Visiting Kipawa Lake, Laniel: Boating and Fishing Opportunities in Western Quebec
Wide, open spaces and waters
Laniel is both the name of a hamlet in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue district of western Quebec, and of the surrounding unorganized territory also.
While European settlement in what is now the Abitibi-Témiscamingue district occurred relatively late, First Nations have known the area for many centuries.
One of the major features of this area is the expansive Kipawa Lake (Lac Kipawa), as is the Kipawa River (Rivière Kipawa), which is a natural outflow of the Lake.
When I was travelling through this area, the locality's name, Laniel, caught my eye, since I recalled a French Prime Minister of that name (Joseph Laniel, 1889-1975)(1), who served in that office from 1953 to 1954. However, I later learned that the locality is named for Armand Laniel (1866-1928), of the Oblate Missions, who worked to develop the area.
At Laniel, a large tourist map proclaims visitor opportunities at the labyrinthine Lake Kipawa as offering '1600 km of adventures'. There are many boating and fishing opportunities on the Lake. At Laniel, a boathouse is a local landmark. Fish in Lake Kipawa include walleye, trout and northern pike. Kipawa Lodge, at a location known as Edwards' Narrows, is known for its hunting and fishing tours.
Within the Lake itself, there is a number of large islands. These include McKenzie Island (île McKenzie) and île aux Ours .
Prominent, historical mural art also reminds visitors of the village's past.
Area communications with floatplanes are enhanced by Témiscaming / Lac Kipawa Water Aerodrome, situated 11 kilometres northeast of Témiscaming.
A clear skies view...
Visitors — especially from Western European countries — to North America and Canada in particular are often struck by the sheer vastness of the continent. Among the Canadian provinces, the sheer dimensions of Quebec are no exception, and impressions of vastness, fresh air and clear skies are especially to be found in western Quebec, in which Kipawa is situated. 'Getting away from it all' is a truism, but in places such as this, truisms seem to rebound and re-challenge the wordsmith seeking pithy ways to describe what is on offer here. Vastness and isolation can be theorized in the armchair; at Kipawa, the scale of outdoors is something which may truly be felt...
This vastness and isolation increase during the winter months. While in summer Kipawa attracts visitors, who — so to speak — put it on the map, yet once the Quebec winter takes hold its sheer isolation, only partly mitigated by Route 101, becomes marked. While the presence of Route 101 at the village make Kipawa to be known as a locality that one passes through, it truly deserves to be a place that people specially travel to.
(1) Joseph Laniel, despite the relative shortness of his Prime Ministerial term of office, was actually one of the more successful statesmen under France's 4th Republic who managed to stave off for more than a year the very frequent ministerial crises so common under that particular constitution.
(2) Oblate Armand Laniel is an example of one of a number of clerical individuals who are noted for their role in encouraging settlement in formerly — and still — sparsely populated areas of Quebec.
Also worth visiting
Fort Témiscamingue , Ville-Marie (distance: 30.5 kilometres) is a National Historic Site.
Témiscaming (distance: 48.4 kilometres) has a local history museum in the former railroad station.
Notre-Dame-du-Nord (distance: 73.0 kilometres) is a scenic vacation centre on Lake Temiscaming, which is also known for its Truck Rodeo (Rodéo du camion).
How to get there: Air Canada flies from Toronto Pearson Airport to North Bay Airport, where car rental is available. From North Bay (distance 115.5 km), take Highway 63 north to Thorne and Témiscaming and thence Highway 101 north ('Route 101 ') to Laniel . Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.