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Exploring the Majesty of Lake Superior: A Road Trip from Toronto to Northern Ontario

Embarking on a road trip from Toronto to Lake Superior offers an incredible opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes and unique attractions of Northern Ontario. This journey, approximately 1,300 kilometers long, takes you through vibrant cities, charming small towns, and stunning natural beauty, culminating at the largest of the Great Lakes. Here's your detailed guide to making the most of this epic road trip.

A Road Trip from Toronto to Northern Ontario

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario

Start: Toronto

Before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is ready for a long trip. Check your oil, tire pressure, and coolant levels. Pack essentials including snacks, water, a first-aid kit, and entertainment options for the drive.

Day 1: Toronto to Sudbury

Distance: 400 km

Approximate Driving Time: 4.5 hours

Things to Do:

  • Barrie: Just over an hour from Toronto, consider a quick stop in Barrie. Stretch your legs with a walk along the waterfront of Kempenfelt Bay or visit the MacLaren Art Centre.

  • French River: About three hours from Toronto, stop at the French River Visitor Centre. Enjoy the stunning views from the suspension bridge overlooking the French River Gorge.

Stay Overnight in Sudbury:

Sudbury is a great place to halt for the night. Explore the Dynamic Earth and the Big Nickel, a giant replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel, or visit Science North, an interactive science museum that's fun for all ages.

Day 2: Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train
The Agawa Canyon Tour Train

Distance: 300 km

Approximate Driving Time: 3.5 hours

Things to Do:

  • Espanola: Stop in Espanola and take a short detour to the Chutes Provincial Park, known for its scenic trails and namesake waterfalls.

  • Sault Ste. Marie: Known as "The Soo," this city marks the halfway point in your journey. Explore the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site, or take a walk along the boardwalk at the Roberta Bondar Park.

Stay Overnight in Sault Ste. Marie

After a long drive, relax in Sault Ste. Marie. Enjoy local dining and prepare for the next leg of your adventure.


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Day 3: Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa

Distance: 230 km

Approximate Driving Time: 2.5 hours

Things to Do:

  • Lake Superior Provincial Park: Just north of Sault Ste. Marie, this park is a must-visit. Stop at Agawa Rock to view native pictographs by the lake, and if time permits, hike the Towab Trail to Agawa Falls.

  • Wawa: Famous for its giant Canada Goose statue, this small town offers a quirky photo op. Check out the local visitor's center for information on nearby hiking trails and scenic spots.

Stay Overnight in Wawa

Wawa provides a peaceful setting to recharge. Consider staying at a cottage or a local lodge to experience Northern Ontario's hospitality.

This concludes the first part of your road trip to Lake Superior from Toronto. You've covered significant ground and explored some of the key landmarks and natural beauties of Northern Ontario. Be sure to rest well, as the next part of the journey promises even more stunning landscapes and adventures as you approach the magnificent Lake Superior.

In the first part of our journey, we explored from Toronto to Wawa, experiencing the beauty and diversity of Northern Ontario. Now, we continue our adventure from Wawa to Lake Superior, delving deeper into the rugged landscapes and cultural heritage of this magnificent region.

Day 4: Wawa to Pukaskwa National Park

Pukaskwa National Park
Pukaskwa National Park

Distance: 195 km

Approximate Driving Time: 2 hours

Things to Do:

  • Michipicoten Post Provincial Park: Start your day with a quick visit to this historical site near Wawa, which offers insights into the fur trade era.

  • White River: The birthplace of Winnie-the-Pooh's inspiration, White River is a charming stop. Visit the Winnie-the-Pooh statue and learn about the town's connection to this beloved bear at the local museum.

Pukaskwa National Park:

As you approach Pukaskwa National Park, prepare for some of the most spectacular wilderness in Ontario. Spend the afternoon exploring:

  • Hiking Trails: The park offers a variety of trails, from the short and scenic Beach Trail to the more challenging Coastal Hiking Trail.

  • Visitor Centre: Learn about the local flora, fauna, and the Indigenous culture of the area.

Stay Overnight in or near Pukaskwa National Park:

Consider camping in the park if you’re equipped, or find accommodation in nearby Marathon. This area is ideal for stargazing, thanks to minimal light pollution.

Day 5: Pukaskwa National Park to Thunder Bay

Terry Fox National Historic Person Plaque
Terry Fox National Historic Person Plaque

Distance: 320 km

Approximate Driving Time: 4 hours

Things to Do:

  • Terrace Bay: Climb the Aguasabon Falls & Gorge viewing platform to see the waterfall and gorge. Visit the lighthouse for a panoramic view of Lake Superior.

  • Rossport: A scenic fishing village offering peaceful waterfront views and a series of small, beautiful islands that are great for kayaking or boating.

Thunder Bay:

As you arrive in Thunder Bay, there's plenty to explore:

  • Fort William Historical Park: One of the largest living history attractions in North America, depicting the days of the North West Company and the Canadian fur trade.

  • Sleeping Giant Provincial Park: Known for its dramatic mesa that resembles a "sleeping giant" when viewed from Thunder Bay, the park is excellent for hiking and offers some of the best views of Lake Superior.

Stay Overnight in Thunder Bay:

Thunder Bay offers a variety of accommodations, from hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts. Enjoy local cuisine, featuring freshly caught fish from Lake Superior.

Day 6: Exploring Thunder Bay and Departure to Toronto

Take this day to explore more of Thunder Bay before you start your journey back to Toronto or continue exploring other parts of Northern Ontario.

Additional Attractions in Thunder Bay:

  • Thunder Bay Art Gallery: Showcasing contemporary Indigenous art of the Northwestern Ontario region.

  • The Marina: Walk along the waterfront, visit boutique shops, and dine at local restaurants overlooking the lake.

Your road trip from Toronto to Lake Superior has taken you through some of Ontario’s most stunning and diverse landscapes. From historic sites and cultural exhibits to breathtaking natural beauty, this journey offers a deep connection with the heart of Canada’s wilderness and heritage.

As you prepare to head back to Toronto or venture further, reflect on the experiences and memories made. Each stop along the way not only offered its unique charm and history but also a deeper appreciation for the vast and varied landscapes of Ontario. Whether you return the way you came or explore new paths, the journey is sure to be as rewarding as the destination. Safe travels!


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