Come Wander
Lake Clear Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live more, be more.

It’s time to rediscover the Ottawa Valley, dive deep to explore its secrets, and remind yourself why everyone is proud to call this land home.

To Our Community

It really is the people of the Valley that make it so special. Wander through our friendly communities and remind yourself of all the ways the region brings unparalleled adventure, and how Valley folk are kind and generous, ready to give you the shirt off their backs.

…thank you for always being there

Barry's-Bay-Farmers-Market

Rediscover Your Communities: Rediscover why the communities throughout the Ottawa Valley are so special. Wander downtown Pembroke, known as the Heart of the Ottawa Valley and tour local history visually through more than 30 outdoor murals. Treat yourself to a piece of Paris with a crepe from The Nook Creperie or enjoy a bit of southwest flare at Janna & Kerry’s Over Easy Bar & Grill.  Say hello to the local shopkeepers who will have just what you’re looking for at Pick-It Fence in Renfrew or Dot Boutique in Pembroke. Find local and Canadian-made goodness at Gearheads, MAD Outdoors and Barry’s Bay Outfitters will have your local gear and time to give you the inside scoop on where to go and what to do to explore the Ottawa Valley.

To Our Scenery

Feel free to let your imagination wander here; after all, the Ottawa Valley is where artists are forged among craggy cliffs and turbulent waterways. The Group of Seven were among the many artists who saw the wonder of the Valley and wandered its soil to honour their inspiration. If you happen across an artist at work on a quiet, tree-lined street, or out in the wild, step quietly so as not to disturb their muse.

…thank you for inspiring us.

Tom's-Lookout

Rediscover Our Artists: Wilno and the surrounding hills of the Bonnechere and Madawaska Valleys are full of colour year-round thanks to a collection of multi-media artists who find inspiration in their everyday surroundings. Pay a visit to an art studio to witness a masterpiece in creation. Learn about the craft of natural skin care products with a visit to Sigrid’s Naturals or the art of blacksmithing at Madawaska Metal Works.While the Madawaska Valley Studio Tour may not be happening this fall, many of the artist’s studios are open by chance or by appointment. Indulge your own creativity with a painting course and capture the beauty of the region on your own canvas.

To Our Skies

We live on an incredible planet and some of the most natural places in Ontario can be found in the Ottawa Valley. Bordering the endless forests of Algonquin Park and the rushing waters of the Ottawa River, the Valley’s rolling hills and lush farmlands are home to more than 400 species of wildlife, including moose, deer, otter and lynx. This is where the wild things live, and where we go to renew our connection with Mother Nature.

…thank you for giving us the space we need.

Bonnechere-River

Rediscover Our Wild Places: Spend a day, weekend, or full week in our wild spaces. Get cozy under the stars at Driftwood Provincial Park or stay in a yurt at the Covered Bridge Park. Wake up to the sound of loons from your private cabin at Spectacle Lake Lodge before you head out on the lake to catch lunch. Take in the scenery as you explore the network of trails on nearby Bear & Burnetts Mountains. Take in our majestic viewpoints to catch a breath, visit endless lakes to cast a line and land the big one for dinner, or dig beneath the surface at the Beryl Pit mine to try your hand at rockhounding.

To Our Lakes and Rivers

For millions of years the powerful and majestic Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers shaped the landscape of the Ottawa Valley, and their influence on the culture and people here continues to this day. Whether it’s discovering the thrill of whitewater, diving into the water at a local beach, or taking a sedate dip of the paddle in on one of the Valley’s lakes and rivers, the call of the water has always been strong here.

…thank you for motivating us to explore.

Ottawa-River

Rediscover Our Waterways: Pick a new paddle route to explore by canoe, kayak or SUP. Discover the network of islands on the Ottawa River by launching your vessel of choice at Petawawa Point or guide your canoe or kayak through the rapids of the Lower Madawaska River Provincial Park. Don’t forget your rod and tackle! Our lakes and rivers offer plenty of opportunities to land that fresh catch of the day.

To Our Forests

A forest is one of those rare places you can both lose yourself and find yourself at the same time. In the Ottawa Valley our forests are legendary – leafy and mysterious regions that entice you to explore for both playful or mindful moments. Challenge yourself on winding trails, then lose yourself in your surroundings. Listen to the rustle of leaves, the music of birdsong, and the collective exhalation of the world around you – this is the Valley.

…thank you for the fresh air we breathe.

Shaw-Woods

Rediscover our Forests: Look out over the vast forests of the Ottawa Valley and wonder at how small we really are. Spend the day exploring the Manitou Mountain Trail in Calabogie or discovering the multitude of trails along the Upper Bonnechere River. For the two-wheeled explorer, the Forest Lea and BORCA mountain biking trail systems offer a variety of loops and routes to choose from. Breathe deeply of the clean, pure air, courtesy of Mother Nature.

With love,

From the Wanderer inside all of us XOXO

Stories

Shiver-Worthy Spooky Spots

There’s something lingering in the air throughout October, leading up to the culmination of all things spooky on its final day – Halloween.   October starts with the summer’s lush canopy of green bidding a final farewell through a stunning display of vibrant colours. When the leaves die off and settle as a multi-coloured blanket on the forest floor, and the fog rolls in over the lakes and […]

Food for Thought: Responsible Tourism Through Food

Raise your hand if you’re all about snacks while hiking, camp meals on the fire, or cabin feasts with friends? (we’re going to go ahead and assume that your hand is up because all these things are awesome). Plant life contributes to the ecosystem, meals are the cornerstone of communities, and packing the right food […]

4 Ways to Connect with the Land

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. The next time you are outdoors, take a moment to stand and truly feel of the land beneath your feet. If you concentrate really hard you may be […]

Connecting to the Land and Algonquin History: Amber Hein

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. On my mother’s side, I am Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. The traditional homelands of the Algonquin people are the […]

How to Give Back to the Land

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. – Amber Hein is Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. Read her perspective on how to give back to the land […]

Educate Yourself About Indigenous People and their Cultures

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canadians are becoming more aware of the injustices perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples since settlers arrived on the shores of Turtle Island (North America). Still, many of us aren’t […]

Responsible Tourism: Be a Better Ally to First Nations peoples

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canada is home to more than 630 First Nations, representing over 50 sovereign nations with their own lands, culture, language, creation stories, language or dialect. With such a […]

Fall Studio Tours, Theatre, Maple, and More

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. The summer may be over but that doesn’t mean the party has to stop. Events that take place in fall are in many ways even more amazing than summer events – there are no bugs, the weather is more reasonable, and we’re all eager […]

Responsible Tourism: Respecting Nature’s Soundscape

When you hike, is it to experience nature? Perhaps catch up with friends? Whether if it’s one or the other – or maybe both! – nothing trumps taking a pause to listen to nature’s ‘music’. There is beauty is listening to bird songs, frogs’ choruses, and the wind through the trees. In fact, it’s an […]

3-Day Creative Retreat

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. A creative spirit craves uninterrupted time to dream, wander, and replenish. It longs to absorb the creative vibes from others and bask in beautiful art and artistry. If your creative well has run dry or you are looking for an inspirational retreat to relax […]

Translating the Vibe in Haliburton: Nick and Benton

“In every season, Haliburton is inspiring – the pace, vibe and cottage feel creates the perfect setting for creativity.” ~ Nick Russell & Benton Brown, Haliburton musicians Picture this: You are at the cottage seated with friends and/or family around a roaring bonfire, the low murmur of voices competing against a chorus of crickets and […]

Find Inspiration in Ontario’s Highlands

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. We all want to be able to make beautiful music, paint stunning works of art or write beautiful prose, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? It’s fair to say that fostering creativity is difficult to achieve in a […]

Get the Most Out of a River Experience

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Getting to know a river is almost like embarking on a wet and wild love affair. You forge a connection, learn everything you can, and then strengthen it over time. Sounds like a relationship, doesn’t it? The connection you have with a body of […]

Responsible Tourism: Discover the Benefits of Local Travel

When was the last time you discovered a local landmark or business that you didn’t know was there? In Ontario’s Highlands, we have some amazing spots and experiences that you might be surprised to hear about. For example, did you know the longest canopy boardwalk in the world is located in Haliburton Highlands? Or that […]

Finding Beauty in the Everyday: Meet Rosemary Leach, Almonte Artist

The community of Almonte has a habit of creating and fostering artists, a trend that’s perpetuated in the work and life of Almonte artist, Rosemary Leach. Rosemary and her husband, Jake, originally hail from Toronto and Peterborough, respectively, and intentionally went looking for a community with an unhurried pace in which to settle down when […]

The Evolution of Art: Wendy Wood, Haliburton Artist

Haliburton artist, Wendy Wood, has lived everywhere from Kapuskasing to the shores of Lake Erie, but says nothing can compare to the creative atmosphere in Haliburton, particularly when it comes to fostering art and artists. “There’s a little bit of everything here,” Wendy explained. “The art school here draws everybody…you have top-notch teachers then people […]

Light Up the Holidays

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  When the holiday decorations go up in December the whole world begins to shimmer with magic. Every car ride or stroll is filled with wonder as we drink in the night filled with sparkling holiday lights of all colours. For the next […]

Local Love: 9 Local Gift Ideas You Can Order Online Today

‘Tis the season – for shopping. Yes, the leaves may have barely fallen from the trees but the jack-o-lanterns will shortly be switched out for ornaments and holly and the days are numbered before the holidays are here live and in person. This year when planning your shopping to-do list, we have two words for […]

Finding Good Medicine on Thunderbird Mountain

Having a guide can turn an everyday hike into the most amazing adventure. Although I’d hiked on my own in the past, making the hike with Tim Yearington of Bird Mountain Journeys wove together a story that allowed a deeper connection and different outlook on nature and history. It gave me a greater outlook on […]

Haunted Walks and Hair-Raising Ghost Tours

Have you ever wandered through an older building and felt the hair raise on the back of your neck, and not been sure why? It may be you are sensing something that others aren’t, some spooky aftereffect from a historical wrongdoing or the ghostly pinings of a disgruntled spirit. Many small communities in Ontario’s Highlands […]

The Artist’s Way

Who says art can only be found in big galleries or urban showrooms? To find fantastic local and Canadian art you need to head to the places that inspire artists to create, and Ontario’s Highlands is among the most beautiful places in Ontario (in our humble opinion). Beyond the inspiration found in the rugged hills […]

Big Attractions in Ontario

Are you the type to pull over when you see a comically large roadside attraction, or a picture-perfect spot to snap a few shots? Amateur photographers and Instagrammers alike can agree that a giant ice cream cone, a massive mural adorning the side of a building, or a full-size replica of a jet plane are […]

Ground to Glass

Discover how four craft drink makers harness Mother Nature’s flavours to elevate their beverages in Ontario’s Highlands.

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

This year the key to exploring is to keep it local; this is the time to explore our own backyards, and the regions close to home that have so much to offer us in the way of exhilarating outdoor experiences, fantastic food and drink, and blissful relaxation. If you’re exploring a new corner of Ontario’s […]

Get in Step

April Verch, fiddler, singer-songwriter and step dancer extraordinaire teaches the basics of stepdancing.

Exhale and Unwind

Experience a slice of farm life at Dwyer’s Farmhouse in the Ottawa Valley.

Discover Hidden Gems

Feed your curiosity and explore the diverse geology of Ontario’s Highlands at these Recreational Geology locations.

Shine at Giving this Holiday Season

Today’s craft markets are full of fresh, hip products made by creative and talented makers. This holiday season, go above and beyond by picking up handmade items with a story to tell at one of these Ontario holiday markets.

Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

Batter up!

Get a behind the scenes look into the world of baseball at Sam Bat.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Find out where to appease your creative side on this Creative Cruiser road trip.

The Creative Cruiser

I’m a Creative Cruiser. I wander with a desire to feed my curiosity, to follow my passions, and to grow from my discoveries.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Hidden Gems

Seven charming museums in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Discover breathtaking beauty blasted from the Earth at Marmora Mine in Ontario’s Highlands.