Overview

Discover Ontario’s gold rush on this leisurely circle tour from Toronto. Drive through boreal forest, hike amongst spectacular scenery, gaze over tumbling waterfalls and learn about the valuable minerals which contributed to the development of mines and towns in Northeastern Ontario.
Duration
13 DAYS
Distance
1900km / 1181mi
Region
Ontario

Route - 1900 km / 1181 mi

Day Location Distance Duration
01 Toronto to Bracebridge 185 km / 115 mi Approx. 2 hours and 11 minutes
02 Bracebridge to Algonquin Provincial Park 109 km / 68 mi Approx. 1 hour 20 minutes
03 Algonquin Provincial Park 10 km / 6 mi All day
04 Algonquin Provincial Park to North Bay 204 km / 127 mi Approx. 2 hours 20 minutes
05 North Bay to Marten River Provincial park/Finlayson Point Provincial Park 100 km / 62 mi Approx. 1 hour 7 minutes
06 Martin River/Finlayson Point to Temiskaming Shores 60 km / 37 mi Approx. 40 minutes
07 Temiskaming Shores to Iroquois Falls 176 km / 109 mi Approx. 2 hours
08 Iroquois Falls to Timmins via Cochrane 156 km / 97 mi Approx. 1 hour 45 minutes
09 Timmins to Sudbury 300 km / 186 mi Approx 3 hours 25 minutes
10 Sudbury 10 km / 6 mi All Day
11 Sudbury to Killarney 110 km / 68 mi Approx. 1 hours 10 minutes
12 Killarney to Parry Sound 178 km / 111 mi Approx. 2 hours
13 Parry Sound to Toronto 264 km / 164 mi Approx. 3 hours

Trip Details

Adventure awaits as you head north to your first overnight stop in Bracebridge. This town in the heart of the Muskokas is also located halfway between the Equator and the North Pole.  Built around a waterfall on the Muskoka River, Bracebridge offers some of the best all-round recreation on Ontario.

Stroll the historic downtown area, packed full of flavours in every season. Admire the natural beauty of the Bracebridge Falls, one of the ten best waterfalls in Ontario.  If a leisurely cruise on Muskoka Lake is more your style, board the Lady Muskoka for an incredible sightseeing opportunity you're sure to remember. Kids and parents alike will enjoy Santa's Village where three exciting parks, one great campground combine to offer a one-stop playground for the young and young at heart.  It's all right here in Bracebridge.


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Canada's oldest provincial park is your destination today but not before stepping back in time at Muskoka Heritage Place in nearby Huntsville.  Tour the village, ride the Portage Flyer Train or just have a chat with the farm animals.  A self-guided tour of the Muskoka Museum will take you on a brief journey through the history of Muskoka including a look into the lives of the First People in Muskoka.

Before leaving Hunstville, take a drive up to the Lion's Lookout to admire the view.  From Huntsville, it's but a hop and a jump into Algonquin Provincial Park where nearly 3000 square miles of adventure opportunity await your exploration.  Camping is available at a number of provincial park campgrounds throughout the park.  Reservations are essential during peak periods.
 

Take the opportunity to chill out today amid jaw-dropping scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities.  Canoeing, hiking, fishing, biking, birding, wildlife viewing are just some of the fun activities on offer along the Highway 60 corridor.

The only way to explore the interior this park, consisting of maple hills, rocky ridges and thousands of lakes, is by canoe or on foot.  If you're planning to see more than the park accessible by vehicle, allow extra time here to experience the real Algonquin.  Fall brings spectacular colour to the park as the maple hills become shades of orange and fire red as winter approaches.  This is a popular time in Algonquin Park.



 

Say goodbye to Algonquin Park as you head towards the Gateway to Northern Ontario.  While North Bay is well-known as a winter adventure destination, summer activities abound.  From hiking to sailing, swimming to fishing and some museums and culture thrown in for good measure, North Bay may surprise you.

Cruise aboard the Chief Commanda II from Lake Nipissing to French River, visit the Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence, walk the shores of Marathon Beach or have fun with the kids at the North Bay Heritage Train and Carousel Theme Park.  Most of the rides are vintages so, if you're a car or vintage enthusiast, this park must be on your bucket list.

Beer connoisseurs should check out the craft beers on offer at one of the many breweries in North Bay, the most notable (and original) of which is the New Ontario Brewing Company.

Another leisurely day to explore as you make your way to Marten River and Findlayson Point Provincial Parks. Biking, boating, fishing, swimming and hiking are just some of the activities that await you at Marten River. Walk the Transition Trail and admire massive pine trees, one of which is more than 350 years old.  Relax at one of the park's three beaches or visit a replica 19th century logging camp.

Continue on to Finlayson Point Provincial Park for your overnight stay.  Canoes, kayaks and bikes can be rented here.  Take a hike to Caribou Mountain lookout and fire tower for magnificent views over the park, Lake Temagami and Temagami township.

More lakes and rivers greet you as you make your way to Temiskaming Shores.  Hugging the scenic shores of Lake Temiskaming, this township of around 10,000 people is a popular holiday spot for cottage vacations and RV camping.

Stop en route at Latchford, a small lumbering town on the shores of Bay Lake.  Don't miss the opportunity to view the World's Shortest Covered Bridge here - only 11 feet 3 inches in length. Latchford is also home to a very interesting museum and the Logger's Hall of Fame.

Veer off route past Latchford onto Highway 11B and visit the site of the world's first mining camp. The whole town of Cobalt is a national historic site, built after the discovery of silver there in 1903. Take a self-guided driving tour through back roads of the Cobalt Mine, stopping to read the 20 interpretative plaques along the Heritage Silver Trail. See hand-carved tunnels of early mining days on a tour of the Colonial Adit Mine or learn about the town's rich history at the Cobalt Mining Museum.

At Temiskaming Shores, hike the trail to Devil's Rock for spectacular views of Lake Temiskaming or try your luck at catching dinner as you fish in one of Ontario's top five fishing lakes.

First stop today combines both historical and present-day prospecting as you explore one of the few locations in Ontario still actively mining gold.  Kirkland Lake has a prospecting history going back more than 100 years and the Macassa Mine now in operation remains one of the highest gold grade mines in the world.

The town is strung out along the "Mile of Gold" where seven major mines dotted the town's skyline for generations. Together these mines produced over 700 metric tonnes of gold.  Drive the Mile of Gold, stopping at points of interest en route. Guided tours of the Toburn Mine, the first in the area, are available during the summer, the Mine building being an iconic landmark in the town.  Visit the Museum of Northern History, housed in a chateau-style mansion built by Sir Harry Oakes.

If you have time on your hands, consider taking the road less travelled as you make your way to Iroquois Falls via Highway 672 and check out Esker Lakes Provincial Park. Surrounded by boreal forest, this family-oriented park comprises dozens of kettle lakes formed when glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago.  Canoeing, fishing, hiking and sandy beaches provide plenty of interest for visitors.

End today in "The Garden Town of the North" , dubbed such for the pride its community takes in their flower and vegetable gardens.  Iroquois Falls was established as a company town and planned as a Garden City from the onset. The pulp mill was the town's primary industry before it closed in 2014 and this resilient town of approx 5000 people now invites tourists to experience a laid-back vacation in relative wilderness.

Aside from the outdoor recreational opportunities on offer, a visit to the Pioneer Museum will take you on a journey through history, from the opening of the paper mill to present day.  Check out the Shay 70 Locomotive on display in Anson Park, believed to be the last working Shay locomotive in North America.

Want to see and learn more about polar bears?  A short drive north today to Cochrane will have you at the Canadian Polar Bear Habitat in under an hour.  Here this not-for-profit charity provides a home for polar bears who would not survive on their own in the wild.  Advance reservations are required which can be made on the Habitat's website.

You've now reached the northern-most point of your Prospector Route itinerary but there's lots more still in store on your return journey to Toronto.  Some of Canada's greatest goldfields were discovered in the area around Timmins, still one of Canada's major centres for mining.  The first gold deposits were found here during the Porcupine Gold Rush, where more gold was produced than during the famous Klondike Gold Rush in Canada's Yukon Territory.  Mine artifacts, buildings and life sized statues can be found throughout the city.  Many of the parks here have been reclaimed from former mining sites.

Private and provincial park campgrounds provide options for your overnight stay.

The small town of Gogama, home to around 450 people, is one of only a handful you'll pass through as you continue on to Northern Ontario's largest city.  Gogama has a long history as an Aboriginal trading route and until the 1950s was a Hudson's Bay post. The area offers world-class hunting and fishing and is home to numerous fishing lodges. The small Gogama Heritage Museum is open weekend afternoons during the summer and can be found in the old Hudson's Bay Company Store.

Sudbury was traditionally a mining town, founded in 1886 after copper deposits were found in the area.  Today it is Northern Ontario's largest city surrounded by lakes, 219 of which are within the city limits.  With the construction of the Science North complex in 1984 and attractions such as the Big Nickel and the Dynamic Earth museum, Sudbury is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in northern Ontario.





 

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Sudbury's many tourist attractions beckon today as you take time out from distance driving and explore surrounds close by.  Start by taking a half hour jaunt out to Onaping Falls and the A Y Jackson Lookout.  The loop trail to the lookout is only 2km in length and is an easy walk, having only a mild elevation gain.

Once back in Sudbury, it's worth checking out Science North and Dynamic Earth - visits to these two attractions should fill in the rest of your day.  Don't forget to check out the Big Nickel outside Dynamic Earth.

 

Another short drive today will provide you with ample time to check out Killarney Provincial Park. This is a popular park, encompassing a vast wilderness area of wetlands, forests and mountains.

Five day-use trails provide moderate to difficult hiking ranging in distance from 2 to 6km. The Granite Ridge Trail delivers views of the unique La Cloche Mountains while the hike to The Crack (recommended only for the fit who start out early) rewards with panoramic vistas and one of the best views in the park.

The village of Killarney provides services including a laundromat, marina and museum.  Hike to Killarney East lighthouse where the first European settlers arrived 200 years ago to establish a fur trading post.

The George Lake campground inside the park is open for RV camping from around May to October. Reservations are essential and can be made on the Ontario Parks website.

Parry Sound has a rich history to explore that includes Ojibway Indian settlements and pioneer homesteads and is revered for water activities which include sailing, cruising, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Stop in at French River Provincial Park. Here a national historic site pays tribute to the Lake Nipissing Canoe Route.  French River was significant in providing access to westward travel.

Drive by Oastler Lake Provincial Park (a great place to camp) before arriving in this city of fewer than 10000 people. Stop at the Lookout Tower on Georgian Bay and visit the Interpretive Centre, featuring the canoe route that served as a commerical waterway for 250 years.  If time permits, call at the Tourism office for more hints on things to do whilst here.

See and Do:
Oastler Lake Provincial Park
Lookout Tower
Island Queen Cruise
Sightseeing with Georgian Bay Airways

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The road south to Toronto is a 4-lane highway whisking you back to your starting point in around three hours. If you're still in the exploring mood, secondary roads veer west from this highway taking you to small communities including the delightful seaside settlement of Honey Harbour.

The city of Toronto and its many attractions are best explored by public transit so we recommend you overnight at a campground nearby.

We have a number of CanaDream Club partners in the area who will offer you discounts on attractions when you book through CanaDream – make sure you download the app.

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