Did you know that Ontario covers one million square kilometres, more than the combined area of Spain and France? What does this have to do with RVing? Although it may not seem related, RVing might just be the perfect way to explore such a vast area.
Welcome to part one of our eight-day northern Ontario RV adventure. Whether you’re an experienced RVer or just starting out, we can both agree that the destination is what matters most. With a landscape of lakes, forests, hidden waterfalls, sandy beaches, friendly campgrounds, and welcoming communities, northern Ontario is the perfect RVing destination for a few days or, in our case, eight.
So pack your bags, start the engine; North Eastern Ontario and Algoma, here we come.
DAY 1 – Toronto to North Bay – 345 km
After picking up our 28’ Class C rental from Motor Home Travel Canada the day before, we packed our home on wheels and prepared for an early morning departure. As we hit the road, the city traffic thinned out, and the landscape became more and more scenic.
One of the best parts of RV travelling is its complete freedom and the chance to take a break from being tethered to a schedule. We decided to detour from the direct path and stopped at the Lake Nipissing Lookout along Highway 94, which offered us our first glimpse of the impressive Lake Nipissing. The next stop is just down the road; the popular North Bay eatery, the Match Public House, located at the Gateway Casino, offers a chance for lunch and to wait out a passing rainstorm.
It’s time to slip into our hiking boots. Another benefit of RV travel is that everything you need is easily accessible. Day pack, water and snack, check, we venture into the forest. The trailhead sign announces your destination, Duchesnay Falls. The sounds of rushing water accompany us as we meander along wooded trails and rocky outcroppings.
Standing in the presence of a thundering waterfall is a powerful and soothing experience. Duchesnay Falls is a lovely waterfall and a great hiking spot; we highly recommend it when visiting the North Bay area. Not done exploring on foot yet, we stop by the North Bay Waterfront, a beautiful stretch of parks, beaches, and boardwalk. Fairview Park and Camping Marina is our home for the night. Located just minutes from all amenities, this hidden gem is a perfect base for exploring North Bay and the area. RV travel benefit number three: ease of setup. Our rental unit is self-levelling, so it’s a park it and open the slides and awning with a push of a button, and just like that, we go from travel more to evening mode, relaxing by the campfire.
DAY 2 – North Bay to Iroquois Falls – 345 km
Good morning day two. The perfect way to start the day is stepping out, coffee in hand, as the sun’s rays spread like lasers through the treetops above. Back on the road, the morning vibe continues as we roll along calm glass lakes offering perfect reflections of their surroundings.
in Temagami, we follow the signs and gravel road to the Temagami Fire Tower. While the easy access lower viewing platform at the tower’s base offers an impressive vista of the surrounding area, making your way 100 feet up to the top of the steel fire tower amplifies the wow factor.
The tower stands on the summit of Caribou Mountain, 400 feet above the town and 1300 feet above sea level. It is the highest point along Hwy 11. At the top, the tower commands a 360-degree view for over 40 kilometres in all directions.
Driving along Highway 11 through Temagami, it is easy to notice the impressive structure of the Temagami Train Station. This historic building, built in the early 1900s, has been restored as closely as possible to its original appearance. Today, it houses the Temagami & District Chamber of Commerce and a lovely gift shop we enjoy browsing.
We discover more history in Cobalt Mines, where we learn about the town’s mining heritage that made it a National Historic Site. It was once the richest silver-mining region in the world.
Ms. Claybelt is a gigantic 12-foot high and 18-foot long cow replica that is a photo attraction (aka selfie) in the Temiskaming Shores (New Liskeard) area, and we are happy to oblige before continuing our trip north.
The rugged Canadian Shield landscape from this morning is replaced by flat land and agriculture as yellow blooming fields stretch to the horizon, dotted with silver towering grain silos, not what you expect in Northern Ontario.
We are always eager to grab some delicious local snacks whenever we get the chance. Hence, we don’t need any convincing to stop and shop at local markets.
This brings me to the fourth advantage of RV travel: you can conveniently buy fresh local produce along the way and store it in the full-size fridge in the RV.
Pulling into the parking lot at Dream Acres Alpaca Farm just minutes before they close, we realize that staying on schedule is one challenge of all the unscheduled stops and breaks that make RV travel so relaxing. Walking with alpacas is a unique activity that we are excited to try. However, before we can walk on the farm’s well-maintained trails through the forest, we need to meet our alpaca companions. Alpacas can be selective about the people they interact with, and they communicate their disapproval by spitting at them. I am pleased to say no mucus was sprayed in our direction, and walking with alpacas is definitely a must-do experience.
Back at the barn, we were introduced to the rest of the group and their feathered companions, and chat with our hostess, Danielle, about all things alpaca.
Leaving the animals is not easy, but there is more to see. We browsed the gift shop and learned how the alpaca fleece is woven into various products. If you want more, you can spend the night with the alpacas in the Airbnb trailer amongst the animals.
Benefit #5 of RV travel: dogs are not allowed at the farm for apparent reasons, but our companion was happy and comfortable staying in the RV. You can even run the air conditioning to cool the RV on hot days.
Day two, done and dusted, we are all set up at Cameron’s Beach and Campground with the campfire crackling and our favourite liquid refresher in hand. We arrived at the family-operated campground on beautiful “Big Nellie Lake” in Northeastern Ontario in time to watch the sun dip behind the horizon. As we pull up to the campground entrance, we are enticed by the offering of the on-site eatery suitably named the Snack Shack. We are happy to say the putine and Hot Dog were delicious. The opportunity to skip the dishes is much appreciated. There, you have it; two days and part one of our Northern Ontario RV adventure is in the books.
Tomorrow, we roll west into Onatrio’s Algoma region, searching for big water and the giant goose.