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TEMAGAMI by Francis Boyes

Tall Trees In north-eastern Ontario there is a land of deep waters, vast forests and high cliffs called Temagami. It's a captivating landscape that boasts over 2000 kilometers of canoe routes in Ontario's heartland.

Canoeists have been drawn to Temagami for over a century to paddle its crystal clear waters, to hike trails and portages first traveled centuries ago, and to marvel at towering forests of ancient white and red pine.

Today, Temagami's canoed waters are protected within a mixture of provincial parks, conservation reserves and crown land. Wilder and less traveled than more southerly canoe destinations, Temagami appeals to paddlers seeking a premier backcountry experience within a half day's travel of Toronto. Temagami's interconnected lakes and streams provide flatwater paddling options from simple overnights to canoe trips of 2 weeks duration or longer. Time worn portages connect the myriad of small lakes, and kayakers will enjoy the multitude of bays and islands to explore on Temagami's larger lakes.

Those paddlers who favour rivers also have a tremendous variety from which to choose. The Makobe and Temagami rivers offer the challenge of technical rapids. The Lady Evelyn river features dramatic scenery and numerous waterfalls. The Obabika river provides a gentle float, while the Sturgeon river offers an extended whitewater trip in a remote setting.

Whatever your taste, whatever your skill and experience, you should begin your Temagami adventure by contacting a professional canoe trip outfitter. Why?

Young Paddlers It's important to support the local economy of the region you visit. There are several outfitting companies located in Temagami that offer rentals, sales, route consultation, shuttles, meals and lodging. These companies work hard to protect and maintain the canoe country you'll be enjoying. They deserve your support.

Second, local outfitters offer many wonderful lodge-based trips that you can't duplicate on your own. These trips feature the convenience of complete outfitting, the added safety of a certified leader, plus exciting learning opportunities.

Novice canoeists can benefit from trips that feature skills instruction in paddling and navigation. More experienced canoeists will enjoy one of many themed trips that explore facets of Temagami's cultural and natural history. Either way, lodge-based canoe trips offer great value and service. How to get there: The town of Temagami is located about 450 kilometers north of Toronto on Highway 11. Drive time is about 4.5 hours. Train and bus service is also available from Toronto through Ontario Northland. Air service is available from Toronto to North Bay through Air Ontario. Detailed travel information can be had through one of Temagami's local outfitters.

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