Riding Lake Temiskaming and the Ottawa River

Discover a PWC adventure on this day-long itinerary full of historic towns and scenic landmarks.

Natural and varied landscapes guide your PWC cruise on Lake Temiskaming and the Ottawa River. Lake Temiskaming is 110 km long and flows into the Ottawa River at Opimika Narrows and is navigable to Témiscaming, Quebec. There it flows over a dam with the provincial border of Ontario and Quebec running down the length of the river. The shorelines are heavily forested with coniferous and deciduous trees. Fishing is popular in the region with anglers on both Lake Temiskaming and the Ottawa River. 

plan your PWC trip to Lake Temiskaming and the Ottawa River

Your journey begins here: at the boat launch in New Liskeard, Ontario

From Toronto or Ottawa, New Liskeard is about 6 hours travel time so you’ll want to stay a couple of days to really be able to enjoy the region. Staying at the Waterfront Inn in New Liskeard puts you right next door to the double-wide launch ramp on Riverside Drive. Parking is free with ample trailer parking. The Waterfront Inn boasts lake view rooms, a large patio at their restaurant, and access to the waterfront pool and fitness center that is linked to the Inn with a walkway. Downtown is walking distance so you can check out some of the local eateries and shopping when you’re not touring with your PWC on the water. 

historic towns, scenic landmarks, and strange sights await

Check out Canada's Largest Mansion—this 65,000-square-foot spectacle is also for sale.

You’ll want to launch your PWC early in the day as it’s a long ride to Témiscaming and back. Head south along the western shoreline of Lake Temiskaming to Haileybury where you will come across what could have been a spectacular mansion. It is an unfinished shell of a building and unoccupied. Peter Grant, head of the Grant Forest Products company began building this mansion to be used as his home and corporate office in 2005. Plans included an art gallery, waterfalls, and 30 foot fireplaces among other luxuries. Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis bankrupted both his company and himself. This 65,000 square foot house which is billed as “Canada’s Largest Mansion” sits uninhabited, off limits and for sale. You can ride your PWC along the shoreline and into the small artificial harbour. Float in front of the boat house door and imagine how many PWCs could be berthed within. Take your photos and dream about what could have been had this building been finished. 

Devil’s Rock

The silver mine

Continue riding your PWC south to Devil’s Rock located on the Ontario side. Devil’s Rock is a towering cliff rising 300m above Lake Temiskaming. Study it long enough and you will see faces in the rock formations. Closer to the water you will also see a number of rectangular caves hewn into the rock. These are the remnants of old silver mines from the Silver Rush of the early 1900s. You can venture close as the water at the rock face is quite deep. 

Make a stop at Ville-Marie, Quebec

Heading further south on the lake, make a stop at Ville-Marie, Quebec. Dock at the marina, refuel your PWC and take a walk into town. Right near the marina is Les Chocolats Martine Maître Chocolatiere where you can treat your sweet tooth to some delectable homemade chocolates. There are also restaurants nearby including Chez Eugène and La Gauloise for a lunch stop. Check before heading out on your day trip that they are open.

Views of the OPG Lower Notch Generating Station

Riding your PWC leaving Ville-Marie head farther south on the lake to the OPG Lower Notch Generating Station on the Ontario side. The Montreal River flows through this and into Lake Temiskaming. The danger area is marked with a row of yellow buoys, but you don’t want to get too close as you’ll want to get the entire generating station into your photo. 

Continue south and enter the Ottawa River where the shorelines become mainly uninhabited with the occasional small community. Dense forests line the waters and if the wind is blowing in the right direction you can smell the pine and cedar. There are many coves and bays to stop and enjoy the natural environment while your motor is shut off. You may also see some wildlife. The water depths vary along the river occasionally reaching depths over 500 feet. You can watch the depths change rather quickly on your sonar as you zip along the river.

Reaching Témiscaming Quebec, you’ll find that the river is dammed to control water levels upstream and water flow downstream. The Anomera Pulp and Paper Mill dominates the horizon here and is the major employer in the region. If you need fuel when you arrive in Témiscaming, there is a sign at the dock with a phone number that you call. Fuel can be delivered to you at the dock upon request.

If you dock your PWC and want to go for a meal, it is a 15-minute walk into town to Brassette-Tem-Rose. This is the largest restaurant in town with seating for 200. The restaurant serves a varied menu, so there is something for everyone. 

After your stop, walk back to your PWC and make the return ride to New Liskeard. If you’re lucky enough to ride through a sun shower like we were you could be treated to a rainbow or two on the river. 

a full day (or two) of adventure

The complete ride from New Liskeard to Témiscaming and back is a full day out, so you’ll want to do this ride on one of the longer summer days and plan to spend the entire day on the water. You can also do this PWC ride over two days with one day riding the Temiskaming Shores area of Lake Temiskaming, and the other day launching from Témiscaming Quebec, and riding north to Ville Marie and back. Separating the distance into two PWC rides allows for other activities at the end of your day. It’s a great way to explore this beautiful region. 

About Marion Knaus

Marion Knaus is a Certified Fitness and Nutrition Coach and the owner of Granolala.ca who spends as much of her free time on the water as she can. Riding her Waverunner on any water body is her happy place. She is an admin with the Ontario PWC Riders Facebook group and gladly shares her PWC knowledge with anyone willing to lend an ear. 

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