry in Canada. A local entrepreneur has recently restored the old railway station’s beauty and style, so it now looks as it did in 1910. The owner will be operating a cafe and a gift shop, as well as providing access to the bilingual interpretation centre that highlights Cobalt’s silver rush. A bilingual, ten-minute documentary is also available for visitors to learn more about Cobalt’s fascinating history.
Despite its population of only 1500 residents, Cobalt has an interesting cultural community and tourism industry; it boasts a theatre, three museums and several small art galleries showcasing renowned artists.
The mining museum offers an underground tour of a closed mine. A marked trail leading to the remains of the different mining facilities of the 1920s and 1930s is worth exploring.
In Haileybury, the “Pioneer Spirit” sculpture, which commemorates the Great Fire of 1922, is located in the Harbourplace park along the lake. This sculpture was created by Ernie Fauvelle, a local artist, who was inspired by the stories of the survivors who took refuge from the fire in the cold waters of Lake Temiskaming. A visit to the Haileybury Heritage Museum allows you to learn more about this great tragedy and how it affected the entire region. By booking through Airbnb, you can take part in a guided tour of The Great Fire of Haileybury. If you continue north along Lakeshore Road, you will see the historic homes of the Millionaires of the Silver Rush, which were thankfully spared during the fire.
New Liskeard has several options for visitors who want to stop for the night; accommodations for large groups are also available. If you have extra time, stop along the New Liskeard waterfront to admire the inland sea and see some of the attractions along its two-kilometre-long wooden boardwalk.
En route towards Québec, on Highway 65, you will see the top of Lake Temiskaming in Notre-Dame-du-Nord. Here, your group can enjoy a free 90-minute tour of the “Centrale hydroélectrique de la Première Chute” to learn about this unique concept that has been used as a model for complex hydro projects in James Bay.
Témiscamingue is located in a claybelt region, and the microclimate along the lake favours agriculture. Therefore, all along the route, many local farmers offer their delectable products as well as guided tours of their facilities.
One of these culinary stops is l’Eden Rouge in St. Bruno-de-Guigues. The guided tour will show you the production of tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce in a greenhouse. At the end of the visit, you’ll be offered a small taste of their produce. You can also enjoy some of their specialities in their restaurant, which can easily accommodate larger groups.
Another recommended stop is in Ville-Marie, winner of the 2012 La Press newspaper contest for the Most Beautiful Town in Québec. Discover the downtown area’s boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and the local historic site of “La Maison du Frère Moffet.” A stop at the “Les Chocolats Martine” chocolate factory will please any lover of chocolate or of gourmet foods. With reservations made in advance, it’s also possible to visit the factory, located on the main floor.
Driving towards the Town of Temiscaming, we suggest a stop at the Fort Témiscamingue National Historic site to better understand the history of fur trade in the region. This site is situated on a peninsula stretching into Lake Temiskaming, which provides a breathtaking view of many facets of this marvellous lake. Don’t miss the enchanted forest, where large cedars were curved and shaped by the wind.
Close to the Fort, visitors have the option to climb the stairs or take a short ride by bus to reach La Bannik restaurant, featuring amazing views of Lake Temiskaming from the patio or the main restaurant.
An hour south on Highway 101 brings you to the Town of Temiscaming, a member of the Villages-relais network, which offers a variety of tourist attractions including cultural and heritage-related activities. The Railway Station Museum presents the story of the pulp and paper mill as well as the history of the railway industry and the Town of Temiscaming itself. Two bronze sculptures given by the Manager of the mill in the 1930s are important points of interest in this tour. Another stop can be made just a few steps from the Ontario border at the Wolf Lake First Nations information centre, featuring a gift store with aboriginal art and crafts.
By following Highway 63 and Highway 533, along the Ottawa River, you arrive in Mattawa. Just at the mouth of the Mattawa and Ottawa rivers, you will find plenty of parking at the Mattawa Museum. Here, you can discover the fascinating history of travelers and explorers who stopped at this point before continuing their journey north or west. A short walk to downtown Mattawa will lead you to large wooden sculptures that highlight the great adventurers who passed through this city.
In the Mattawa region, several arts and crafts galleries are worth a visit. The first is the Gallery of Clermont Duval, a passionate and imaginative wildlife painter. Maxwell Pottery, located towards North Bay, produces handmade stoneware designs which are transformed from clay and have become a very important business in Northern Ontario. Michael Waram Furniture Design has been a manufacturer of wooden furniture for 30 years and enjoys sharing his knowledge with visitors.
Here are businesses that cater to the group market.