Source Lake in Algonquin Park, Nipissing District, is the headwaters of the Madawaska River. From there, draining a total of 8470 square kilometers with a drop of 380 metres over a length of 320 kilometres, it winds itís way through Bark Lake, Kamaniskeg Lake, Centennial Lake, Black Donald Lake, Calabogie Lake, Norcan Lake, ending itís flow into the Ottawa River at Arnprior.

It may be noted here that Madawaska is derived from the Algonquian 'Matouweskarini' which means 'People of the Shallows'.


Combermere from post office
Circa 1940
Mill Street beach, Combermere


For over two hundred years various tribes of Canadian Aboriginals have used the Madawaska as a transportation route to carry supplies of furs and food. It has been used to transport booms of logs to the mills at Ottawa, for milling into boards for construction of buildings, including boards for the construction of the Parliament Buildings. The moving of the huge, square pine logs all the way to Quebec City to be carried by ship to England and used in the making of masts for sailing vessels was accomplished via the Madawaska River.


Barry's Bay Lumber Co.
Circa 1930's
Madawaska River


Shipment of the sacks of corundum from Craigmont mine, the largest corundum mine in the world and from Burgess mines; Jewelville / Rosenthal mines to the railhead at Barryís Bay was accomplished via steam driven boats down the Madawaska River and itís York Branch. The movement of commodities by boat along the Madawaska fostered a vibrant fur trade. Since the 1900ís it has been an invitation to the American and Canadian tourists to catch an abundance and varied species of fish, as well as the establishment of summer cottages and fishing lodges along itís shores.


Mayflower, rear
Madawaska River