Discover South River, Ontario: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Nestled in the Almaguin Highlands region of Parry Sound District, South River, Ontario, is a charming village that offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. Located on Highway 124 near Algonquin Park, South River is approximately halfway between North Bay and Huntsville, making it a convenient 3-hour drive (300 km) north from Toronto.

South River, Ontario: Gateway to Algonquin Park

South River provides access to Algonquin Park for canoeists at Kawawaymog (Round Lake). It is also home to Mikisew Provincial Park, located on the shores of Eagle Lake. These parks offer a variety of outdoor activities, making South River a popular destination for nature lovers.

Transportation in South River, Ontario

The primary mode of transportation in South River is motorized vehicles. Although Highway 11 used to pass through the town, it was rerouted to the west of the town when it was upgraded to a closed-access highway. An overpass now exists over Eagle Lake Road. The South River-Sundridge District Airport, a small airport located about three miles from the town, serves South River. The Ontario Northland bus and the privately-owned Northern Airport Passenger Service shuttle also provide transportation services.

The History of South River, Ontario

The history of South River dates back to the 1860s when logging began in the area. However, it wasn't until 1881 that the first settlers, Robert Carter and his wife, arrived following the completion of the Grand Trunk Railway. The new community, located on the eponymous South River, quickly grew, boasting hotels, a bank, a butcher shop, and a jeweller. The river provided power for a sawmill and grist mill and was also used for log driving. In 1907, the village separated from Machar Township and was incorporated, with W.J. Ard as the first reeve.

Local Industry and Activities in South River, Ontario

South River is a hub of local industry and activities. The Algonquin Moose Lodge, a resort that opened in 2017, offers accommodations for all types of budgets. The Algonquin Motel, a colourful local landmark, has been attracting visitors for about seventy years. South River is also the access point for dog sledding on the North Algonquin Dog Sled Trail and canoe trips out of South River through various outfitters. The Stewart Coughlin Riding Ranch provides horseback rides and riding instruction, and the Hockey Opportunity Camp offers programs for boys and girls aged 7 – 16 years old.

Arts, Crafts, and Breweries in South River, Ontario

South River is home to a vibrant arts and crafts scene. Artists Doreen Wood, Sue Nugent, and Margaret Cunningham live in the area, and local enterprises like Groovy Glass Beads and Ron Post's handmade knives and sheaths contribute to the local arts scene. The South River Brewing Company, a local microbrewery, has been operating since 2009 and opened a larger facility in 2017, which includes a Brewery Technician School.

Demographics of South River, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, South River had a population of 1,101 living in 482 of its 510 total private dwellings, a change of -1.2% from its 2016 population of 1,114. With a land area of 4.11 km2 (1.59 sq mi), it had a population density of 267.9/km2 (693.8/sq mi) in 2021. The majority of residents speak English as their first language (95.3%), followed by French (1.4%), and other languages (3.3%).

South River, Ontario, is a community rich in history and natural beauty. Whether you're a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or an arts and crafts lover, South River has something to offer everyone.