Waterway Adventure in the Temiskaming Rift Valley

Travelling the waterways has always defined human presence in the Precambrian or Canadian Shield. It is simply the easiest way to travel throughout the region. No matter the season, be it in the rushing flow of spring snowmelt, the calm of a refreshing summer or fall passage, or above the icy surfaces in the depths of winter, the waterways link every corner of the Temiskaming Rift Valley Aspiring Geopark.

Today’s Geopark explorer has many experiential adventures to choose from.


From the outlet of Lake Kipawa, running 16 km to Lake Temiskaming, the Kipawa River runs through 16 navigable rapids and one 30 meter waterfall. It is considered to be among the top rivers for “white water” adventure in North America. In mid-June, a festival that hosts canoe, kayak, and rafting enthusiasts is held to celebrate the heritage of the Kipawa. The awesome power of the waterway was first captured by the famous actors and directors of the 1920’s silent film era, and most recently displayed on the face of the 2017 Canadian $10 banknote, on the 150th anniversary of Canada.


Once the domain of Voyageur and Hudson Bay Company transport canoes, laden with furs bound for European markets, this lake is now the playground of modern motor boats and sport sailing vessels. However, it is still possible to relive the days of the fur trader by navigating the entire 110km stretch of the waterway with a canoe or sea kayak. But as those first Voyageurs quickly learned, Temiskaming is a waterway where you want to keep your vessel close to the shore. Due to the geographical position of the lake, and the reality of the prevailing north-west wind, a calm lake can quickly raise waves to a height of a meter or more at any time of day or night.


World-renowned for its canoeing routes, with over 2400 km of passages and 4700 km of shoreline, there are a myriad of possible adventures. It is home to the Temagami First Nation, based at Bear Island, whose Algonquin fore-fathers provided the name Temagami, meaning “deep water near the shore”. Although motorized boats are welcome on this lake, adjoining lakes within Ontario Provincial Parks (such as Lady Evelyn – Smoothwater) restrict transport to non-motorized vessels, in order to maintain the wilderness values of this outdoor experience.


A satellite view of the Temiskaming Rift Valley Aspiring Geopark suggests that a high percentage of the area is home to thousands of small creeks, rivers, marshes and lakes, all waiting to be discovered by the modern explorer. Today’s GPS, mapping, and communication abilities have reduced the risk involved in waterway travel, but all adventurers are encouraged to wear life jackets in their paddling and boating experiences. One other thing…Temiskaming Rift Valley is a massive Geopark, so be sure to tell someone responsible where your adventure will be taking you, and when you plan to return!