Nipigon is a small town in the Thunder Bay District of northwestern Ontario, about Nipigon is 120 km north east of Thunder Bay. Nipigon is located along the west side of the Nipigon River running between Lake Nipigon and Lake Superior, and just south of Lake Helen. Lake Nipigon is located approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) north of Nipigon, and there are three hydro-power dams along the Nipigon River, which supply power to nearby Thunder Bay. At Nipigon, the Northern Route of the Trans-Canada #11 joins the Main Route of the Trans-Canada #17 and they share the same route west to Thunder Bay, 120 kilometres to the west

Nipigon is popular for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreation. The chief industries in Nipigon are forest products, fishing, and tourism. In 2007 a large fire consumed the local lumber mill, putting 100 people out of work.

The town also continues to be an important transportation hub, with the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway passing through the area. Two bridges span the Nipigon River: one is a  Canadian Pacific Railway bridge and one is a highway bridge. The first highway bridge was a 2 lane structure built in 1937 was the single connection between eastern Canada and western Canada for both Highways 11 (the Trans-Canada Northern Route) and 17 (and the Trans-Canada Main Route). in 2016, while a stunning four-lane cable-stayed design was under construction, the first span of the newly completed bridge lifted at one end and disrupted the road traffic for a day while repairs were swiftly undertaken, and the second 2 lane span was completed in 2018. CBC Story

Nipigon History

The area has been inhabited by the Ojibwe people for thousands of years, and the name “Nipigon” is derived from the Anishinaabe word “neebuck”, meaning “a place where the waters run”.

In the 1600s, French explorers and fur traders began to visit the Nipigon area, and by the early 1700s, a trading post was established at the mouth of the Nipigon River. In 1820, the Hudson’s Bay Company took over the post and operated it until 1903.

In the early 20th century, the Canadian Northern Railway was constructed through the area, leading to an influx of settlers and the development of the town of Nipigon. The town was incorporated in 1925 and became a hub for logging, fishing, and mining.

During World War II, Nipigon was an important transportation and communication center for the Canadian military, with a large airfield and a radar station located nearby. The town continued to grow and prosper in the postwar period, with the construction of new highways and the opening of new mines.

Nipigon Attractions

Bridgeview Lookout Tower

on Railway St. near the Edgeview Restaurant

Climb 65 steps up this 40 foot structure for a stunning a 360 degree view from Lake Helen, to the Nipigon River Bridge, to the Marina and beyond. The tower is located on Railways Street. Take the entrance into Nipigon immediately west of the Nipigon River Bridge.

Nipigon’s Historical Walking Tour

Take a walk through time among the town’s old buildings, covering a relaxing 2.6 kilometres and taking about an hour.

Nipigon River Recreational Trail

Trailhead: The Nipigon Marina
(807) 887-3135

This 8.2 km scenic hiking or biking trail connects the Nipigon and Red Rock marinas  along the Nipigon River with picturesque waterfalls and scenic lookouts. It takes between 2 ½ to 3 hours to complete.  Great in summer, fall or winter.

The Nipigon Murals

Come visit the forty famous Nipigon Murals “Racing the Train:”, “Fifty Years of Service” and “The Last River Drive” painted by Dan Sawatsky, a professional  artist for over 20 years. This self-guided tour begins at the Nipigon Historical Museum, covers about 2.6 km and takes under an hour.  Maps can be picked up at the museum or at the town office (or downloadable here WalkingTour)

Nipigon Historical Museum

40 Front St, Nipigon, ON P0T 2J0
(807) 887-3135

The museum showcases the history and culture of Nipigon and the surrounding area. It features exhibits on local industry, pioneer life, and the Ojibwe culture.

Orient Bay Rock/Ice Climbing

Just forty kilometers north of Nipigon on Highway 11 there are some majestic rock faces and amazing opportunities for ice climbing in the winter time. Just east of the city in community of Nipigon you’ll find an annual celebration of ice climbing – the Nipigon Ice Fest.

Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park

Greenwich Lake Rd, Pass Lake, ON P0T 2M0
(807) 475-1634

This provincial park features a unique canyon with sheer cliffs. Panoramic views of a 150 metre wide gorge and sheer cliffs that drop 100 metres straight down to the canyon floor. Take walking paths linked by a suspension bridge over a sheer, wooded canyon & lookouts with lake views of the canyon and surrounding wilderness.

The Nipigon River Bridge and Nipigon Tower Lookout

Where Highway 11/17 crosses the Nipigon River

An iconic bridge that spans the Nipigon River and is the only crossing point for Highway 11 between Thunder Bay and rest of Ontario. It offers a stunning view of the river and surrounding area.
Nipigon River is the largest feed of water into Lake Superior. Great views of the bridge can be had from the Red Rock Indian Band and Nipigon. The most popular viewing places remain the Nipigon Marina and from atop the Nipigon Tower lookout.

Paddle to the Sea Park

A small park featuring a statue of the character Paddle-to-the-Sea from a popular children’s book. The park also has a playground, picnic area, and scenic views of the Nipigon River. Explore the Nipigon River by kayak or canoe, experiencing the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Nipigon Marina and Marina Park

80 Front Street, Nipigon, ON P0T 2J0
(807) 887-3135

The waterfront park has a marina, picnic spots, and views of Lake Superior.
The marina offers boating and fishing opportunities on Lake Nipigon. It features boat rentals, a boat launch, and a fish cleaning station.

Nipigon Marina

25 2nd St, Nipigon, ON P0T 2J0

The port of Nipigon is the most Northerly freshwater port in North America. With a deep water channel all the way to the fully serviced marina, boaters are invited to cross the 49th parallel and receive their certificate commemorating the occasion.

St. Sylvester Catholic Church

Red Rock Indian Band

The oldest church in the Nipigon Area. It was built in 1877 and mass is still celebrated at this historic site. The Church is owned by the people of Red Rock Indian Band and is located along Highway 11 travelling North to Greenstone

Hydro Electric Generating Stations

In 1917 the towns of Port Arthur and Fort William (now Thunder Bay), had each unanimously passed a by-law enacting an agreement with the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario to develop additional power sources on the Nipigon River for the twin cities. The Nipigon Project is a 40 MW gas-fired enhanced combined-cycle generating facility located in Nipigon, Ontario adjacent to the TransCanada Mainline. Nipigon commenced commercial operation in May 1992.

Lake Nipigon

Highway 11, 55 kilometres north of the town
(807) 887-3135

This large lake is a popular destination for fishing and boating. It is known for its clear water and abundant fish species, including lake trout and northern pike.

Nipigon Lighthouse

Lighthouse Road, Nipigon, ON P0T 2J0

Enjoy views of Lake Superior and the surrounding area from this historic lighthouse.

Red Rock Marina and Beach

Red Rock, ON P0T 2P0
about 20 km south of Nipigon, via Highway 11/17 and 628
Red Rock Municipal Office (807) 886-2245

A marina located just outside of Nipigon in the neighboring town of Red Rock, with beautiful views of Lake Superior and the surrounding mountains. Walk the sandy beach area along the shores of Lake Superior

Ruby Lake Provincial Park

Park R.R. #1, Pass Lake, ON, P0T 2M0
(807) 977-2502

Created in 2002, Ruby Lake Provincial Park incorporates three small lakes, wetlands and a mesa-cuesta named Doghead Mountain with cliffs and ravines that provide important habitat for bald eagle, and peregrine falcon, both of which are species of risk in Ontario. Ruby Lake is also located adjacent to Parks Canada’s National Marine Conservation Area.

Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park

Greenwich Lake Rd, Pass Lake, ON P0T 2M0
(807) 475-1634

This provincial park features a unique canyon with sheer cliffs. Panoramic views of a 150 metre wide gorge and sheer cliffs that drop 100 metres straight down to the canyon floor. Take walking paths linked by a suspension bridge over a sheer, wooded canyon & lookouts with lake views of the canyon and surrounding wilderness.

Nipigon, Ontario Area Map