Ontario: Trans-Canada #17 between Kenora and Ignace

Sunset over a lake in the Canadian Shield

Why travel between Kenora and Ignace?

The route near Kenora snakes alongside the rugged shoreline of Lake of the Woods (LOTW), ang then crosses overland, roughly following the railway route toward Thunder Bay. This section crosses through virgin forests, past pristine lakes, through some stunning rock cuts, and crosses some magnificent rivers.

Here is the itinerary for the 246 km along Highway #17 between Kenora and Ignace

Kenora's Best Western and Downtown eerial view Much of the land in Northwestern Ontario is Canadian Shield with sedimentary rocks form a vast ancient ocean with a number of volcanic influences. The region was home to a number of volcanos, which mixed volcanic and sedimentary rocks into folds of granite batholiths.

At the junction of Highway 17/71, you can look at the rock cuts for the highway to see the variations in the rocks. East of Dinorwic there are rocks cuts with colours based on dominant minerals in the stone.

Kenora: Planes at Watson's Air Service docks, get travellers to area camps and fly fishing lake You can quickly observe the acidity of area lakes as you drive by. Those that are more acidic have cattails, pond lilies, and sedge. These plants also attract a range of waterfowl.

The rocks over much of the Canadian Shield have been rounded by glacial scour. The first vegetation to move in are the lichens. As they grow they secrete acids and begin to break apart the rocks, as well as provide decayed vegetable matter for larger plants to begin growing. Over thousands of years, the soils have improved in spots to become home to .forests of conifers. The lichens are popular food for area woodland caribou who inhabit the local forests. The tree species found in this area include black ash, balsam fir, black spruce and jack pine.

Northern Ontario Lakes In some areas you will see glacial moraines (a ridge of rocks left behind) which provide a well-drained base suitable for both forests and for farming. Around Dryden you pass through a farming area with silt and clay soils left behind by a glacial lake, and growing a variety of legumes, grasses and forage for the area's cattle, pigs and sheep. It also helps make the land a little flatter, like for Dryden's airport.

The vast forest industry of Northwestern Ontario, and the pulp and paper mills have caused mercury pollution in some lakes and waterways, and have led to Minimata Disease (named for the Japanese community where it was first identified) in First Nations residents in the community of Grassy Narrows, who relied on locally caught fish for their sustenance.

Trans-Canada Highway History

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Next West: Winnipeg to Kenora Next East: Ignace to Thunder Bay

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Detailed Itinerary


Highway Point & Features


Junction Hwy 599, N to Silver Dollar (69 km) (Ignace)  466 
Sandbar Lake Provincial Park, camping, fishing, water sports (fine sandy beach), wildlife..

Silver Dollar, 69 km to NE of highway. ..

Silver Dollar Inn and Campground, camping, hunting, fishing, gas station & general store, restaurant..
Rand St (S) into Ignace (Ignace)  454.8 
Township of Ignace..

Agimak Lake, just southwest of town, with marina...
Humphrey Rd (E) Davey Lake Rd (W) (Ignace)  453.8 
Lakeshore Rd intersection (Ignace)  452.6 
Ignace Municipal Airport to S (Ignace)  439.5 
Ignace Municipal Airport (CZUC), single runway, 0.5 km S of highway. No scheduled carriers..
14  Mamegweiss Lake Rd exit 428.9 
25  Raleigh Lake Rd (S) 445.3 
35  small Roadside Turnout S side, view of pond 429.8 
35  Junction Hwy 622 (S) to Turtle River PP, Atikokan 438.9 
Township of Atikokan, 132 km S of highway (toward Highway 11)..

Turtle River Provincial Park, wilderness park (no facilities), with glacial moraines and Indian pictographs. 49 km S of highway..
35  Roadside Turnout S side 432.5 
40  small Roadside Turnout S side, view of river 424.3 
40  Revell River crossing 421.8 
50  Basket Lake Rd (N) 399.9 
58  Highway 603 (N) to Dyment (Borup's Corners)  380.4 
70  Roadside turnout with restaurant, N(E) side 388.6 
79  Highway 72 junction, N to Dinorwic, Sioux Lookout (67 km) (Dinorwic)  368.8 
Sioux Lookout, 67 km NE of highway..

Moosehorn Lodge, fishing, in Sioux Lookout..

Dinorwic, alongside highway..
88  Hughes Creek river crossing (Wabigoon)  367.6 
Franklin's On Stone Lake, hunting & fishing cap..
88  Hill St (N) accommodation (Wabigoon)  375.5 
93  Thunder Creek river crossing (Wabigoon)  375.8 
93.5  Aaron Provincial Park (N) of highway 381.6 
Aaron Provincial Park, just N of highway, on Thunder Lake. Camping, watersports (sandy beach), winter sports, wildlife...
94  Bonny Bay Rd, S to Wabigoon Lake 385.3 
94  Roadside Turnout, N side 389.8 
viwe of Thunder Lake to the north..
96  Elm Bay Rd (S), Pass Thunder Lake to N, Wabigoon L to south 388.9 
98  Thunder Lake Rd (E), access to Aaron PP 381.6 
102  Highway 601 N (Airport Rd) (Dryden)  381.9 
Dryden Regional Airport (5 km), scheduled carrier: Bearskin Airlines, home to region's firebombers..
106.5  Durance Ave (N), accommodation (Dryden)  372.2 
107  Junction Hwy 601 (N), Colonization Ave N (S) (Dryden)  371.2 
TCH in Dryden, west of here, is Government Street until the bend, when it becomes Grand Trunk Ave,..

Timberland Motel on S (eastbound) side of highway, 0.4 km W of intersection...

Patricia Inn, on NE side of intersection..

Comfort Inn - Dryden, on SE side of intersection...

Holiday Inn Express - Dryden, on NE side of intersection..
107  Junction Duke Street & Hwy 594 (S) east access into downtown Dryden (Dryden)  370.9 
Dryden Regional Hospital, 58 Goodall Street, via Van Horne Ave, 3 km SW of highway...

Dryden District Museum, S of highway, via Van Horne Ave..

downtown Dryden, along Duke St..
108  Pedestrian overpass, IGA groceries (Dryden)  374.3 
108  Truck stops on N side (Dryden)  374.6 
109  1st Street intersection, services, accommodation (Dryden)  370.3 
Hillcrest Motel, west side of highway..
109  Junction Cecil Ave (N) and Hwy 502 (S) all services, west access into downtown Dryden (Dryden)  363.3 
gas station on south (eastbound) side of highway: 7-Eleven and Mohawk..

Central Hotel, on King St, via 502, 0.5 km SE of highway..

Kowality Motor Inn, on Earl Ave, via 502, 0.5 km SE of highway..

Best Western Motor Inn - Dryden, just east of intersection..

Downtown Dryden, along Duke Street..
110  Anton Rd (W) Leach Rd (W) (Dryden)  365.5 
TCH in Dryden, south of here, is called Grand Trunk Ave, until the bend when it becomes Government Street...
110  Roadside Turnout, W side (Dryden)  363.6 
112  Hwy 665 Junction (Dryden)  65.2 
113  Keller Rd (N) (Dryden)  366.4 
113  Birchland Trailer & RV park (Dryden)  372.2 
Birchland Trailer & RV Park, on S side of highway (about 1 km past curve for westbound travellers)..
115  Wabigoon River crossing (Dryden)  359.7 
Wabigoon River, flowing north through Dryden out of Wabigoon Lake..
121.5  Larimer Rd (N), Adams Rd (S), Services at intersection. 362.4 
123  Junction Hwy 605 (Stevenson Rd), S to community of Oxdrift, services 360.6 
Oxdrift, 2.5 km SW of highway..

Oxdrift settlement, both sides of highway..
129  Minnitaki Rd, S to community of Minnitaki 359.1 
Minnitaki, settlement on both sides of highway no services...
134  Junction Highway 594N 360.9 
136  Junction Highway 594 (S) to Town of Eagle River, Eagle Lake Indian Reserve 27 (Eagle River)  356 
Town of Eagle River, 3 km SW of highway..

Eagle Lake Indian Reserve 27, Eagle Lake First Nation, 10 km SE of highway..

Bimose Tribal Council of First Nations..
138  Crossing Eagle River 346.3 
crossing Eagle River, flowing south to Eagle Lake, 10 km to SE..
143  Passing Gravel pits on both sides of highway 390.4 
144  Waldhog Rd (N), S to Gunne 393.8 
150  Roadside Turnout with viewpoint on south side (Vermillion Bay)  375.2 
Roadside Turnout with viewpoint of Eagle Lake, on S (eastbound) side..
150.2  Highway 105 (N) to Red Lake (Vermillion Bay)  391.7 
Esso Truckstop to S (eastbound) at highway junction..

several motels at highway junction..

Town of Red Lake, 176 km to NW of highway...

Township of Ear Falls, on Lac Seul, 100 km N of highway..

Red Lake photos..
151  Tower Rd (N), view south to Eagle Lake (Vermillion Bay)  389.8 
152  Armstrong St (S), to Vermillion Bay, and Highway 647 (N) to Blue Lake PP (Vermillion Bay)  390.8 
Blue Lake Provincial Park, 16 km NW of highway. Camping, wildlife, watersports, open year-round...

town of Vermillion Bay, just to S of highway, on scenic Eagle Lake..

Vermillion Bay Airport (small planes), about 5 km NW of highway...
155.5  two lakes & charcoal plant 385 
By Lake to N, Nixon Lake to S, charcoal plant on N side, with road turnoff to W...
156  Road to N, Sandy Lake Motel, gas, food 405.1 
158  Hanslip's Rd 370.6 
158.1  gas transmission station to S 378 
pumping station along the Trans-Canada Pipeline across Canada, to S of highway...
163  West Arm Rd to Eagle Lake 368.5 
Edson, 2 km S of highway, on West Arm of Eagle Lake,..
181.4  access to Winnange Lake PP (S) 423.4 
Winnange Lake Provincial Park, about 12 km S of highway. Rugged wilderness park with a 500 m sandy beach...
184  Gordon Lake Rd (N) 436.8 
201  Hawk Lake Rd crossing, S to community of Hawk Lake 415.4 
How Lake, 2 km S of highway..

Hawk Lake Lodge, 5 star fishing lodge, to S of highway..
215.4  Trout Lake Turnoff (N) 398.4 
Trout Lake (one of 7 in Ontario!) to NE of highway. Visible N of highway for next 5 km to East..

Old Highway 17 winds on both sides of highway..
218.7  Dogtooth Lake to SW of highway 352 
Dogtooth Lake to south of highway, roadside turn-offs on S side of highway on either sides of the lake..
219.2  Picnic Area on S side of highway 361.5 
Picnic Area on S side of highway, overlooking Dogtooth Lake to the south...
221.8  Picnic area to N 358.1 
Picnic area to N (westbound) side of highway..
224  Junction 17 & 71 S to Sioux Narrows & Fort Francis/International Falls 331.6 
Junction 17 & 71 S, Highway 71 goes south to Fort Frances / International Falls, connecting to Highway 11, east to North Bay and Toronto...

Nester Falls, 99 km S of highway junction...

Sioux Falls, 55 km S of highway junction..

Town of Fort Frances, Ontario & International Falls, MN (USA), 196 km SE of highway junction..

Rushing River Provincial Park, camping, water sports, wildlife viewing, open year-round...
234  Bigstone Bay Rd, S to Kenora Indian Reserve 388 369.1 
234  Highway 17A junction 334.1 
Highway 17 A is the 34 km bypass road around Kenora...

Kenora Airport, serviced by Bearskin Airways, 10 km NW of highway junction..

Weyerhauser Strand Board Mill, just south of airport, 10 km NW of highway junction...
235  Hilly Lake to N 358.1 
235.8  Campgrounds 341.7 
Redden's Camp and Trailer Court, on Longbow Lake..

Longbow Lake Camp & Trailer Park, just S of highway..
242  Transmitter Rd to E (Kenora)  334.4 
242  Jones Rd (hwy 671 N to Kenora Airport). S to Kenora Indian Reserve 388 (Kenora)  364.2 
Highway 671, north to Kenora Airport, and to Grassy Narrows..

Grassy Narrows, 77 km to N of highway..

Kenora Airport, serviced by Bearskin Airways, 5 km NE of highway junction..

Kenora Indian Reserve 388, member of Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum, 77 km to N of highway..

English River Indian Reserve 21, 77 km to N of highway..

Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag First Nation Tribal Council Web site..

Bimose Tribal Council web site, for Grassy Narrows First Nation..

Grassy Narrows Lodge, fishing & hunting, 71 km N of highway..

Kenora Indian Reserve 388, member of Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation, 5 km S of highway..
243  5th Street S, services (Kenora)  328.6 
Lubys Motel & Restaurant to SW of highway..

Days Inn Kenora..
243  Miikana Way & Pine Portage Rd intersection, access to shopping (Kenora)  331.9 
Comfort Inn - Kenora, on N side of highway..
243  River St (N) intersection (Kenora)  336.5 
Kenora Inn Motel, just to NW of highway..

District Jail to NE of intersection..

Laurenson Lake to NE of intersection..

Laurenside Motel, overlook lake, just to N of intersection...
245  Intersection Main St & 2nd St in downtown Kenora (Kenora)  329.5 
Best Western Lakeside Inn and Convention Centre, about 0.6 km S of highway, via 1st Street..

Kenricia Hotel, just N of intersection..

Kenora Recreation Centre, home to the Kenora Thistles hockey team, 0.6 km S of highway..

downtown Kenora..

Turtle Bay Lodge, to SW of intersection...

Kenora Floatplane airbase, 2 blocks to W of intersection...

Lake of The Woods Museum, 1 block south of intersection..
245  4th Ave S, auto services (Kenora)  331.6 
Kendall House Bed and Breakfast, just N of highway..

Kenora Shoppers Mall, 2 blocks to N of highway...
245.6  Highway 658 / Rupert Rd (N), Water St (S) (Kenora)  323.1 
Highway 658, shortcut north to Highway 17A bypass..
246  Bridge crossing, railway tracks to N, Generating Station (Kenora)  327.1 
Winnipeg River, draining Lake of the Woods. Kenora Powerhouse to NW of highway. ..

Husky station & restaurant to NW of bridge..

Lake Of The Woods District Hospital, to the SW of the bridge..

Husky the Muskie statue in McLeod Park, to E of bridge..

Kenora Photos..


Highway Point & Features


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