A Sustainable Trip to North Bay, Ontario

Explore this sustainable weekend itinerary in one of the province's most scenic waterfront cities.

Dreaming of sandy lake beaches, boreal forests, and farm-to-table dining? Then why not spend an active long weekend in North Bay, Northeastern Ontario? Also known as the “Gateway to the North”, its name comes from its position on the shore of Lake Nipissing, and luckily for us, it lies just a smooth 3.5-hour drive from Toronto. 

North Bay is an ideal place to visit in Ontario if you are a fan of the great outdoors yet you crave city amenities with a touch of sustainability and community living. Check out this upbeat three-day itinerary for modern ethical travellers.

Day 1: Relax and enjoy your off-grid accommodations

Beautiful scenery is a North Bay signature. 

As soon as you arrive in North Bay, you’ll be dazzled by the abundance of clean water, fresh air, and green space around you. Your best bet for authentic accommodation will be in a remote ecolodge—choose Nature’s Harmony Ecolodge or Foxfire Farm to experience off-the-grid living in yurts or cabins. If you fancy a more upscale option, head to Terrace Suites, located on the shore of Lake Nipissing and offering a comfortable and spacious wooden suite with a fireplace. 

A great start to your trip would be to spend the afternoon doing one of Canada’s favourite activities: kayaking or boating on the serene Lake Nipissing—you can rent a kayak or SUP board from Boathouse Rentals. If you are a more relaxed traveller, then hop on a lake cruise on the famous Chief Commanda II boat and enjoy delicious food and incredible live music on board.

Wind down at North Bay’s hotspot The Boat, a lakeside grill and bar where you can sip on some fresh drinks and savoury local dishes while admiring the stunning sunset views over the lake. 

Day 2: Explore North Bay's local culture, community and conservation areas

Peruse local crafts and produce at the North Bay Farmers' Market. 

Get a sense of the area’s friendly and vibrant community life by starting the day at North Bay’s Farmers' Market. Taste organic locally grown food and buy hand-made souvenirs. You can also do some shopping at The Farm Fashion store, which sells ethical and zero-waste products ranging from clothing to cosmetics. Take a walk at the waterfront on Lake Nipissing, which is embellished with gardens and a public marina. The North Bay Museum is also worth a visit if you are curious to discover the town’s heritage—it is located in the old Canadian Pacific Railway station, which historically made North Bay a transportation hub.

For a quick lunch or pick-me-up, try gd2go. They have an impressive array of fresh vegetarian and vegan fare, with options for those who have lactose, gluten or other sensitivities

In the afternoon, explore the great outdoors and hit some of North Bay’s popular hiking trails—they’re even great in winter! The Laurier Woods are located directly on the outskirts of the town and they boast an incredible diversity of birds and wetland species.  Explore the six-mile (10-kilometre) trail network and have a seat at the Haist Lookout for a panoramic view. 

Rejuvenate with some forest time using North Bay's gorgeous hiking and biking trails. 

If you get excited by a dramatic series of rapids and waterfalls, then make sure to visit the Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area or the Duchesnay Falls Trail. As a final option, you can disconnect and retreat in the Black Forest Park, home to red and white pine trees. Or, if cycling is more your thing, then don’t miss the Three Towers Mountain Bike Trail.

Day 3: Learn more about how to sustain yourself and your planet with North Bay's local farms and workshops

As an ethical traveller, your stay in North Bay wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the local farms. After breakfast, drive to the peaceful Pie Bird Farm, which is not only a farm sanctuary but also a vegan educational hub which is on a mission to inspire change for a better, more sustainable world. 

Refuel with lunch at the cozy Italian Farina Ristorante. Farina translates to flour, so make sure to savour the Spaghetti Zucchini Bolognese or Lemon Frutti Di Mare to get the full Farina experience. Relax with a glass of wine on the patio while letting your impressions of this spectacular weekend sink in.

Have fun and learn something new with local workshops through 101 Experiences.

Last but not least, feed your soul with some unique local workshops such as Introduction to Blacksmithing 101, or Sound & Silence: Sound Bath Relaxation, offered through 101 Experiences. They have so many fun, interesting and enlightening Northern experiences brought to you by local artisans, farmers and teachers. 

North Bay offers a magical blend of adventure, culture, and lifestyle. After this immersive trip, you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated and inspired to continue with your own sustainability journey and to create a positive ripple effect in the world. 

Sustainable stays? Check. Adventure activities? Check. Farm-to-table food? Check. Whatever you’re looking for in an eco-friendly vacation, North Bay has it all. Read our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide to find out how to make the most of this green getaway.

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