Spirit of the Bay

Part of the Voyageur Cycling Route

A slow roll through the heart of North Bay on the Spirit of the Bay bike route presents cyclists with a mosaic of creative spaces reflecting the community’s cultural identity and uniqueness. Cycle through a secret garden, roll along Lake Nipissing, take in a performance and meet the makers at a local studio. For those who want more km, add the South Extension to your day and brunch in Callander after exploring the quiet roads along the south shore of the Lake whose beauty has attracted many cottage resorts and getaways.

Ride

Type: Paved Trail and Road bike route

Distance: 30 – 84 km

  • Spirit of the Bay – 47 km
  • South Shore Extension – 28 km
  • North Extension – 3.7 km
  • Kinsmen Trail – 6 km

Staging Areas:

  • North Bay Waterfront
  • Callander Lookout

Ride Supports: (check google map for locations)

Ride Description:
A day’s cycling exploration can begin from just about anywhere in the city. Day-trippers will find a handful of all-day, free car parking staging areas on our Google map. The majority of roads are bikeable in North Bay, however, for those who prefer a separated bike route trail, the Kate Pace Way and Kinsmen Trail take cyclists through the heart of the city on easy grade, multi-use paved pathways.

Linger downtown with its colourful murals and unique shops and galleries celebrating local arts, hand-crafted wares and Northern cuisine. Downtown is also home to the North Bay Farmer’s Market, a great place to meet the makers and savour locally grown and homemade treats.

The bike route leads to the city’s North end, pausing at Sweetman’s Garden and for a meditative walk through the labyrinth at the Motherhouse, it follows municipal roads with moderate traffic. Relax in the new bike lanes on Main Street West.

Cyclists can choose to head to Nipissing First Nation to Aanmitaagzi; the Big Medicine Studio or continue on the paved pathway to the main campus of Nipissing University and Canadore College, another cultural hub in the city. Closing the loop will take cyclists along McKeown Ave. Caution is advised as this is a busy road suited to experienced cyclists.

North Bay offers a full day of exploration, but for those who prefer a longer ride, there are a few options on this bike route that loops from Lake Nipissing’s “North Bay” to its rugged South shore along municipal roads and secondary highways. The bicycle-friendly village of Callander has a number of delightful, locally-owned patio restaurants ready to welcome hungry riders. Leaving the village is a steep climb rewarded by a spectacular lookout over Lake Nipissing’s Callander Bay.

Riding on, the route wraps around the South shore of Lake Nipissing along a quiet secondary highway with wide paved shoulders and some gentle ups and downs. Venturing off the highway is highly recommended to get closer to the rocky shoreline with its wind-swept pines and occasional beaches where a dip in the cool northern waters soothes the soul.

Alternatively, cyclists can head east towards Astorville along the Voyageur Cycling Route and loop back through the community of Corbeil along the wide paved shoulders of Hwy 94.

Rest

Cycling through North Bay is an experience for all of our senses. There is no better way to immerse in this unique Northern community and discover its vibrant cultural identity than by bike. Watch this short video from Creative Industries to meet some of the Creatives that make this city vibrant.

DISCOVER

Performance Arts

Ride up to Aanmitaagzi Big Medicine Studio on the shores of Lake Nipissing on Nipissing First Nation and find a special place for the creation, development and exhibition of performing and visual arts.

Built in the 1920’s, the historic Capitol Centre in downtown North Bay presents live theatre, films, concerts and live comedy that would nicely cap off the day’s ride. The Capitol Centre is home to the North Bay Symphony Orchestra.

The Conspiracy of Three is a performance series of the written and spoken word open to anyone. Join in person at the White Water Gallery or on zoom.

Downtown North Bay takes Christmas in July to a whole new level when Hallmark is in town. It’s not unusual to have the streets adorned with holly and jingle bells at any time of the year as one of Hallmark’s favourite filming locales. Other notable productions filmed in North Bay include The Cardinal and Hard Rock Medical.

Public Art

Colourful murals and decorated traffic boxes throughout the city tell the community’s story. Watch for them as your bike through the city and learn about the artists at downtownnorthbay.ca.

The Makers

The North Bay Farmer’s Market on the doorstep of the North Bay Museum in the downtown is a great place to meet the makers and savour locally grown and homemade treats, open Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer. A number of local businesses feature locally-made and handcrafted items like The Farm, Michelle’s Frame Maker and Gallery, The Work Shoppe and Gateway to the Arts Coop.

Art Galleries

WKP Kennedy Gallery is a public art gallery in downtown North Bay that showcases Northern, Canadian and International visual artists. There is always an innovative and sometimes “risky” artistic practice being presented at the artist-run White Water Gallery. Stop by one of a number of local businesses and public buildings featuring art installations by local artists; NOVAH at 176 Lakeshore, Gallery 222 at the Kennedy Building, and the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

In Callander, the Callander Bay Heritage Museum and Alex Dufresne Gallery  exhibits local art and is the former home of Dr. Dafoe made famous in the 1930’s for delivering the Dionne Quintuplets.

EXPLORE

North Bay Waterfront

North Bay’s Waterfront on Lake Nipissing has a band shell where spontaneous community activations are not uncommon. Get off your bike and ride the two beautiful, hand-carved carousels that grace the waterfront park at the Heritage Carousel & Railway.

Gardens and Natural Spaces

Gardens are the perfect blend between nature and art. Find inspiration at Sweetman’s “Secret Garden”, the labyrinth and zen garden at the St. Josephs Motherhouse and Heritage Gardener’s waterfront gardens.

Forest Talk Radio at Laurier Woods

Download the Forest Talk Radio App to listen to a conversation amongst the trees telling folktales and forest science while walking (or mountain biking) the orange and white trail at the Laurier Woods Conservation Area.

SIP, SAVOUR, & SOUND

Craft Breweries

We got ‘em! A selection of Northern-themed, deliciously hoppy, dare we say, artisanal, local beers presented by talented local brewmasters. Try a Bear Runner lager on the patio at the New Ontario Brewing Co, or a ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Rye Pale Ale featuring a beaver, paddling a canoe with a guitar at the musician-run Gateway City Brewery’s almost trail-side warehouse-style – you don’t get more Northern than that!! Or, while downtown, pop into the new Block Public House or Cecil’s Brewhouse for some pub grub and a brew – from one of Cecil’s top-secret recipes.

Live Music

What’s better than a sunset cruise on Lake Nipissing? A sunset cruise on Lake Nipissing with live music!! With a regular summer schedule, a leisurely cruise on the Chief Commanda II is a perfect way to soak in the Northern vibes. A number local restaurants also turn up the amp and dim the lights for local musicians – 1886 Lakehouse Bistro in Callander, Raven and the Republic and Average Joes on Trout Lake even does live music from their public dock.

Storytelling

While downtown it’s an absolute must that you download the It Happened Downtown podcast. Hilarious, heartfelt and downright quirky tales told by locals, it’s an audio-based tour of North Bay’s downtown and waterfront.

Cool Places to Eat

Too many to name them all so here are a few of our faves… For a nutritious lunch try Opera Bakery, Gd2Go, Blendz Smoothie Shop or Oak East Eatery serving Indigenous tacos – a true North treat. Twiggs Coffee Roasters with its coffeehouse vibe, or sweet treats from Good Glaze or the EverCool ice cream truck are always a hit. The Culture Club is the place for sourdough bread – yummy! And, the Miso & Shiso food truck is conveniently parked outside Gateway City Brewery!

ACCOMMODATION

Northeastern Ontario Tourism

has a range of uniquely northern accommodations from quiet campsites to lodges and simple B&Bs as well as a host of familiar hotels.

Stay With Us Summer Hotels

Once the students have left, college and university residences turn into affordable summer hotels all across Ontario. North Bay is no exception. Stay With Us at Nipissing University and Canadore College.

What cyclists are saying about Spirit of the Bay:

“The spirit of the community is as big as Lake Nipissing! There were so many rich discoveries and hidden surprises.”

Supported By:

The vast network of trails we celebrate exist on the traditional lands and waterways of the Anishinaabe people within the territory protected by the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850 and Williams Treaties of 1923.