Wawa (pop. 3,000) is a former mining town on a sparsely-populated section of the Trans-Canada Highway in Northern Ontario.


Wawa “Wild Goose” chase

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.

Get in

By car

By coach

By air

Wawa does not receive scheduled flights, but several chartering companies are based in the town.

By rail


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.

The bustling streets of downtown Wawa

Get around

Wawa is a small town where everything is a short walk away. There is no municipal transit service.








Go next

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

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.