Killarney Provincial Park
Wilderness Canoe Trip

The Story of a Canoe Trip Through Ontario's Killarney Provincial Park
Norm Hooper

Part 1
Killarney Provincial Park

Every die-heart canoeist has in their blood a desire for a more adventurous and challenging waterway that would surpass their last trip. In November 2000, Norm Hooper acquired some enticing information from a fellow canoeist about a trip around the Charlton-Great Mountain Lake Loop of Killarney Provincial Park (KPP), one of Canada’s most beautiful, unspoiled parks. Armed with this descriptive narrative, he contacted his three canoeing buddies, Wayne Morrison, Norm Rail and John Nikita. Their enthusiastic response to undertake this challenge in the fall of 2001 was immediate. Preparations and planning began in earnest over the spring and summer months.

Killarney Provincial Park (see map), considered the crown jewel of Ontario parks, is located on the northern shore of Georgian Bay. It comprises a majestic combination of mountainous regions with rugged, ancient quartzite ridges which are surrounded by many small to large crystalline lakes and low-lying bog areas. KPP boasts to having one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, known as La Cloche Mountains that were once higher than the Rocky Mountains before being eroded by the melting glaciers crossing the Canadian Shield. Coexisting side-by-side with the quartzite ridges are the beautiful sloping red granite rock formations that make up most of the shoreline along Georgian Bay and some of the inland lakes of the park. The amazing views of Georgian Bay and the unspoiled wilderness of the La Cloche Mountains are a highlight for both hikers and canoeists. The trees, dwarfed by the wind and cold, manage to persevere, eking a life seemingly from the rocks themselves. The Ojibwa natives believed that this area was the land of spirits and they called it the "Heaven’s Gate". The barren isolation of parts of the ridges, together with the extreme deformity of the vegetation, combines to put those who pass through this area in touch with their own spirit - we were eager to begin our trip at Willisville, an hour’s drive (routes 17 and 6) southwest of Sudbury, Ontario, through the most remote western and northern sectors of the park and experience this for ourselves.

Copyright 2001 by Norm Hooper -