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French River

French and Mattawa Rivers, French River and Mattawa River Provincial Parks, Ontario
In the Footsteps of the Voyageurs
French River designated 1986; Mattawa River designated 1988


The names of these rivers conjure up images of the Voyageurs – toiling over the portages, hauling their birchbark “canots de maitre” past the rapids and waterfalls, singing as they paddle past glacier-polished rock. These rivers formed a vital link in the fur trade route from Lachine (Montreal) to Lake Superior and the Northwest. Today, recreational paddlers follow portages unchanged for over 300 years.

French River - Photo

    Credit : Paul Chivers

   Area Map Fact Sheet
In 1999, the La Vase Portage, an eleven-kilometre route across beaver ponds and bush, connecting the Mattawa Canadian Heritage River to Lake Nipissing, was nominated to the Heritage River System. Listen closely... Do you hear the songs of the Voyageurs?