Wawa, named for an Ojibway word meaning “Wild Goose”, served as a French fur trade post from 1725 and as a mining town since a gold rush in 1896. Iron ore (hematite) was found in 1897; the last of the mines closed a century later. Forestry was also once a major local industry, but is in decline in the Wawa, Dubreuilville and White River region as Weyerhauser closed its oriented strandboard mill in 2007. The local population, close to 6,000 at its 1990s peak, has dropped by half in about twenty years; portions of the town and highway were damaged by a flood in 2012.
The last Ontario section of the Trans-Canada Highway, 250km (150 miles) from Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa, was completed in 1960. As the new highway bypassed downtown Wawa by a mile, a 28-foot tall Canada Goose was constructed at the Highway 17 / 101 intersection, the entrance to the town, to make Wawa easily visible to visitors.
- From the north and south: Wawa straddles a sparsely-populated stretch of Trans-Canada Highway (17). Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario) to the south and Thunder Bay to the northwest are the nearest cities of any size.
- From the east: Highway 101 from Chapleau
- Greyhound Canada, Mac's convenience store. Daily bus service stop on Trans-Canada Highway.
Wawa does not receive scheduled flights, but several chartering companies are based in the town.
- Algoma Central Railway, Hawk Junction, toll-free: +1-800-242-9287. North and south trains between Hearst and Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario) alternate semi-daily through the village of Hawk Junction, approximately 25 km east of Wawa. There is no passenger service from Hawk Junction to Wawa, so be sure to make arrangements in advance.
Wawa is recognized as a notorious hitchhiker's trap - easy to get to, but impossible to leave. Enter at one's own risk.
If you're planning on hitchhiking your way out, good-luck. The best place to thumb a ride is near the Wawa Goose.
Wawa is a small town where everything is a short walk away. There is no municipal transit service.
- Wawa Taxi, ☎ +1 705-856-1133.
- The Wawa Goose, Hwys 17 and 101. Four-ton, 28-foot steel goose constructed 1963, replacing a plaster model placed at the highway crossroads when the last section of Trans-Canada Highway was completed in Ontario in 1960.
- Bristol Off-Roading Outfitters, Bristol Motel, 170 Mission Rd (Hwy 101), ☎ +1 705-856-2385, toll-free: +1-866-481-9826, fax: +1 705-856-2254. Snowmobiling, bear hunting, ATV touring.
- Michipicoten Golf Club (on Magpie River), ☎ +1 705-856-2590. May-October. Nine holes, practice green and driving range, cart and clubs rental, lessons, discounts for local motel clients. Club house +1 705-856-2590, pro shop +1 705-856-7409.
- Naturally Superior Adventures and Rock Island Lodge B&B, 10 Government Dock Road (On Lake Superior at the mouth of the Michipicoten River), ☎ +1 705-856-2939, e-mail: email@example.com. 8 am - 8pm. Naturally Superior Adventures and Rock Island Lodge B&B is located on Lake Superior about 8 km from Wawa. They outfit and lead guided trips on Lake Superior and her headwaters by sea kayak, tandem and Voyageur canoe, stand up paddleboard (SUP) and by foot. They offer paddle Canada and BCU sea kayak/canoe certified training, rentals and area shuttles. They also have a lodge, with 4 guest rooms, each with an en suite bath. All of their rooms are no farther than 50m to the water's edge. They operate bed and breakfast-style with additional meals available. Rates for the lodge are $98 - 120 CDN. Email address for the lodge: firstname.lastname@example.org. Checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 11 AM. Do-it-yourself info for those who are not staying at the lodge here.
- Voyageur hiking trail. Public hiking trail between Sudbury and Thunder Bay, through Scenic High Falls and Silver Falls, two parks overlooking the Magpie River gorge. Scenic High Falls offers a picnic pavilion, toilets and an interpretive trail from the bottom to the top of the Falls.
- Wawa Winter Carnival. February.
- Young's General Store, 111 Mission Road. Store and fuel station rebuilt after a 1979 fire. Quirky tourist attraction with bait shop, souvenirs, an oversized Henrietta the Moose, big barrel of pickles, freshly packed fudge and summer sausage.
- Kinniwabi Pines Restaurant, 150 Hwy 17 South, ☎ +1 705-856-7226. Seafood, Chinese, Trinidadian, European. $25-60.
- Algoma Motel, 164 Mission Rd, ☎ +1 705-856-7010, fax: +1 705-856-8213. Motel in town centre, hunting and fishing cabins eight miles outside of town for outdoors enthusiasts, outfitter's packages.
- Best Northern Motel & Restaurant, 150 Hwy 17 South, ☎ +1 705-856-7302, toll-free: +1-800-434-8240, fax: +1 705-856-2772. Restaurant with Polish and European cooking, free wi-fi. Riverside Lounge, indoor dry sauna and billiard room, rooms and cottages overlooking the Old Michipicoten River.
- Northern Lights Motel & Breakfast, 1014 Hwy 17, ☎ +1 705-856-1900, toll-free: +1-800-937-2414. Rooms, chalets, cottage, still operating despite losing 12 rooms and two chalets to 2012 flood damage which washed out Hwy 17 for a week. Breakfast, wi-fi included.
- Lion’s Waterfront Park, Wawa Lake. Park with free WiFi and boardwalk along Wawa Lake.
Lake Superior Provincial Park - hiking, paddling, fishing, two serviced campgrounds for RVs and tents, one rustic campground, 200 backcountry campsites, all a short drive (or what passes for one around these parts) from town.
|Routes through Wawa|
|Thunder Bay ← White River ←||W E||→ Lake Superior Provincial Park → Sault Ste Marie|