Boat Wawa For More Than The Goose
Published: Friday, March 1, 2019
Even though Wawa, Ontario, is famous for its goose at the Hwy 17 and Hwy 101 junction, it is the water that is the most remarkable attraction. Not only does Wawa boast a freshwater lake in town, they enjoy the most Superior Lake.
With a number of freshwater rivers that flow into Lake Superior around the Wawa area, those who love to paddle, moor, or troll for salmon can experience diverse scenery, history, and solitude.
This section of lake, known as “Michipicoten Bay,” was a meeting point for voyageurs heading north and west with trade goods, a log booming area for many logging industries, a safe haven for ships making their way from Minnesota to Michigan, and a livelihood for many fishermen.
Michipicoten means “big bluffs” in Ojibway and as soon as you see the area, it is easily understood why the name has never changed. As you boat by this immense volcanic rock, visitors will be mesmerized by the cliff lines where wildlife take perch or refuge.
Recently, work by volunteers and biologists have successfully reintroduced the peregrine falcon to the area. It does not take long to see their distinctive wing shape and flight patterns to know that these birds make Michipicoten special. The bald eagle is another spectacular bird that makes its home on the cliffs of Michipicoten Bay. As you boat or paddle along the deep clear shoreline, in the distance you will hear the eagles cry. If you are quiet and patient enough, this majestic vulture will give most travellers the opportunity for a photo and pure wilderness moment.
As a safe haven for passing ships, Michipicoten Bay is also home of a unique light house that locals call “Perk Point”. If the water is getting rough or the traveller is looking for a great place to stop for a rest, Perk Point not only has a working lighthouse, but old fishery buildings that stay open to allow travellers to get out of the weather.
On the most northern shore of the bay is the outflow of the historic Michipicoten River. Now level-controlled by dams, this river was once home of trading posts and the premier canoe route to Hudson Bay. Today, just two kilometers from the mouth, there is a marina that gives travellers the opportunity to rest and shower. The Municipality has recently partnered with the Trans-Canada Trail and have developed three campsites at the marina location for the public to use.
Close to the marina is one of the more historic sites in the Wawa area. The Hudson Bay Company once had their post on the river’s shore. The explorer is welcome to slowly pass by and look for treasures from stories of old. Many pipe stems, plate fragments, and coins have been found!
The most intriguing element of this whole area though is its people. Much of the area is Ojibway territory, a people whose connection to the land and water warrant books upon books. Michipicoten First Nation is found on the shores of Michipicoten Bay and boasts one of the most beautiful beaches on the North Shore. Once in the community, many residents are more than willing to share stories with visitors while the Lake’s wind tells stories of its own.
Wawa, with its friendly people, rich history of mining, and its historic landmark, is a place to work, visit, and play. Whether it is by canoe, kayak, or boat, there is much to see, much to learn, and much to experience.
Come to Wawa to see the Goose, stay for the water.
If you are interested in visiting the area, please call:
Municipality of Wawa: 1 (705) 856-2244 ext 247
Michipicoten First Nation: 1 (705) 856-4825
Naturally Superior Adventures: 1 (705) 856-2939
Bucks Marina: 1 (705) 856-4488
This article first appeared in the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2019 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.