For centuries, Ontario's Ottawa River Waterway has been the gateway to Northern Ontario. PWC enthusiasts looking for the ultimate adventure can do the four-day, 700-km expedition from Pembroke (pop. 14,360) to Temiskaming Shores (pop. 10,400) as we did. But if time is short, there are two overnight rides: Pembroke/Mattawa (330 km/200 miles, return) or the 338 km/210 mi round trip between Mattawa (pop. 2,033) and Temiskaming Shores.
I started this Mattawa-Temiskaming Shores Sea-Doo ride from the riverside Valois Motel & Restaurant on Highway 17. The Valois offers waterfront housekeeping rooms, tasty home-cooked meals (fabulous desserts!), and also has its own boat launch and ample parking. Alternatively and just north under the railway bridge that spans the Ottawa, you can fuel up, dock or launch at the Mattawa Marina. It’s located near the Mattawa & District Museum and the History of Trading Post on Explorer’s Point. The downtown of historic Mattawa is also within walking distance, as is the Clermont Duvals Art Gallery, which displays historic paintings and art of the Ottawa River. Other Mattawa sights to take in from the river include the three white crosses on the Quebec hill facing the marina, Moose Mountain and the Otto Holden Hydro Dam, both located upriver.