Temiskaming Shores is one of the more unusual destinations in Ontario. This scenic waterfront city is made up of three historic municipalities—Haileybury, New Liskeard and Dymond—and borders both Quebec and Ojibwe land. The second smallest city in the province by population, it’s a place where three cultures meet on the shores of vast Lake Temiskaming. It’s where fur traders and voyageurs passed through centuries ago, where French Canadian settlers arrived by steamboat from Ottawa, and where timber and mining barons built their mansions.
Today it’s a hub for culinary tourism—a region packed with innovative restaurants using locally-sourced products, thanks to the pristine agricultural lands surrounding the city.
add this destination to your summer weekend bucket list
About a 5.5 hour drive north of Toronto, Temiskaming Shores is the perfect place for a weekend getaway of culinary exploring. To help travellers experience all the region has to offer there’s now a certified self-guided foodie tour on offer as part of the larger Lake Temiksaming Tour, with specialized dishes or educational experiences at each location that showcase the region’s fantastic food scene and local culture.
day one: two provinces and farm to fork fun
Visitors can start the tour at any point, depending on where they’re arriving from, but allow yourself a night or two in the region as there’s alot to see. If you’re coming in from the north, we suggest starting with a morning outing at a former artist commune-turned-sustainable bison farm.
Bison du Nord owner Pierre Bélanger and his son Charles (along with their friendly dog Charbon) will walk guests through the workings of one of Canada's first bison farms, and share their best practices for raising a sustainable herd. (And by walk, we mean, drive you around the farm on a very cool tractor contraption.) Keep your camera handy as the bison are plentiful.
From there head to Dida’s in Earlton for a maple bison burger topped with a bbq sauce made from the region’s famous haskap berries. This chic bistro is known for its excellent burgers—including the Chick-e-rito and the Maple Sriracha made with local cheese and maple syrup—so make sure to order the sliders that will let you sample more than one.
After lunch it's time to pick fresh berries at Nordvie. Visitors can pull up to vast, sunny strawberry fields on the Quebec side of the lake. Once you've plucked your fill, head to the weigh station that also serves as a general store. Here you’ll find fresh produce alongside amazing seasonal products. Try a mash of strawberries and soda sweetened with maple syrup, a strawberry liqueur, or any one of the owner’s many creative creations. There are picnic tables so bring your lunch and enjoy—or just gorge on fresh berries.
Tour the greenhouses, pick up some produce, and enjoy a gourmet meal according to what’s in season. In non-pandemic years the spot is host to weddings and all kinds of events.
Also on the Quebec side of the border is Obadjiwan–Fort Témiscamingue National Historic Site—the site of a former Hudson’s Bay trading post. The views alone are worth the visit—the lake is vast with long stretches of uninhabited shoreline as it must have appeared hundreds of years ago. Take a walk through the enchanted cedar forest, visit the small missionary cemetery, and take in the many exhibits about canoe making, fur trading, and life back in the voyageur days. Fur traders from Montreal used this route to ply their wares.
Back on the Ontario side, hit up famous Thornloe Cheese. This local landmark has been making and selling cheese made from local, grass-fed dairy cows since 1940. Watch the milk trucks pull up and deliver the gallons it takes to produce the company's famous cheeses. Inside the general store, you'll be intrigued by how many different varieties are on offer—everything from poutine cheese curds to their award-winning Evanturel Brie with an ash centre. Pick up any number of local products while you're there including jams, honey, juices, and more. After stocking up on fresh curds we also opted for a tower of creamy Devil’s Rock, an inventively packaged blue cheese named after (and shaped like) the nearby landmark. More on that later.
At Zante’s Bar and Grill guests will have a top notch dinner experience no matter what they order. Kimchi poutine with a ghost pepper aioli is a definite highlight along with the delicate bison burger. The popular restaurant also features lots of Northern beers on tap like Gateway City, Underground Brewing, and Stack Brewing—ask your server which beer pairs best with what. For desert, opt for S’mores in a skillet hit and watch the sunset through the massive picture windows.
Day 2: Hikes, history, and craft beer
Begin the day with a hike up Devil’s Rock outside Haileybury. It’s about a 20-minute climb on a well-marked trail, with epic views at the top overlooking the lake. From certain angles, the chiseled cliff face looks a bit like a devil, hence the name. Bring your morning coffee and watch the sunrise, or if you’re a late riser, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy some of that Devil’s Rock cheese from Thornloe.
It’s a short drive back to Haileybury, the waterfront town that was the site of the devastating Great Fire in 1922, as well as the residence of Charles Leslie McFarlane, better known as F. W. Dixon, the creator of the Hardy Boys.
This innovative brewpub in a historic downtown building offers a beer and food pairing that’s not to be missed. Served on handmade cedar boards with a matching beer flight, guests can enjoy house made potato chips, slivers of decadent dark chocolate, and homemade local jerky paired with an Abitibi Amber, Cold Front Pale Ale, or the Chocolate Chaos Stout. Grab a few cans to go before you leave.
The very cute back patio at White Owl Bistro in North Bay.
For road trippers heading south, the southernmost stop on the tour is the famous White Owl Bistro in North Bay. This charming lakefront restaurant, originally a candy store built in 1934, offers farm to table cuisine from husband and wife team René & Laura Dubois. The chefs raise much of the food found on the innovative menu themselves, including the turkeys—the turkey bison burger is an absolute star. The bison? From Bison du Nord. The tour has come full circle.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the North Bay waterfront before heading back to your final destination. If you’re not loaded down with an assortment of cheese, beer, strawberries, and other local souvenirs, you’re doing it wrong.
For more adventures check out the Lake Temiskaming Tour to create a curated weekend experience just for you.
Accomodations in and around Temiskaming Shores
Visitors to the area have a variety of options at various price points. For a bit of luxury check out local favourite Presidents Suites which offers visitors the chance to stay in a beautifully restored historic home.
The Waterfront Inn offers lakeside accommodations in downtown New Liskeard and easy access to everything in the city. The modern rooms have private balconies overlooking the lake, while some suites include a fireplace and oversized jacuzzi tub.
South of Temiskaming Shores is the famous Smoothwater Outfitter Lodge. This full-service lodge set in the forests of Temagami is known for its guided canoe trips, but it’s also a culinary destination and the perfect place to get away from it all in a classic Northern Ontario lodge. Meals are homemade and enjoyed communal-style at the lodge’s massive dining table. On the menu are locally-sourced classics like tourtière, Trapper’s bread, and cattail on the cob.
Restaurants and destinations in and around Temiskaming Shores
Bison du Nord
086454 Airport Rd Earlton, ON
50- 10th Street Earlton, ON 7
999697 Hwy 11 N Thornloe, Ontario
1049 Chemin des 2e-et-3e-Rangs Saint-Bruno-de-Guigues
51, rue Principale Nord Saint-Bruno-de-Guigues
Lieu Historique national d’Obadjiwan-Fort Témiscamingue
834 Chemin du Vieux Fort Ville-Marie
997461 ON-11 New Liskeard, ON
Hike Devil’s Rock
Silver Centre Road Hwy 567
Guided History Tour on the Great Fire of 1922 (Airbnb Experience)
485 Ferguson Ave Haileybury ON
The White Owl
639 Lakeshore Dr North Bay ON