The Towns and Cities
of Northern Ontario
Wawa - Algoma Country
"A Diamond in the Rough”
Be it summer or winter, Wawa offers a
multitude of activities geared to the avid outdoorsman or the weekend
Approaching Wawa, I realize that this is
a special place. Whether I am traveling west from the Sault, or East
from Thunder Bay/Nipigon, I witness breathtaking scenery - the vast
openness of Lake Superior and the enveloping closeness of the woodland
Whenever I have to travel now, I make
sure that I have my camera and field glasses and that I stop at one of
the many roadside rest areas along the way. I may be lucky and spy a
“salty” on its way to the Lakehead or making its way back east, laden
with grain. Occasionally I will just sit and take in the grandeur of the
largest freshwater lake in the world.
One of the things I still find amazing is
the abundance of wildlife sightings: moose, bears, a lone wolf and one
that I will never forget, a doe with her fawn crossing Highway 17. And
of course, I have photos of my kids posed beside one of Canada’s most
famous roadside attractions, a 2 tonne, 28 foot high Canada goose
welcoming people to Wawa.
A few years ago, I spent some time in one
of the area’s campground sites. As is the custom in campgrounds, one
gets to meet and talk to a wide variety of people. It is amazing the
things one can learn around a campfire! The reasons these people gave
for being in the region were as varied as they were.
A couple told me about their canoe trips along the Lake Superior Park
coastline. A few mentioned the hiking trails, especially the Magpie
Trail that follows the Magpie River to Scenic High Falls ending at
Silver Falls. Others related tales of fishing holidays and “the one that
got away”. Some spoke of the quiet, peaceful “return to nature”
atmosphere found in the area.
Some spoke of seeing traditional dancing
at the annual Native Gathering while others lauded the talent showcased
at the Summer Musicfest.
One couple I happen to meet were going to
try their luck (again!) at the annual Salmon Derby (“$20,000 in cash and
prizes!”) And if that wasn’t enough, these same fisher-people were
looking forward to the Wawa Lake Trout Ice Fishing Derby (“Over $80,000
in cash and prizes including a pick up truck, snowmobile, trailers!”).
I remember one night, sitting around the
campfire with some of our new friends, listening to stories of
snowmobile treks. Apparently our campfire-mates participate in something
they call the “Superior Snow Challenge Loop” that can take them from
Wawa to Dubreuilville, Hornepayne, Manitouwadge, Marathon and White
River. (These people call this a holiday? I still get shivers!)
Wawa (Ojibway for “Wild Goose”) is a
recreational haven, no matter the taste – truly “A Diamond in the