My Journey North Continued To The Sleepy, Scenic And Historic Town Of Mattawa In Ontario Canada

My Journey North Continued To The Sleepy, Scenic And Historic Town Of Mattawa In Ontario Canada

Mattawa Canada (16 of 45)
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After my early morning walk in the Otter Creek Nature Preserve in Alexandria Bay New York I was soon on the road again. My next stop was  Mattawa in Ontario. It was a 4 1/2 hour drive.  I  never heard of it before I planned this trip a few weeks ago. I  only knew it was  the half way point between Alexandria Bay and my final destination, by Jeep, in Cochrane. My iPhone navigation didn’t have  me  drive  into Canada on Interstate Highway 81 , as I did on my previous trips here , but took me west and crossed the border into Canada on the Johnston  Bridge.  I had to show my passport at customs, and, after a cha with a border agent asked a few questions, I was on my way. 

I then drove north and eventually got on Highway 17,  a segment of  the Trans-Canada highway. There was more traffic, and less towns, restaurants and gas stations then I had anticipated when planning this trip. In fact, I searched for a place to eat breakfast from when I left Alexandria Bay. I like to eat in family owned restaurants and diners and wasn’t interested in the Tim Horton ‘s  or other  fast food restaurants  I saw along the way. 

I was hungry so. looking at my navigation maps , I saw there were some restaurants in the town of Pembroke. Pembroke was about half way on my drive to Mattawa.  So I drove a few miles off of Highway 17 looking for a place to eat in downtown Pembroke. I was surprised how busy the downtown was.  I parked in   strip mall and roamed the streets of  the bustling downtown. I  crossed a bridge over the Muskrat River,

and past the historic City Hall building. I learned the city began as transportation center on the Ottawa river for the large timber operations and continued to grow when it was made the county seat. 

I found a nice restaurant,  the Courtyard Bistro,  which was crowded, and had a nice meal, the coconut curry with black tiger shrimp. 

After lunch I roamed the streets for a bit and was soon back on the road again. It was another two hour drive to Mattawa and I arrived at the Le Voyageur Inn  around   3 p.m.

My room was ready. It was cozy and comfortable.  After quickly settling in, I was off to explore  this quiet and historic town. 

It was an unseasonably hot day for late May. Temperatures were in the mid 80’s. The streets were quiet in the afternoon heat.  I saw few people and little traffic as I walked past the residences, 

the Post Office,

and some of the businesses. 

The smell of lilacs was everywhere. These flowers were in full bloom,. They bloomed in early May back  in my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  It  seemed every yard  had some of these  pretty  pink and purple flowers. The aroma seemed even stronger in the hot afternoon heat. They  made my exploratory walk even more pleasant. 

I walked  to the Mattawa River, 

then to it’s confluence with the much larger Ottawa River. 

This confluence was used by the Native Americans to reach the Great Lakes.  In  the early 17th century Etienne Brute and Samuel de Champlain explored this area. They marked the meeting of these two rivers with three crosses. The original crosses are long gone but three crosses still mark the confluence of these two rivers. This was the gateway to the lucrative fur trading areas of the Great Lakes. 

Later the lumber industry came to this area and their are still lumber mills in the town .

I wanted to look for some birds and wildlife so I walked over to the Mattawa Island Conservation  Area.

This nature preserve si located on an island in the Mattawa River.  There are also recreational facilities here including a playground and  picnic areas. It was nice to see a group of  children swimming in  the Mattawa River.. 

I followed a short trail into the woods,

and was surprised to see a lot of bird activity. It was late afternoon and I believe the birds, including a lot of yellow warblers welcomed the cooling temperatures. 

I also saw  a few gray  catbirds, 

a red eyed vireo, 

a large and loud flock of common grackles 


I also saw a few cedar waxwings. I was very surprised, and pleased to see  so many different birds.  One of the reasons for my travels north was to see the many birds that migrate here from their winter homes in  the southern United States, Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands. 

I walked he trail to the river’s edge. and left as I was being attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. I forgot to apply insect repellent. 

I crossed the bridge over the Mattawa River and walked back into town. 

I roamed the streets, checking out the local businesses and their advertisements, 

and admired the large wooden statues,

that were located throughout the town. The statues  were depictions of  the many explores and other historical figures from the Mattawa region .

I walked along the Ottawa River where I saw another bird. one of my favorite, a common loon, swimming, and diving on the river. I love heir haunting calls and was hoping to see and hear them on my trip. Well I at least saw one now. Here is a link to a gallery on my  blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hikes. Mattawa Canada birds May 31 2023. 

It was late afternoon now and  I walked back to the hotel, first walking past a church

and this abandoned old house. I wondered who lived here and why it was now vacant. 

I then walked along the railroad right of way that ran on the outskirts of the town and crossed the Ottawa River. I would have loved to follow them for a couple of miles

. But it was a long day of driving and hiking so I returned to my room where I showered and  decided to have dinner in the  Thai restaurant in the hotel . I hade a nice meal starting with a bowl of spicy tom yum soup 

and a spicier seafood curry dish, They were both very good. I wanted to head back to the river at dusk to listen for the loon, but, after my long day of driving and exploring I was  asleep at 9 p.m. It was a great day and I feel asleep looking forward to the next day’s adventures.   Here is a link to a photo gallery where more photos from visit to Mattawa are displayed.  Mattawa Canada May 31 2023. 

“All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.”  Jack Kerouac

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