Whether you love to fish, hunt, canoe or simply enjoy the beauty of the northern backcountry, you'll be blown away in Northwest Ontario's Sunset Country.
This is a land of 70,000 freshwater lakes and rivers teeming with fish. A land of boreal forest inhabited by moose, bear, deer and eagles. And it’s home to big skies and splendid sunsets that give the region its name.
Sunset Country has the best wilderness experience Canada has to offer, from budget friendly, housekeeping style resorts to full American Plan lodges, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Sunset Country, scroll down or visit the tourism website.
Where is Sunset Country?
Sunset Country encompasses the northwest corner of Ontario, directly north of Minnesota. Beginning at the Manitoba border, which is just a 1.5 hour drive from Winnipeg, the region extends east to Thunder Bay and covers everything north of the Canadian and United States border.
Sunset Country is less than a day’s drive from the America’s midwest or from the western provinces. If you fly into Thunder Bay or Winnipeg in the morning and connect to a regional flight or drive to your destination, you can be out fishing on the lake that evening.
In other words, Sunset Country is closer than you think.
Things to Do in Sunset Country
Above all, Sunset Country is known for its great angling opportunities — this is Canada's premier fishing destination. With thousands of lakes to choose from, including remote fly-in outposts, you won't have any problem finding your own quiet fishing spot, and the opportunity for that once-in-a-lifetime trophy catch. With over 70,000 lakes that freeze each winter, you’ll also find North America’s best ice fishing for walleye and lake trout, in addition to panfish such as perch and black crappie.
Hunting is just as epic. Big game such as moose, bear and deer roam the forest, and game birds and migratory waterfowl are abundant.
Sunset Country is home to a great diversity of bird species that’s sure to delight the avid bird-watcher.
Its seemingly endless rivers and lakes are just waiting to be explored by canoe. Quetico Provincial Park is an iconic wilderness class park renowned for its rugged beauty, towering rock cliffs, majestic waterfalls, virgin pine and spruce forests, picturesque rivers and lakes. Travel through time as you make your way across the same routes used by the fur traders centuries ago. Ancient native rock art gives you a glimpse of a unique culture that is over 10,000 years old.
Indigenous and First Nations continue their proud traditions through activities such as Pow Wows, traditional native arts, crafts and storytelling. Adjacent to the southwest corner of Quetico Provincial Park is the Anishinabe community of Lac La Croix, home to traditional summer Pow Wows and other events.
Kid-friendly resorts have all the ingredients required for a fun filled family vacation, including mountain biking, hiking, paddling and boating. Cross-country ski trails are abundant, while Atikokan, Dryden and Kenora areas offer snowboarding and downhill skiing.
Sunset Country Neighbourhoods & Districts
Sunset Country is comprised of four main regions.
Lake of the Woods
Home to the towns of Kenora, Minaki, Morson, Nestor Falls and Sioux Narrows.
Home to the towns of Dryden, Ear Falls, Ignace, Perrault Falls, Pickle Lake, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Vermilion Bay.
Rainy River Region
Home to the towns of Atikokan, Emo, Fort Frances and Rainy River.
Thunder Bay Area
Home to the towns of Armstrong, Kakabeka Falls, Shebandowan and Thunder Bay.
Things to Know About Visiting Sunset Country
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Sunset Country, it’s nice to learn what the locals know.
Wild rice is prevalent in Northwest Ontario. It’s incredibly delicious, low in fat, gluten-free and high in protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins.
Yonge Street, the world's longest street, ends in Rainy River. Yonge Street starts at Lake Ontario in Toronto and runs north for almost 2,000 km through central and northern Ontario to the Town of Rainy River at the Minnesota border.
The legend of Jimmy McOuat is a story of hopes and dreams on the shores of White Otter Lake. At the turn of the century, eccentric hermit James Alexander "Jimmy" McOuat single-handedly cut, hauled and interlocked red pine logs and constructed a three-story log castle known today as White Otter Castle. 64 km north of Atikokan, it is only accessible by snowmobile, plane, boat or canoe.
Favourite local gem
The Norlund Chapel in Emo is recognized as one of the smallest operational churches in the world. Built by two local men in 1973, the tiny church's interior measures only 2.4 metres across by 3 metres tall and can accommodate eight visitors at a time.
Where to snap a great Instagram pic
If you’re lucky, you might witness the awesome Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) over Lake of the Woods. A great selfie spot is with Max the Moose in Dryden. He stands just under six metres tall from his hoof to the tip of his antler and is a popular resting spot for both tourists and locals.
Where to shop local
For over 50 years, Bobby's Sport Shop in Vermilion Bay has been a popular vacation destination for anglers and hunters providing tackle product, clothing, giftware and a basic line of groceries.
Where to get a great meal
The Riverview Lodge in Dryden was once a residence for the manager of the Dryden Pulp and Paper Mill, constructed in 1910.
Last updated: January 17, 2023