A Culinary Tour of Temiskaming Shores: An 11-stop food tour in Ontario's latest farm-to-fork hotspot

From fresh strawberry seltzer to kimchi poutine and maple bison haskap burgers, the chefs in Temiskaming Shores are serving up innovative, locally sourced cuisine for a new culinary tour.

Temiskaming Shores is one of the more unusual destinations in Ontario. This scenic waterfront city is made up of three historic municipalities—Haileybury, New Liskeard, and Dymond—and borders both Quebec and Ojibwe land. The second smallest city in the province by population, it’s a place where three cultures meet on the shores of vast Lake Temiskaming. It’s where fur traders and voyageurs passed through centuries ago, where French Canadian settlers arrived by steamboat from Ottawa, and where timber and mining barons built their mansions.

Today it’s a hub for culinary tourism—a region packed with innovative restaurants using locally-sourced products, thanks to the pristine agricultural lands surrounding the city.

Add this destination to your summer weekend bucket list

Stunning views like the one at Devil's Rock are just a few minutes outside of the city.

About a 5.5-hour drive north of Toronto, Temiskaming Shores is the perfect place for a weekend getaway of culinary exploring. To help travellers experience all the region has to offer there’s now a certified self-guided foodie tour on offer as part of the larger Lake Temiskaming Tour, with specialized dishes or educational experiences at each location that showcases the region’s fantastic food scene and local culture. 

Day one: two provinces and farm-to-fork fun

Visitors can start the tour at any point, depending on where they’re arriving from, but allow yourself a night or two in the region as there’s alot to see. If you’re coming in from the north, we suggest starting with a morning outing at a former artist commune-turned-sustainable bison farm.

Take a tour through a sustainable bison herd in Earlton.

Bison du Nord owner Pierre Bélanger and his son Charles (along with their friendly dog Charbon) will walk guests through the workings of one of Canada's first bison farms, and share their best practices for raising a sustainable herd. (And by walk, we mean, drive you around the farm on a very cool tractor contraption.) Keep your camera handy as the bison are plentiful.

The Maple Haskap Bison Burger from Dida's in Earlton

From there head to Dida’s in Earlton for a maple bison burger topped with a bbq sauce made from the region’s famous haskap berries. This chic bistro is known for its excellent burgers—including the Chick-e-rito and the Maple Sriracha made with local cheese and maple syrup—so make sure to order the sliders that will let you sample more than one.

Fresh strawberry seltzers from Nordvie.

After lunch it's time to pick fresh berries at Nordvie. Visitors can pull up to vast, sunny strawberry fields on the Quebec side of the lake. Once you've plucked your fill, head to the weigh station that also serves as a general store. Here you’ll find fresh produce alongside amazing seasonal products. Try a mash of strawberries and soda sweetened with maple syrup, a strawberry liqueur, or any one of the owner’s many creative creations. There are picnic tables so bring your lunch and enjoy—or just gorge on fresh berries.

Nearby is culinary hotspot L’Eden Rouge. Set in the countryside this rustic farm to fork spot is run by mother/daughter team Anny Roy and Angèle-Ann Guimond, and includes both a massive greenhouse operation as well as the restaurant, Table Champêtre, located in a repurposed barn.

Tour the grounds before enjoying the seasonal menu at Table Champêtre.

Tour the greenhouses, pick up some produce, and enjoy a gourmet meal according to what’s in season. In non-pandemic years the spot is host to weddings and all kinds of events.

Exhibits featuring fur traders and more at this National Historic Site in Quebec.

Also on the Quebec side of the border is Obadjiwan–Fort Témiscamingue National Historic Site—the site of a former Hudson’s Bay trading post. The views alone are worth the visit—the lake is vast with long stretches of uninhabited shoreline as it must have appeared hundreds of years ago. Take a walk through the enchanted cedar forest, visit the small missionary cemetery, and take in the many exhibits about canoe making, fur trading, and life back in the voyageur days. Fur traders from Montreal used this route to ply their wares.

Take time to browse the grass-fed cheese options at Thornloe.

Back on the Ontario side, hit up famous Thornloe Cheese. This local landmark has been making and selling cheese made from local, grass-fed dairy cows since 1940. Watch the milk trucks pull up and deliver the gallons it takes to produce the company's famous cheeses. Inside the general store, you'll be intrigued by how many different varieties are on offer—everything from poutine cheese curds to their award-winning Evanturel Brie with an ash centre. Pick up any number of local products while you're there including jams, honey, juices, and more. After stocking up on fresh curds we also opted for a tower of creamy Devil’s Rock, an inventively packaged blue cheese named after (and shaped like) the nearby landmark. More on that later.

Thornloe cheese board with Devil's Rock blue cheese on the left.

At Zante’s Bar and Grill guests will have a top notch dinner experience no matter what they order. Kimchi poutine with a ghost pepper aioli is a definite highlight along with the delicate bison burger. The popular restaurant also features lots of Northern beers on tap like Gateway City, Underground Brewing, and Stack Brewing—ask your server which beer pairs best with what. For dessert, opt for S’mores in a skillet hit and watch the sunset through the massive picture windows.

Zante's Kimchi Poutine made with Thornloe cheese curds is not to be missed.

Day 2: Hikes, history, and craft beer

Views of Lake Temiskaming from Devil's Rock.

Begin the day with a hike up Devil’s Rock outside Haileybury. It’s about a 20-minute climb on a well-marked trail, with epic views at the top overlooking the lake. From certain angles, the chiseled cliff face looks a bit like a devil, hence the name. Bring your morning coffee and watch the sunrise, or if you’re a late riser, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy some of that Devil’s Rock cheese from Thornloe.

It’s a short drive back to Haileybury, the waterfront town that was the site of the devastating Great Fire in 1922, as well as the residence of Charles Leslie McFarlane, better known as F. W. Dixon, the creator of the Hardy Boys.

A Haileybury mural by artist Mique Michelle honouring the life of Shannen Koostachin, a young Indigenous activist.

A statue commemorating the Great Fire—many townspeople survived the flames by sheltering in the waters of Lake Temiskaming overnight.

Don't miss the scenic walking tour of the town (available in French and English) that takes you past Millionaire’s Row and explains the legacy of the Great Fire. After the tour, visitors can relax at Whiskeyjack Brewing Company.

Craft beer and food sampler at Whiskeyjack Brewing.

This innovative brewpub in a historic downtown building offers a beer and food pairing that’s not to be missed. Served on handmade cedar boards with a matching beer flight, guests can enjoy house-made potato chips, slivers of decadent dark chocolate, and homemade local jerky paired with an Abitibi Amber, Cold Front Pale Ale, or the Chocolate Chaos Stout. Grab a few cans to go before you leave.   

It's time to head south. May we suggest a leisurely stroll around the North Bay waterfront before heading back to your final destination. If you’re not loaded down with an assortment of cheese, beer, strawberries, and other local souvenirs, you’re doing it wrong.  

For more adventures check out the Lake Temiskaming Tour to create a curated weekend experience just for you.

Accommodations in and around Temiskaming Shores

Visitors to the area have a variety of options at various price points. For a bit of luxury check out local favourite Presidents Suites which offers visitors the chance to stay in a beautifully restored historic home. The nearby Glamping Island offers visitors the chance to experience a classic Ontario getaway with just enough modern comforts to help you feel pampered. 

The Waterfront Inn offers lakeside accommodations in downtown New Liskeard and easy access to everything in the city. The modern rooms have private balconies overlooking the lake, while some suites include a fireplace and oversized jacuzzi tub.

So much depends upon a red canoe glazed with rainwater at the Smoothwater Lodge in Temagami.

South of Temiskaming Shores is the famous Smoothwater Outfitter Lodge. This full-service lodge set in the forests of Temagami is known for its guided canoe trips, but it’s also a culinary destination and the perfect place to get away from it all in a classic Northern Ontario lodge. Meals are homemade and enjoyed communal-style at the lodge’s massive dining table. On the menu are locally-sourced classics like tourtière, Trapper’s bread, and cattail on the cob.

The communal table offers visitors a chance to enjoy a meal together.  

Restaurants and destinations in and around Temiskaming Shores

Bison du Nord  
086454 Airport Rd Earlton, ON   

50- 10th Street Earlton, ON 7  

Thornloe Cheese  
999697 Hwy 11 N Thornloe, Ontario  

1049 Chemin des 2e-et-3e-Rangs Saint-Bruno-de-Guigues   

L’Eden Rouge  
51, rue Principale Nord Saint-Bruno-de-Guigues   

Lieu Historique national d’Obadjiwan-Fort Témiscamingue  
834 Chemin du Vieux Fort Ville-Marie   

997461 ON-11 New Liskeard, ON   

Hike Devil’s Rock  
Silver Centre Road Hwy 567

Guided History Tour on the Great Fire of 1922 (Airbnb Experience)  

485 Ferguson Ave Haileybury ON   

About Jennifer McCartney

Jennifer McCartney is a New York Times bestselling author. She has written a number of books including So You Want to Move to Canada, Eh? Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Vice Magazine, Teen Vogue, and CBC.

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