Madawaska River (Ontario)

The Madawaska River is a river in the Saint Lawrence River drainage basin in Ontario, Canada.[1][2] The river is 230 km (143 mi) long and drains an area of 8,470 km2 (3,270 sq mi).[3] Its name comes from an Algonquian band of the region known as "Matouweskarini", meaning "people of the shallows".

Madawaska River
Madawaska River Whitney.JPG
Upper Madawaska River at Whitney
Madawaska River (Ontario) is located in Southern Ontario
Madawaska River (Ontario)
Location of the mouth of the Madawaska River in southern Ontario
EtymologyFrom name of Algonquian band "Matouweskarini" meaning "people of the shallows"
Physical characteristics
SourceSource Lake
 • locationCanisbay Township, Unorganized South Part, Nipissing District
 • coordinates45°33′52″N 78°37′56″W / 45.56444°N 78.63222°W / 45.56444; -78.63222
 • elevation450 m (1,480 ft)
MouthOttawa River
 • location
Arnprior, Renfrew County
 • coordinates
45°26′35″N 76°20′56″W / 45.44306°N 76.34889°W / 45.44306; -76.34889Coordinates: 45°26′35″N 76°20′56″W / 45.44306°N 76.34889°W / 45.44306; -76.34889
 • elevation
70 m (230 ft)
Length230 km (140 mi)
Basin size8,470 km2 (3,270 sq mi)
 • average85 m3/s (3,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
River systemSaint Lawrence River drainage basin
 • leftOpeongo River
 • rightYork River


The Madawaska River rises at Source Lake in geographic Canisbay Township in the Unorganized South Part of Nipissing District, in the highlands of southern Algonquin Park.[2] It flows east, dropping 380 m (1,247 ft) before emptying into the Ottawa River at Arnprior.


Lakes and reservoirsEdit

The lower portion of the Madawaska River supports several large lakes, including:


In the late 19th century, the river was used to transport lumber from the forested areas surrounding the river. Beginning in the 1960s, the river was used to generate hydroelectric power. Undammed sections of the river are also used for canoeing, kayaking and recreational fishing.

Around 1916, artist Tom Thomson followed the log drive down the river, painting the subject in The Drive (1916-17).[4]


The most common species of game fish found in this river include walleye (yellow pickerel), northern pike, muskellunge, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.

Provincial ParksEdit

Two sections of the river are designated and protected as provincial waterway parks:

Both parks are administered by Ontario Parks but are non-operating, meaning there are no visitor facilities or services available. Both are ideal for whitewater canoeing.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Madawaska River". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  2. ^ a b "Madawaska River". Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2012-03-12. Shows the course of the river highlighted on a map.
  3. ^ "Rivers Flowing into the Atlantic Ocean". Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  4. ^ Silcox, David P. (2011). The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson. Richmond Hill: Firefly Books. pp. 211, 256. ISBN 978-1554078851.
  5. ^ "Upper Madawaska River". Ontario Parks. 2002-11-12. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  6. ^ "Lower Madawaska River". Ontario Parks. 2004-01-05. Retrieved 2012-03-10.


External linksEdit