Situated well within the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, specifically the Three Fires Confederacy, Ojibway, Odawa, and Potawatomi people, in the Robinson-Superior Treaty area lies the mighty Mijinemungshing Lake. It is the largest lake within Lake Superior Provincial Park, and arguably one of the park’s best interior lakes for backcountry adventures.
While the lake’s name is commonly shortened to Mijin by its frequent visitors, the lake itself has a very expansive area to explore, with northern and southern arms, and a large main body featuring several islands.
The islands are among the most visited, with its close proximity to the put-in, making it a great spot for anyone who may be newer to the whole backcountry camping experience, or those who may be on a stricter timeline. Either way, novice and avid campers will fall in love with the backdrop that their campsites face as the Algoma landscape cradles this majestic body of water.
For those who seek the ultimate seclusion, the southern and north arms offer campsites further spaced out and are more sheltered from the openness of the center of the lake. I personally have stayed at the furthest site in the south arm, situated on a little island - it was well worth the long paddle to get there. Spending time there made it feel like we had our own little lake all to ourselves. The solitude was perfect.
The north arm may have slightly higher traffic, and although I am not a fishing expert, I heard people say this part of the lake is the best for that. Either way, the sites are well spaced, offering quiet little getaways. There are also two portages accessible from the north arm, a 965m one to Almonte Lake, and a 1200m one to Maquon Lake.
So apart from the different opportunities this lake has to offer, what makes it special? Well, after several visits now, I can say that this lake is a place where one can feel nature in an unspoiled way. While the sites are developed, and traces of human activity are visible at each one, it’s when the stars come out, every time a loon calls, and when the morning mist dances across the water that you get the feeling of wilderness.And all that makes sense when we look into the meaning of the word Mijinemungshing - “where loons feed” (source) The lake is home to many loons, and each visit I have had there consists of some kind of interaction with these majestic birds. From being awoken in the middle of the night to a symphony of their songs, to one particular loon who kept watch over our camp in the south arm, these are moments that could never be erased from my memory.
The lake has its moments of power as well. The open water of the center of the lake can be susceptible to strong winds and wavey conditions, which paddlers should be aware of before embarking, as sometimes it may carry you way down the lake, and conditions may change on a dime.
As an artist, this place has been an absolute joy to create art at. I have made a few different pieces here at the lake, and it has been an inspiration for many others. It’s been great to share memories with other people, and to create art for those who have explored and adventured this amazing lake, and I think that’s what makes places so special. Having a conversation with someone who has gone and had similar experiences with you is ever so bonding to the human race. Mijinemungshing is certainly the lake where loons come to feed, however it is also where we, people of the earth get to come and connect - connect with each other, nature and ourselves.
With all greatness, we are fortunate for a place like this to be protected and managed by Ontario Parks. If you wish to donate to the park directly, the Friends of Lake Superior Park is a great organization to do so with - https://www.friendsoflsp.org/