Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Travel Ontario

Lake Superior to Manitoba by Canoe

Mapping the Route into the Heart of the Continent

by (author) Hap Wilson

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Jun 2017
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2017
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


The Trans Canada Trail ( was designed to run uninterrupted more than 20,000 kilometers from the Pacific to the Arctic to the Atlantic Ocean. Hap Wilson -- a modern-day explorer and mapmaker -- was the man chosen to find a water route through the wilderness from Thunder Bay on Lake Superior to Manitoba's eastern border.

First Nations peoples had traveled this mosaic of lakes and rivers 7,000 years ago. Coureurs des bois and voyageurs had used it to carry furs and trading goods. Wilson set off to carve a trail for modern users. He mapped it, measured it, marked it and in the process, experienced the best and worst of Canada's wilderness.

He survived bear confrontations, being struck by lightning, grueling days slashing open old portage routes, a knee replacement, violent storms, gale force winds, isolation, biting insects, tick infestations and bitter cold. Organizers christened this section of the Trans Canada Trail the "Path of the Paddle" in honor of canoeing icon Bill Mason and Canada's First Nations.

In this exciting account, Hap Wilson divides his 1,200 km journey into 12 routes with varying degrees of difficulty. Diary excerpts, hand-drawn maps, GPS coordinates, and photographs provide up to date information, expert guidance and anecdotal color. He describes the pictographs, old encampment stone circles that he finds along the way, more evidence of early travel, survival, myth, legend and mystery.


About the author

Hap Wilson is an award winning-artist, author, photographer, guide, environmentalist, cartographer and eco trail builder living in Rosseau, Ont. His writing has appeared in Canadian Geographic, Explore and Canoe & Kayak. He has published a dozen nature and geography related books. His book Voyages-Canada's Heritage Rivers won the Natural Resources Council of America Award for best environmental book and the Bill Mason Award for lifetime achievement in River Conservation. Wilson, along with his wife Andrea, operate The Cabin Falls EcoLodge in Temagami, Ont. He lives in Rosseau, Ont.

Hap Wilson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

I would like to congratulate you for the hard work and insight you have put into these works. As you mentioned, I do have a passion for Canada's trails and spend as much time outdoors as I can. Like you, I believe it is important that we work alongside Indigenous Peoples to maintain a healthy environment and keep certain areas of land protected while creating a sustainable economy.

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

For many Manitobans, this is the season for picking up a paddle and exploring the beauty of the Canadian Shield's lakes and rivers. For those who like the idea, but not the exertion, Ontario author and canoeist Hap Wilson has written Lake Superior to Manitoba By Canoe, his account of his work establishing a 1,200-kilometre water portion of the Trans Canada Trail.

Winnipeg Free Press

For the wannabe voyageur or paddling and portaging voyeur on your list.

Winnipeg Free Press

Related lists