This town of 5000 is about 265 km east of Sault Ste. Marie just south of the Trans-Canada Highway, on the road to Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. The town is named for its presence on the Spanish River, because of a Spanish speaking woman who was brought to the area by Ojibway traders returning from the mid-west plains. Early French fur traders were surprised to run in to Spanish speaking natives. It is the major commercial and shopping centre for the Manitoulin area. The Spanish River was dammed at Espanola to provide electrical power for the region. The town has a big pulp mill that processes the timber from the area, and provides tours in the summertime.
The area around here is called “Rainbow Country” because of the different colours of the rocks, that can be seen when driving the 50 km “Road to the Islands.” This region is where the heavily eroded Precambrian Shield meets younger Paleozoic limestone, and some volcanic rocks.
Anishnabe Spiritual Centre
1091 Anderson Lake Rd,, Espanola, ON P5E 1T1
Anderson Lake Rd, off highway 6 south of Espanola
This facility is a meeting and spiritual centre for Native people. Visitors can tour the log buildings and the chapel. Art by well-known native artists is displayed around the facility.
Highway 6, at Bay of Islands
This community is named for the waterfalls that inspired beside the town. Just south of town is Birch Island that is home to the Whitefish River First Nation. The area was the source of much inspiration to the famous Group of Seven painters in the early 1900s. A plaque at Birch Island celebrates the visit of US president Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, who spent 13 days fishing here prior to the Quebec conference of 1943.