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Wawa - Algoma Country

"A Diamond in the Rough”

Be it summer or winter, Wawa offers a multitude of activities geared to the avid outdoorsman or the weekend family camper. 

Approaching Wawa, I realize that this is a special place. Whether I am traveling west from the Sault, or East from Thunder Bay/Nipigon, I witness breathtaking scenery - the vast openness of Lake Superior and the enveloping closeness of the woodland forest. 

Whenever I have to travel now, I make sure that I have my camera and field glasses and that I stop at one of the many roadside rest areas along the way. I may be lucky and spy a “salty” on its way to the Lakehead or making its way back east, laden with grain. Occasionally I will just sit and take in the grandeur of the largest freshwater lake in the world. 

One of the things I still find amazing is the abundance of wildlife sightings: moose, bears, a lone wolf and one that I will never forget, a doe with her fawn crossing Highway 17. And of course, I have photos of my kids posed beside one of Canada’s most famous roadside attractions, a 2 tonne, 28 foot high Canada goose welcoming people to Wawa. 

A few years ago, I spent some time in one of the area’s campground sites. As is the custom in campgrounds, one gets to meet and talk to a wide variety of people. It is amazing the things one can learn around a campfire! The reasons these people gave for being in the region were as varied as they were. 
A couple told me about their canoe trips along the Lake Superior Park coastline. A few mentioned the hiking trails, especially the Magpie Trail that follows the Magpie River to Scenic High Falls ending at Silver Falls. Others related tales of fishing holidays and “the one that got away”. Some spoke of the quiet, peaceful “return to nature” atmosphere found in the area. 

Some spoke of seeing traditional dancing at the annual Native Gathering while others lauded the talent showcased at the Summer Musicfest. 

One couple I happen to meet were going to try their luck (again!) at the annual Salmon Derby (“$20,000 in cash and prizes!”) And if that wasn’t enough, these same fisher-people were looking forward to the Wawa Lake Trout Ice Fishing Derby (“Over $80,000 in cash and prizes including a pick up truck, snowmobile, trailers!”). 

I remember one night, sitting around the campfire with some of our new friends, listening to stories of snowmobile treks. Apparently our campfire-mates participate in something they call the “Superior Snow Challenge Loop” that can take them from Wawa to Dubreuilville, Hornepayne, Manitouwadge, Marathon and White River. (These people call this a holiday? I still get shivers!)

Wawa (Ojibway for “Wild Goose”) is a recreational haven, no matter the taste – truly “A Diamond in the Rough”.

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