My mother used to visit Kapuskasing when she was a child, she recalls fond memories of swimming and fishing in several of the lakes that surround it as well as her exciting trips to the general store at the time to get penny candy.
Founded in 1921, scenic Kapuskasing has continued to evolve from its roots as a lumber town into the scenic destination it is today. Located about 2 hours north of Timmins, between Cochrane and Hearst along Highway 11, it’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway. About 68% percent of its inhabitants are Francophone, and that french influence means there are lots of surprises to be found here—including some of Ontario's best artisanal cheese. It’s also home to the annual Lumberjack Heritage Festival.
These days, on my trips up north, I find myself stopping more often in Kapuskasing. A lot of that I credit to the town’s inviting appearance. As you enter the city limits, you can clearly see the Kapuskasing River, part of the Arctic Watershed—its waters eventually reaching the Moose and Mattagami Rivers headed for James Bay. I often daydream about those flowing streams full of native brook trout as I turn off the highway into the town’s historic “circle” centre.
Whether you’re here for a quick stop or for a leisurely weekend, here are the top things to do in Kapuskasing.
1. Learn about Kapuskasing history at the Ron Morel Memorial Museum
Housed in two railway cars, this is probably one of the coolest museums you’ll ever visit. Entry fees are by donation and it's open throughout the summer. Inside you’ll find all kinds of railway-related artifacts, plus loads of local history. Out front, don’t miss the massive "Passage Through Time" sculpture honouring Kapuskasing’s pulp and paper mill history—depicting lumber’s transformation from log to newspaper.
Phone Number: 705 337 4474
Website: Ron Morel Memorial Museum
2. Enjoy a picnic at Kapuskasing Park
This riverside park offers a place to stretch your legs before or after a meal. The beautiful Canadian Shield can be seen along the shorelines and the easily accessible paths are enjoyable for all. Enjoy some lawn bowling, fire up the BBQ, or relax in one of the public hammocks. Check out the water park, or play some tennis. In winter, the park is host to the Festival of Lights.
3. dine at Chez Lizette
The perfect place to cap off your first evening in Kapuskasing. Enjoy a wide variety of foods from poutine to steak to the classic pizza. You won’t be disappointed with this well-known community restaurant.
Website: Chez Lizette Restaurant & Pizzeria
4. order breakfast fit for a lumberjack at Papa Franco's
Papa Franco's is a great spot to enjoy a hearty lumberjack's breakfast. They’ve also got the only wood burning Italian pizza oven in town.
5. Explore the Circle and Get caffeinated at Back to the Grind
This excellent coffee shop is located in the town’s centre: the Circle. They offer breakfast and coffee that’s not made from a brown filter machine. Next, head to Circle C next door. Grab some essentials and maybe an ice cream cone. Locals like to enjoy their treats in the centre of the Circle. Stop by the Boulangerie to pick up some freshly baked pastries (the cream puffs are a local favourite), breads, and treats.
6. Grab some artisanal French cheese at Fromagerie Kapuskoise
This critically-acclaimed cheese shop is a must-stop for any visitor. Try some samples, learn about the cheese-making process from the friendly staff, and stock up on delicious French cheeses and other local products, before heading off on a well-earned picnic.
7. Fish and enjoy the beach at René Brunelle Provincial Park
This provincial park offers boat, canoe, kayak, and bike rentals from May to September. It just so happens to be located on a lake that's great for walleye, northern pike, and even smallmouth bass. The park also accommodates tents, campers, and RVs. There’s also a boat launch and a beautiful beach to enjoy.
8. Camp overnight at Twin Lakes Camping
Another option for camping, Twin Lakes is located 20 minutes east of Kapuskasing. This family-friendly spot offers a chip stand serving excellent poutine and even has a bunch of waterslides for the kids. This campground is a hidden gem that’s popular with locals. Many families spend an entire summer here—hiking, biking, and fishing.
9. Play a round at the historic Kapuskasing Golf Club
If you’re not into starting your mornings on the lakes, or you just want a change in scenery, consider the Kapuskasing Golf Course. This 9-hole golf course has quite the history. Established in 1937 and paid for by the wealthy pulp and paper companies, this course is a marvel of engineering. It’s hard to imagine the work that went into clearing the boreal forest to create these links. You’ll have to see it to appreciate it. Located right in the centre of town, it’s a true bucket-list golf experience.
10. Take a guided trip with Kapriver Retrievers & Outfitters
Offering guided or non-guided fishing trips, these day-long adventures are a great option for those who want to wet a line. If you visit in the fall, it would be worth checking out their duck or grouse hunting opportunities!
11. Discover local favourite Thong La’s Restaurant
After a long day on the water or on the course, the last thing you want to think about is where dinner is coming from. Family restaurant Thong La’s is open until midnight so rest assured you'll be eating well no matter what the hour! This place specializes in classic Chinese-Canadian dishes, influenced by the family's roots in Sichuan province. Lots of combos let you get exactly what you want, plus they offer a buffet option. The bright pink menus are part of the fun.
Address: 16 Riverside Dr, Kapuskasing, ON P5N 1A3, Canada
discover Kapuskasing on your next visit north
These are only a few of the best things to do in Kapuskasing. Highway 11 has a way of fooling drivers into bypassing some of the best parts of the north. From splash parks for kids to golf courses for the adults, this town is full of surprises. Don’t let the Tim Hortons drive-thru be your only stop in Kapuskasing. Once you turn off towards the highway and into town, you’ll be wowed by its historic charm.