Sault Ste. Marie

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Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie is forever linked to its river, “Bawating” or “place of the rapids”, named by The Ojibwe people. Even French colonists, when they arrived in the 17th century, called the area “Saults de Sainte-Marie”, translated to “St. Mary’s Falls”, again after the spectacular rushing waters. Much of your cultural experience in town can take place along its banks, with galleries, museums and street art rolling along the river. And beyond the city’s limits, with the river situated as a natural highway into the Great Lakes and the ‘further north’, it’s no surprise that the Soo and its river have thrived together.



Day One

STROLL THE SCULPTURE PARK & ART GALLERY OF ALGOMA – 10:00 AM

Founded in 1975, the Art Gallery of Algoma has studios, a cafe, and four exhibition spaces. Their collection of nearly 5000 works has a rigorous Indigenous art collection, including work from John Laford and Norval Morrisseau. The gallery also has a large selection from the Group of Seven and Dr. Roberta Bondar. For anyone looking to brush up on their creative skills, the gallery holds various classes and creative workshops throughout the year, including Woodland Style paint classes.

Conveniently located right next door to the Art Gallery of Algoma, the Elsie Savoie Sculpture Park is home to a number of important and eclectic works. Spot an arch composed of leaping dolphins or a totem pole fashioned out of used car parts. And feel the sense of community while you stroll, even in its namesake: the park was named after a devoted volunteer and early supporter of the Art Gallery of Algoma.

Feeling hungry after your gallery visit? Walk over to nearby Queen Street to take in all the fine culinary fare on offer. We hear that Tandoori Garden has the best curry in town!

SAULT STE. MARIE MUSEUM — 1:30 PM

TAKE IN THE HISTORY OF THE SOO

After your lunch break, head over to the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, which is located in an old Edwardian post office. The museum chronicles the history of the Soo, from when the ancestors of the Ojibwe people first walked along its shores, through to French and British colonization, and into the present day.

The museum’s three floors are full of galleries, displays, and vignettes, including the Walter Wallace Military Gallery, the Sports Hall of Fame, and the Discover Gallery where kids can get hands on.

Photo Credit: Sault Ste. Marie Museum Website.

THE ERMATINGER CLERGUE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE & OLD STONE HOUSE — 3:00 PM

A slice of 19th century life awaits you at this National Historic Site. Here you’ll find some of the oldest stone buildings in Ontario, which were built for notable fur trader Charles Oakes Ermatinger, and later housed the American industrialist Francis Hector Clergue. Both Ermantinger and Clergue were instrumental in building up industry and infrastructure in the area, allowing the Soo to grow into the commercial hub that it is today.

Stroll through the historic chambers of the Old Stone House and the Blockhouse, or wander its gardens, where period-specific produce and flowers are grown. You can visit the nearby Heritage Discovery Centre to take an interactive tour of 19th century Sault Ste. Marie.

SOAR AT THE BUSHPLANE CENTRE — 3:00 PM

Your final of three options for an afternoon museum will have you find your wings! In Ontario’s northern reaches, the bush plane is vital, enabling shipping and transportation across vast distances.

At this museum, take in dozens of bush planes from across decades. Relax in the theatre and learn about battling forest fires in Ontario, from the air and on the ground, or hop in the Flight Adventure Simulator and experience the unique aerial views of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma.

Photo Credit: City of Sault Ste. Marie.

TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE — 5:00 PM

WIND DOWN WITH A TRIP ALONG THE HUB TRAIL

Sault Ste. Marie is a city with a view, so put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes or grab a bike, and head down the Hub Trail. The trail circumvents the entire city, including a wonderful portion running along the waterfront. It’s a great way to see the river and its American sister city of the same name, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, across the water. If you’re keen to take a more casual route, the boardwalk also offers a fantastic view and includes a few spots to stop and look at the river.

Either way, you’ll eventually find your way to the Canal National Historic Site, where you can watch ships cruise by or learn about the history of the locks.

Just across the canal is White Fish Island, a popular spot for a leisurely stroll or a beautiful sunset walk.  Here, you can take a self-guided, 2-hour tour to learn about Indigenous heritage and culture. This has always been a place of importance for the Ojibway: Elders from Batchawana share that when the Creator told the crane to choose a homeland, he flew in search of it and settled in Bawating. Currently a gathering place for the Three Fires Confederacy between the Ojibway, Potawatomi, and Odawa Peoples. While you’re there, look out for the interpretive signs to learn more of this history!

This walking tour will have you work up an appetite right before dinner – for a late evening bite choose between Chinese, Italian, Thai, and Middle Eastern.

Photo Credit: Sault Ste. Marie Tourism Website saultstemarie.ca

Day Two

AN ADVENTURE OUT OF THE CITY — 10:00 AM

PADDLE, PAINT, AND TREK WITH THRIVE TOURS

Connect to nature on a guided adventure by either canoe, kayak, hiking, or snowshoeing. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, Thrive Tours is has an option for anyone looking to enjoy nature or learn to kayak. Their outings range from a half-day, 2-hour excursion to a full 6-hour trek. We recommend the tours featuring Indigenous ecology philosophies as well as the Woodland Style paint-and-paddle workshop. Inquire online ahead of time, as pre-registration is required.

For a quick bite on your way back into town, choose Chummy’s Grill. Home of an “All Day Breakfast” and renowned burgers and home cut fries. Don’t miss their ‘R Smokin Store’ drive-thru, which is open 7 a.m. to midnight, 365 days a year.

THE OLD CHAPEL AND THE SHINGWAUK CENTRE — 2:00 PM

EXPLORE IN THE EAST

Take in the farther out city spots in the east end. Head to the Bishop Fauqier Memorial Chapel and the neighboring Shingwauk Centre. The Gothic- and Tudor-style chapel (constructed between 1881 and 1883) is named after the first Anglican Bishop of Algoma, and was built to service the Shingwauk Residential School, which ran until 1970.

The University of Algoma took over the site of the residential school and over time has worked to research, document and share the history of the residential school program. You can go for a tour at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre or visit the archives to learn more about the lives of survivors.

Photo Credit: City of Sault Ste. Marie

THE SOO'S HISTORIC NEIGHBOURHOODS — 4:00 PM

Still in the east, you’ll find a handful of blocks that contain some of Sault Ste. Marie’s most charming homes, storefronts and hotels. Wander the streets and you’ll see lovingly- restored examples of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture.

For the final stop on your journey, it’s time to turn your gaze to natural delights. Bellevue Park has an abundance of flora and fauna to explore, as well as a greenhouse full of decorative blooms.  If you want to get a little closer to the water, walk across the small land bridge to Topsail Island and check out its miniature beach. This is the perfect place for a final sunset to end your trip to the Soo.

HAVE TIME FOR A DETOUR?

Looking to explore a little further afield? Sault Ste. Marie is a major hub for outdoor exploration, and with a twin sister city across the river, there’s plenty to do if you’re looking to extend your northern adventure.

 

AGAWA CANYON & PICTOGRAPHS

Located to the far north of Sault Ste. Marie, these ancient trails house some of the oldest Indigenous art in the country: the famed Pictographs of Agawa.


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE


NEED A MAP?

This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.

All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Li Robbins.


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.


Manitoulin Island

© Photographer: Peter Baumgarten

Français

Manitoulin Island

Welcome to the largest freshwater lake island on the planet. Odawa Mnis (a.k.a. Manitoulin Island) is known for the natural beauty found in its winding trails, views of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay and over one hundred inland lakes. As home to six First Nation communities, including the famously unceded Wiikwemkoong, as well as nearby Whitefish River and Sagamok First Nations, the Island is imbued with Indigenous history and culture.

July 15, 2022



Day One

WIIKWEMKOONG — 10:00 AM

A PROUD HERITAGE

Wiky, as it’s known locally, is unique in being unceded Indigenous territory, meaning the rights to the land were never signed away to any nation. Guided tours are one way of learning about this proud heritage, with a range of tour possibilities depending on the day. Paddle through fishing islands along Lake Huron and gaze upon the La Chloche Mountain range on the “Bay of the Beaver Canoe” tour. “The Unceded Journey” tour takes you to historic sites to gain an understanding of the seminal 1836 and 1862 treaties, and to learn local lore and legend. Wikwemikong Tourism is your port of call to find out more and to book tours. Speaking of booking tours, you may also want to look into the possibility of a viewing at the Mishibinijima Private Art Gallery where you’ll see the stunning work of artist James Mishibinijima.

Bay of the Beaver Canoe Tour. Photo courtesy of Wiikwemkoong Tourism.

BEBAMIKAWE MEMORIAL TRAIL - 1:00 PM

EXPLORING THE TRAIL

As a visitor to Wiky you’re invited to learn more about traditions of the Anishinaabek people of the Three Fires Confederacy: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi. One way to do this is through events (notably the Annual Cultural Festival, one of the largest Pow Wows in north-eastern North America). You can also take time to walk some of the professionally built 12 kilometres of trails collectively known as the Bebamikawe Memorial Trail. Scenic lookout points provide information about Anishinaabek history and beautiful views of the North Channel and Georgian Bay. Fitness fans can lace up for the one-and-a-half kilometre (bicycle-friendly) training trail, and birders should definitely bring the binos.

Speaking of varied passions, en route to Little Current you’ll find the Rainbow Ridge Golf Course, one of many primarily Indigenous-owned businesses on the Island, located outside of the village of Manitowaning. Manitowaning is also home to critically acclaimed Debajehmujig Theatre Group, part of Debajehmujig Storytellers, a multi-disciplinary arts organization dedicated to the revitalization of the Anishnaabek culture, language and heritage. The site is open all day, and offers a gallery in addition to their theatre shows. Among their ground breaking work is 2022’s conclusion of an international trilogy that began in Mexico and Ireland — make sure to check the Debajehmujig website for any upcoming performances.

Wood Sculptures on the Bebamikawe Memorial Trail. Photo credit Peter Baumgarten, Creative Island Photography.

LITTLE CURRENT - 5:00 PM

BOATS, BBQ AND BREWS
A twenty-five minute drive brings you from Manitowaning to Little Current, the island’s four-season access point via the famous swing bridge. It’s also the Island’s largest town, so yes, an excellent spot for dinner. Popular spots include Manitoulin Brewing Company and Brewgers food truck, Elliott’s (classic Canadian cuisine) and The Anchor Inn Hotel (known for its whitefish). Three Cows and A Cone is fun option for pizza and (no surprise) ice cream. An after-dinner boardwalk stroll lets you peek at boats from all over the Great Lakes, as well as some from farther afield — makes sense, given that Georgian Bay’s north channel is considered some of the best freshwater boating anywhere. For live music visit Little Current in August to hit up the annual rock and country music festivals.

Manitoulin Brewing Company. Photo credit Peter Baumgarten, Creative Island Photography.

Day Two

CUP AND SAUCER TRAIL — 9:00 AM

CUP, SAUCER AND A HIKE – MICHIGIWADINONG

One of the Island’s best known attractions is The Cup and Saucer/Michigiwadinong trail, about a twenty minute drive west of Little Current on the Manitoulin extension of the Niagara Escarpment. Michigiwadinong means “bluff in the shape of a spearhead,” a reference to it being the place where famous trickster Nanabush lay down his spearpoints while fleeing Iroquois warriors (warriors he’d tormented for generations). The legend and the surrounding area’s history makes it an iconic spot. It’s also a hiker’s delight, with twelve kilometres of trails creating multiple options from fifteen minutes to four hours. There are good reasons it’s one of Ontario’s most popular hikes — magnificent 70 meter cliffs, wonderful views of the Island’s lakes and fields, and closeups of escarpment rock.

The Cup and Saucer/Michigiwadinong Trail. Photo credit Peter Baumgarten, Creative Island Photography.

M’CHIGEENG — 11:30 AM

HISTORY AND HERITAGE CRAFTS

You’ll find the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation in M’Chigeeng, with its museum, art gallery, gift shop and amphitheatre. Learn about Anishinaabe spiritual knowledge, history and cultural practices at the museum, and enjoy beautiful heritage crafts including porcupine quill boxes, ash and sweetgrass baskets, and antler carvings. Crafters and artists may also enjoy this area as it is home to Lillian’s Crafts (offering items made from local materials and artwork by Indigenous artists), as well as the original source for the much lauded Beam Paints (pigments harvested from the LaCloche mountain range).

Next, lunch. Maggie’s Café offers home cooking (literally — Maggie’s recipes are passed down from “Great Grandma Agnes Roy, Maggie Roy and Betsy Debassige”). Another option, Maja’s Garden Bistro, is a short jog south of town and is known for local food and organic baking. Film buff alert: the Weengushk Film Institute (an artist-focused film and TV training centre) is based in M’Chigeeng, and collaborates with the Weengushk International Film Festival to showcase work by Indigenous and diverse filmmakers.

Ojibwe Cultural Foundation. Photo credit Peter Baumgarten, Creative Island Photography.

KAGAWONG — 1:30 PM

“ONTARIO’S PRETTIEST VILLAGE”

Kagawong, located midway between between M’Chigeeng and Gore Bay, has been called Ontario’s prettiest village and no question it’s a picturesque waterfront town. That handsome limestone building you’ll spot is the Old Mill Heritage Centre, a former pulp mill turned art gallery and museum. Learn about the Island’s agricultural, military and shipping/fishing history, as well the tragic tale of Daniel Dodge, a scion of the automotive family of the same name. Kagawong is also home to Odemin Gallery, specializing in carving using wood, stone and bone found on the Island. Odemin is also a source for tours of the Cup and Saucer trail and the area’s most famous attraction, Bridal Veil Falls, a hidden gem of a waterfall. Swimmers come prepared. On a warm day you may want to traipse down the staircase and enjoy a dip below the falls.

Old Mill Heritage Centre. Photo credit Peter Baumgarten

PROVIDENCE BAY — 5:00 PM

SPECTACULAR SAND AND SUNSETS

Providence Bay is known for its spectacular sand beach — and equally spectacular sunsets. Originally called Bebekodawangog, meaning “where the beach curves around the water,” the story goes that it was settler survivors of a shipwreck who first referred to it as Providence. Shallow water makes it a family swimming destination, and it’s a draw for lake trout and salmon fishing. Gaze at Lake Huron from what’s arguably the best beach in Northern Ontario, or stroll the boardwalk, possibly with a cone in hand from Huron Island Time. For something more substantial there’s Lake Huron Fish and Chips — whitefish as always an Island delicacy. And the Mutchmor and Providence Peace Café is where you’ll find local artwork and fresh baked goods. If you’d like to get your bearings on the history and ecology of the bay, take time to visit the Discovery Centre. After all, visiting the Island is nothing if not about discovering what makes it such an intriguing destination.

Providence Bay. Photo credit Peter Baumgarten, Creative Island Photography.

Ontario Culture Days thanks Indigenous Tourism Ontario for their support and contributions to developing this itinerary


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE


NEED A MAP?

This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.

All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Li Robbins.


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.


Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay

Stunning landscape meets unique history in Thunder Bay. On the shores of Lake Superior, the city is an amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur and boasts the largest Finnish population per capita outside of Finland. Clues to the earliest inhabitants — stone tools, spear points — point to a 10,000-year history. On the traditional territory of the Anishinabek, the nearby Fort William First Nation is a hub for Northwestern Ontario Indigenous communities.

May 25, 2022



Day One

PRINCE ARTHUR’S LANDING — 10:00 AM

WALK THE WATERFRONT

Prince Arthur’s Landing is an excellent vantage point to experience this port city. Public walking paths and art displays make it a lovely spot to stroll and reflect. Visit the striking Spirit Garden, inspired in part by the vision of highly influential Anishinaabe painter Roy Thomas, incorporating Indigenous art and building techniques. The design raises the profile of Indigenous knowledge while restoring the waterfront with native vegetation. (Note: the Waterfront District is also home to the Ahnisnabae Art Gallery, founded by Roy Thomas’ widow, as well as the Wake The Giant Music Festival, celebrating inclusivity and Indigenous culture.) If your glimpse of the lake leaves you wanting more, consider booking a sail boat tour — you’ll find the craft of your choice with Sail Superior at Pier 3. Want to stay shoreward? The Alexander Henry is a museum of transportation — on a ship! Visit Goods and Co and other artisans and boutique retailers, or grab a bite in the Waterfront District.

Prince Arthur's Landing is a budding cultural hub with a great view. Photo credit: City of Thunder Bay.

BAY & ALGOMA - 12:00 PM

The pedestrian-friendly Bay & Algoma neighbourhood hints at Thunder Bay’s considerable Finnish and Scandinavian history with specialty shops like Finnport and The Kitchen Nook & The Finnish Bookstore. As you wander keep an eye out for other choice stops too, for instance, artist-owned-and-operated Fireweed and indie bookseller Entershine Bookshop. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to refreshment possibilities: Madhouse, Bean Fiend, Rebel Salad, Nook, The Bridge Kitchen…you may just have to return to Bay & Algoma for dinner!

THUNDER BAY ART GALLERY - 3:00 PM

INSPIRING INDIGENOUS ART

A ten-minute drive brings you to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Specializing in art by contemporary Indigenous artists, the permanent collection of over 1,600 works aims to preserve the artistic expression and history of Northern Ontario notably Mary Ann Barkhouse, Christi Belcourt and Robert Houle. Art displayed in the gallery’s three exhibition spaces is only part of what makes the gallery tick: it’s also known for its workshops, artist talks and art camps.

Piitwewetam: Making is Medicine 2021. Installation image, Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Shannon Gustafson, Ryan Gustafson, Jade Gustafson, Justine Gustafson. Curated by Leanna and Jean Marshall. Photographer: Meaghan Eley

MAGNUS THEATRE — 7:30 PM

NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO’S ONLY PROFESSIONAL THEATRE

For fifty years the Magnus Theatre has been putting on artfully crafted productions that reflect the company’s vision of being a leader of “innovative and relevant” live theatre and arts education. Intimate, with 250 seats, and historic — the theatre is located in the Port Arthur Central Schoolhouse in Waverly Park — Magnus Theatre is where you can enjoy everything from musicals to ground-breaking contemporary drama, all presented by the only professional theatre company between Winnipeg and Sudbury.

Day Two

THUNDER BAY MUSEUM — 11:00 AM

FROM ONE FORT WILLIAM…

Start the day downtown in the Fort William Business District. (Those needing caffeine may wish to make a stop at Upshot Coffee House, with locally roasted coffee and artisanal pastries.) The south side core was home to the former city of Fort William and is where you’ll find the eye-catching Thunder Bay City Hall, plus the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre.

Head to the Thunder Bay Museum, housed in a former police station and courthouse. It’s a good place to explore some of the region’s history through Indigenous artifacts (including intricate Ojibway and Cree beadwork) as well as fur trade relics. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Thunder Bay’s industries through the ages, from silver mining to pulp and paper. All that and music too, with a gallery that chronicles Thunder Bay’s musical history from 1870s brass bands to 1970s rock bands.

FORT WILLIAM HISTORICAL PARK — 1:00 PM

… TO ANOTHER

A twenty-minute drive takes you from the Fort William district to Fort William Historical Park, a reconstruction of the 1816 fur trade post. It’s one of the largest living history attractions in North America, where period-costumed actors guide your way. Located on 250 acres, with over fifty heritage buildings (as well as a modern visitors’ centre), you’ll get a close up view of fur trade life via culture, crafts, farming, medicine and more. The Anishinaabe encampment (eye-witness accounts from the 1800s note an Indigenous camp east of the fort) and the Voyageurs encampment will give you a sense of the complicated intersection of Metis, Scottish, French Canadian and Ojibwa lives in the region. (Science sidebar: the state-of-the-art David Thompson Astronomical Observatory, located in the park, has one of the largest telescopes in central Canada.)

Photo courtesy of Destination Ontario

ANEMKI WAJIW/MOUNT MCKAY — 3:30 PM

VISIT THUNDER MOUNTAIN

Located on Fort William First Nation, a twelve-minute drive from Fort William Historical Park, lies Anemki Wajiw (Thunder Mountain), also known as Mount McKay and a site of spiritual significance for Indigenous peoples. As the tallest point in the Nor’Wester mountains, a group of peaks south of the city, the views are magnificent — from the lookout, you can see the city’s south side, Lake Superior, and also Nanabijou (the Sleeping Giant), a series of mesas with a rich history of Indigenous legends associated with their formation. (And yes, you guessed it, it looks like a sleeping giant!) For centuries a place for traditional Indigenous ceremonies, today it’s home to Fort William First Nation pow wows.

Fort Williams First Nations Reserve, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Photo courtesy of Destination Ontario

ECLECTIC RESTAURANTS — 6:00 PM

EXPLORE THUNDER BAY’S DINING DELIGHTS

We would be remiss not to note Thunder Bay’s burgeoning and increasingly eclectic restaurant scene. To name just a few hot spots, there’s Caribou Restaurant + Winebar’s “North American modern,” Tomlin’s seasonal share plates, Bight’s Canadian fare (with a lakefront setting), Kangas Sauna, specializing in Finnish pancakes (and sauna rentals), Red Lion Smokehouse (think: pulled pork) and The Growing Season Juice Collective (cheery and health-conscious).

THUNDER BAY COMMUNITY AUDITORIUM — 8:00 PM

HEAD TO PAUL SHAFFER DRIVE FOR A SHOW

Superior acoustics and a warm, intimate environment make the TBCA a fine concert hall, home to the Thunder Bay Symphony orchestra with its full season of masterworks and pops programs. It’s also the place to catch comedy, dance, pop and rock, and you’ll find all of that on Paul Shaffer Drive, named in honour of Thunder Bay’s own Paul Shaffer of The Late Show With David Letterman fame.


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE

This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.
All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Li Robbins.


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.


Cobalt and Temiskaming Shores

Photo by Sue Nielsen

Français

Cobalt and Temiskaming Shores

Rocky Canadian shield, vast lakes, majestic forests — welcome to Ontario’s north. Indigenous peoples have inhabited these lands for centuries and Lake Temiskaming, at the headwaters of the Ottawa River, makes it an historic region for transportation and trade. Then there’s the extraordinary history of Cobalt’s silver rush in 1903, resulting in headlines around the world. No wonder the region provided inspiration for artists like the Group of Seven.

February 28, 2022



Day One

COBALT SILVER HERITAGE TRAIL — 10:00 AM

THE SILVER BOOM THAT SURPRISED THE WORLD

The stampede for glittering silver turned Cobalt into the fourth-largest silver producer in history, with Willet G. Miller, Ontario’s first provincial geologist, noting there were “pieces of native silver as big as stove lids and cannon balls.” In truth, for two thousand years before white man’s ‘discovery’ of silver, Indigenous people had been trading metals from the area — ceremonial panpipes and jewellery made from Cobalt silver has turned up in burial mounds and archeological digs across North America. This did not deter white prospectors and claim jumpers though. They swelled the town’s population, and the frenetic growth included everything from saloons to an opera house. The speed at which Cobalt was born is evidenced today in the curving streets and wood-framed houses perched precipitously on hills. It’s a bit of a time machine, with the old mining buildings best explored via the self-guided Cobalt Silver Heritage Trail. For a look through an arts lens, visit Lake Temiskaming Tours.

Photo by Sue Nielsen.

THE COBALT MINING MUSEUM — 1:00 PM

A TREASURE TROVE OF SILVER STORIES

Take a lunch break at the Silver Café, an unpretentious spot with good diner fare. Or nab fresh baked goods at the wittily-named Fresh AF Market & Eatery. It’s a farm-to-market grocers, hence the name: Fresh (A)s (F)arm Market. Then head to the Cobalt Mining Museum, a literal treasure trove with the world’s largest display of native silver ore, plus a deep-dive collection of silver rush artifacts. At its mining peak Cobalt had over 100 mines, and it’s credited with creating the Toronto Standard Stock and Mining Exchange in 1908. As the joke of the day went, Toronto was the place you changed trains to get to Cobalt! No wonder Cobalt’s been called Ontario’s Most Historic Town and is a Parks Canada National Historic Site.

WHITE MOUNTAIN TO THUNDER / DEVIL‘S ROCK — 3:00 PM

A LITTLE BROWSING, A LITTLE HIKING

White Mountain Books provides excellent browsing as well as the opportunity to learn more about local history. The bookstore is even housed in an historic site, the Coniagas Shaft House #4 at Silver Street and Prospect Avenue. Beyond books, check out Laura’s Art Shoppe for locally-made sculpture, pottery and glass creations, as well as cards and prints reflecting Temiskaming’s beauty. Drop into The Crystal Vault, an artisan-run collective, for eco-friendly sustainable products. From shopping to hiking  — a fifteen-minute drive east takes you to the magnificent cliff originally known as Manidoo-Wabikong, today as Thunder / Devil’s Rock. The 40-minute hike (two to four kilometres, depending on the trail) ends with superb views of Lake Temiskaming. Thunder / Devil’s Rock has literary history too, featured on the cover of the Hardy Boys mystery, The House on the Cliff, ghost written by local (and highly successful) author Leslie McFarlane.

Thunder / Devil's Rock. Photo courtesy of Thornloe Cheese.

PUB OR TAVERNE TIME — 6:00 PM

DELICIOUS DINING, CRAFT BEER AND LIVE MUSIC

Just north of Cobalt is Temiskaming Shores, the amalgamation of the towns of New Liskeard and Haileybury and the township of Dymond. (You may want to motel it in either Haileybury or New Liskeard — a ten minute drive apart. The latter’s Waterfront Inn has terrific lake views.) For a pub stop in Cobalt the place to go is Miner’s Tavern, boasting live local music. Or check out the Classic Theatre, the only remaining theatre from the silver boom, with shows ranging from theatre and music to comedy. Heading straight to Haileybury? Consider dining at L’Autochtone Americaine Taverne, with its “contemporary take on North American classics as seen through an Indigenous lens.” Makes sense, given the area is home to three cultures: Indigenous, Quebecois and English. Coffee hounds note: L’Autochtone Americaine also runs Busters Mini-Mart, a hybrid café-specialty food store. As for craft beer fans, your destination is Haileybury’s The Whiskey Jack Beer Company.

Photo courtesy of L'Autochtone Taverne Americaine.

Day Two

WANDER HAILEYBURY — 10:00 AM

THE HOME OF MILLIONAIRE’S ROW

Haileybury was founded in 1889 by Charles C. Farr, an employee of Hudson Bay Company. As a lakeside neighbour to Cobalt, many mining bigwigs made it their home, evidenced by beautiful houses from that era that still exist on Lakeshore Road, once known as Millionaire’s Row. Walking in downtown Haileybury and out to the marina is a great way to see the town and its lovely sand beach, complete with waterslide.

HAILEYBURY HERITAGE MUSEUM / TEMISKAMING ART GALLERY — 11:00 AM

HISTORY AND HERITAGE IN HAILEYBURY

Drop into the Haileybury Heritage Museum to explore the town’s history, in particular the 1922 fire (one of the ten worst natural disasters in Canadian history). It’s an essential stop for Northern Ontario history buffs and kids alike. The latter will beeline to the fire truck, streetcar and tugboat on display. The former will be intrigued to know that, after the fire, Toronto sent a fleet of streetcars… for relief housing. Next, head to the Temiskaming Art Gallery, a showcase for both local artists as well other artists from Ontario’s north. The gallery is also home to Open Studio Libre, a free-access art studio

Photo courtesy of Temiskaming Art Gallery.

NEW LISKEARD — 1:00 PM

A LAKE LUNCH STOP

New Liskeard, the biggest of the three towns making up Temiskaming Shores, is on the northwest tip of Lake Temiskaming, making it a perfect place to savour the vast lake’s beauty. Savour lunch too, with options including Tap That Bar & Kitchen’s “barrel aged cocktails to craft burgers and comfort food” or Ali’s Grill & Bar’s “casual fine dining.” Café and book/game lovers check out Chat Noir Books with its vast collection of books and games, plus specialty coffees. The Riverside Farmers’ Market is a seasonal stop on Saturdays for farm-fresh produce, and local crafts and artwork. Also on the waterfront, take time for reflection at the moving monument to Shannen Koostachin, who led a campaign to have a new school built in her Indigenous community — the largest youth-led rights movement in Canadian history.

LITTLE CLAYBELT MUSEUM TO BISON DU NORD — 3:00 PM

COWS, PIONEERS, CHEESE… AND BISON!

North of New Liskeard the land transitions from rugged shield to the flatlands of the clay belt, a surprise to many first-time northern visitors. The giant Ms. Claybelt, a 12-foot tall cow, stands proudly beside The Little Claybelt Homesteaders Museum as a marker of the region’s agricultural prowess. The museum itself looks at early pioneer life from the 1880s to the 1950s. Continue north on highway eleven stopping at farmer-owned, award-winning Thornloe Cheese (20 minutes), and Bison du Nord (30 minutes). Bison du Nord is the largest bison farm in Eastern Canada, with educational tours letting you get up close to the shaggy beasts.

Photo courtesy of Bison du Nord.

EVENING IN NEW LISKEARD — 7:00 PM

WINING, DINING, AND WALKING

A popular spot for dinner is 28 On The Lake for high-end pub food and a great view of Lake Temiskaming. Or check out Zante’s Bar & Grill, with farm-to-table cuisine. Take a post-dinner stroll along the lovely waterfront boardwalk trail before enjoying live music at either of the above (Zante’s is also home to trivia nights). Note to Francophiles: check out Le Centre culturel ARTEM for everything from Francophone bingo to singing barbers.


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE


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This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.

All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Li Robbins.


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.