North Bay Waterfront

Chief Commanda II

You are at the waterfront, close from the North Bay downtown. A key feature of this location is the North Bay marina which houses boat slips and the ever-popular Chief Commanda II, a 320-passenger, all-aluminum twin-hull vessel that cruises at a speed up to 13 knots or 25 km/h.

The ship is equipped with two bars, handicap accessible washrooms, snack bar, and open-air BBQ. 

Cruising the waters of Lake Nipissing

The Chief features three decks. The main and second deck areas are enclosed with outside viewing area while the top deck is open with seating and standing room, where passengers can enjoy the sunshine and a first-class view… the perfect opportunity for picture taking. 

The original Chief Commanda resides further down the dock and cruised the waters of Lake Nipissing and the French River from 1947-1974. It now serves as North Bay’s Waterfront restaurant called “The Boat”.  

The jewel of North Bay

Popular among residents and visitors, the waterfront holds many little treasures including a 3km boardwalk, museums, eateries, docks and beaches.  

The Mysterious Manitou Islands

Located just 10 km's southwest of North Bay on Lake Nipissing you will observe the mysterious Manitou Islands. These five islands are easily spotted from the shores of North Bay's waterfront. The Manitous have at times been dubbed Devil or Ghost Islands and are said to be cursed.  

Myths and Legends

The indigenous connection with the islands goes back for centuries and is reflected in the name Manitou.  Legend has it that an indigenous Nipissing maiden fell in love with an enemy Iroquois brave who was caught and burned at the stake on one of the islands.  The maiden jumped into the fire and perished alongside her one true love.  .  

Another legend has it that the Great Manitou, the largest of the five islands, will speak to you if you paddle too close. Some say that it is simply water gurgling in and out of the ancient volcanic pipes that the islands are composed of, while others believe that the 'voices' are warning paddlers to stay away!

These legends along with a series of mysterious and unexplained occurrences have even led Ontario Parks to warn against overnight camping on the islands.

Mining the Manitous

Though difficult to believe by looking at them today, during the 1950s, the islands were home to a large mining compound.  The presence of uranium and other minerals was found, and a complete mining operation was developed including a 442-foot shaft and many horizontal passages into the area below water. 

Provincial Nature Preserve

Millions of tons of ore were removed from the mine, and a pilot treatment plant was established directly north on the shore of Lake Nipissing.

When the Manitous became a Provincial Nature Preserve in 1990 the Management Plan proposed the preservation of the headframe, a new dock and interpretation and signage as a part of the 20-year plan.  Little has been done and the headframe is slowly falling apart and won’t be repaired.  

Visitation to the Manitous is allowed but not encouraged and they are slowly returning to their natural state.  

More than just a sundial

Like a sentinel on the waterfront, the North Bay sundial represents the North Bay community, whether anglophone, francophone, indigenous or Metis.  

The giant sundial comes with instructions to explain how sundials work and how to "read" it.

Creating a masterpiece

In 1991, Les Compagnons des francs loisirs set a call for proposals to create a sculpture for the North Bay Waterfront. The winners of the competition were renowned artists Michele Lapointe and René Rioux from Montreal.  

The artists came to North Bay to make this sundial sculpture. They stayed in the residence at Canadore College and were able to use the Pottery Studio at the main campus to create their masterpiece. 

The elliptical dial is actually comprised of bricks, some with numbers, inset into the topsoil around the gnomon. 

Extract of
Eat, Pray, Love... The North Bay Way!

Eat, Pray, Love... The North Bay Way! image circuit

Presented by : Destination Northern Ontario

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