Ouimet Canyon, Pass Lake Ontario
RR#1 Greenwich Lake Rd, Pass Lake, ON P0T 2M0
The Ouimet Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon North, The Ouitmet Canyon is so deep and narrow that plants otherwise native to the Artic thrive in its dark recesses.
It’s a little wonder that a group of seven painters A.Y. Jackson, Franklin Carmichael, and Lawren Harris fell in love with Superior County. Nearly every bend in it’s rivers and nearly every bay in it’s lakes displays a panorama of mountain scenery that is as unexpected as it is awesome. And when, at the end of a trail through pine forest near Nipigon, Ontario the lands drops away, unannounced, at your feet, to reveal a sudden and magnificent canyon, you understand how the scenery can be called “unexpected”
As a tourist attraction, Ouitmet Canyon Provincial Park is relatively unknown, No motels have sprung up to accommodate the hoards, no gift shops line the roads. Most Trans-Canada Highway travelers simply ignore the simple brown sign that points the way. But as a visual spectacle, the Ouimet Canyon is breathtaking and unique.
The craggy crevice, 150 metres wide and 100 deep, twists several kilometers north from the lip of the grand plateau into which it has been cut. So little sunshine penetrates the deep gully that winter ice can linger into summer and only hardly Artic species of mosses, lichens, and liverworts can survice.
The canyon traces its origins back to the last great ice age, when glaciers 2 kilometers thick crept southward, scouring and gouging everything in their path. Here at Ouimet Canyon, a tongue of ice crept down what was an eroded diabase sill. That diabase was formed a billion ears ago when magma rose to the surface, creating the pillar-like formations that line the valley walls. Some of those pillars, owing to erosion are free-standing.
The road to the Ouimet Canyon from the Trans-Canada Highway (about 55 kilometers east of Thunder Bay) passes some surprisingly lush farmland before twisting its way up the face of the rocky plateau. From the parking lot in the Provincial Park an easy trail winds through the forest for about a kilometre up to the rim of the canyon.
From the viewing areas, the panorama encompasses not only the defile itself but also its rugged gates at the rim of the plateau, the forested lands beyond, and along the far horizon the grey waters of Lake Superior.
As you gaze the results of nature’s remarkable strength, as the northern stillness rings in your ears, and as the sharp, pine-scented air stings your nostrils, you will understand why the Group of Seven kept coming back.
Information Source: From Author Ron Brown and his book the “Top 150 most unusual things to see in Ontario”
Photo Source: Our Instagram follower Kbriannephoto