Be the Explorer on the Champlain Francophone Route

A group navigates their raft through whitewater rapids

Samuel de Champlain was a French cartographer, naturalist, ethnographer and adventurer. He was one of the first Europeans to explore Ontario with a vision to establish a New France in America, and has been called the Father of New France for his exploration from 1604 to 1635 that led to colonization.

Canada is the original homeland to many Indigenous nations. Champlain fostered relationships, albeit misguided, with Indigenous and First Nations people and relied heavily on their skill, knowledge and hospitality.

During his great expedition of 1615-16, Champlain and crew navigated the Ottawa River, the Mattawa River, Lake Nipissing, the French River and the waters of Georgian Bay in search of a suitable site for a trading post and a viable path to the ‘northern sea’. This trip significantly shaped the future events and direction of Ontario’s history.
 

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Champlain Route Itineraries 


Five themed itineraries follow Champlain’s footsteps and paddle strokes with experiences and attractions that reflect the explorer’s legacy, honour the Indigenous nations of the land and celebrate the unique Franco-Ontarian culture that still flourishes today.
 

Ottawa & Countryside

Embark on a fascinating historical tour in and around the nation’s capital and discover unique natural and cultural heritage, as well as delicious food and drink. And don’t miss the statue of Champlain holding his astrolabe at Nepean Point behind the National Gallery of Canada. 
Length: 4 days


Ottawa Valley & Gateway to the North

Guided by First Nations, Champlain navigated portions of the Ottawa River up to the Mattawa River. Tackle the same rapids on a whitewater rafting adventure and take in the scenic beauty of the Ottawa Valley.
Length: 2 days
 

Explorers’ Edge & Georgian Bay Shore

Explore Georgian Bay in a kayak and its shorelines by bike. To the west, the 30,000 islands where Champlain meandered, and to the east, the chains of lakes attract outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.
Length: 3 days
 

Simcoe, Trent Severn Waterway & Northumberland

Over 120 years ago, engineers traversed 386 km of waterways to create the navigable Trent-Severn, an integral part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, with its high locks and marine railways. Something Champlain would have appreciated. Also, discover the impressive history of the canoe in Canada.
Length: 3 days
 

Prince Edward County to the Rideau Canal

Champlain was captivated by the beauty of the shores of the St. Lawrence during his military expedition. Now it’s your turn to revel in what he described as “a most beautiful and pleasing land”.
Length: 4 days

 

More Info


Discover more about the Champlain Route and get information on French language services in Ontario, key Francophone festivals and events and bilingual experiences.

It is imperative to acknowledge the role and contributions of First Nations and Indigenous people throughout Canada’s history. Learn more about Indigenous Experiences in Ontario.
 

Last updated: January 7, 2022

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