The French River is an important historic canoe route that connects the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers with Lake Nipissing in Canada. This route connected settlements on the St. Lawrence with the upper Great Lakes and the far West.


Many famous Canadian explorers, missionaries and fur traders of the 17th to early 19th centuries followed this waterway. Individuals such as Étienne Brûlé, the first European explorer to journey beyond the St. Lawrence River and see the Great Lakes. He was also an interpreter for Samuel de Champlain, the “Father of New France”  which is now called Canada.


Champlain travelled through the French River, mapping safe routes to the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron for future Canadians. He also was very important in establishing diplomatic relations with First Nations.   

Other prominent figures included the Jesuit martyrs, Jean de Brébeuf and Charles Lallemant. Both of whom made missions into Lake Huron to spread their faith among the tribes like the Hurons, Ojibwe, Algonquins, and others. 


There were also the colourful courerurs de bois (or “runners of the woods”), Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers. Initially they were independent entrepreneurs who established early fur trade with the First Nations. These two individuals helped establish the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) and its various trading posts. 


Another prominate figure is Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, was a French Canadian military officer, farmer, pioneer, and fur trader. The expeditions he organized and led by his sons opened the country from Lake Superior to the lower Saskatchewan River. This also opened the Missouri River to the French fur trade in current French River Provincial Park.


A Scottish explorer, Sir Alexander Mackenzie also nicknamed “Explorer of the Prairies”, was the first European to reach the Pacific by land north of Mexico and worked with  The North West Company, a rival fur trading company to the Hudson Bay Company. His contributions along with many others in the North West Company travelled through the French River mapping the Western Interior of Canada to the Pacific Ocean.   


Another significant fur trader was David Thompson, “The great explorer and cartographer”. He was a Welsh-Canadian Fur Trader. Like many other fur traders, he too originally worked for the Hudson Bay Company before later defecting to The North West Company. He is famous for travelling 90,000 kilometres (56,000 miles) and mapping 4.9 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles) of North America. He worked with Sir Alexander Mackenzie in his time with the North West Company.


Harper Magazine advertisement of the Grand Trunk Railway to the Georgian Bay and the French River.

In addition to fur trading, logging was a major industry as well as fishing in the area but grew in popularity with exploration and newfound access by the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. Around 1855, the railway had opened the Georgian Bay for those seeking new opportunities during the Industrial Revolution. Settlements and mills began to pocket various points of the Georgian Bay near the areas where the French River flowed into the bay. Steamboats navigated the Dallas Falls carrying supplies past the French River Village which developed in the late 1880s from the logging industry. “Alligator” tugs were used and can be still seen abandoned along the shorelines at the Dallas Falls and the French River.


Timber cutting, logging and lumber mills began to grow like wildfire after a rise in demand for lumber to help rebuild many of the buildings destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This economic “boom” gave rise and creation to the Lumber Barons in the Great Lakes who used the waterways for transporting their logs since the land was “ripe for the picking with its seamlessly inexhaustible supply of timber and proximity to the American markets”. The lumber floated through the French River and the Wahnipitae River to be used for rebuilding the city along with the construction of many other American cities.


Logging became a way of life for many in the French River system until the 1930s with the Great Depression. After logging fell out of favour and families began to move out of the area, those who remained turned to fishing and tourism. Many of the sunken logs still dot the rivers and remind us of those days gone by while providing opportunities for anglers. We refer to these sunken logs as “dead heads”. Caution is advised when boating in these known areas of our preserved surfacing history.


In the 1940’s the French River area was closed to further commercial and private development, preserving this wilderness area much as it was during the days of Samuel de Champlain and fur trading over 400 years ago. In the early 1960s, the Ontario Government closed the area for further development making it part of the North Georgian Bay Recreation Reserve. Then in 1985, the French River became part of the French River Heritage Park System – Ontario’s First Canadian Heritage River, a historical area and now the French River Provincial Park.

French River, Ontario

Image within the Lower French River Delta with a text overlay stating "French River History"

A travel route of the Ojibwa Indians and a key link in the fur trade for two centuries, the French River’s historical importance is unmatched in this part of Canada. Its ice-moulded landscape, gorges, relict flora, and extensive granite bedrock delta tells a unique story in the glacial history of the Canadian Shield. The river’s valley is the habitat for several rare plants such as Virginia Fern, as well endangered species such as the Massasauga Rattlesnake. These features, and its great beauty, are the reasons for the French River’s outstanding significance as a recreational and heritage waterway.” 


The Ojibwa who lived in this region began to call the river the “French River” for their association with the French explorers who were looking for a shorter route to the West. Hence, the French River was the main “Water Highway to the West in Canada, from 1600 to the mid-1800s.” The river formed a water highway from Montreal to Lake Superior and had a major role in the transportation and production of furs for trading over the years, until about 1820 when the fur trading industry for the area began to slow.

The French River area was reported to have originally flowed eastward from the present-day Georgian Bay to the Ottawa River Valley drainage system southeast to the ocean from 12,000 – 9,500 years ago as per S.B. Lumbers, former curator-in-charge, Department of Geology, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. The bedrock is part of the Precambrian Canadian Shield forming the mineral wealth produced in Canada.

Areas of moss and sediment with sparse vegetation dot the shorelines. This sediment was deposited during the last glacial and melting glacier cycle in the past one million years. Any rock formed or deposited on the present bedrock was eroded or removed by the last glacier as seen along the border of the Precambrian Shield. “The overlaying rocks are 480-million-year-old limestone deposited in a shallow sea after the Precambrian bedrock was eroded to its present level.

The French and Pickerel Rivers initially formed from this ancient erosion surface sometime between 480 million years ago and the glaciations that ended about 10,000 years ago.” The French River flows to the west currently from Lake Nipissing to the Georgian Bay. After the last glacier melted and its weight washed away, the Earth’s surface rose “[tilting] to the west and east along a hinge line just east of Lake Nipissing.” The westward tilt of the land surface west of the hinge line reversed the flow of the river westward to Georgian Bay. The eastward tilted land surface east of the hinge line allowed drainage to continue eastward to Mattawa River which gives the French River two mouths – one at each end flowing in two directions. The Earth is still tilting further and in the future, the river may change again.

The rock formation is distorted and contorted by the energy from within the Earth. Gneiss, or the rock caused by heating and compressing shows rippling layers of secondary layers. The original layers of sedimentary rock were white, brown, and grey. Yet, they are now mixed with igneous rocks formed in the Earth’s interior. These rocks are pinkish to reddish, very coarse, slightly layered and rare in Precambrian Shield finds.

Nepheline Syenite is seen cutting across areas of the French River with a noted white to greyish colour. It is breathtaking and a real marvel to see! Along your exploration, you will see boulders sitting high on the bedrock and dotted areas of sand deposits. The river is also a haven for geologists to see P-forms, Striations, Chatter marks, Whalebacks and Roche Moutonnée all within reach from Bear’s Den Lodge; an amazing place to witness these geological features within the French River Provincial Park!

Several years ago, we had the privilege to speak with a local First Nation that resided where the voyageurs fur traded on the French River Delta. He related a legend that is noted to have occurred 6,000 – 7,000 years ago on the tribal belt. The story he related was that the Great Lakes were low enough for the Natives to walk from the Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay to Manitoulin Island on land. It is said that “the ones walking from the North met the ones walking from the South and they met the other group with different clothes and were of the same culture of people”.

This legend was shared with the research scientists from Natural Resources Canada which served to assist the project they studied about the French River flowage. Also, Art Barefoot completed drawings for the Scientists at
Natural Resources Canada in hopes to assist them in locating the “forest of stumps” we discovered submerged in the rock cracks while fishing in Georgian Bay over 38 years ago.

Scientists and researchers travelled with sonar equipment to Georgian Bay to look for an indication the French River was dry at one time in history. Stumps were not located in this area, but a “white cedar stump” was recovered from the Georgian Bay, “tested 8,522 years old,” and indicated that the climate was “more arid than” as reported by geological expert Steve Blasco on the Discovery Science. Blasco also located underwater a waterfall described as, “Larger than the Horseshoe Falls located near Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay.” Dr Greg Brooks, P.Geo and Barbara E. Medioli’s final report of March 31, 2007 radiocarbon ages seeds and twig fragments approximately 9000 years ago! Art and Brenda Barefoot are credited with providing
insights into the river system and history of the area.

Indigenous rock samples were studied by Professor Henry Halls of the University of Toronto and his colleagues. We await his report and findings for French River Delta. The indigenous rock was reported to be “young” at 513,000 years old by Professor Halls.

Bear’s Den is currently seeking additional history, photos, and information on the Heritage of the French River to develop a documentary or complete our book. Let’s turn a dream and vision into reality – the footprints are calling, and our historians are sadly passing! Please contact us with any information about the French River. We would love to hear, record, and share the information and photos.

A preliminary Heritage Film meeting was held at Bear’s Den Lodge on November 3, 2008. On May 20, 2009, a meeting showed much interest from the First Nations and French River Heritage Aboriginal Advisory Committee to consider recording the aboriginal history of the French River. History is being sought for the French
River History. Please contact Brenda Barefoot at Bear’s Den Lodge for more information.

Flora, Fauna, and Wildlife of the French River Provincial Park, Heritage French River Park Windblown trees dot the rugged shorelines in the region and fall foliage is spectacular reflecting off the pool of water it lines. Conifers of white pine, jack pine, white spruce, and hemlock along with hardwoods of maple, birch, aspen, beech, basswood, and red oak line the shores, growing out of cracks in the rocks. Virgin timber remains on Boom Island to this day. Ferns – including Virginia Chain Fern, a variety of mosses, mushrooms, lemna (duckweed) which is a green surface aquatic plant bright in colour, wildflowers, cardinal flower – those “little red flowers that grow down by the shoreline,” wild rice, lily pads with turtles dotting the tops of rocks sunning themselves slither into the water as you pass by. 

You will see great blue herons feeding along the shorelines, if lucky, you will hear the bugle of
the elk, moose standing knee-deep feeding, and bear cubs and their mothers climbing trees or throwing a fish on the bank to eat. Luscious wild blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries top the favourite dishes.

Otters, muskrats, lynx, the prized fisher can be a vicious critter if cornered, beavers are busy building huts and dams, and minks, wolves, martens, red foxes and the occasional porcupine can be seen. White-tail deer are sparse in the area but can be seen along with moose and bears. Birds and waterfowl include Canada geese, loons, bald eagles, woodies, mallards, black ducks, mergansers, teal ducks, seagulls, hummingbirds, whiskey jacks, blue jays, cardinals, partridge, cedar waxwings, woodpeckers: pileated, latter
backs, and redheads, hawks, turkey vultures, sandpipers, cormorant, just to name a few of the bird species that can be seen. Many more birds pass through during their migrations. Hummingbird bees and hummingbird moths visit the flower gardens at Bear’s Den Lodge too – a must-see.

In 1992, the fishery was showing signs of over fishing with data from the middle French River. After gathering data from the users of the area through comment survey, actual data gathering by recording results of fishing hours, biological testing of samples, and netting results, it was determined that slot sizes and limits were in favor for the area by the users of the French River. The slots were implemented after the two years of intensive study including water quality and oxygenation. Now we are 28 years with the slot limits on the fish and have been reaping the benefits in the Delta due to the long hours of commitment to the project. Review will be completed this year and recommendations made. Catch, photo, and release (CPR) has become the motto for French River Delta, Ontario and the future. Over the past 30 years we have watched an influx of the black crappies into the area and most recently, the salmon have populated the area for the fall run. The Pinks, Cohos, and Chinooks now can be caught and watched during the fall spawn.

Zebra mussels have been seen in the Georgian Bay, but have not reached the French River Delta to date. Lamprey eels are treated in the area to control their population.

Fishing in Canada is much like a never-ending tale. The country is so vast and rich in natural wonders to take you a lifetime to fish it properly, but if you ask us, that’s a lifetime well spent. Much assistance, time, money and support was provided by the French River Resorts Association, French River Delta Association and private operators including Bear’s Den Lodge during the past 27 years in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Sudbury and Glenora, Laurentian University biologist, George Morgan with the French River Cooperative Fisheries Unit, and Trent University. Many visitors and guests at the various lodges – including Bear’s Den Lodge, cottagers, and visitors to the French River area participated in providing fish samples, answering questionnaires and providing input into the many fishery projects. Their input and assistance over the years will assist us to maintain the world class fishery the French River Delta provides and sustains.

Bear’s Den Lodge was already educating and implementing releasing all muskies caught that measured less than 50 inches since 1989 and continues encouraging others to do the same. Bear’s Den Lodge guests continue practicing with this concept of selective harvesting to begin the preservation of this highly prized muskie trophy. Realization hit home of the potential number of fish that could have been lost when Art caught his trophy musky (June 5, 1989) when unfortunately the fish died and could not be released, or it would still be swimming today. Fortunately, she had spawned or the loss would have even been greater. The loss of thousands of eggs would have been enormous. We were able to use this data to encourage and have the cooperation of the Ministry of Natural Resources to back us on changing the opening of musky season until the 3rd Saturday in June for 1990. Dr. Casselman researched this monster fish and listed the age as 27 years and indicated the fish would have weighed 75 lbs. in the fall. During the research on the French River, Bear’s Den Lodge was found to be the only French River lodge having historical records logs on file of muskie caught and released.

Completed by: John M. Casselman, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Research, Science and Technology Branch Glenora Fisheries Station and Chris J. Robinson Watershed Ecosystems Graduate Program Trent University As reported in August 1996 This study was encouraged by the interest of increasing the minimum size limit on Muskellunge from 34 inches in the French River. The Ministry of Natural Resources had already set Georgian Bay at 40 inches. Since these two bodies of water are connected, it was of importance that strong biological concern be considered in making any size limit changes. Cleithra and biological data were used to examine the age, growth, and maturity of the French River muskellunge. From a recent collection of samples and support by George Morgan from the French River and Pickerel River and Drs. Casselman and Crossman Cleithrum Project collection in 1986, finding were compared and examined. Other muskellunge populations from Georgian Bay along with other Ontario water bodies were compared. A method of determining a minimum trophy size limit with a strong biological basis was developed and applied. Casselman 1989 Cleithrum Project used “43 Georgian Bay samples, 36 with total length and anterior cleithrum radius and back-calculated total length at age. An additional 19 Georgian Bay samples in the Cleithrum Project were available and had been interpreted; 18 of these were suitable for back-calculating total length at age. The French River Cooperative Fisheries Unit – George Morgan, supplied cleithra from 20 muskellunge caught from 1993 to 1995 – 17 from the French River and 3 from the Pickerel River.” Most were contributed from the netting survey, but “two French River samples were angled. All were suitable for back-calculating length at age. Five of the Cleithrum Project samples were also from the French River. Thus a total of 82 fish, caught over the period 1977 to 1995, was available from the Georgian Bay area. Of this total, 64 were angled. Twenty-two fish were from the French River, 3 were from the Pickerel River, and 57 were from elsewhere in the Georgian Bay watershed.” The results were compared with studies on Tweed District water bodies (Casselman and Robinson 1995a) and the Niagara River (Robinson and Casselman 1995). Lac Seul data was also used to compare with the similar data from the Georgian Bay. Results and Conclusions indicated that the French River, Pickerel River and the Georgian Bay muskie samples can be “considered as one population” since they showed “similar growth”. “The mean length and weight of angled Georgian Bay muskellunge are greater than the means for Canadian trophy muskellunge reported by Casselman and Crossman (1986)” and “approximately two years older than the mean age of Canadian trophy muskellunge” as reported by Casselman and Crossman (1986). It was recommended that females be harvested at trophy size of “47 inches” to allow protection for at least a minimum number of spawning years. Thus few males would be caught with this limit set therefore; a sex specific limit would need to be set to harvest males in the future since “minimum trophy size limit for male Georgian Bay muskellunge would be approximately 43 inches.” To do this, anglers would need to know how to identify the sex of each muskie with external techniques. This would require some learning and training to accomplish this with all anglers.

June 2, 1999, “The Ministry of Natural Resources changed the minimum size limit for muskellunge caught on the French River to help ensure the long-term health of this fishery.” “The new size limit was changed from 102 centimeters to 122 centimeters total length.” Trophy size limit was set at 48 inches. “The change of regulation responds to recommendation from the French River Fisheries Study (1992-1998).

  • The study found:
  • Muskellunge are considered a fragile resource as the top predator in their ecosystem
  • The previous minimum size limit, along with current angling pressure, would not sustain muskellunge populations into the future; and
  • The public supports a trophy fishery on the French River.”

“The recommendations were reviewed and endorsed by a Provincial Muskellunge Committee which has representation from Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), The Voice of Nature & Outdoor Tourism in Ontario (NOTO), Muskies Canada Inc., (MCI), the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).”

Currently The Cleithrum Project on muskellunge and northern pike is underway and the cleithrum (the crescent shaped bone under the gill) should be removed from any fish found dead, angled and is being mounted or kept for food. Please record information on size of the fish, length, weight, girth, and the body of water where the fish was obtained and submit the data to the Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park Crescent, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2C6.

In order to simplify the regulations, the Ministry of Natural Resources reversed the opening of muskellunge from 3rd Saturday in June to the 1st Saturday in June for the spring of 2003. Regulations return opening muskies season to the 1st Saturday in June, 2007 until further notice – new regulations planned to move it back to the 3rd Saturday, but were not approved in 2009. However, they became regulation in 2020. See current Ontario Fishing Regulations

With the increase in catch size, the female muskies that are 48” have spawned for several seasons. However, Bear’s Den Lodge still maintains and encourages the release of muskellunge below 50 inches. Many of the 50 inch fish and over have been successfully returned to the French River system. Photographs cover the walls of the lodge and cottages, displaying many trophies released over the years. Fish reproductions are a recommended alternative for fishermen for their mounts as many still have their trophy fish mounted on display of their fish released!

  • Slot Limits – Introduced in 1994
  • The introduction of a slot-size fishing program was a realistic effort to restore the sport fish population in the French River.
  • Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass – live release between 13″ & 17″ (Length)
  • Walleye – Pickerel – live release between 15″ & 25″ (Length)
  • Northern Pike – live release of all between 21″ & 34″ (Length)
  • An angler with a Sportsman License may keep a total of four fish of each species. Only one fish of each species may measure over the specified “Slot-Size” length.
  • Persons with Conservation Licenses may only possess 2 of Only one fish of each species may measure over the specified “Slot-Size” length. These are the trophy fish on French River.
  • A public informational meeting was held on July 27, 2005 at the Alban Community Center to update the public on the current results of the fishery on the French River. Biologist, George Morgan feels “that a complete recovery of the system will occur by 2010 with the current slots and recorded recovery data.” The French River Fishery Enhancement Committee recommended to MNR the following changes to current slots:
  • Walleye increased to 16.5 inches with 1 trophy over 25
  • Pike increased to 6 in possession with 2 over 24 inches and 1 pike over 34 inches.
  • Bass – max. 14
  • Muskie – remain the same.

Ministry of Natural Resources approved the recommendations, but missed printing them as of 2008 and 2009, but published them in 2010 with the exception Walleye release between 15.7 to 23.6 inches.

  • Area attractions include:
  • A day trip to Science North, Sudbury Tourism- a hands on experience enjoyed by all. An Imax theater is on site.
  • Nickel Mine is an added attraction to learn how Nickel is mined in the local area.
  • Visit the French River Visitor Center to learn the history of French River.
  • The French River Visitor Center is part of the Ontario Living Legacy/Great Lakes Heritage Coast Plan.
  • Explanative exhibits and educational events related to the cultural and natural resources of the river, including the Georgian Bay coast area is included in the Visitor center for world-wide visitors to view.
  • Stop by and see the longest snowmobile bridge spanning the French River (see Blog page for more
  • Inukshuk is singular for Inuksuit, means “in the likeness of a human” in the Inuit language and are seen along the French River and Hwy 400.
  • Natural stones are used to mark directions, navigation, a memorial marker, a ceremonial or respected place, and markers have been used to indicate migration routes or places where fish can be found.
  • Each marker varies in size and shape with the rocks in the area.
  • How the markers are arranged depicts the message of the Inukshuk.
  • Depending how the arms and legs extend, they my mark navigation routes through open channels or valleys.
  • Inukshuk without arms would represent areas plentiful for food.
  • The Inukshuk may stand by itself, but sometimes several mark a specific place and can span large territories indicative of being “On the right path”.

In the early 1970’s the Dallas Falls were blasted with the “hopes” to open a travel way to the Georgian Bay. The blasting resulted in the rock tumbling into the Dallas Rapids causing what used to be a major travel way for alligator logging equipment in the 1920’s to an area almost impossible to navigate by small water craft. Not only did this change navigation, but it also dropped the water level in the French River System. Steamships previously navigated these waterways of the French River.

“Art and I saw rare photos of the steamships being hoisted through the Dallas Rapids from the early logging years, it’s an amazing scene,” – Brenda Barefoot, Co-Owner Bear’s Den Lodge

Bear’s Den Lodge’s access extends from Recollect Falls located just west of Highway 400/69, north of Toronto, to and including the series of channels that flow into Georgian Bay. The French River Delta is the least developed and wildest portion of the Provincial Park. Among its most interesting features to fishermen are the many lakes and bays, the confluence of the French and Pickerel Rivers, the Wanapitae and Pillow Rivers, the Georgian Bay shoreline and the Bustard Islands. This limited access area, back country Park, contains thousands of miles of great Canadian wilderness shoreline.

Water levels in the French River are affected by the dams, click to learn more about the French River Dams


Loons and babies swimming. Many sighting of black bears, black bear cubs, moose, and other wildlife are being reported by Bear’s Den Lodge guests.


Typical Cambrian shield rock formation.


Boulders, rocks, gneiss, nepheline syenite, sand beaches are found in the Park. Have fun swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, exploring, or relaxing in the sun on a sand beach right here in Ontario, Canada.

Life on the French River

Where is the French River? The French River is located in Ontario, Canada which is part of North America. My home, Bear’s Den Lodge, coordinates are North 46 02’ 30 latitude and West 80 47’ 0 longitudes. The French River follows from Lake Nippissing to the Georgian Bay which then flows into Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes. Years ago before the last ice age, the French River flowed north but with the weight of the ice it pushed the land down causing it to flow to the south.

What does the French River look like and what type of weather occurs there? The French River has rocky canyons, sandy beaches, bays, rivers, lakes, grassy land, boggy soil, and tall forests. It looks like a giant sponge from the sky. The different weather patterns are warm sunny summers, fall rainy days, winter is cold with snowy and windy days. The different weathers patterns and seasons affect fishing, hunting, the River system, and its wildlife.

What physical systems does the French River have? Oak, maple, various pine trees, cedar, white birch dot the rugged shoreline. There are waterfalls, rapids, five different rivers flowing all into the French River System. Sandy beaches, granite rock with pink and white quartz accent steep ledges and bluffs. Large boulders remain from the glaciers. Islands create a maze of channels with rocks, shoals, and dead heads – logs stuck in the mud from the logging years ago to navigate and fish. We are 530 feet above sea level.

Hence, French River is a tranquil, peaceful, quiet place in Northern Ontario where you can get a way from the city and still have electricity. The natural beauty lies in the landscape, wildlife, and serenity of the life among friends and family. Lastly, the French River is the history, geography, and the future for wildlife with us living together.

The French River’s geography includes locals and people from different parts of the world! Immigrants and visitors are from United States, Germany, Australia, China, Switzerland, England, Ireland, and many more countries reside here or visit annually. The French River is a community of neighbors living together.

French River allows opportunities for you to hunt black bear, ducks, small game, moose, and deer. However, the River is best known for providing world class fishing opportunities for a large variety of fresh water fish from muskie, bass, pike, walleye, sturgeon (are protected species), catfish, crappies, perch and other pan fish. The French River area has humus soil because the river system floods and deposits new soils each year. Also, plants grow well in the humus soil including wild blueberries, cranberries in the boggy areas, wild rice and a variety of ferns, just to mention a few.

The religions on the French River are mainly Catholic and Protestant. A Protestant Church is only open during the summer season and located at the French River Station. The Catholic Church is located in the town of Alban which is 20 miles away. The French River Village had both a Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Church in the early 1900’s.

The French River has human systems. Canadians celebrate different holidays then Americans, including Thanksgiving in October, Canada Day on July 1st. The French River had a history about lumber jacks and fur traders. The French River is known as the “Canoe Route to the West”. Today we offer tourism, fishing, hunting, adventure and scenic tours. The people on the French River speak different languages; they are mostly English, French, and Spanish.

We are very conscious about protecting the environment from pollution and extinction. Protection of our resources currently include: selective cutting of trees, slot limits and seasons on the fish and numbers of fish caught, other protected species including Massassauga Rattlesnakes and local elk to name a few. Each person is responsible for their own garbage. Garbage is removed from the French River Provincial Park to local landfills to protect our environment.


Loons and babies swimming. Many sighting of black bears, black bear cubs, moose, and other wildlife are being reported by Bear’s Den Lodge guests.


Typical Cambrian shield rock formation.


Boulders, rocks, gneiss, nepheline syenite, sand beaches are found in the Park. Have fun swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, exploring, or relaxing in the sun on a sand beach right here in Ontario, Canada.