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Spirit of The Bay; A Cycling Tour of North Bay

Spirit of The Bay; A Cycling Tour of North Bay

Cyclists are invited to discover North Bay’s vibrant arts and cultural scene over the May long weekend in a self-guided cycling event focused on families and recreational cyclists. The Spirit of the Bay ride takes cyclists on a slow roll through North Bay and Callander on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 to explore the food, music, art and nature that make these communities unique. 
A Facebook event, The Spirit of the Bay Self-Guided Cycling Tour, including links to a trip map and itinerary, has been created to suggest bicycle-friendly activities for the whole family over the weekend.

North Bay’s arts community comes alive when riding the Spirit of The Bay self-guided cycling tour. The ride can include a distance of anywhere from 30 – 80 km through the lively city of North Bay and the charming town of Callander on a combination of road and paved trails, including the beautiful Kate Pace Way and Kinsmen Trail.

North Bay’s trail system connects riders to downtown  Photo: Tourism North Bay

Start your ride in downtown North Bay with its colourful murals and unique shops and galleries celebrating local arts, hand-crafted wares and Northern cuisine. Downtown is also home to the North Bay Farmer’s Market, a great place to meet the makers and savour locally grown and homemade treats. Stop by the WKP Kennedy Gallery, a public art gallery downtown that showcases Northern, Canadian and International visual artists. And, there is always an innovative and sometimes “risky” artistic practice being presented at the artist-run White Water Gallery.

Colourful murals decorate downtown North Bay   Photo: Discovery Routes

Continue your ride to the city’s North end stopping at Sweetman’s Garden or for a meditative walk through the labyrinth at the Motherhouse. Cyclists can choose to head to Nipissing First Nation to Aanmitaagzi; the Big Medicine Studio or continue on the paved pathway to the main campus of Nipissing University and Canadore College, another cultural hub in the city. The route goes right by musician-run Gateway City Brewery with their warehouse-style tap room and the Miso & Shiso food truck conveniently parked outside!

Lake Nipissing is never far from view    Photo: Tourism North Bay

North Bay offers a full day of exploration, but for those who prefer a longer ride, there are a few options looping from Lake Nipissing’s “North bay” to its rugged South shore along municipal roads and secondary highways. The bicycle-friendly village of Callander has a number of delightful, locally-owned patio restaurants ready to welcome hungry riders. 1886 Lakehouse Bistro won best bicycle-friendly business in Northeastern Ontario in 2021.

1886 Lakehouse Bistro in Callander voted best bicycle-friendly business in Northeastern Ontario 
Photo: Discovery Routes

Riding on, the route wraps around the South shore of Lake Nipissing along a quiet secondary highway with wide paved shoulders and some gentle ups and downs. Venturing off the highway gets riders closer to the rocky shoreline with its wind-swept pines and occasional beaches where a dip in the cool northern waters soothes the soul. Alternatively, cyclists can head east towards Astorville along the Voyageur Cycling Route and loop back through the community of Corbeil along the wide paved shoulders of Hwy 94.

The Boat at North Bay’s Waterfront offers live music while dining on the shores of Lake Nipissing 
Photo: Tourism North Bay

Cap off the day’s ride with something delicious paired with entertainment. You can find live music on The Chief Commanda II with a sunset cruise of Lake Nipissing, also a number of restaurants such as Raven and the Republic, The Boat, and Average Joes offer live music! The historic Capitol Centre in North Bay presents live theatre, films, concerts and live comedy. There is always something happening in North Bay’s creative spaces where you can get a glimpse into of the community’s culture and uniqueness. 


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