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Visiting Témiscaming, Quebec: deep waters and profound impressions

Updated on July 12, 2012
Flag of Quebec
Flag of Quebec | Source
Ornate fountain in downtown Temiscaming, in view of surrounding forests
Ornate fountain in downtown Temiscaming, in view of surrounding forests | Source
Lake Temiscaming, with remains of Fort Temiscaming in the foreground
Lake Temiscaming, with remains of Fort Temiscaming in the foreground | Source
Map location of Temiscaming, Quebec
Map location of Temiscaming, Quebec | Source

"Long live the forest"!

Although there are variant spellings of Témiscaming, in French and English usage, yet for the purposes of this hubpage written in English by an Ontario-based writer, the spelling, above, will be used. But the word itself is derived from Algonquin — a First Nations language — and it means 'deep waters'.

The name of the town of Témiscaming refers to the elongated lake of the same name, stretching far north from the town, and the waters of this lake are deep indeed, in places, up to 216 metres. Put into perspective, when one considers that the average depth of Lake Erie is 19 metres, this is a very deep lake, and it shows how apt was the First Nations' naming of the Lake.

The town of Témiscaming is situated on the Ottawa River (Rivière des Outaouais ), which, north of the town, opens out into Lake Temiscaming, from whence its waters are derived. When I visited Témiscaming, I gained the thorough impression that waters — and forest — are defining keys to understanding the town.

Museum, falls and forest views

Témiscaming's railroad Museum (Musée de la Gare ) is housed in the former Canadian Pacific Railroad station in rue Humphrey. Some of the temporary and permanent exhibits include material about the history of immigration to the district. (Let me make a personal remark here: ancestors of my wife came to Témiskaming in the 19th century up the Ottawa River on the Meteor .)

The motto of the Town of Témiscaming is 'Long live the forest' (Vive la forêt ), as befits a place which is profoundly linked to the forests of the surrounding area, both in terms of the local economy — the paper industry is long established in the town — and recreational opportunities. A waterfall along the ruisseau Gordon (Gordon Creek), and a lookout point by rue du Belvédère with excellent forest views contribute to the scenic attractions of the town.

Venetian fountain created by Norwegian-Canadian C B Thorne

A set of ornate fountains was erected over 80 years ago by a prominent local businessman, Norwegian-Canadian C B Thorne, may be viewed at the intersection of chemin Kipawa (Kipawa Road) and rue Outlook (Outlook Street) . The Venetian fountain display follows an Italian theme: ornate bronze figures rise atop a well of Florentine marble.

Historical note: The community of Thorne, Ontario , on the southern side of the Ottawa River from Témiscaming is named for C B Thorne, although it was formerly known as 'Thorneville', later shortened to 'Thorne'.

Fort by the lake

87 km north of the Town of Témiscaming is Fort Témiscamingue , a National Historic Site, near the town of Ville-Marie.

This picturesque fort was founded as a trading post in about 1679 by the government of New France, and was later taken over successively by the North West Company and the Hudson Bay Company, with the fur trade being particularly active.

Also worth seeing

Laniel, 48 km north of the town of Témiscaming, is where the Kipawa River (la rivière Kipawa ), flows into Lake Kipawa (le lac Kipawa ); a boathouse is among the local landmarks.

...

How to get there: Air Canada flies from Toronto Pearson Airport to North Bay Airport, where car rental is available. From North Bay, take Highway 63 north to Thorne and Témiscaming (distance 67 km). For Lake Témiscaming and Fort Témiscaming from the town, take Highway 101 north ('Route 101 '). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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