11 Things to See and Do in Neebing, Ontario

Situated between Thunder Bay and the US border along the shore of Lake Superior, Neebing has award-winning gouda, 28-metre high waterfalls, local pottery, and epic fishing.

What is there to do in Neebing, a scenic municipality that lies just north of the U.S. border and just south of Thunder Bay? If you're coming from the U.S, the quickest and most enjoyable way to find out is by stopping into the only Ontario Travel Information Centre in Northwestern Ontario, located right at the U.S. border and at the doorstep of Pigeon River Provincial Park

1. First Thing's First: Visit the Scenic Ontario Travel Information Centre, Pigeon River

It’s open mid-May to October. The centre sells hunting and fishing licences and Crown Land camping permits, along with a great selection of gifts and souvenirs. There’s also a picnic area and playground and an RV turnaround. In Northern Ontario, where the geography is vast and connectivity can be an issue, talking to the friendly locals behind the counters at our many Travel Information Centres is a great way to start your trip. There are lots of folks at the Pigeon River TIC eager to meet you.

Here are some of the best spots and experiences they’ll want to share with you about your visit to Neebing. 

2. Experience Indigenous Culture With Niibing Tribal Tours

The name “Neebing” (“Niibing/Niibin”) is Indigenous in origin and means “summer” according to the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary. Niibing Tribal Tours is operated by Cindy Crowe whose ancestors are from the Ojibwe and Cree tribes. The tours are located 15 minutes north of the Minnesota border next to Lake Superior.

Niibing Tribal Tours offers day programming such as bring your own kayak, yard games and sightseeing, scheduled programming that shares her Indigenous culture, tenting and personal guided tours to explore the region and its rich Indigenous history through Cindy’s own lens. Niibing Tribal Tours is at 356 Little Trout Bay Road in Neebing. Contact Cindy at crowe@tbaytel.net

​3. Try and Spot the Northern Lights at The Thunder Bay Observatory

Thunder Bay Observatory is located along Klages Road in Neebing in a dark sky area. Host Randy McAllister caters to groups looking to experience amazing sky views and take photos of distant galaxies, nebula and planets while learning about the equipment hands on. Tours are by reservation by emailing astrorand@yahoo.com or calling 807-577-3617. Pets are welcome and the season is August to May.

4. Take a Hike on the James Duncan Nature Trail or visit the hummingbird hideaway

James Duncan Nature Trail

Getting out to walk or hike in nature has never been more popular. Neebing offers lots of great trails experiences with natural social distancing built in. The James Duncan Nature Trail at Big Trout Bay is a 9.5 km trail that offers the chance to see wildlife and experience some great views. The trail from Pine Bay to Cobble Beach is 6.4 km. It’s rated as moderate. 

Mink Mountain

The Mink Mountain trail network is a 5.6 km loop that features beautiful views of Lake Superior. Good for all skill levels, it’s a great bird watching trail. There are also cottage rentals available at Mink Mountain. Check out the Hummingbird Hideaway, the Chickadee Perch, the Loon’s Nest and more – all have amazing views!

5. See The Waterfalls and Explore Pigeon River Provincial Park

High Falls of the Pigeon River

Pigeon River Provincial Park is home to the impressive 28m High Falls as well as Middle Falls (6m). It features scenic views of Lake Superior, the falls and the river gorge, and metal art sculptures that depict the region’s history. 

Views from Finger Point Trail

Its Finger Point Trail is 5.0 km as is the Middle Falls and High Falls Trail (7.7 km). Also in the park is the Pigeon River Boardwalk, an easy .8 km stroll with pretty views of the river. The park also includes part of the Path of the Paddle Trans Canada Trail links from Lake Superior water trail-land trail connection to rejoin the water route at North Fowl. The Lookout trail branches off the High Falls trail and is 5.2 km ending at the Middle Falls parking lot. The park is day use, year-round.

6. Catch a Fish in Little Trout Bay 

Fishing at Little Trout Bay

Northwestern Ontario is Canada’s number one fishing destination and, summer or winter, fishing is exceptional in Neebing. Boat launches throughout the region provide convenient locations from which to set afloat boats both big and small as well as canoes or kayaks for an angling adventure. The Cloud Lake boat launch is in the Along the Bluffs Park and you’ll find the Margaret Street boat launch in Shelter Shores Park. There is also the Sturgeon Bay boat launch, the West Oliver Lake boat launch in Falcon Landing Park and a launch at the Little Trout Bay Conservation Area.

7. Pick Up Some Original Art at Early Snows Pottery/Joyce Seppala Design

Early Snows Pottery

Fritz Lehmberg moved to Neebing in 1989 to set up a pottery studio and build a wood-fired kiln. His interests in ceramics lie in making simple, sturdy, functional pots and to that end, wood firing enhances the rustic nature of his work. From teacups, to mugs, teapots, plates, bowls, and serving dishes, the goal is to produce work that feels good in the hand, looks natural, is spontaneous in nature, and performs its intended function well. “Pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry” is the mantra. His work has been shown throughout Ontario, in Minnesota and Manitoba, and has been juried several times into Fireworks, the provincial ceramics showcase organized by Ontario Clay and Glass. To see some Early Snows Pottery check out his Instagram.

Joyce Seppala Designs

Fritz’s partner in creativity, Argentine tango dancing and life is his wife, the renowned clothing designer Joyce Seppala. Described by Fritz as being “beyond hip”, Joyce studied fashion at Folkestone School of Art in England before coming to Canada where she started building her signature style. Her designs, which push the boundaries of fashion, have been shown in stores and galleries in Canada and the U.S. Unique accessories from jewellery, belts and bags show her expert use of texture and sculptural forms in leatherwork and metal filigree. Check out Joyce's designs on her website, Facebook and Instagram.

Joyce Seppala Designs showroom

Getting to the Lehmberg/Seppala property is part of the joy of the experience as visitors will witness the beauty of the Slate River Valley and have the enjoyment of walking through the tall pines that line their driveway to reach their destination. “The journey down the drive is part of the buildup to experiencing what we do, which is to work with lots of natural materials,” Joyce says.

Early Snows Pottery and Joyce Seppala Design are open Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. Appointments are always welcome. Contact earlysnows@tbaytel.net or call 807-475-9758 to arrange a visit with Fritz or call Joyce at 807-624-8603 or email seppalaj@tbaytel.net for an appointment.

8. Grab some hand-dyed wool at Borderlands Farm

Borderlands Farm is a new family partnership between Beverly and Bryan Barlow and their daughter Gwen along with her husband Brody Marsonet. They raise purebred Polypay sheep for both their meat and their fibre. They also grow specialty garlic. Hand-carded and hand-dyed by Beverly, their wool is ready for spinning. You’ll find the farm at 44 Oleksuk Road in Neebing

9. Stock up on Fresh Cheese, Butter, and Milk at Slate River Dairy

Jim and Wilma Mol were both raised on dairy farms, Jim in Thunder Bay and Wilma in Radewijk, in the Netherlands. Wilma came to Canada as a hired hand to work on farms in Thunder Bay. It was there that she met Jim; they were married in 1991 and have four children. In 1996, Jim and Wilma bought their own farm which they called Riverbend Farm, for the river that bends right through their property. Jim and Wilma had seen what they believed to be a decline of quality in dairy products on the store shelves and so decided to “put milk back into dairy products.” 

The milk and dairy products they sell at their store and through other outlets are in their most natural state, straight from the cow and only pasteurized. They sell their milk and cream, cultured products, butter, and cheese as well as local meat and other products like honey and maple syrup. They’re on 8 Highway 608 in Neebing and are closed Sunday and Monday. For some warm country hospitality and great tasting, healthy products, pay Jim and Wilma a visit.

10. Then Get Some Award-Winning Gouda fFrom Thunder Oak Cheese Farm

Operating the first farm in Ontario to produce Gouda cheese, Jacob and Margaret Schep set up Thunder Oak Cheese Farm in the Slate River Valley in 1995 and have been producing this creamy Dutch cheese to great acclaim ever since. Their award-winning Thunder Oak Gouda is a natural product made with fresh milk from the Scheps’ own Holstein cows and there are no preservatives and no added colouring. Founders Jacob and Margaret both came from cheesemaking families in The Netherlands and in 1981, they immigrated to Canada with their children. Today their son Walter and his family have taken over the reins. The Schep family shares the tradition of Dutch cheesemaking, and their farm store offers Gouda in any quantity and in 13 different flavours plus mild, medium old and extra-old aged. They also have a wide variety of Dutch imports from cookies, candy, spices and licorice to ceramics and tea towels as well as a variety of local products.

11. Window Light Photo Gallery

Susan Dykstra’s Window Light Photo Gallery is just down the road from Thunder Oak. It’s also down the road from where she grew up on her family’s dairy farm with her 11 siblings. Specializing in fine art and nature photography, Susan has won numerous photo contests and many awards including the Photographic Artist of the Year in 2015 and the Tibor Horvath Award of Excellence 2015 from the Professional Photographers of Canada and the Professional Photographers of Canada Art of the Year Award in 2016. Susan has placed in the top 50 list of Epson Pano Awards 2016, coming in 25th of 4,545 entries from 60 countries. The studio is at 581 Boundary Drive West in Neebing. Call 807-628-2772.

About Pat Forrest

Pat Forrest is a tourism consultant based in Kakabeka Falls in Northern Ontario. She loves writing about tasty food almost as much as she enjoys eating it.

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