Ontario's Killarney Circuit

(As curated by Bruce Poon Tip)

Who: Bruce Poon Tip founded G Adventures (formerly GAP Adventures) in 1990 with two credit cards and his own wanderlust. This year, his Toronto-based adventure tour company will host more than 100,000 travellers on nearly 700 worldwide small-group experiences.

Why: Poon Tip logs up to 200,000 km per year researching and organizing new trips, so a weekend away has to be easy. In Ontario’s Killarney Provincial Park, the canoes are waiting a few feet from the lake, so all he has to do is show up to enjoy the landscape of pines, granite and dark water that inspired the Group of Seven.

What: The 24-km Bell Lake-David Lake Loop is a North Killarney classic, easily knocked off in two days, which leaves plenty of time for side trips, like a hike to the park’s summit at Silver Peak. After picking up a canoe and map at Killarney Kanoes, head east across Bell Lake, beginning the circuit counter-clockwise. It’s easy paddling along the convoluted shorelines of Bell and then Three Mile Lake, before a short portage into Balsam Lake. The fishing is good in all three; try casting for bass near deadfall. Hump over the portage into David Lake and camp at one of the many secluded spots. Get an early start, pull the canoes up at the portage to Boundary Lake, lace on the hiking boots, and begin the grunt up Silver Peak. Once proposed as a ski hill, it’s now part of the La Cloche Silhouette Trail, an 80-km backpacking loop around the park. The 5.5-km day-hike to the summit climbs exposed slabs of white granite past windblown copses of pines to its 539-metre peak, with huge views across the maze of lakes and forest and out into Georgian Bay. The next day is a short one, lake-hopping back to Bell Lake.


Paper guides & maps of the park:

Campsite reservations are recommended:

Killarney Kanoes canoe rental (from $29 per day):

Online map for park & hiking routes:

This originally appeared in our Spring 2015 issue.