Rainy River

Rainy River Chamber of Commerce

Moving west along highway 11 you will come to Hwy 621 north. Make the time and turn north on a side trip 45 km to explore Assabaska Ojibwe Heritage Park on the eastern shore of Lake of the Woods. You will find a well maintained campground, access to sand beaches and wildlife viewing. In August you can go 12 km further up the road and take in a pow wow at Big Grassy First Nation. Back on the main route, turn south off highway 11 between Stratton and Barwick to the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre. This is a place of spirituality, history and beauty on the banks of Rainy River. Designated as one of Canada's National Historic Sites, Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is home to a world class museum and interpretative center.

The history of the Anishinaabe (native people) of the area is portrayed through outstanding cased exhibits, wall murals and dioramas. A large indoor aquarium allows visitors to view the indigenous lake sturgeon found in Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. A nicely appointed restaurant with a view to the river serves up traditional and contemporary meals. The well stocked gift shop has unique items for every interest.

Outside the centre, visitors can explore acres of wooded trails and the largest burial mound complex in Canada. You will be guided by friendly and knowledgeable interpretative staff. Covered golf carts are available for those with special needs on the interpretative trails.

From Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung you may want to stop for a tour of the Voyageur Panel plant in Barwick. Visitors can watch the process of turning aspen trees into sheets of strand board. As well, visitors to Barwick can stop at the Chapple museum, rest at the R.V. Park and Campround and enjoy the Rainy River from the free public boat launch.

South of highway 11 on Rainy River First Nation visit a working lake sturgeon hatchery on the river bank beside Manitou Rapids. This facility operated by RRFN raises sturgeon for re-stocking in Rainy River. From late May through July visitors can view the process of harvesting eggs and the hatching and raising of fry. Several adult sturgeon are viewed in holding tanks.

Four kilometres of Rainy River First Nation is the town of Emo, home of Norlund's Chapel, Canada's smallest chapel. Stop and visit this small wonder on the north side of the highway as you enter Emo. Look through and sign the guest book. You may be surprised at some of the interesting comments. In the main business district just above the Rainy River, Emo has a very nice river side park and walkway. Take time for a stroll by the river and enjoy a view of the Voyageur's Highway.

Just north of MOM's Way between Rainy River and Fort Frances are fine tourist areas including Morson and Nestor Falls on Lake of the Woods and the Clearwater and Lake Despair chain of lakes north of Emo and Devlin. Great canoeing, wildlife watching and fishing is available for those who choose this adventure.

From Canada it's on to Minnesota. Head south at the corner by Willie Walleye taking Hwy 11 to cross the border from Rainy River to Baudette, Minnesota. Crossing is easy at this toll free, 24 hour entry point. As you cross the bridge, look both ways for a view of the historic Rainy River. Flowing 70 miles from Rainy Lake to Lake of the Woods it has carried travelers through the area for thousands of years.

Named after the river, the town of Rainy River is the southern gateway to Lake of the Woods. This is a historic area and Ontario's most westerly community on the Canada-US border. In town be sure to visit Hannam Park and the Rainy River waterfront. Or take in the restored 4008 steam engine at the refurbished train station along highway 11.

Just northwest of town 18 km is Sable Island a world recognized Important Bird Area. This sand spit at the mouth of Rainy River is home to a remnant population of endangered, breeding piping plovers.

An area of mixed deciduous shoreline, oak ridges, open agricultural fields and wetlands harbors almost 300 bird species during their spring and fall migrations. The rare Connecticut warbler breeds in this area which is truly a birders' paradise.