Temagami & The Uplands of Ontario
The Temagami region has long been a destination of choice for wilderness travelers from all over the world. The area is protected by a network of 11 parks and protected Crown Land covering over 800,000 hectares, offering 2,400 km of canoe routes and over 500 interior campsites, plus wonderful hiking trails and scenic lookouts. Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park is best-known — it holds the highest points of land in Ontario, the Maple and Ishpatina Ridges. Visionary planning has protected the quality of recreation opportunities. The mainland shore of Lake Temagami is protected within a skyline reserve and no development is allowed to alter its natural character.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources also protects adjacent areas such as the Spanish River, Mississagi Provincial Park and Algoma Highlands. This designation protects these areas as some of the richest and most diverse landscapes in Canada. Bluffs, canyons and rocky knobs form the base of this very rugged landscape and represent the remnants of the oldest mountain ranges in North America.
Unique mix of northern and southern birds and wildlife
Located where northern boreal forest and southern hardwood uplands meet, the Temagami region has a unique mix of forest species: boreal jack pine and spruce, usually found in the north, and old growth red and white pine, more typical of southern forest. The area played a key role in the re-introduction of the peregrine falcon into Ontario, which is still considered an endangered species in the province. Look closely and you may be lucky enough to spot a nesting pair — look for nests on high, steep cliffs, often-overlooking large bodies of water. Other nesting birds to watch for are: osprey, golden eagle, great blue herons and merlins. Another endangered species in Temagami is the Aurora trout. With its striking iridescent colouring, this beautiful fish is native to only two lakes in Ontario — both in this region.
Nastawgan — Ancient Pathways
Traditional winter and summer travel routes — ‘nastawgan’ — were established centuries ago by aboriginal people. Today these routes form the heart of the area’s portage network and are used summer and winter by those seeking to paddle, hike, cross-country ski and snowshoe through the inspiring scenery. Explore this region, with its pictographs and sacred sites, in the company of aboriginal leaders who can interpret their lands and bring them to life. Local eco/adventure companies also offer many guided interpretive excursions. Drive undiscovered routes like Highway 129 beneath towering cliffs along the Mississagi River Valley for a spectacular view!
The inspiration and wonder of the area were brought to millions around the world, in 1907, when Archie Belaney, Grey Owl, arrived in Temagami. He was employed by the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests as a ranger and the cabin he frequented still exists on the Mississagi River. His subsequent books and extensive lecturing in Britain and the United States brought tremendous attention to northeastern Ontario and the issues surrounding wildlife conservation.
Brought to Life by Artists
The vacation history of the area is spotted with Hollywood stars such as Cary Grant, Carol Lombard, Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart, who vacationed on Lake Temagami in the 1930s. And later in the 20th century, its scenery and people were painted by renowned artists David Milne, Frank Panabaker and Group of Seven member Franklin Carmichael. Tom Thompson wrote of the Spanish River’s beauty after his travels there in 1912. Modern-day travelers can try their hand at painting the same scenery in guided workshops offered by Smoothwater Outfitters.
Old Growth Forest
Lake Temagami is ringed with towering old growth red and white pine trees. The region is also home to the largest stands of old growth forests in the province — a true natural wonder of Ontario. The mix of old-growth species found here include: black ash, black spruce, jack pine, red and white pine, sugar maple and white cedar. In these mature ecosystems the trees have been standing for 300-400 years and offer a rare glimpse into a primeval landscape.
- Useful Links:
- Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park
- Nastawgan Trails
- Finlayson Point Provincial Park
- Mississagi Provincial Park
- Ontario's Near North