What about Mattawa?
Below are 3 great topics that can help you get to know Mattawa:

Snap Shot of the Town of Mattawa
Voyageur Days Festival
History of Mattawa


Mattawa is a town in northeastern Ontario, Canada, at the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers in Nipissing District. Mattawa means “Meeting of the Waters” in Ojibwa. In 1615Etienne Brulé and Samuel de Champlain were the first Europeans to pass through this area.

In the past, Mattawa was an important place, due to its location along the voyageur‘s canoe route from Montreal to theGreat Lakes.

In 2007, Mattawa and the townships of Bonfield, Papineau-Cameron, Mattawan and Calvin cooperated to create a newly-branded Mattawa Voyageur Country tourist region in order to promote the area.[3]

Mattawa is the home of many wooden statues depicting historical figures from the Mattawa area, such as Champlain,Pierre-Esprit Radisson, Médard des Groseilliers, and others. The Mattawa District Museum is host to a 17 ft. wooden statue of Big Joe Mufferaw, a local folk hero. These statues are scattered throughout the town of Mattawa and in two locations outside the town on nearby Highway 17.[11]

Small shops along the Main Street offer unique creations from local artists and craftsmen.

Mattawa provides access to numerous dropping off points for canoeing or boating on the Ottawa River which acts as a natural border between the hills of the province of Quebec and Ontario. The Mattawa River flows through the pristine rugged Canadian shield with opportunities to see moose, eagles, the haunting and beautiful sounds of loons at night and terrific fishing, camping, and hiking. There are numerous motels, campgrounds, and retreat centres in and around Mattawa. Just west is Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park on the Mattawa River, which has an interpretive area focusing on the early voyageurs. Campers also have the opportunity to river tube. The park is also home of theCanadian Ecology Centre, a unique eco-friendly retreat centre that is facilitated to accommodate business retreats.Algonquin Provincial Park can be accessed from the north side in Kiosk or the east side in Brent.

The nearby area contains over 200 kilometers (124 mi) of year-round ATV and snowmobile trails, known as the Voyageur Multi Use Trail System (VMUTS).


Every summer since 1997, the Mattawa Voyageur Days Festival is held the last weekend of July. It is organized by the Town of Mattawa and takes place behind the Museum on Explorer’s Point. Some of the events include a regional talent night, lumberjack competition, and canoe race. Live music is a large part of the Festival, and has in the past included such notable Canadian musicians as April Wine, Trooper, Saga, Loverboy, Honeymoon Suite, Chuck Labelle and David Wilcox, among others like Liteside and other local singers and musicians from inside and outside the region play on the Thursday night.

As part of tradition, on the Sunday of the event at dusk there is a choreographed fireworks show.


The area was first inhabited by native peoples who used the Mattawa River as an important transportation corridor for many centuries. In 1610, Étienne Brûlé[4] and in 1615, Samuel de Champlain were the first Europeans to travel through Mattawa area[5]. For some 200 years thereafter, it was a link in the important water route leading from Montreal west toLake Superior. Canoes travelling west up the Ottawa turned left at “the Forks” (the mouth of the Mattawa) to enter the “Petite Rivière” (“Small River”, as compared to the Ottawa), before continuing on to Lake Nipissing[6].

Other notable travellers passing by Mattawa included Jean Nicolet in 1620, Jean de Brébeuf in 1626, Gabriel Lallemantin 1648, Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers in 1658, La Verendrye in 1731, Alexander MacKenzie in 1794, and David Thompson in 1812[5].

In the 1820s and 1830s, the Hudson’s Bay Company sent canoe brigades from their Fort Coulonge Post to this river junction in order to trade furs. In 1837, a permanent post was established which was relocated in 1843 to shores of the Ottawa River in the centre of present-day Mattawa. After the fur trade diminished, the post traded general merchandise to supply lumbermen and eventually closed in 1908.[7]

In the 19th century, Mattawa became a hub for the logging industry which would harvest large untouched stands ofwhite pine in the area and using the Mattawa River to transport logs to sawmills. In 1881, the railroad was built to Mattawa [4] which was mostly built by French Canadian labourers. After the railroad’s completion, these labourers and their families would settle in Mattawa and surrounding areas, bringing with them their culture and heritage.[8]

While logging is still an important industry in this region, nearby provincial parks and wilderness support the camping/hunting/fishing tourism industry in Mattawa today. Mattawa is located on the Canadian Pacific Railway Chalk River subdivision connecting Smith Falls and North Bay with connection to Temiskaming QC.

Anahareo (Gertrude Bernard), wife of writer and conservationist Grey Owl, was born in Mattawa. She had an enormous impact on his life as her influence led him to evenutally become famous for his writings.

Mattawa elected Canada’s first-ever Black mayor, Firmin Monestime, in 1963. Monestime served as mayor until his death in 1977.[9]