If you find yourself heading northeast from Ontario into our neighbouring province, there’s a big chance you’ll be passing through Temiscaming Quebec. Whether you’re on a road trip through Abitibi-Témiscamingue, planning a visit to Parc national d’Opémican or heading for Ville Marie, Temicsaming is the first town you’ll pass through along Quebec 101. Don’t just drive on through! Stop and spend some time checking out these fantastic things to do in Temiscaming Quebec! It’s a great spot to stretch your legs as you won’t want to miss these fun and quirky attractions in town.
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Top 5 Things to Do in Temiscaming Quebec
The Ottawa River has been a trade route for Indigenous groups for millennia. More specifically, this area is known to be Algonquin and Anishinaabe territory. With the rise of the fur trade, colonial explorers and coureurs des bois began utilizing these routes. However, it wasn’t until the rise of forestry that Temiscaming began to grow.
Originally known as Long Sault, named after the rapids along the Ottawa River here, the town became an important stopover for those travelling upriver to Lake Timiskaming. This led to the development of the Ottawa Valley Railway, connecting the town to Mattawa, with the first train arriving in 1886.
Two years later, Temiscaming was officially incorporated under its current name. Meaning “deep waters” in the Algonquin language, Temiscaming is still greatly tied to the waters surrounding it to this very day. Spend some time getting to know the town with these great things to do in Temiscaming Quebec!
Address: 15 Rue Humphrey, Témiscaming, QC J0Z 3R0
I’m a self-proclaimed waterfall addict and as such, my first stop had to be Chutes Gordon. In 1883, three loggers dug a creek to connect four small lakes, creating a log-driving circuit between the southern end of Lake Kipawa feeding into Lake Timiskaming.
Referred to as ka-bas-tay-guan in Algonquin meaning “where the water goes to the shore”, Gordon’s Creek is certainly not to be underestimated. For a “creek”, its flow sure is powerful! Witness a series of waterfalls spread across the waterway with a final plunge into the bottom of the gorge located approximately 200 metres north of Avenue Murer.
Park at the Musée de la Gare (more on that next!) where you’ll find the trail to access these stunning waterfalls. The footpath is paved and you’ll come to a wooden boardwalk which allows you to get closer to the falls. While there is a bridge across, it’s unfortunately unsafe for passage so to view Chutes Gordon from the western side, you’ll have to take the trail access from Avenue Murer. It’s still a gorgeous view and worth the quick walk!
Musée de la Gare
Address: 15 rue Humphrey, Temiscaming, Quebec J0Z 3R0
Opening in 1996, the Musée de la Gare is housed in the former Témiscaming station. Originally built in 1927, this is the second train station to be built in town as the original which was built in 1887 burned to the ground 33 years later.
The train station was the central point of all development within town and that is what the Temiscaming Train Museum continues to be. It’s a cultural hub that works to not only preserve but reanimate the heritage of Temiscaming. One way is with the Musée de la Gare’s makerspace which allows for a menagerie of tools and machines to be available to the public. Of course, there is no shortage of events hosted here so take a look at their website for upcoming performances and gatherings!
FUN FACT: It’s the only train station in Canada to be built in the Georgian Style!
As the first train station in Québec to be recognized as a cultural property, it continues to educate both locals and visitors about important moments in history. The first floor of the train station is often used for exhibits to share said history. For the summer of 2023, the Musée de la Gare presents the Madame Bolduc Roadshow. Produced by the Musée de la Gaspésie, it follows the journey of Mary Travers (aka La Bolduc) to earning her title as Queen of Canadian Folk Songs during the 1930s. The displays are bilingual as you learn about the trials and tribulations she endured on her way to stardom.
Fontaine de Venise
Address: Rue Thorne &, Chem. Kipawa, Temiscaming, Quebec J0Z 3R0
This is probably one of the last places you’d expect to find a Fountain of Venice but Temiscaming is home to such a beauty! How did it get to be here? The credit must go to Carl Busch Thorne, a Norwegian engineer who arrived in Canada in 1903.
Hired as the vice president and technical director of Riordon Pulp & Paper Company, Thorne supervised the construction of the paper mill as well as a large part of Temiscaming. It was built to model a “garden city”, an urban planning movement where residences, industry and agriculture all co-existed in proportion to one another. This would allow one to enjoy the benefits of the countryside while living in a city in order to avoid the disadvantages of both. You can read more about the garden city concept here.
Thorne acquired two stunning works of art, a fountain and a well, from Florence, Italy in 1930. As a testament to his commitment to crafting Temiscaming as a garden city, he gifted them to the town which are still prominently displayed to this day! Undergoing a complete restoration in 1986, the Fountain of Venice stands in its red marble glory with two water basins adorned by a bronze statue of Neptune. It’s certainly quite a sight to see!
Address: 9 Rue Belvédère, Témiscaming, QC J0Z 3R0
Soak up the best views of the Ottawa River in the area! Enjoy the vista from the Belvedere Lookout as you admire the longest river in Quebec. Spanning 1130 kilometres, it begins in the heart of La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve and ends with at the St Lawrence River. Because of its length, it’s often referred to as the Lower Ottawa River and Upper Ottawa River, the latter being the section you witness from this lookout!
While it’s no longer the case, these waters were utilized by steamboats to carry passengers and equipment from Temiscaming to the communities of Ville Marie, Haileybury and New Liskeard. You can learn more about the history of the area via the interpretive signage you’ll find at the lookout.
Sentier des Conduite Forcées
Address: Chem. Gatineau, Témiscaming, QC J0Z 3R0
Pipelines have been an integral part of Temiscaming’s urban landscape for decades. While the penstocks no longer carry water, they have been repurposed to create a unique hiking trail that shares their distinctive history – enter the Sentier des Conduite Forcées.
Known as the Forced Pipelines Circuit in English, follow the 208 steps to learn about these old pipes as they carried water from the Lumsden Dam to operate the Kipawa hydroelectric generation station. You’ll learn all about the archaeological remains as well as these pipes that have defined Temiscaming for over half a century.
Whether you tackle the entire route or just check out the first pipe, the Sentier des Conduite Forcées is not to be missed when in town. I’d say it’s probably the coolest of these things to do in Tesmiscaming!
More Things to Do in Temiscaming
If you have a bit more time to spend in Temiscaming, there’s more to be explored! Here are a few more ideas of things to do in and around town.
Take a Self-Guided Historical Tour – Head to the Apple Store or Google Play and download the Musée de la Gare app for a guided tour of the historical hot spots in Temiscaming! The route takes you to 16 different spots scattered throughout the town. And yes, it’s available in both French AND English!
Go For a Paddle – If you’ve read my Ville-Marie article then you know there’s a beautiful paddle along the Ottawa River in Parc national d’Opémican. You can also access the Ottawa River in Tesmiscaming from the local marina! Follow the Rue de la Marina until the end where you’ll find free parking and water access.
Visit the Old Lumsden Dam – As you enter Temiscaming from the north, turn right onto Chemin Kipawa instead of following the Quebec 101. You’ll drive right alongside the Old Lumsden Dam. Stop and admire this pivotal piece of Temiscaming’s history.
Check Out the Poetry Circuit – Students from the local school participated in a poetry competition which was then transformed into a pathway for all to enjoy! Head to the Musée de la Gare or Temiscaming’s Town Hall to grab a pamphlet for the locations of all 13 entries.
Grab a Bite to Eat – There aren’t many options for food in Tesmiscaming but that doesn’t mean there are none! Enjoy some Chinese eats at the Hong Kong Restaurant, grab a burger and poutine at Antonia’s or head to the local IGA grocery store and pack a picnic. There is certainly no shortage of beautiful spots to enjoy one!
Snap a Selfie with the Quebéc Sign – You can’t miss it as it’ll be right in front of you upon crossing the Ottawa River from Ontario! Start or end your visit with a photo. There’s a little park right across the road on the shore of the river where you can safely park. Don’t just pull over in front of the sign as you’ll be disrupting the flow of traffic!
As you can see, Témiscaming is definitely a hot spot for outdoor activities. You might miss this quaint town if you blink but I promise you’ll want to keep your eyes open. Don’t miss out on all this natural beauty alongside its fascinating heritage and plan your visit now!
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