This past August a group of us Wikwemikong Tourism and Point Grondine Tourism staff had the opportunity to go on a canoe trip together in Killarney, Ontario. We spent 3 days exploring the trails of Point Grondine, camping, hiking, and paddling just as our Point Grondine Park visitors would!
What an experience!
Point Grondine Park is in Killarney, Ontario just a 22 minute drive from the village of Killarney, one hour south of Sudbury.
Aanii, Boozhoo, my Anishinaabemowin name is Misko Biinishi Kwe (Red Bird Women). My English name is Winona.
When I greet you with my Anishinabek language I honour my spirit, my ancestors and my language. I am slowly learning to revitalize that in my life.
With Point Grondine Park I am a land keeper we call “Park Guardian”. I have worked in tourism for many years. Having the privilege of being a Point Grondine Park Guardian for so many summers has allowed me to get to know the Park intimately. I have learned the most scenic trails, the best swimming rocks and the finest fishing spots, as well as some awesome camping tips! When you love the Park like I do, it’s great to be able to help others book their stay, plan their hikes, feel confident about their canoe routes, and answer all their questions.
With Point Grondine’s campground to be completed in Spring 2024, I’m excited to help campers book their campsites too.
In addition to getting information from me, or any of Point Grondine’s other Park Guardians, you can also explore our website. We’ll all gladly help you with your questions, and then the best way to learn about the Park is to go exploring and experience it yourself.
This year, I am Point Grondine’s Visitor Experience Coordinator. Although I love being part of the administration, my heart is always in the Park itself and I remind myself that everything we do is for the betterment of the land, the water, and the wildlife, while also creating an experience that allows us as humans to learn from and engage with nature.
Insider Look at Camping & Canoeing Point Grondine Park
So back to our August employee trip! There were 9 of us: Noah, Jack, Vince, Mandago, Shyaya, Victoria, Hope, Maria and myself. Our first night was a stay at campsite PG1, right in the heart of Point Grondine Park itself just off of the main trail. PG1 is a premium campsite along the access trail to the boat launch, just 200m away from the water. It’s a great location to start your backcountry camping trip. This premium site includes two wooden platforms, enough to fit 2-3 tents (pending sizes), a picnic table, a few wooden benches around the campfire big enough to seat a number of people, and a clay built fire pit to cook over.
We packed our gear ready for the next day, and then enjoyed our first dinner around the fire. We sat together for quite a while until we all eventually drifted to our tents. There was no wind, nor clouds to disturb our quiet night sky, just the soulful call of an owl hooting away in the distance to sound us asleep.
We woke early the next day, had a quick breakfast and were ready for the trip. We were about to head out onto the beautiful, pristine, blue Killarney waters of Point Grondine Park. Our four tour guides, Noah, Jack, Vince and Mandago, were already dressed and prepared to lead us on the day’s Paddle the Park Tour. The rest of the group packed and loaded the tripping canoes for the 4 days ahead in the backcountry.
Mindfulness & Thanking Nature
Before our tour begins, the tour guides Jack and Noah, start with an opening greeting and tobacco offering to nature. This brings forward our cultural practice to give thanks to the forest, the water, and wildlife. In this offering we acknowledge in advance of entering, any harm we may inadvertently cause to plants or small creatures living along the trail of our journey. It’s a way to respect spirit beings within mother nature.
All 5 canoes pushed off from the shore together and we were on our way to the first backcountry spot, Point Grondine Park premium campsite H2.
We started our tour with introductions of every staff member, and I had the honour to speak about the Park. I shared with anticipation what our backcountry backpacking premium campsites would be like.
We continued our paddle along Mahzenazing Lake to our first portage, a small 45m trail into a narrow river, called Mahzenazing River. We had just a narrow path for our canoes to move, we passed over lily pads, passed cattails and a small beaver dam.
We arrived at the Wemtagoosh Portage into Cedar Lake. The falls are about 40m long, and their rushing waters were still strong and flowing regardless of it being the end of August. We unloaded ourselves here, and stopped to take a break for lunch. We all enjoyed our lunch by the falls, with the sun shining down on all of us.
We had the pleasure of being treated to the unique Indigenous Culinary Experience. This is one of our much loved Wikwemikong Tourism tours. Vince is our Anishinaabe Cultural Guide and chef for the Culinary Experiences on Manitoulin, so he prepared us a feast of wild rice with berries glazed in maple syrup, and our specialty seasoned smoked salmon! It is unforgettable to be able to enjoy our ancestral foods, cooked in traditional ways, on the shores of the land and waterways that have been part of our history for hundreds of years.
Cedar Lake is just one of eight interior lakes on this Killarney tour. Cedar Lake has 8 canoe campsites, with 2 of them being group sites (CG1 and CG2) and 2 of them being premium campsites (C1 and C7). We spent the next 2 days camping at CG2.
Once we arrived at Point Grondine Park campsite CG2, we began to settle in. We took about two hours to make camp, to put up our tents, gather firewood, and set up our kitchen area. We had 4 four-person tents and a hammock.
By that afternoon we were all relaxing and just being present. Some of us were preparing dinner, or reading a book, or taking in the scenery of the land on which our ancestors had lived and created the earliest natural trails. Deep reflection comes upon you when you are here. You realize that history runs through our veins. As you look back across the landscape of the area, you can feel the presence of the Anishnaabe people who came before you. This place is very special, now and for the future. You are relaxed, centered, present, and grateful.
Our last full day to be in Point Grondine Park, included exploring around camp on our own. The group had portaged a 1000m portage into one of the interior tri lakes – Bejeau Lake, a great Lake for fishing!
The Wemtagoosh Falls Portage is the best well known spot to catch some really big Largemouth Bass. Thanks to our fishing guides Noah and Shyaya, a successful outing was had. After the fish were fileted, we all pitched in to prepare the meal and it was on of the greatest meals I believe I ever had in the wilderness. I was very thankful to our staff for each of their personal inclusiveness and skills that they brought on the trip.
Our dinner filled out tummies with rich nourishment, leaving us full and well rested for the evening. We continued light conversations by the campfire and then carried our night into stories, memories and reflections, until we slowly drifted to our tents.
Eventually our journey came to an end. Upon arriving back at shore, we put the canoes up on the racks and packed up our gear. It was our first camp trip as staff and each of us was filled with a personal sense of peace and reflection with a new understanding of our beloved Point Grondine Park in Killarney.
Can we get you ready for Point Grondine Park?
As a staff we are always ready to answer your questions about camping, the hiking trails, or paddling at Point Grondine. We can help you book your Point Grondine Park canoe rentals, too.
You can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning us at 1-705-859-2900. Be sure to check out our website and follow us on social media! You’ll find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You’ll find the Park at 675 Point Grondine Park, ON-637, Killarney, Ontario, Canada P0M 2A0