The French River is located in Central Ontario and flows through the Nipissing, Parry Sound, and Sudbury Districts. It flows 110 kilometres (68 mi) from Lake Nipissing west to Georgian Bay. The river is considered the dividing line between Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. The French River is one of 10 designated Canadian Heritage Rivers. This means all 3 levels of Canadian government are involved in conserving and protecting the area’s environment and therefore all parts of the French River offer recreational swimming.
The French River flows through Canadian Shield country. In many spots along the river rugged glaciated rock is seen. It can also be seen through heavily forested areas on the upper portion of the river. The mouth of the river contains countless islands and numerous channels varying from narrow, enclosed steep-walled gorges, falls and rapids, to broad expanses of open water.
The river has 8 Tributaries including the Wanapitei River, Pillow River, Murdock River, Wolseley River, Little French River, Pickerel River, Restoule River and Hall River.
The river is home to a wide variety of bird species. Forest songbirds like Blackburnian Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos are often heard and seen in the towering pines lining the river.
Rentals, dock space and launch facilities are available at multiple private marinas along the river.
Canoeing & Kayaking
The French River is paradise for canoers and kayakers alike. There are many routes with moderate difficulty along the French River. The routes range from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay and interconnect with the Restoule and Little French Rivers. The river’s waters are calm enough for paddling either upstream or downstream.
Fishing is very popular on the river. Walleye, Small-mouth Bass, and Northern Pike are among the many species found in the river. Boat rentals, dock space and launch facilities are available at multiple marinas along the river.
The Recollet Falls Trail on the French River spans 4 km and has moderate difficulty. The trail begins at the French River Visitor Centre, follows the edge of the French River Gorge, and ends at the historic Recollet Falls. The short portage around the falls has been walked by generations of First Nations, famous explorers, hardy Voyageurs, fur traders and missionaries.
Natural Heritage Education
The French River Visitor Centre tells the many stories of this historic waterway in the “Voices of the River” exhibit hall. Various interpretive panels, displays and interactive exhibits take the visitor along the length of the river and through time. Themes explore include the First Peoples, the Explorers, French Fur Traders and Missionaries, the Canadian Fur Trade, and the French River Today.
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The French River Region comprises over 700 square KM of scenic land and rivers flowing 110 kilometers westward from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay. One of the area’s highlights is the French River Provincial Park which offers camping, swimming birding, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and hunting.
Alban Community Centre - The centre holds a banquet hall with kitchen and bar facilities with a maximum capacity of 423 persons. The Alban Community Centre is an excellent location for weddings, parties, or meetings.
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