Kenora is a vibrant Northern Ontario city that serves up the ultimate mix of freshwater adventure, awesome outdoor and urban fun.
The city sits on the shores of Lake of the Woods, one of the most beautiful and diverse lakes in the world. With over 14,000 islands and more than 105,000 km of shoreline – more shoreline than Lake Superior – the waterways of the lake and the surrounding wilderness offer anglers and hunters an endless variety of opportunities to experience the wonders of the region.
Art, culture and a refreshingly local craft brew pay homage to the surrounding wilderness that has captivated visitors for centuries.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Kenora, scroll down or visit the city's tourism website.
Where is Kenora?
A key urban centre in Northwestern Ontario’s Sunset Country, Kenora is accessible by air, rail, road and water.
The city is approximately 200 km east of Winnipeg and 500 km northwest of Thunder Bay along the Trans-Canada Highway 1. Just three hours south is the Canada-United States border crossing at Internationals Falls, Minnesota. Fly into the Kenora Airport (IATA: YQK, ICAO: CYQK), or depart from a local float plane ready to fly you into the heart of the wilderness.
Kenora is on Ontario Northland’s bus route and Via Rail Canada provides train service to Redditt, about 30 minutes from downtown.
Things to Do in Kenora
The city of Kenora is alive year-round with a variety of seasonal activities and events.
Visit the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre for a great overview of the cultural landscape of Kenora. Tour the 18 townscape wall murals that depict the history of the city, like the logging industry mural on the side of the Frosted Foods building. The Muse on Main Street is home to the Lake of the Woods Museum, showcasing Kenora’s mining and rail history and Indigenous heritage, as well as the new Douglas Family Art Centre.
Cool off with an ice cream in Norman Park, just minutes east of the Discovery Centre, or unleash the family at the Hoopla Island Floating Obstacle Course. For a grownup treat, check out Lake of the Woods Brewing Co., a craft brewery and canteen set in the old fire hall.
Endless outdoor adventure is literally at your fingertips. Fishing is a year-round activity for both catch and release or the freshest shore lunch (cooking up what you just caught). Drive-in, boat-in and fly-in fishing lodges are dotted around the lake and provide guided access to world-class fishing. In the Kenora area, hunting challenges include black bear, moose, whitetail deer, grouse, geese and ducks.
Lake of the Woods has so much to offer, including scuba diving, snorkelling, canoeing and houseboating – check off a bucket list of family adventure.
When the temperatures fall, the fun heats up at Mount Evergreen and Recreation Area, thanks to incredible downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing and snowshoeing.
Kenora Neighbourhoods & Districts
Several neighbourhoods make up the city of Kenora:
Black Surgeon Lake – Winnipeg River
This area is a great access point to wilderness, nature and ecological pursuits, while still offering a bit of civilization. Enjoy fishing, hiking, interpretive trails, golf or just reading a book in the sun on the dock.
Now a part of the newly-amalgamated city of Kenora, Keewatin is situated on the northern shore of Lake of the Woods. It is the first town you’ll encounter as you travel eastbound from Manitoba into Ontario. Keewatin Beach is a great place for swimming, with a beach and docks for the swimmers and large trees for those wanting shade.
A small lake community on the east end of Kenora that is connected to Lake of the Woods through the creek and offers great fishing.
Located on the West side of Kenora and home to Norman Beach, a popular spot for its clean, clear water and sandy bottom.
What You Should Know About Visiting Kenora
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Kenora, it’s nice to learn what the locals know.
The name “Kenora” is a portmanteau of the names of local towns Keewatin, Norman and Rat Portage — “Ke” from Keewatin, “no” from Norman, and “ra” from Rat Portage.
Scenic hiking trail
Wass’say’Gaa’Boo (Tunnel Island Trail) is a relationship gathering place with 8,000 years of history. This land was gifted to the Common Ground partnership between the City of Kenora, Grand Council Treaty #3 and the communities of Wauzushk Onigum, Ochiichagwe’Babigo’lning and Obashkaandagaang. Please respect the land.
Bottle House / Glass House on Reddit Highway 658 just north of Kenora. Completed in 1973, this structure built entirely of glass bottles and mortar was originally constructed to house Myrtle Deverell’s doll collection.
Where to snap a great Instagram pic
Don’t miss your photo op with the city’s two mascots. Husky the Muskie is a 12 metre tall, two ton replica of a fish species the lake is famous for. And weighing five tons, Loonie Bear is located on the Harbourfront, and serves as protector of the city and graciously accepts donations in support of local children’s charities.
Where to shop local
The Matiowski Farmers’ Market has steadily grown in size and popularity since its inception in 2005; it is now one of the largest markets in Northwestern Ontario. In addition, every Wednesday from mid June to early October, the Whitecap Pavilion plays host to just over 100 Market Vendors selling authentic handmade and homegrown products.
Last updated: April 26, 2021