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Getting Away From it All in Blind River

• Credit: Steve Sanford
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Getting Away From it All in Blind River

Quiet town in Ontario's North Channel has everything the visiting boater needs

Any cruise along the North Channel should include a stop at this boater's haven

About halfway between the cities of Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, on the Trans-Canada Highway, lies the quiet town of Blind River. With a history that stretches back to its founding in 1906, Blind River is one of the top destinations for boaters and outdoor enthusiasts in Ontario's Algoma Country. I’ve passed through the area several times, but recently I had a chance to bring a boat and spend some time exploring.

Where to Launch

Blind River is the ideal destination for trailer boaters. With eight boat launches on four different bodies of water, there is something for everyone. Launch your boat at the Boardwalk Boat Launch in the centre of town and you can enjoy a leisurely cruise on the river’s protected waters.

For the more adventurous boater, head south from the highway to Blind River Marine Park and you’ll have access to the famous North Channel. From here you can enjoy dozens of miles of scenic boating in an area considered to be one of the best freshwater cruising areas in the world.

The full-service marina offers everything boaters will need. There is an ample water depth of 10 feet at the fuel dock, which has both gas and diesel available. There are 70 slips, and large vessels up to 100 feet can be accommodated. Power, water and wi-fi are readily available. There is a sales, repair and maintenance facility with a 20-ton lift on-site. The main marina building has a café, showers, washrooms, laundry mat and complimentary bicycles.

Where to Eat

There are several good eateries in Blind River. Most are within a 2-km walk of the marina. For a truly remarkable dining experience, head to the west end of town, where you’ll find the Pier Seventeen restaurant with its spectacular views of the river from the dining room and the outdoor patio. Best described as casually elegant, the food is always excellent, and the lounge provides a great place to unwind after a long day of boating. Should you want to relax a while longer, Pier Seventeen has you covered as well with a stretch of well-appointed motel rooms.

Things to Do

Blind River is home to many attractions, ideal if you want to get off the boat and stretch your legs a bit. Just past Pier Seventeen restaurant you’ll find Huron Pines Golf Course. This 18-hole championship course spans 6783 yards of rugged Northern Ontario beauty, nestled on the shores of the Mississauga River. Cart and club rentals are available and the licensed restaurant offers a full menu.

If golf isn’t your thing, perhaps you’d be more comfortable enjoying one of the towns four beaches or 18 park areas with baseball, tennis and soccer. There are over 12 km of biking and walking trails, including several in the protected Boomcamp Wetlands.

For a taste of the rich history of the Blind River area, a visit to the Timber Village Museum will show you what life was like during the peak of the lumber mill boom. Blind River was home to one of the largest sawmill operations in North America, and the museum proudly relives those days with guided tours of the community, workshops and presentations.

Should the weather not cooperate and you need to find something indoors, the Palace Theater 2 has a single movie screen, playing a new release feature, and a full concession stand.

Where to Stay

In addition to the motel rooms at Pier Seventeen, which also has docking facilities and its own boat launch, there are several other options for overnight accommodations. The same family has owned MacIver’s Motel and Campground for over 70 years. MacIver’s offers motel rooms, housekeeping cottages and full-service RV sites with 30-amp power, water and sewer hook-ups. In the centre of town, you’ll find the Old Mill Motel with its selection of comfortable rooms, and the 17 Restaurant is just across the street.

The town of Blind River lives up to its claim of being the “Ultimate Getaway Destination.” There is no shortage of things to do and places to see. Anyone who enjoys the great outdoors could stay here for a week or more and not run out of things to do. I spent a full day and only got to sample a very small part of what this town has to offer.

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