Many adventurers have explored Ontario, but as one of the first, France’s Samuel de Champlain holds a special place.
The Ontario’ Champlain Tourism Route is based on Champlain’s 1615-1616 great expedition. It is built around experiences involving French/bilingual services that reflect the famous explorer’s adventures and his legacy.
As part of the larger Champlain Tourism Route, there are five cycling routes that let you enjoy some of the paths and places Samuel Champlain came by when he explored and studied this magnificent land. While you are cycling along scenic trails and roads, you will pass by many historic sites that let you learn more about the history of the founding father of New France.
Ontario By Bike, in partnership with Société économique de l’Ontario (SEO), has carefully curated these five routes to feature some of the many historical sites of Francophone history paired with fantastic cycling. Find GPS files, bicycle friendly businesses and Francophone attractions using these itineraries to plan your next self-guided ride adventure. The itineraries are available both in English and French.
Ottawa and Countryside
Rideau Canal Cruiser – 39km
Home of the largest francophone population in Ontario and nestled along the Ottawa River, Canada’s capital region, Ottawa, has many historical and cultural heritage sights to explore and enjoy along this route. Start your ride at City Hall and quickly connect to the nearby Rideau Canal Pathway. Cycling along this large network of waterways, named originally Rideau by Samuel Champlain, lets riders enjoy the beauty of Ottawa on traffic free trails. Click HERE for full details and download self-guided itinerary or see below for French version.
En français – Crosière Sur Le Canal Rideau
Route Champlain – Ottawa and Countryside
Ottawa Valley Rail Trail Adventure – 42km
The Ottawa Valley Rail Trail Adventure is the perfect ride to learn more about the rich history of Samuel Champlain and enjoy a day on the trail. Visit the Champlain Museum in Pembroke, with one of the largest collections of early settlement artifacts in the Ottawa Valley. After exploring the museum, hop on your bike and pedal on to the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail, following the old railway bed. Click HERE for full details and download self-guided itinerary or see below for French version.
En français – L’excursion sur le Sentier Ferroviaire de la Vallée de l’Outaouais
Route Champlain – Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley
Ride Among the Hurons – Short tour, 30km; Full tour, 44km
Experience the life of early settlers on this ride in the heart of beautiful Georgian Bay. Cycle along waterfront trails with stunning views and quiet back country roads. Start your journey at Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, a significant historic sight and attraction to learn more about the Huron Wendat First Nation, the first European settlement in Ontario and Samuel Champlain’s connection to the trade routes and missionary established here. Click HERE for full details and download self-guided itinerary or see below for French version.
En français – Promenade au Pays des Hurons
Route Champlain – Bruce Peninsula, Southern Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe
Trent River Ride – Short tour, 31km; Full tour, 58km
This scenic ride follows the route taken by Samuel Champlain exploring the Trent River looking for navigable water routes north and south over 400 years ago. With a series of 44 locks built over 90 years, the 386km waterway was connected to form the Trent Severn, an integral part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System. Explore the area biking along the Waterway and stop at the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge for a spectacular view over the riverbed and Northumberland County. Click HERE for full details and download self-guided itinerary or see below for French version.
En français – Balade Sur la Rivière Trent
Route Champlain – Kawarthas Northumberland
South Eastern Ontario
Prince Edward County Trail & Vineyard Tour – Short tour, 18km; Full tour, 56km
An abundance of fantastic local wineries paired with the rural countryside and sandy beaches makes Prince Edward County a great spot for an excursion on two wheels. Cycle along the scenic and quiet but well maintained Millennium trail west out of Picton into the small lakeshore town of Wellington. As you keep pedalling along the trail north you will slowly make your way into wine country. Click HERE for full details and download self-guided itinerary or see below for French version.
En français – Tour Sur le Sentier du Comté de Prince Edward et Visite de Vignobles
Route Champlain – South Eastern Ontario