Three's a Charm in Ontario

A Trio of Provincial Parks on the Shores of Lake Superior

Across the lake it looms. The large block of stone they call the Sleeping Giant lies in utter stillness, a silhouette, as if in a state of perpetual hibernation. Atop a weathered spruce, a raven hawks its garbled call. The crackle of burning wood resonates as I huddle close to the fire to stay warm. The waters of Marie Louise Lake are still. A loon cries out, its call echoing across the water and fading into the night and the immensity of Ontario's northern landscape.

Big and sprawling, northwestern Ontario is still largely wilderness, covered by rock, forest, and water. Much of the land is rolling shield interspersed with rocky cliffs and rushing rivers that tumble into one of Ontario's more than 250,000 lakes. Here, the biggest lake of all, Lake Superior, stretches for 600 miles along the boreal forests, where stands of birch, pine, maple, and spruce give form to the landscape.

The northwest shores of Lake Superior are a great place to explore; leaving Thunder Bay on Highway 11/17, you can follow the Lake Superior Circle Tour, a scenic drive roughly paralleling the coast of the massive lake. There are several parks accessible from the road, offering a number of options for getaways. These parks can be combined into larger trips, giving the visitor a true flavor of the forces of nature at work here. Sleeping Giant, Ouimet Canyon, and Rainbow Falls are three provincial parks that show off the best of what Superior country has to offer, both along the shore and inland.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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