This small community is about 65 km south of Sudbury on Highway 69 towards Toronto, where the roadway crosses the French River. The French River flows 125 kilometres from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay (on Lake Huron), dropping a total of 20 metres (60 feet). It was an important link for the Montreal-based North West Company fur traders on their way to the Great Lakes and Canada’s west. This town was a stopping-off point for early fur traders.
It was known as the Riveire des Francais under the French, and became anglicized in 1759 as Frenchman’s River on the first English maps. By 1847, the current French River became the accepted usage.
Most of the French River and the land along its shores is now parkland, including a 25 km wide estuary into Georgian Bay where the river winds a path between glacier-scoured Canadian Shield. The area is renowned for its fishing for species as diverse as walleye, muskie, northern pike, large and small mouth bass, trout, perch, sunfish, rock bass, sturgeon, channel catfish, and whitefish.
French River Provincial Park
20526 Highway 69, PO Box 9, Alban, P0M 1A0
(705) 857-1630 summer, (705)287-2900 winter
Stop at the award-winning French River Visitor Centre on Highway 69 with its “Voices of the River” exhibit. The French River was the route of Indigenous people, French Explorers, fur traders and Voyageurs giving it national historic significance, and was the first designated Canadian Heritage River. You can paddle along a 105 kilometre canoe route from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, through interconnected lakes, gorges and rapids. There is also Georgian Bay coastal kayaking through the French River Delta, as well as wilderness paddling, motorboating, fishing and private lodges.