Welcome to the beautiful and picturesque Madawaska Valley! I am so proud to call this gorgeous area home. Located in the encompassing area of Renfrew County, the Madawaska Valley is comprised of three small towns; Combermere, Wilno and my home town of Barry’s Bay. The region is an outdoorsperson’s playground, rich with an abundance of lakes, rivers, trails, wildlife and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
Other than the captivating scenery and beautiful lakes and rivers, my small rural area has a few landmarks and tourist attractions that are unique to the Madawaska Valley;
Zurakowski Park in Barry’s Bay honours local resident and world famous test pilot Janusz Zurakowski. Zurakowski was most famous for his testing of the Canadian Supersonic interceptor known as the CF-105 Avro Arrow.
- Crooked Slide Park just outside of Combermere on Old Barry’s Bay Road is a special spot for photographers. It is a reconstruction of an original log chute used by loggers in the early 1900s.
- The Railway Station located in Barry’s Bay was originally built in the 1890s and now houses an art gallery and heritage museum.
- The miles of abandoned rail bed offer easy biking and walking as well as dirt biking in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter.
The Madawaska Valley is located just 15 minutes from Ontario’s first provincial park; Algonquin Park. Algonquin Park is a wonderland of biking, hiking and scenic trails through miles of untouched area and is must-visit for canoeing, camping and nature enthusiasts. The only way to truly explore the interior of the park is by canoe, or on foot. You had better be rested before starting your trek through the park because it encompasses over 2,950 square miles. To put that into perspective, the Park is larger than Prince Edward Island! Algonquin Park is a true Canadian gem located in my own back yard.
Located just 15 minutes south of my home town is one of the most unusual and what I feel is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Renfrew County and the attraction I would like to highlight; the Bonnechere Caves.
Imagine the world before fish or dinosaurs! The Bonnechere Caves give you the chance. You can transport back to the Ordovician time period which is thought to have been 400 to 500 million years ago. You can venture down into the caves and see what the world looked like all those millions of years ago. The tour guides at the Bonnechere Caves are very knowledgeable and will give information on the types of rocks in the caves, the process of fossilization, the impact that the glaciers had on the area landscape, how the caves were formed over the years, what stalactites are and how they grow, the brown bat species that inhabit the caves and how the caves were discovered. You will also have the opportunity to see fossils that have been collected in the caves from the Ordovician time period. The visit is educational and awe-inspiring!
The caves are a popular educational trip favourite of area schools and the excursions make learning fun and interesting.
I was fortunate to have my official Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario photo shoot done in the Bonnechere Caves! What a unique way to highlight this local attraction capturing a time long gone. Photographer Kelly Cobus of Kelly Cobus Photography was wonderful and her insightful eye gave me the opportunity to showcase the caves with a bit of regal flare! Thank you Aaron and Kelly of Kelly Cobus Photography for ensuring I will always have these amazing photos to look back on.
I am so fortunate to have such a beautiful and interesting area as my home base. No matter where I travel going forward, I will always know one of the most interesting and scenic places on earth are right here at home!
To learn more about the Madawaska Valley visit www.madawaskavalley.ca
To learn more about Algonquin Park visit www.algonquinpark.on.ca
To learn more about the Bonnechere Caves visit www.bonnecherecaves.com
To see more incredible photos by Kelly Cobus Photography visit www.kellycobusphotography.ca
Come and visit us!
Until next time,