13 Famous Rivers in Ontario to Explore!

rivers in Ontario
Photo by Derek Sutton on Unsplash

Ontario is one of the provinces of Canada. It is a diverse and charming land to explore. Ontario is home to lush green boreal forests, the frozen Northern Tundra region, the pristine Great Lakes, and beautiful rivers in Ontario. These make the land an impressive Canadian tourist spot.

1. Rivers in Ontario

Located in East & Central Canada, Ontario has stunning geographical features to allure. There are plenty of rivers in Ontario. Each of them is unique and amazing in its way.

The only way to explore these never-stopping beauties is by following them. Be ready to unfold the surprises these rivers carry with them. Let me put down a list of 13 famous rivers in Ontario.

1.1.Niagara River

Home to the magnificent Niagara Falls, the Niagara River is one of the most famous rivers in Ontario. The river travels through Canada to New York. It is also responsible for connecting Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The river traverses through the vast region. The corridor of Niagara River is packed with beautiful landscapes, gorges, and waterfalls. Apart from Niagara Falls, the river also has stunning waterfalls Like American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. The place is a popular hub for recreational activities. It is crowded by millions of people every year.

Apart from being a tourism magnet, the river plays a vital role in water transportation, and generating hydroelectric power. The river is home to several endangered species.  The river’s banks also flourish the ecosystems that inhabit along its banks.

famous rivers in Ontario
Photo by Edward Koorey on Unsplash

1.2.Grand River

The Grand River is one of the most remarkable rivers in Ontario. The river is called Canadian heritage due to its historical and cultural significance.

The journey of the river starts at Wareham and traverses its way through Lake Erie. The watershed of this river basin helped in the settlement of the indigenous population of European immigrants.

The river flows its way through some of the most beautiful and picturesque locations along its way. Hence, it attracts several enthusiasts for outdoor activities.

The rivers offer a quick getaway in a natural abode. Some of the popular recreational activities here are angling, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. It is also home to several diverse ecosystems that include meadows, forests, and wetlands.

1.3.Albany River

Albany River runs along the Northern part of the province.  The river runs along the boreal forests, wetlands, and scenic vistas.

Albany River meanders its way through the stunning and remote route through the wilderness. It empties into James Bay which is part of Hudson Bay.

The Hudson Bay connects the province with the interior part of Northern America. Hence the river has played a vital role in transportation from historic times.

The indigenous population on the banks of the river adds a touch of cultural importance to the river. It is famous amongst the adventure tourists. The white rapids of the river invite you to that adrenaline rush. One can engage in thrilling activities like canoeing, kayaking, and paddling.

A larger area of the river surrounding is a part of a provincial park. It engulfs the habitat of diverse wilderness. One can get a chance to spot animals like moose, black bears, and eagles.

Moreover, fish in the river water make it an exciting spot for angling. It is also known as a fishing paradise. Eco tours are arranged to explore the beauty of the Albany River in Ontario by boating.

1.4.Sturgeon River

Sturgeon River is one of the famous rivers in Ontario.  The Sturgeon River traverses its way through the Northern part of Ontario. It runs adjacent to beautiful and remote wilderness on its way.


The rugged landscape catches the attention of many adventure seekers. Many of them are angling enthusiasts who take back some massive catches.

One can enjoy the scenic vistas along the way by engaging in adventure-packed activities like canoeing, kayaking, and paddling.

The clear and pristine waters of the river, breathtaking landscape features, and untouched wilderness are major attractions.  It attracts photographers to capture outstanding beauty. The region inhabits wild animals like moose, black bears, eagles, etc.

Sturgeon River surroundings have the provision of camping facilities. One can enjoy their stay here in this oasis of nature.

1.5.Ottawa River

Ottawa River is one of the most prominent rivers in Canada. It meanders through the capital region of Ottawa. The river also flows through the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

famous rivers in Ontario
Photo by Kyle Mesdag on Unsplash

The Ottawa River attracts many tourists due to its beauty. The 1271 meters of river traverses through scenic landscapes, islands, and forests. The banks of rivers support the ecological system. It also inhabits diverse flora and fauna.

You can also view the beauty of this river from major historical landmarks. These places include Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada.

The river’s contribution to hydroelectric power is remarkable. Recreational opportunities here include whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and camping. These attributes make it a popular destination for adrenaline junkies.

Ottawa River is one of the iconic rivers in the country to visit.

1.6.Madawaska River

The Madawaska River and surrounding region is a unique beauty to experience for leaf peepers. Flowing through the provinces of Canada and Quebec, the Madawaska River is an enthralling beauty to experience.

The route of the river is ornamented with rugged terrains, forests, waterfalls, and most importantly stunning flashy foliage. The autumn season is best for people to experience the natural beauty of this vibrant foliage.

Another remarkable thing about the river region is the Madawaska Valley which is home to many communities, art shops, and cultural events. More importantly, the area introduces rural Ontario to visitors.

The surrounding region comprises wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities for nature lovers. Just like other rivers in Ontario, the Madawaska River also offers ample water-based activities to tourists.

The place is an ideal destination for a breakthrough from the metropolitan hustle and bustle. There are various accommodation and camping options here to promise a comfortable stay amidst nature. This tourism aspect further nurtures the economic growth of the local population.

Madawaska River is an attraction to experience on the lands of the province of Ontario.

famous rivers in Ontario
Photo by Matthew Bargh on Unsplash

1.7 St. Lawrence River

St. Lawrence River is one of the crucial factors for the development of water transportation and economic growth in the region. It is also the second-longest river in the province with a length of 1197 kilometers.

Traveling through the borders of countries of Canada and the USA, the river also connects the Great Lakes through a system of locks, channels, and canals with the Atlantic Ocean.

This feature promotes the transportation of ships through the waterways. Owing to the vital connection of the St. Lawrence River, there had been scope for exploring Northern America. Additionally, the river has many hydroelectric projects contributing to energy generation.


Speaking of tourism here, the St. Lawrence River is home to many outdoor activities like boating, angling, and camping on the banks.

This virtue further boosts the local economy of the place. It greatly Contributes to the economy, transportation, and environment of the state.  St. Lawrence River therefore is one of the most important rivers in Ontario.

1.8.French River – Rivers in Ontario

French River is one of the significant rivers in Ontario. Due to its rich and economic importance, the river is designated as a Canadian Heritage.

The French River flows from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. The river had a vital role to play back in the 17th century. The route of this river was opted by many traders and explorers. Hence it has significant contributions in trading and increasing the economic contribution to the region.

The river flows through the Northeastern part of the region and the remote location pulls a lot of enthusiasts for star gazing, and camping. The region is an all-season destination and is particularly renowned for water-based activities like boating, canoeing, kayaking, and paddling.

Tourists also get to learn about the cultural importance of this place from the indigenous population residing here. The major part of the French River falls in the French Provincial Park.

One gets to witness the wilderness closely here in the provincial park. Explore the stunning landscapes by undertaking hiking trails in the region. The French River is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful rivers in Ontario.

1.9.Missinaibi River

Missinaibi is another river flowing through the Northern part of Ontario in Canada. The river gains prominence owing to the stunning landscapes and breathtaking views the river makes its way through.

The river starts at Missinaibi Lake which is majorly part of the Canadian Shield. Also, this river runs for a stretch of 755 kilometers through lush green pine forests, pristine water lakes, and rocky shores which are home to rich wildlife.

The Missinaibi Provincial Park engulfs the river, making the destination a popular place for tourists and enthusiasts. This historical route is famous for water-based activities, and camping opportunities. The river is home to a variety of fishes like walleye, Northern pike, and brook trout.

Missinaibi River is famous for its beauty and recreational activities in Ontario.

1.10.Saugeen River – Rivers in Ontario

One of the remarkable rivers in Ontario is the Saugeen River. The river traverses its way through the Bruce Peninsula and then meets Lake Huron. The river path witnesses some of the most spectacular views of the Bruce Peninsula with limestone cliffs, and caves making it a popular spot for photographers and spectators.

Moreover,  the region of Saugeen River is packed with tourist attractions making it a desirable location to visit. The spots include Sauble Beach and Bruce Peninsula National Park.

With their camping facilities, one gets to stay amidst nature and catch glimpses of wildlife nearby. One gets to spot animals like deer, and different species of birds.

Water activities like tubing in the river flow with natural beauty on banks have become a popular summer activity here. Additionally, activities like canoeing, paddling, and kayaking are also engaging in the stunning landscapes adjacent to the Saugeen River. These interesting features make the Saugeen River one of the noteworthy rivers in Ontario.

1.11.Magnetawan River

The Magnetawan River traverses through the Canadian Shield terrain. This River witnesses excellent geographical features along its route. The word Magnetawan means swiftly flowing.  The river has a vital cultural significance.

This river has economic popularity due to the fur trade. The river connects the interior of Ontario to Georgian Bay.


Tourists enjoy the scenic landscapes and witness the rich wildlife and river rapids. Camping is popular because the Magnetawan Rivers region is Ontario’s cottage country.

The place is ideal for both adventure lovers and the ones who wish to enjoy nature calmly.

1.12.Turtle River – Rivers in Ontario

Turtle River in Ontario is another Northern river in Ontario. Starting from the Algoma district, the river flows into a remote location with rich wilderness and an abundance of scenic beauty.

Seasons change and the character of the region surrounding Turtle River changes. The pristine waters are frozen by the winter season. A flashy colorful foliage appears in autumn which is worth taking a glimpse of.

Lake trout
By Isantilli on Unlimphotos

The region is conserved owing to its cultural significance. Some sites show the history of the area and the indigenous communities. The place is renowned for wildlife viewing, fishing, and birdwatching.

You can either explore the river and surrounding region in a car.  The road follows the scenic trails.  If you wish to kayak, then you can row your way through. You may also choose to explore the area on walk. The trails will take you through the untouched, and unexplored wilderness.

1.13 Lady Evelyn River

Lady Evelyn River is one of the best rivers in Ontario. The river and the region have it all that a wanderlust needs.

The river meanders through the Temagami region in Ontario.  This river features the geography of the Canadian Shield, rock formations, numerous other rivers, rolling forests, and pristine lakes, and waterways.

Lady  River is located in Tenagami region. It is in the remote part of Northern Ontario. Temagami region is a Dark sky preserve. This makes it a prime location for star gazing with the naked eye.

Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Provincial Park which is located North of North Bay. It is one of the most exciting locations to visit.

Visitors can avail of the camping facilities here. A day’s visit here won’t be enough. Also, you can undertake hiking to explore the remote beauty of this place. You can wander and discover the stunning waterfalls in the region. The forests here are rich in wildlife.

The region is promising for history lovers. One can spot the ancient pictographs that date back to First Nations people. Enjoy the water-based activities here in the rapids of the river. Lady Evelyn River and the surrounding region is one of the popular destinations to visit.

2. Did You Know about Rivers in Ontario?

1. Ontario is a farmer’s dreamland! It has more than half of the highest-quality farmlands in Canada. It grows a variety of crops like apples, potatoes, and cash crops like soybeans and mixed grains.

2. Ontario has more than 250,000 lakes!

3. The word Ontario is derived from the Iroquois word meaning “beautiful water” or “beautiful lake”.

4. Imagine the distance between Earth and the Moon. Around a quarter of this distance is the length of rivers within the borders of Ontario.  The length of rivers is roughly 100,000 kilometers.

5. Ontario spans over 1 million square kilometres. To put this in perspective, Ontario is home to two time zones. It functions with the Eastern Time Zone and the Central Time Zone.

3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Rivers in Ontario

Q. What is special about the Moose River in Ontario?

Ans. The Moose River in Ontario has historical significance owing to the indigenous communities. Its role in hydroelectric power generation. Its status as a part of the Arctic Watershed adds to its importance.

Q. Which are the best rivers in Ontario for white water rafting?

Ans.  Ottawa River, Magnetawan River, the Gull River, Noganosh River, and the Black River.

Q. What is significant about the Sulphur Creek watershed?

Ans. The Sulphur Creek is most well known for its geothermal energy generation.

Q. Does the Vallée River flow through Ontario?

Ans. No. The Vallée River is a tributary of the Chaudière River. The river flows north.  It merges with the St. Lawrence River. Vallee River also flows through Quebec.

Q. Which are important rivers in Southern Ontario?

Ans. Ottawa River, Saugeen River, Humber River, and the Grand River.

4. Conclusion – Rivers in Ontario

Learning about all the serene rivers in Ontario must have allured your heart to visit them!

The rivers in Ontario have been home to indigenous populations. They have also paved the way for the economic growth of the province and supported the state’s infrastructure.  These rivers have helped Ontario to conserve the historical and geographical significance of the land.

Additionally, the river banks are home to rich wildlife and have endless opportunities for recreational activities.

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