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Town of Mattawa
Town of Mattawa is located in Ontario
Town of Mattawa
Coordinates: 46°19′N 78°42′W / 46.317°N 78.7°W / 46.317; -78.7
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Nipissing
Area [1]
 - Land 3.66 km2 (1.4 sq mi)
Population (2006)[2]
 - Total 2,003
 Density 548/km2 (1,419.3/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal Code P0H
Website www.mattawa.info
Downtown Mattawa on Highway 533.

Mattawa is a town in northeastern Ontario, Canada at the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers in Nipissing District. Mattawa means "Meeting of the Waters" in Ojibwa. In 1615 Etienne Brulé and Samuel de Champlain were the first Europeans to pass through this area.

In the past, Mattawa was an important place, due to its location along the voyageur's canoe route from Montreal to the Great Lakes. It was a hub for both the fur and lumber trade. However for the past few decades, the town has been on an immense decline. Generally there is very little in the way of opportunities for Mattawa youth.

In 2007, Mattawa and the townships of Bonfield, Papineau-Cameron, Mattawan and Calvin cooperated to create a newly-branded Mattawa Voyageur Country tourist region in order to promote the area.[3]

Contents

History

The area was first inhabited by native peoples who used the Mattawa River as an important transportation corridor for many centuries. In 1610, Étienne Brûlé[4] and in 1615, Samuel de Champlain were the first Europeans to travel through Mattawa area[5]. For some 200 years thereafter, it was a link in the important water route leading from Montreal west to Lake Superior. Canoes travelling west up the Ottawa turned left at "the Forks" (the mouth of the Mattawa) to enter the "Petite Rivière" ("Small River", as compared to the Ottawa), before continuing on to Lake Nipissing[6].

Other notable travellers passing by Mattawa included Jean Nicolet in 1620, Jean de Brébeuf in 1626, Gabriel Lallemant in 1648, Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers in 1658, La Verendrye in 1731, Alexander MacKenzie in 1794, and David Thompson in 1812[5].

In the 1820s and 1830s, the Hudson's Bay Company sent canoe brigades from their Fort Coulonge Post to this river junction in order to trade furs. In 1837, a permanent post was established which was relocated in 1843 to shores of the Ottawa River in the centre of present-day Mattawa. After the fur trade diminished, the post traded general merchandise to supply lumbermen and eventually closed in 1908.[7]

In the 19th century, Mattawa became a hub for the logging industry which would harvest large untouched stands of white pine in the area and using the Mattawa River to transport logs to sawmills. In 1881, the railroad was built to Mattawa [4] which was mostly built by French Canadian labourers. After the railroad's completion, these labourers and their families would settle in Mattawa and surrounding areas, bringing with them their culture and heritage.[8]

While logging is still an important industry in this region, nearby provincial parks and wilderness support the camping/hunting/fishing tourism industry in Mattawa today.

Mattawa elected Canada's first-ever Black mayor, Firmin Monestime, in 1963. Monestime served as mayor until his death in 1977.[9]

Attractions

Mattawa is the home of many wooden statues depicting historical figures from the Mattawa area, such as Champlain, Pierre-Esprit Radisson, Médard des Groseilliers, and others. The Mattawa District Museum is host to a 17 ft. wooden statue of Big Joe Mufferaw, a local folk hero. These statues are scattered throughout the town of Mattawa and in two locations outside the town on nearby Highway 17.[10]

Small shops along the Main Street offer unique creations from local artists and craftsmen.

Mattawa provides access to numerous dropping off points for canoeing or boating on the Ottawa River which acts as a natural border between the hills of the province of Quebec and Ontario. The Mattawa River flows through the pristine rugged Canadian shield with opportunities to see moose, eagles, the haunting and beautiful sounds of loons at night and terrific fishing, camping, and hiking. There are numerous motels, campgrounds, and retreat centres in and around Mattawa. Just west is Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park on the Mattawa River, which has an interpretive area focusing on the early voyageurs. Campers also have the opportunity to river tube. The park is also home of the Canadian Ecology Centre, a unique eco-friendly retreat centre that is facilitated to accommodate business retreats. Algonquin Provincial Park can be accessed from the north side in Kiosk or the east side in Brent.

The nearby area contains over 200 kilometers (124 mi) of year-round ATV and snowmobile trails, known as the Voyageur Multi Use Trail System (VMUTS).

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Voyageur Days

Every summer since 1997, the Mattawa Voyageur Days Festival is held the last weekend of July. It is organized by the Town of Mattawa and takes place behind the Museum on Explorer's Point. Some of the events include a regional talent night, lumberjack competition, and canoe race. Live music is a large part of the Festival, and has in the past included such notable Canadian musicians as April Wine, Trooper, Saga, Loverboy, Honeymoon Suite, Chuck Labelle and David Wilcox, among others like Liteside and other local singers and musicians from inside and outside the region play on the Thursday night.

As part of tradition, on the Sunday of the event at dusk there is a choreographed fireworks show.

Mattawa Voyageur Days celebrated its 10th anniversary in July 2007, selling out of its 7,000 admission wristbands before the event had begun. In 2008, Festivals and Events Ontario listed Mattawa Voyageur Days as one of the Top 100 Ontario Festivals.[11]

Media

Radio

Mattawa is served by two low-power AM repeaters of Greater Sudbury's CBC Radio stations:

All other radio stations heard in Mattawa broadcast from North Bay.

Print

Mattawa's weekly newspaper The Mattawa Recorder has been in publication since 1972. It is owned and published by Tom and Heather Edwards.

Demographics

Highway 17 in Mattawa.
  • Population 2006[2]: 2,003
    • Population 2001[12]: 2,270
    • Population 1996[13]: 2,281
    • Population 1991: 2,454
  • Dwellings: 942
  • Area (km²): 3.66
  • Density (persons per km²): 548

Additionally, 40% of Mattawanians are Francophone, although the seasonal nature of local employment results in population and demographic fluctuations throughout the year.

Notable people

References

  1. ^ Statistics Canada
  2. ^ a b Statistics Canada 2006 Census
  3. ^ Adams, K. "Mattawa sports a new look", Baytoday.ca, July 17, 2007. Accessed March 28, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Canadian Heritage Rivers System: Mattawa River fact sheet, Ministry of Natural Resources (Online version)
  5. ^ a b Archeological and Historic Sites Board of Canada
  6. ^ Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
  7. ^ Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board
  8. ^ Government of Ontario - Ontario Heritage Trust
  9. ^ "Mattawa's Dr. Firmin Monestime Remembered", North Bay Nugget, October 26, 2007.
  10. ^ Mackey, D. "History in the Streets of Mattawa", North Bay Nugget, September 9, 2005. Accessed March 29, 2008.
  11. ^ Hamilton-McCharles, J. "Voyageur Days among top festivals in Ontario; Organizers booking more acts", North Bay Nugget, March 6, 2008. Accessed March 29, 2008.
  12. ^ Canada 2001 Census
  13. ^ Canada 1996 Census

External links

Coordinates: 46°18′50″N 78°42′41″W / 46.31400°N 78.71142°W / 46.31400; -78.71142


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