10 SPOTS TO DISCOVER THE FRENCH RIVER
SOME OF CANADA’S MOST FAMOUS ADVENTURERS EXPLORED THIS RIVER. SO CAN YOU.
The French River area of Northeastern Ontario has long been a favourite among outdoor enthusiasts keen on fishing, paddling, backcountry camping, and just plain relaxing, but its rich history goes back centuries. Long before explorers such as Étienne Brûlé and Samuel de Champlain, and long before the fur-trading voyageurs paddled the French, the river was a natural waterway for the area’s Indigenous peoples as it flowed westward from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay.
Five Finger Rapids, French River.
The French River became a vital route for the logging industry in the late 1800s, as logs were floated down to saw mills located near the river’s mouth on Georgian Bay. Its historical significance as a transportation corridor led to the French River’s designation in 1986 as Canada’s first Heritage River. The French River Provincial Park protects this historic waterway.
The French River Visitor Centre Interior.
The French River Visitor Centre, located where Hwy 69 crosses the river, features an exhibit that takes you back in time. “Voices of the River” showcases the history, geology, and ecology of the area. The Centre received the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture in 2010 for uniting nature and construction in a building that merges with the original landscape.
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