La Verendrye Parkway
Located in Fort Frances along the beautiful Rainy River, La Verendrye Parkway offers a scenic backdrop to whatever activity you currently enjoy. Whether walking, jogging, biking, or simply out for a peaceful stroll, this two-mile cobblestone walkway is the place to be. Take a break at any of the many benches and picnic pavilions along the route. Strategically placed informational plaques capture the essence of the river's historical past.
The sorting gap, at the bend in the river, was once the location where sawlogs and pulp sticks were sorted prior to processing in the paper and sawmills. Today, a marina marks the spot and allows boaters access to both river and lake. Called the Sorting Gap Marina, it is the place to buy admission to the historical logging tugboat and lookout tower. The marina is also a must-stop for ice cream, hot dogs, and other necessary summer treats.
Our logging tugboat, the Hallett, was the largest and most powerful logging boat on Rainy Lake. The 60-foot, 57-ton boat was used extensively from the 1940s to the 1970s for hauling logs harvested from the surrounding forests over the winter. During an average year, the Hallett made twenty round trips, one hundred miles each, hauling 70,000 to 90,000 cords of wood a year in average tows a mile in size. Modernization of woodland operations and environmental concerns led to the Hallett's retirement. Following restoration undertaken by the Fort Frances Museum, it now serves as a reminder of forestry's glorious past.
The 33-metre (100-foot) lookout tower was originally a lookout station located near Atikokan. In 2009, the Hallett and tower were moved to their current location on the La Verendrye Parkway. The panoramic view from the top of the tower is worth every step! Or, for the less able-bodied, the mid-level platform also offers a fantastic view of the river and town.
Marina: Open Monday-Thursday 9-9 and Friday-Sunday 8-10.
Hallett/Tower: Open daily 9-8. 2014 admission includes the Fort Frances Museum. Adult $4.00, Seniors and Children 6-12 $3.00, Children 5 and under Free, Families $12.00
Children under 14 must be accompanied on the Hallett and Tower by a caregiver aged 16 or older.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Visitors can easily reach this area by whatever means they're using (walking, biking, driving, etc). It is recommended that visitors coming by car, park their vehicles at the Sorting Gap Marina where adequate space is provided.
The La Verendrye Parkway and Sorting Gap Marina are handicapped-accessible; however, the Hallett and Tower are not.