Surrounded by shining waters and cloaked in towering pines, Finlayson Point Provincial Park lies just south of the Village of Temagami.
Sharing a shoreline with the Lake Temagami Skyline Preserve, a protected ring of pine forest that surrounds the lake, Finlayson Point provides visitors with access to Temagami — a treasured part of Ontario that many travellers see only a glimpse of as they head north or south along the highway.
Finlayson Point is just off Highway 11, the northern part of the Trans-Canada Highway, but seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of most people’s everyday lives.
The “point” sticks out into Lake Temagami, just 47 ha in size, but seems bigger on the inside as it opens outwards onto the big lake.
Lake Temagami — the big lake
Lake Temagami is the hub of the region. This huge, sprawling lake is 45 km from north to south, and 35 km east to west, made up of long narrow arms, like spurs, from its centre. Its area covers over 20,000 ha, and at its deepest, it’s more than 100 m to the bottom. Over 1,200 islands dot its surface, and the length of its shoreline has been estimated at 5,000 km.
All of this splendour is surrounded by the Lake Temagami Skyline Reserve – a unique, protected belt of forest that rings the lake, containing the towering Red and Eastern White Pine trees that give the lake its characteristic look. A number of islands in the lake are covered in protected old-growth pine forest.
Temagami Island, the largest in the lake, has one of the largest old-growth forests, which you can hike through, following trails that pass beneath the ancient pines.
The trails are a short boat ride or paddle from the Lake Temagami access road, which extends 18 km from Highway 11 to the centre of the lake. There you’ll find a municipal boat launching area, docks and parking (fees apply).
Bear Island is at the lake’s centre, home to the Temagami First Nation. This First Nation’s ancestors were the first to walk the portages and paddle the waters here, after the glaciers melted away and before the forests grew.
Cottages and lodges also dot the lake’s many islands.
Lake Temagami’s sprawling waterways, studded with islands and ringed with pine forests, are scenic locations for boating, canoeing and kayaking in Northern Ontario.
Boating and fishing
Finlayson Point’s boat basin has docks, a boat launch, a fish cleaning table, and canoe racks for boaters and anglers who want to take advantage of the park’s location on beautiful and fish-filled Lake Temagami.
The lake seems to have every kind of habitat. Species include Lake Trout, Walleye, Small-mouth Bass, Northern Pike, Whitefish, Perch, and Burbot.
The Village of Temagami hugs the shores of Lake Temagami’s Northeast Arm. The village was founded in 1903 when the railway to the north was built and a steamship line began supplying lodges, cottages and canoe camps on the lake.
Keewaydin, the oldest youth canoe camp in the world, relocated from New England to an island on the lake in 1898, after a canoe trip in the region.
History, art and culture
Temagami quickly became a thriving hub of activity for anglers, canoeists and mining prospectors, as well as Lands and Forests canoe rangers. They followed the ancient portages too, keeping watch for the tell-tale smoke of forest fires. The Temagami Canoe Company, supplier of cedar-canvas canoes to forest rangers and canoe campers, was established in 1929.
The Temagami region still has several historic fire towers, including the one that sits above Temagami Village on Caribou Mountain.
This tower was recently rebuilt, and affords outstanding views across the village, the lake, and the ancient pines of the White Bear Forest Conservation Reserve. The White Bear Forest has a network of hiking trails that make one of the regions old-growth pine forests very accessible.
The historic town of Cobalt
Check out the historic silver mining town of Cobalt, 45 minutes north of Temagami. This town’s mining heritage has made it a National Historic Site. It was once the richest silver-mining region in the world.
The mining museum, historic buildings and a tour of the historic Colonial Silver Mine are all worthwhile stops. Members of the Group of Seven including A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael, painted the early 20th-century mining town, capturing the stark industrial landscape.
Your home base
Finlayson Point Provincial Park is a fantastic home base when exploring the beauty and history of Temagami. The campground has 117 campsites, 41 of them electrical, and 15 pull-through for RVs.
Also an option: the Lake Temagami cabin is a beautiful accommodation available in the park, set on the north shore of the lake with great views from inside and out, and just a short walk from the main comfort station.
The park’s boat basin includes a boat launch and long loading docks. If you want to moor your boat during your stay, you can rent a slip and park it for the duration.
The park has one full-sized comfort station with flush-toilets, showers and laundry facilities, and one mini-comfort station with showers and flush toilets. There are also two washroom buildings with flush toilets.