Journey through a spectacularly rugged land of granite rock-cuts, forested hills and sheer rock-walled canyons. Native folklore abounds and the historic blends with the contemporary, creating a surprise around every bend in the road.
Two renowned train excursions are available in this area. The Polar Bear Express winds its way through forests, scrub brush and muskeg from Cochrane to Moosonee, at the edge of Canada's Arctic. The world-famous Agawa Canyon train excursion runs 114 miles north from Sault Ste. Marie. This attraction is particularly popular in the autumn when the fall colours are breathtaking. Sault Ste. Marie offers a number of tourist attractions, including the new Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre which traces the history of bush flying and forest fire fighting in the northern wilderness. The "Soo" locks, some of the busiest in the world, allow huge ocean-going vessels passage between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, and visitors can take a boat cruise around the busy harbour area and through these locks.
Groups wishing to try their luck at gambling might consider travelling just across the international bridge to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan where the Kewadin Casino Hotel and Convention Center offers slots, blackjack, roulette and other gaming activities. Continuing east along the Trans-Canada Highway, some groups may travel south on Highway 6 at Espanola and on to Manitoulin Island, the world's largest freshwater island, stopping at Ten Mile Scenic Lookout before arriving at South Baymouth to board the Chi-Cheemaun ferry for the two-hour crossing to Tobermory.
The city of Sudbury offers a unique combination of natural and created wonders. Lying in the midst of a vast geological basin that yields a wealth of precious metals, Sudbury boasts the world's largest concentration of nickel. Its most famous landmark, in fact, is a 30-foot high replica of a Canadian five-cent piece. Other important attractions include Science North, with its IMAX® theatre and the new Dynamic Earth exhibit.
The eastern-most city, North Bay, offers visitors a lovely downtown shopping district and rejuvenated harbour area, with cruises on-board the Chief Commanda II. And don't miss the Dionne Quints Museum, displaying memorabilia from the lives of these five astonishing girls. The nearby Canadian Ecology Centre outside of Mattawa offers comfortable overnight accommodation in cabins outfitted with computers and Internet access.
Day 1: Arrive in Sudbury and make a photo stop at the city's most famous landmark, the Big Nickel. Adjacent to this is the new Dynamic Earth exhibit where visitors enter a network of tunnels and journey through the history of mining from the turn of the 20th century through to the present led by retired miners. Check-in at the Travelodge Sudbury. Some may want to take in a movie at the nearby IMAX® theatre.
Day 2: This morning, visit Science North, a hands-on museum housed in two snowflake-shaped buildings. Visitors have the opportunity to pet a porcupine, lie on a bed of nails or watch a spectacular 3D film and laser show in a theatre blasted out of solid rock. After lunch, head north to Timmins and enjoy dinner in the hotel.
Day 3: Today, depart the hotel early to arrive in Cochrane in time for the 8:30 a.m. departure of the Polar Bear Express. Board the train, complete with dining and entertainment cars, for a four-hour journey past tranquil lakes and over roaring rivers. Upon arrival at Moosonee, Two Bay Tours escorts visitors on a four-hour tour program, transporting them by cruise boat from Moosonee to Ontario's oldest English settlement on Moose Factory Island. Stops include St. Thomas' Church, the reconstructed Hudson's Bay Company Staff House, the pioneer cemetery and the blacksmith's shop. Native Cree offer handmade crafts for sale and bannock bread baked over an open fire is always a highlight. Return to the Timmins hotel late in the evening.
Day 4: This morning, experience the Timmins Gold Mine Tour, a unique journey 200 feet below ground. Retired miners share colourful stories and demonstrate mining equipment. On the surface, visitors re-live the gold rush era, panning for gold and learning about a miner's hard life. Gold-pouring demonstrations, a scenic prospector's trail, restaurant, gallery and gift shop are available. Travel south along the Trans-Canada Highway to the city of North Bay. Tour the Dionne Quints Museum, featuring the original log farmhouse which was the 1934 birthplace of these famous identical girls. Check-in at the full service Best Western Lakeshore Hotel, right across from Lake Nipissing. After dinner, enjoy an evening stroll along the beautiful sand beaches.
Day 5: Today's journey features a full-day driving excursion from the picturesque town of Mattawa (one hour east of North Bay) to the Quebec town of Temiscaming. This scenic adventure provides magnificent vistas of unspoiled wilderness and mighty waterways. Visitors may tour an operating pulp & paper mill before their return journey. The new Canadian Ecology Centre near Mattawa offers accommodation, dining and outdoor activities for guests. Groups returning to North Bay can enjoy an evening sunset cruise of Lake Nipissing on board the Chief Commanda II, a three-decked catamaran-style vessel.
- Ontario's Near North-Almaguin Nipissing Travel Association: Phone (705) 474-6634, Fax (705) 474-9271, Toll Free 1-800-387-0516 (U.S./Canada), Website: www.ontariosnearnorth.on.ca
- Cities of the Northeast: Phone (705) 474-0400, Fax (705) 474-4493, Toll Free 1-800-665-8913
- Sudbury Tourism: Phone (705) 674-4455, Fax (705) 671-6767, Toll Free at 1-877-304-8222, Website: www.sudburytourism.ca
- City of North Bay Tourism: Phone (705) 474-0400, Fax (705) 495-0936, Website: www.city.north-bay.on.ca
- Rainbow Country Travel Association: Phone (705) 522-0104, Fax (705) 522-3132, Toll Free 1-800-465-6655 (U.S./Canada), Website: www.rainbowcountry.com
- Algoma Kinniwabi Travel Association: Phone (705) 254-4293, Fax (705) 254-4892, Toll Free 1-800-263-2546, Website www.algomacountry.comhttp://www.algomacountry.com
- Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation: Phone (705) 759-5432, Fax (705) 759-2185, Toll Free 1-800-461-6020, Website: www.sault-canada.com
- Cochrane Timiskaming Travel Association: Phone (705) 360-1989, Fax (705) 268-5526, Toll Free 1-800-461-3766, Website: www.jamesbayfrontier.com
- Travelodge Hotel Sudbury: 1401 Paris Street, Sudbury, Ontario P3E 3B6. Phone (705) 522-1100, Fax (705)522-1668, Toll Free 1-800-578-7878 (U.S./Canada)
- Best Western Lakeshore Hotel: 700 Lakeshore Drive, North Bay, Ontario P1A 2G4. Phone (705) 474-5800, Fax (705) 474-8699, Toll Free 1-800-461-6199 (Canada)
- Kewadin Casinos Hotel & Convention Center: 2186 Shunk Road, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783. Phone (906) 632-0530, Fax (906) 635-4753, Toll Free 1-800-KEWADIN (U.S./Canada), Website: http://www.kewadin.com
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