Algonquin Park is best experienced by canoe, dogsled or snowshoe. Most of Algonquin’s 7000 square kilometres of wilderness can only be accessed by canoe or snowshoe as there are no roads. As an Algonquin Park adventure operator who specializes in Algonquin Park adventures in all 4 seasons, Voyageur Quest can help shape your trip. From Algonquin Park's north west corner at Algonquin access point #1, Voyageur Quest operates 3 and 5 days adventures with a focus on wildlife interpretation, exploring the lakes and forests, and having fun. Voyageur Quest offers a wide choice of Algonquin Park canoe trips and cabin adventures including the “Algonquin canoe and log cabin” – a Canadian Tourism Commission "signature experiences" and Algonquin island Retreat for couples only. All of Voyageur Quest's guided Algonquin Park adventures offers an excellent introduction to the wildlife, people and history of Algonquin.
In the links below, you can find useful information on Algonquin Park's history, Algonquin Park flora and fauna, as well as helpful information about Voyageur Quest's Algonquin Park canoe and cabin based adventures.
The History of Algonquin Park
Algonquin Chief Matthew Bernard
May 1903 - October 1905
October 1909 - September 1911
October 1911 - January 1913
July 1914 - September 1925
The history of Algonquin Park begins with the Algonquin First Nations.
Archaeological information indicates that the Ottawa Valley and Algonquin area was inhabited by Native peoples for 8,000 years prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 1500's. The Algonquin first nation, part of the greater Algonquian group of tribes, inhabited most of the Canadian region south of Hudson Bay between the Rockies and the Atlantic Ocean. The word "Algonquin" means "At the place of spearing fishes and eels". 1
Too far north for agriculture, the Algonquin were loosely organized into small, semi-nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers. In this, they resembled the closely related Ojibwe. The Algonquin lived somewhat outside the wild rice region which provided an important part of the diet for other tribes in the northern Great Lakes. Although a few southern bands were just beginning to grow corn in 1608, the Algonquin relied heavily on hunting for their food which made them excellent hunters and trappers, skills which quickly attracted the attention of French fur traders after 1603. The Algonquin made good use of their birch-bark canoes to travel great distances for trade, and their strategic location on the Ottawa River became the preferred route between the French on the St. Lawrence River and the tribes of the western Great Lakes. Groups of Algonkin would gather during the summer for fishing and socializing, but at the approach of winter, they separated into small hunting camps of extended families. 2
The area of present day Algonquin Park was part of the Algonquin hunting and fishing area which stretched from the great lakes up to and just north of the Ottawa River. Algonquin control of this area was unstable at times due to the wars and constant threat of the Iroquois. The Algonquins traded heavily with the French and remained important French allies until the French and Indian War (1755-63) and the summer of 1760. By then, the British had captured Quebec and were close to taking the last French stronghold at Montreal. The war was over in North America , and the British had won. The Algonquin signed treaties with the British and later fought alongside the British during the American Revolution. The Algonquin homeland was supposed to be protected from settlement by the Proclamation of 1763 and the Quebec Act of 1774, but after the revolution ended in an American rebel victory, thousands of British Loyalists left the new United States and settled in Upper Canada. 2
|Old Algonquin Park Lakeside Hotel
To provide land for these newcomers, the British government in 1783 chose to ignore the Algonquin in the lower Ottawa Valley and purchased parts of eastern Ontario from, a Mississauga chief. Despite this, Algonquin warriors fought beside the British during the War of 1812 (1812-14) and helped defeat the Americans at the Battle of Chateauguay. Their reward for this service was the continued loss of their land to individual land sales and encroachment by American Loyalists and British immigrants moving into the valley. In 1822, the British negotiated with the Mississauga near Kingston , Ontario to sell most of what remained of the Algonquin holdings in the Ottawa Valley. Because few, if any, Mississauga actually lived there, the price paid for them to sell another people's land was virtually nothing. No consultation with the Algonquin people took place. The Algonquin never surrendered their claim to their traditional hunting and fishing area and yet still received nothing from its sale. Further losses occurred during the 1840's as lumber interests moved into the Upper Ottawa Valley. Treaties and purchases by the Canadian government eventually established ten reserves that permitted the Algonquin to remain in the area, but like most Native Americans in both Canada and the United States , they were allowed to keep only a tiny portion of what once had been their original homeland. 3
In the 1880's, pioneer loggers pushing up from the Ottawa Valley reached present day Algonquin park in search of the great White Pine trees whose prime wood was increasingly in demand by an expanding British economy. 4
Algonquin Park was established in 1893, not to stop logging but to establish a wildlife sanctuary, and by excluding agriculture, to protect the headwaters of the five major rivers, which flow from the Park. In the early 20th century, Algonquin Park became a popular destination at first by adventurous fishermen, then by Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven, and a host of other visitors who came by train and stayed at one of Algonquin's several lakeside hotels. 4
(1) Algonquins of Pikwakanagan
(2) First nations Histories - Lee Sutzman
(3) Native language of the Americas
(4) Friends of Algonquin Park
Park Flora and Fauna
Algonquin Provincial Park lies in a transition zone between deciduous forests
typical of areas to the south of the Park, and coniferous forests, more
typical of areas to the north. The result is that both forest types are
found within Park boundaries. Superimposed on this basic meeting of north
and south is the variety of other habitats resulting from the Park's rugged
topography and the impact of modern humans. Even a short trip will take
you by maple forest, spruce bogs, road edges, beaver ponds, campgrounds,
lakes, and cliffs, and each provides different opportunities that are exploited
by different plants and animals.
Along with Algonquin's diversity in habitats comes an associated diversity
in plant and animal life. 45 species of mammals, 262 species of birds, 30
species of reptiles and amphibians, 50 species of fish, and approximately
7000 species of insects are known to occur within Algonquin's boundaries!
In addition, there are well over 1000 species of plants and another 1000
plus species of fungi growing in the Park!
Since the late 1970s Algonquin has become the best place in Ontario, perhaps
North America, to see moose. Best viewing is in May and June, right along
Highway 60. During those months many moose discover the slightly salty water
in the road side ditches (resulting from winter sanding operations) and,
since they have been starved for sodium all winter, they stay around to
take advantage of the unexpected bonanza.
Algonquin Park is famous for its wolves, not only because it has been able
to maintain one of the most southerly wolf populations in North America,
but also because the wolves are relatively accessible to millions of people
without the benefit of special guides or equipment. We feel safe in claiming
that more people have had first-hand experience with wolves in Algonquin
than in any other place in the world.
Most people visiting Algonquin never actually get a chance to see a wolf
- the chances of seeing a shy, timid animal in thickly forested country
like Algonquin are few to say the least. The first-hand wolf experience
we are speaking of above is its voice - the wolf howl. Many visitors to
Algonquin have had the thrill of lying in their tents or sitting around
their campfire and hearing in the distance a spine-tingling chorus of wolves.
Many more visitors have heard wolves by participating in a Public Wolf Howl
- an event that is part of the Park's Summer Interpretive
Such contact with wolves is useful because it helps dispel some of the
misconceptions which most of us have learned to accept without question.
Indeed the wolf, perhaps more than any other animal in the world, has had
an extremely bad press - ranging from our childhood fairy tales up to lurid
modern accounts of huge, savage man-eaters. That 60,000 or more people travel
unarmed in the interior of Algonquin each year without mishap should illustrate
that wolves are not dangerous to humans.
We are very fortunate in Algonquin to have a population of this magnificent
animal, in an area within a few hours drive from major city centres - a
claim that unfortunately cannot be made in many other places!
With such a huge diversity of living things it is not surprising that many
people are drawn to Algonquin Park to catch a glimpse of a wild animal or
to drink in the beauty of a spring wildflower.
Friends of Algonquin Park
Quest Canoe Routes in Algonquin Park
The Algonquin Log Cabin, Algonquin Cottage Outpost and Voyageur Quest Canoe Trip Outpost are all located at Algonquin’s northwest corner- Algonquin access point # 1. Unlike the Park’s highway 60 corridor - the only way into Algonquin from this corner is by foot or canoe. Translation – less people!
A typical trip into Algonquin’s northwest corner may find you traveling large and small lakes, creeks and rivers and the necessary portages that connect these waterways. You might see beaver, moose, mink, otter, osprey, and raccoon and a variety of birds and waterfowl. You almost certainly will see some moose if you travel in June, July or early August. A trip in the Park is not complete without a visit to some of its beautiful beaches; quiet swimming areas, and cool waterfalls.
Asked Questions About Our Trips
“HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO YOU NEED?”
Our 3 and 5-day wilderness holidays do not require any prior
experience. Whether it be a canoe trip, Lodge based trip or sea kayak adventure – our
trips are for people at any level of experience. Our pace is relaxed,
as the objective is to have fun, slow down and leave plenty of time
to explore the beauty of the Algonquin Park or Georgian Bay.
“WHAT KIND OF SHAPE DO YOU NEED TO BE IN?”
You should be able to be active for up to four hours (walking pace) at
“WHO ELSE IS ON THIS TRIP?”
A typical canoe or kayak - trip might consist of one couple, a group
of friends and individuals traveling on their own. The male and female
ratio is usually equal but varies from trip to trip. Northern Ontario
canoeing attracts people from all over the globe, so you will likely be
traveling with an international group. Group size is usually between 6
and 8 people. For more detailed information – please call the office. For Algonquin Park advantures>>
“WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?”
Our food receives superb reviews! Comment forms come in trip after trip
stating the food was fantastic! Breakfasts typically involve: juice, fresh
fruit, cereal, yogurt, eggs and bacon. Lunches are most often smorgasbords
of fresh breads, meats, cheeses, hummus, vegetables, fruit, and baked
cookies. A sample lodge dinner: venison (or vegetarian) stroganoff with
fresh garden vegetables, vinaigrette salad, blackberry torte, coffee,
and tea. Sample canoe or kayak dinner: rigatoni with fresh basil, Italian
sausage (optional) and fresh vegetables, Caesar salad, garlic bread, baked
Please be sure to inform us of any allergic or dietary concern when you
“WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TRIP PACKAGE PRICE?”
Our packages include: accommodation (lodge or camping), all meals, equipment,
permits and services of a wilderness guide. Return transportation from
Toronto can be added on to the trip package price for an additional charge.
"WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?"
GST, personal clothing, sleeping bag (lodge based trips do not need sleeping
"WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?"
Cancellations must be received 30 days prior to departure to receive
a full refund less the 25% deposit.
Cancellations made less than 30 days prior to departure - no refund.
Voyageur Quest reserves the right to cancel a trip with 14 days prior
notice if participation is less than 50%. We will make all attempts to accommodate
you on another trip with similar dates and itinerary. If we can’t
find a satisfactory alternative – a full refund will be provided.
Useful Websites and Algonquin Park Resources
Unique family adventure vacations in Canada and the Caribbean with Langford & Company
Guide for those planning to explore Algonquin's interior by canoe.
The weather for Algonquin Park
More Algonquin Park Information and Resources
Ontario Provincial Park Information and Reservations
Parks Canada Information
Sky Chart for Northwestern Algonquin Park
Langford Canoe and Kayak
On-Line Sled Dog Advertising & Information
Online Kayaking Resource
Outdoor and Wilderness Adventures Resource
Partners in Eco-Adventure Tourism -
Wilderness Adventures: canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, & more!
Ontario Outdoor -
Ontario Outdoor - Ontario’s Great Outdoor Adventures Official Web Site of Ontario Tourism