Experience the life of a voyageur at the height of the fur trade by paddling a voyageur canoe on the beautiful Mattawa River.
Our knowledgeable guides will help you discover part of our proud Canadian heritage.
The history of the Mattawa River
The Mattawa River has been an important travel route for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence shows settlements above Lake Nipissing and the Mattawa River dating back 9,600 years – perhaps they came by canoe.
At this time, the Mattawa River flowed more than 100 m higher than today, swollen with the glacial melt water of the last ice age.
For the Anishinabek and, later, Europeans like Samuel de Champlain, the Mattawa River facilitated travel and trade by canoe. Without the luxury of modern roads and railways, canoeing was the only option for navigating the rugged geography of the Canadian Shield.
The Mattawa River is infamous for its challenging, but scenic portages. Despite this, the ingenious birch bark canoes of the Anishinabek grew into enormous 11 m (36’) freighter canoes to satisfy the European demand for Canadian furs. Voyageurs paddled and carried these 600 lb canoes across the Mattawa River carrying thousands of pounds of trade goods and furs each season.
Voyageur Adventure Tours
This summer at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, choose from three different tours, don voyageur garb, and paddle back in time!
Tours are offered on a daily basis throughout July and August.
Children’s Tour (1 hour)
Kids! Voyageur training has begun!
Find out what it takes to be a voyageur as two expert guides take you on an adventure in a 30 ft canot du nord. Experience the fur trade first-hand as you discover trading, beaver pelts, and the all-important beaver hat! $8.00
Mattawa River Tour (1.5 hours)
Starting at the base of the Campion Rapids and paddling down the Mattawa River, this tour draws you back into the days of the fur trade. See the Mattawa River transformed into a place of opportunity and hardship – a river that made the fur trade possible. $11.00
Talon Chutes Tour (3 hours)
This adventurous tour takes you to the spectacular Talon Chutes waterfall. As we explore the natural and cultural history of the Mattawa River, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful scenery and reminded of times long ago. This tour starts at Pimisi Bay (10 km west of the park entrance on Highway 17). $23.00 (adult), $17.00 (child)
Where and when can I sign up?
Sign up at the Mattawa River Visitor Centre, open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 2 to September 5. Tours can be booked in advance or the morning before an afternoon tour.
You’ll be sure to linger in the Visitor Centre to check out the fine craftsmanship and art of the birch bark canoe. A highlight is the 38 ft voyageur Canôt d’maitre. The exhibits explore the rich natural and cultural history of the Mattawa River.
Weekly Tour Schedule
Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park is located 40 minutes east of North Bay, 10 minutes west of Mattawa.
To find out more, call 705 744-2276 x 204 or email the park.
- Sunday: 1 hour Children’s Tour @ 2:00 pm
- Monday: 3 hour Talon Chutes Tour @ 1:00 pm
- Tuesday: 1.5 hour Mattawa River Tour @ 2:00 pm
- Wednesday: 1 hour Children’s Tour @ 2:00 pm
- Thursday: 3 hour Talon Chutes Tour @ 1:00 pm
- Friday: 1.5 hour Mattawa River Tour @ 2:00 pm
- Saturday: 1.5 hour Mattawa River Tour @ 2:00 pm
Reel Paddling Film Festival: On Saturday July 9, the Mattawa River Visitor Centre will be hosting the Reel Paddling Film Festival as it makes its 2016 international tour.