Routes - Algonquin Canoe Company
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In the Anishnabe language, Kebaouek means “at the narrows beyond which more water opens out”. Local elders say the term applies to all of Lake Kipawa, and refers to its many hidden arms and bays. What is now called the Kipawa River, runs through much of the traditional territory of what are now the Wolf Lake and Eagle Village First Nations. From its head waters at Matawashkwia Sagahigan (Grassy Lake), the river flows westward Mahingan Sagahigan (Wolf Lake), then southward through Minitigagook Sagahigan (Brennan Lake or Lac Sairs) and westward to Lake Kipawa..

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How the Dumoine got its French name of ‘Monk River’ is not known. The elders still call the Dumoine the Agwanagwasis or blood wood river. It appears under that name on several early maps of New France, including a 1725 map of the Temiscamingue fur trade district.

Double KayakersThe river takes its rise in Grand Lac Dumoine, known in Anishnabe as Kiwegoma Sagahigan, or turn-back lake.. This refers to an unusual feature which existed untilthe building of a control dam near Grassy Lake. The waters of Lac Dumoine formerly floowed into the Ottawa from two directions, both westward through Grassy Lake and the Kipawa River, and southward by way of the Dumoine. This easily accessible water route enabled Wolf Lake and other Anishnabec people, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to trade with French and English merchants both on Lake Temiskaming and at various posts along the lower Ottawa.

This is a popular intermediate whitewater route.


The Coulonge River is named after Louis d’Ailleboust, Sieur de la Madeleine et de Coulonge, who built a trade post at the mouth of that river in 1694-95. He was a member of the same Montreal merchant family that operated the post at Matabichewan on Lake Temiskaming. On early French maps, the Coulonge appears as the Rivière des Calumets, or ‘pipe River’, which was probably a translation of its original Anishnabe name. On his first exploratory voyage up the Ottawa River in 1613, Samuel de Champlain discovered that the Alonquin people who inhabited Calumet Island, opposite what is now Fort Coulonge, as well as nearby Allumette and Morrison Islands, levied tolls on all canoes passing up and down the Ottawa.

In the nineteenth century, the Mitcikinabik Inik or Algonquins of Barriere Lake, as well as other neighbouring Anishnabec, used the Coulonge River as their main travel route between the upper and lower Ottawa Rivers.


Matabichewan means ‘where the stream enters the lake’. This refers to the broad estuary on the west (Ontario) side of Lake Temiskaming formed by the mouths of what are now known as the Matabichewan and Montreal Rivers. The Matabichewan River is part of an interior canoe route connecting Lake Temiskaming to Lake Nipissing, by way of Lake Temagami and the Sturgeon River. The much larger Montreal River (Moniang sipi), which has its headwaters near Matachewan, Ontario, was once part of an alternate canoe route to James Bay, by way of the Mattagami and Moose Rivers. The many rapids on the lower part of the Montreal River were flooded out by hydro development in the 1960’s.

As early as 1679, French traders established a post on an island (now partly submerged) in the Matabichewan estuary in order to trade with local Algonquin people. Though the traders eventually moved their operations across the lake to what is now the Fort Temiscamingue National Historic Site, Matabichewan remained a seasonal gathering place, particularly for members of the Mazinakijik family, traditional chiefs of the Timiskaming First Nation. There was formerly an excellent spring fishery at Matabichewan, as well as a very large maple sugar bush.

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Maganasipi is clearly an Anishnabe name, since it includes the word ‘sipi’ or river. But its original meaning is no longer known. The river is part of the traditional territory of what is now the Eagle Village First Nation, many of whose members had their winter hunting grounds close to Mattawa. Members of that community were still trapping on the Maganasipi in the 194’s and 1950’s.

The Maganasipi watershed was being heavily logged as early as 1869. By 1885, there were at least five timber shanties operating along the river, three of which belonged to the E.B. Eddy Company from Hull. The Maganasipi River Canyon is one of the last pristine wilderness areas on the traditional territory having only been high graded for timber in the late 1800’s.

The Algonquin Canoe Company offers canoe camping and hiking routes along the Maganasipi River


In the Anishnabe language, Kebaouek means at the narrows beyond which more water opens out. Local elders say that the term applies to all of Lake Kipawa, and refers to its many hidden arms and bays. What is now called the Kipawa River runs through much of the traditional territory of what are now the Wolf Lake and Eagle village First Nations. From its headwaters at Matawashkwia Sagahigan (Grassy Lake), the river � ows westward through Myeegan Sagahigan (Wolf Lake), then southward through Minitigagook Sagahigan (Brennan Lake or Lac Sairs) and westward to Lake Kipawa.

Lake KipawaAccording to the elders, however, only the nal stretch of water leading to Lake Temiskaming can properly be called the Kipawa River. The other sections have many different names. For example, the stretch from Grassy Lake to Watson Lake is called Matawashkwia sipi. And the long stretch from Wolf Lake to Lac Sairs is called Witigowiak sipi.

Along this river route are the remains of numerous abandoned logging camps from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, complete with stumps and rusting machinery. The red and white pine of the Kipawa region were among the last of the great forests of the Ottawa valley to be cut over, and they provided lucrative returns for many decades to lumber merchants from Pembroke, Renfrew and Ottawa.

The Kipawa River whitewater festival is celebrated each June around the time of the summer solstice. Paddlers from around the world visit to run this world class river.


The Amable du Fond River is a southern tributary of the Mattawa River. Ontario government surveyors named it after an Anishnabe hunter called Amable Dufond, who died at Mattawa in 1899. His family, whose traditional grounds included that river, had their main winter camp on Manitou Lake, in what is now Algonquin Park. The Algonquin Canoe Company offers camping and cultural tours on the Amble du Fond and outfitting services in North Algonquin Park.

Kayak Touring Routes

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Lake Temiskaming, which is actually an expansion in the upper Ottawa River, was once part of the major canoe route between the St Lawrence valley and James Bay. The original meaning of the word Temiskaming is not clear. It has been suggested that it may be a corruption of Temi agama, meaning, deep water (which is also the name of Lake Temagami in Ontario). The lake is certainly deep, reaching several hundred metres in some locations. On early French maps, the local inhabitants are frequently referred to as Timiscimi.

Lake Temiskaming is part of the traditional territories of what are now the Timiskaming, Eagle Village and Wolf Lake First Nations. Archaeological evidence shows that the ancestors of Anishnabe people were occupying the lake several thousand years ago. Gatherings took place in various locations on the lake between spring and fall, depending on the availability of local resources such as fish, big game, and migratory waterfowl. In addition to Matabichewan and the mouth of the Quinze River, other important gathering sites included the mouth of Beauchene Creek (known in Anishnabe as Kabashisipi) and Obadjiwong. The Algonquin Canoe Company offers fully serviced carefully selected campsites for paddlers on Lake Temiscaming.


When the explorer Samuel de Champlain first encountered what is now the Ottawa River, he named it the Rivière des Algoumequins, or River of the Algonquins, after the people he found living there. French missionaries and traders later called it la grande Rivière, a literal translation of Kitci’sipi, which means ‘big river’ in the Anishnabe language. Properly speaking, the term applied only to the stretch of the river below Mattawa. The upper part of the Ottawa, which flows westward from a source northwest of Maniwaki, Quebec, and then southward through Lake Temiskaming, was known to the Anishnabec by many different names.

The name Ottawa (mispronounced in French as Outaouais), is taken from the Anishnabe word Odawa, meaning ‘trader’. By the later seventeenth century, this had become an alternate name for the big river, thanks to the hundreds of trade canoes that came down every year to Montréal and Trois Rivières. These canoe parties consisted not only of Odawa people, who had their villages on Manitoulin Island and northern Lake Huron, but of many other Anishnabec from the upper great lakes and northern interior.

The Algonquin Canoe Company offers a network of kayaking routes and campsites for modern day explorers on the Ottawa River.


Lake Ostaboningue is part of a traditional interior canoe route that connected the southern part of Lake Temiskaming and Lake Kipawa to Lac Expanse and the upper portions of the Ottawa River. The Hunter’s Point settlement, where many members of the Wolf Lake First Nation lived year round until the 1960’s, is located at the mouth of the Ostaboningue River. Ostaboningue is a corruption of the actual Anishnabe word ‘Notaboaning’, which means ‘where you lick the Spoon’. This refers to a very large sugarbush that once existed on the lake and was the site for community gatherings in the springtime.

The Algonquin Canoe Company offers yurt and cabin accommodations on the Ostabonigue watershed for paddlers that prefer soft adventure.