Wawa Township is a municipality located in the Algoma District of Northern Ontario, Canada. The township is named after the Ojibwe word "wewe," which means "wild goose" and refers to the area's rich wildlife. Here is an overview of the history of Wawa Township:
Early History: The Wawa area has a long history of Indigenous presence, with Ojibwe and Cree peoples utilizing the region for hunting, fishing, and trading. European explorers and fur traders began to arrive in the late 17th century.
Mining Boom: The discovery of rich iron ore deposits in the Michipicoten area in the late 19th century led to a mining boom in the region. In 1897, the Helen Mine was opened, and it marked the beginning of industrial development in Wawa. Several other mines followed, attracting settlers to the area.
Township Formation: In 1899, Wawa Township was officially established, encompassing the growing mining community. The township's population expanded rapidly as more mines were developed, and it became a hub for the mining industry.
Transportation Development: The construction of the Algoma Central Railway in 1899 played a crucial role in the growth of Wawa. The railway connected the township to the rest of Ontario and facilitated the transport of minerals and supplies. It also opened up opportunities for tourism and recreational activities, as visitors began to explore the region's natural beauty.
Economic Shifts: The mining industry remained the primary economic driver in Wawa for several decades. However, by the mid-20th century, the mines started to decline, leading to a shift in the local economy. The forest industry, tourism, and outdoor recreation became increasingly important to the region's economic stability.
Natural Attractions: Wawa Township boasts numerous natural attractions, including the iconic Wawa Goose, a large metal sculpture of a Canada goose that has become a symbol of the town. The nearby Lake Superior, scenic landscapes, and opportunities for fishing, hunting, hiking, and winter sports have made Wawa a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Modern Wawa: Today, Wawa Township continues to be a small but vibrant community with a population of around 3,000 people. It serves as a gateway to the vast wilderness and outdoor activities in the region, attracting tourists and nature lovers. The township offers various amenities, including accommodations, restaurants, and services to support residents and visitors alike.
Top Tourist Attractions
Wawa Township is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in and around Wawa:
- Lake Superior: Wawa Township is situated on the shore of Lake Superior, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. The lake offers stunning views, pristine beaches, and opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking.
- Scenic Lookouts: Wawa is known for its scenic lookout points that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. One popular lookout is the "Wawa Goose Lookout," where you can enjoy panoramic vistas of the town and Lake Wawa. Another notable viewpoint is "Scenic High Falls," offering views of a cascading waterfall and the Magpie River.
- Wawa Goose: The Wawa Goose is an iconic landmark in the town of Wawa. This large metal sculpture of a Canada goose stands proudly and serves as a symbol of the community. It is a popular spot for tourists to take photos and learn about the town's history.
- Michipicoten Post Provincial Park: Located just outside Wawa, Michipicoten Post Provincial Park is a wilderness area with rugged beauty. It offers opportunities for camping, hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing. The park features old-growth forests, tranquil lakes, and diverse ecosystems.
- Magpie High Falls: Approximately 20 kilometers south of Wawa, Magpie High Falls is a magnificent waterfall cascading down a rugged gorge. The area surrounding the falls offers hiking trails, picnic spots, and opportunities for photography.
- Wawa Lake: Wawa Lake is a picturesque lake located in the heart of the township. It provides opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities. The lake is surrounded by scenic trails and offers beautiful sunset views.
- Outdoor Recreation: Wawa Township is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, including the Trans Canada Trail. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the surrounding wilderness.
- Wawa Motor Inn Snowman: During the winter months, the Wawa Motor Inn constructs a towering snowman that attracts visitors from near and far. It has become a local tradition and is a unique sight to behold.
These are just a few of the top tourist attractions in Wawa Township. The area's natural beauty and outdoor activities make it an appealing destination for nature lovers and adventurers.
The region's climate is characterized by cold, snowy winters and mild summers. Here are some details about the climate in Wawa Township:
- Winter (December to February): Winters in Wawa are long and cold. Average temperatures during this time range from -12°C (10°F) to -20°C (-4°F). It is not uncommon for temperatures to drop even further, reaching below -30°C (-22°F) at times. Snowfall is abundant, and the area is known for its winter recreational activities such as snowmobiling, skiing, and snowshoeing.
- Spring (March to May): Spring in Wawa Township is relatively short. Temperatures gradually begin to rise, but it can still be chilly, especially in the earlier months. Average temperatures range from -8°C (18°F) to 5°C (41°F) in March and reach 7°C (45°F) to 15°C (59°F) by May. Snow can persist into early spring, and the transition to milder weather is accompanied by melting snow and increased precipitation.
- Summer (June to August): Summers in Wawa Township are mild and pleasant, but relatively short. Average temperatures during this time range from 13°C (55°F) to 22°C (72°F). July tends to be the warmest month. Summers are known for longer daylight hours, allowing for ample outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping.
- Autumn (September to November): Autumn in Wawa Township brings cool and crisp weather. The temperature gradually starts to drop, and the foliage displays vibrant fall colors, creating a picturesque landscape. Average temperatures range from 7°C (45°F) to -3°C (27°F) in September and further decrease to -1°C (30°F) to -10°C (14°F) in November.
- Wawa Township's climate is heavily influenced by its northern location and proximity to Lake Superior. The lake has a moderating effect, preventing extreme temperature fluctuations. However, it also contributes to increased snowfall due to lake-effect snow during the winter months.
It's important to note that these climate patterns are based on general averages, and specific weather conditions can vary from year to year. For the most accurate and up-to-date weather information, it is advisable to consult local weather forecasts or meteorological sources.
The township is known for its scenic beauty and diverse geography. Here are some details about the geography of Wawa Township:
- Location: Wawa Township is situated on the northeastern shore of Lake Superior, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. It is approximately 225 kilometers (140 miles) north of Sault Ste. Marie.
- Lake Superior: The township has a significant portion of its territory along the coastline of Lake Superior. The lake provides stunning views and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, including swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking.
- Boreal Forests: The majority of Wawa Township is covered by dense boreal forests. These forests are composed of coniferous trees such as spruce, fir, and pine, as well as deciduous species like birch and poplar. The region's forests support a variety of wildlife, including moose, deer, black bears, and various bird species.
- Canadian Shield: Wawa Township is located within the Canadian Shield, a large geological formation that covers much of Northern Canada. The Canadian Shield is characterized by rugged, rocky terrain, with exposed bedrock, granite outcrops, and numerous lakes and rivers. This creates a picturesque landscape for outdoor activities and exploration.
- Rivers and Lakes: Apart from Lake Superior, Wawa Township is dotted with numerous lakes and rivers. These water bodies provide opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The Michipicoten River is one notable river in the area, known for its scenic beauty and fishing potential.
- Topography: The topography of Wawa Township is varied, with rolling hills, plateaus, and valleys. The terrain is a result of glacial activity during the last ice age, which carved out the landforms seen today. The region's topography is often referred to as the "Canadian Shield landscape."
- Provincial Parks: Wawa Township is home to several provincial parks, including Michipicoten Post Provincial Park and Wakami Lake Provincial Park. These protected areas showcase the region's natural beauty, offering opportunities for camping, hiking, wildlife observation, and enjoying pristine wilderness.
The geography of Wawa Township showcases a harmonious blend of Lake Superior's shoreline, boreal forests, Canadian Shield landscapes, and abundant water bodies. These natural features make it an appealing destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.