Day 58 – The Destroyers destroyed

What. A. Day.

The sight of the glorious thundering waterfalls of the stunning Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area was a great start to the day. We walked the 500m trail to the Gorge and the Amable du Fond River with Mattawa-Bonfield Tourism’s Jeff McGirr, and hung out in the trees overlooking the rushing water. The Gorge itself has a long First Nations history, and was used by JR Booth’s logging endeavours in the 1870s.

The afternoon was a crazy mash-up of classic Ontario rock and roll, heatstroke, and Thai Kickboxing as we explored the Mattawa Voyageur Days festival around Explorer’s Point on the Mattawa River, where a Hudson’s Bay post was built in 1837. The festival was first held in 1997, and has rocked the Mattawa River the last weekend in July every summer since. The town of 2,000 swells to 7,000 — a sold-out crowd — for the weekend of the festival, concert-goers coming from all over Ontario. We even ran into our Ride Manitoulin Poker Run dealer!

We were lucky enough to catch this year’s Saturday line-up — Platinum Blonde, the Northern Pikes, and the final act of the evening, George Thorogood & the Destroyers! We took in a few rounds at the festival’s kick-boxing tournament, and enjoyed some traditional Mattawa area dinner fare at the Senior’s Centre — Sea Pies! Similar to shepherd’s pie, we were served pies made with beef and pork, but traditionally they can be filled with moose and deer.

After a heat-filled afternoon at the festival grounds and exploring the boisterous streets of the town, it was great to settle back and listen to some old fashioned bluesy rock and roll as the moon rose over the river as George Thorogood & the Destroyers took to the stage.

Tomorrow — We head down river to meet up with Ottawa Valley Tourism’s Melissa Marquart and explore Ontario’s first Polish settlement in Wilno!

Photo by Alexandra Sawicki


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