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Chief Commanda II - Callander Bay Scenic Tour Package

Package includes accommodations, breakfast, boarding pass and choice of dinner on the boat or at the resort.
Starting at $258.99/night

Exploring North Bay's Waterfront in Less than 12 Hours

Located just 3 hours north of Toronto and 3.5 hours west of Ottawa, North Bay is a beautiful city in Northern Ontario, offering quite a few attractions, each with a rich history and story all their own.

Callander Bay Sunset Cruisin' • Credit: Nadia Carriere


We’ve been to North Bay several times, either passing through during several trips to Quebec or for a full day of shopping at the Northgate Shopping Centre, however we had yet to explore the city and check out the various attractions. A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I decided to leave a full day early from picking our girls up from camp and spent the entire day in North Bay with our son. The plan was to tour the entire city, but once we arrived at the city’s waterfront, it was evident our day would be full.

The Heritage Railway and Carousel Company is located just across from the waterfront and provides plenty of fun for children. There are two carousels here, the Heritage Carousel and the Winter Wonderland Carousel. Both have an amazing story and the background story is quite amazing. There is a definite pride of ownership here as the grounds are meticulously kept and everything is in tip-top shape. The Heritage Railway and Carousel Company is one that is rich in history and the employees here are more than eager to share the stories of its origin with you. So very charming!

NCarriere - Carousel

In 1998, Barry Jacobs came up with the idea of placing a carousel next to the Heritage Railway and the City of North Bay agreed to the proposal. Over the course of a few years, a gentleman in Ohio helped to rebuild a 1908 Herschell-Spillman mechanism that was purchased in London. Local wood carvers in North Bay and one in Montana carved 37 wooden horses and local artists painted each one by hand using inspiration from Northern Ontario and North Bay's scenery. It took over 400 volunteers to bring this carousel to life and it finally opened to the public on July 1, 2002. The Winter Wonderland Carousel opened July 1, 2005 and includes 14 whimsical animals such as deer, a chipmunk, rabbit, wolf, skunk, otter and you can even take a ride in Santa's Sleigh! Each animal is painted with such attention to detail. The horses are truly a sight to behold and the ride is of course loved by all!

NCarriere - Train
In 2006, a miniature railway made North Bay it’s home and the little "Lucy Dalton" replica hit the tracks for the first time. The Heritage Train provides a sweet little ride that takes you on a tour providing views of the waterfront. My son loved this train and was enthralled during our entire ride!

Tip: Admission will run you $2 per ride or 3 rides for $5.

North Bay's Waterfront is located just off the shores of Lake Nipissing. Parking is plenty and there is a two mile walkway along the harbor that makes for a pleasant stroll. If you don't plan on packing a picnic there are a couple of chip and snack trucks located near the parking lot. After taking a ride on the carousels and train, we brought my son to the A.C.T. Playground, a massive play structure conveniently located near the picnic shelter and the main beach. My son took turns playing on the slides and building castles in the sand. At 6 p.m., we packed up our things and took a stroll along the boardwalk to our next adventure - a cruise aboard the Chief Commanda II!
NCarriere - Beach
There are four different scenic cruises available, however due to our schedule, we chose the 2 1/2 hour Callander Bay Sunset Cruise. We didn’t opt for the four course dining experience as my son is still quite young (23 months) and I didn’t feel it would be suitable for his rambunctious ways. Upon boarding, I was quite happy with my decision! If you are cruising with adults or a significant other, definitely indulge in the dining package, but if you have children I would stick to the snack bar and open air bbq. Dining options are more of the fast food variety (burgers, fish and chips, hot dogs, ice cream) and there is also a fully licenced bar on-board.

We cruised along the northern vistas of Callander Bay, learning about the area and history thanks to the tour guide. Of course, the real highlight was the sunset. The night was clear, providing us with the perfect view as the sun went down. We pulled up to the dock just minutes later, strolling along the boardwalk with a sleeping baby in tow.

NCarriere - Sunset

Our day and evening trip was wonderful, but bittersweet as my girls weren’t able to join us. I’ve already planned another trip to North Bay in the coming weeks as I know they will have a ball riding the attractions at the Heritage Bay Company and playing alongside Lake Nippising.

North Bay is also home to several other attractions including the Dionne Quints Museum, Discovery North Bay Museum and the Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence. We hope to visit the soon and report back to you upon our return!

For more information on North Bay and for a list of attractions and current events, please visit Northeastern Ontario Tourism's website - www.northeasternontario.com.

View North Bay in a larger map

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