White Lake Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2020

Winnie, the black bear that inspired the iconic children’s stories Winnie-the-Pooh, was born in White River, Ontario. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian and soldier with the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, purchased the orphan black bear cub from a trapper for $20. He named her Winnie after his hometown of Winnipeg. When Colebourn learned he would be shipped to France, he decided to settle Winnie into the London Zoo. It was here that A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin encountered Winnie. Christopher Robin ended up naming his teddy bear after Winnie, which became the inspiration for Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.

In addition to White River being the hometown of Winnie-the-Pooh, it is also close by White Lake Provincial Park, which offers a range of recreational activities such as hiking, swimming, canoeing, boating and fishing. White Lake also offers car camping in three small campgrounds which collectively contain 187 sites.

We stayed at Pancake Bay Provincial Park the previous night and on our way to White Lake Provincial Park, made a brief detour at White River to stop by the Winnie-the-Pooh Memorial, which is located just off the Trans Canada Highway. There’s a large Winnie-the-Pooh statue along with some signs that explain the history of Winnie the black bear.

From the Winnie-the-Pooh Memorial, it’s about a 30 minute drive to White Lake Provincial Park. We arrived at the park at around 3:30p.m.

There are three hiking trails in White Lake that weave through the forest, along marshes and by lakes. We first hiked along Deer Lake Trail (2.5km, rated easy), which winds through the boreal forest along the shores of Deer Lake and a beaver marsh. Near the trailhead there’s a scenic lookout and viewing platform overlooking Deer Lake.

The trail consists of two loops, a small loop (1.5km) that leads to a viewing platform overlooking Beaver Marsh, and a longer loop (2.5km) that encompasses the small loop and leads all the way around Beaver Marsh too. We opted for the longer loop.

We’re not sure about the easy rating as this trail consisted of a lot of rolling hills. The path was well maintained and marked with numbered signs from 1 to 15.

There were lots of viewpoints of Beaver Marsh and Deer Lake and a few benches along the way to soak in the views.

We then hiked along the Tiny Bog Trail (4.5km, rated moderate), which loops around two large beaver ponds, climbs a sandy hillside of Jack Pines and lowers through spruce lowlands. Poor drainage and low nutrient levels make this area unappealing to most plants. The trail isn’t marked, consists of rolling hills and there are a few benches along the way to take a break or enjoy the views.

At the mid-way point, there’s a junction that leads to a scenic lookout. It’s a short detour to a boardwalk that crosses a bog and leads to a viewing platform.

We saved the shortest and easiest hike for last: Clearwater Lake Trail (2km, rated easy). Unlike the other two trails, there was no map of the trail at the trailhead. But, the trail was clearly marked by blue markers with a white hiker symbol. The trail leads through a pine forest to Clearwater Lake. The hike was relatively short and sweet.

After we wrapped up our hike, we went to check out the beach area. There are actually two beaches for swimming, the main beach located in the day-use area and the other beach located in Sundew Campground. We went to the main beach, which featured a sandy shore and clear water. The swimming area is marked with buoys and apparently has a gradual drop-off.

We left the park just before 7p.m and from here it’s about an hour drive to get to our next destination at Neys Provincial Park.


29 thoughts on “White Lake Provincial Park

  1. ourcrossings says:

    I had no idea that behind Vinnie-the- Pooh fictional character hides such a lovely and heartwarming real-life story.

    Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos from your hiking adventures. You are so fortunate to have my favourite wild animals in Canada. Beavers, the most remarkable animals, never reached Ireland and I don’t really know why no one would want to reintroduce them just like they did in Scotland and Argyll. Hopefully, one day 😀 have a good day 😀 Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I knew some of the history of Winnie-the-Pooh, but it was good to get the full story. It’s nice to take detours along a road trip to break up the drive and learn something new about the area we’re in. While I enjoy all the wildlife in Canada, it can also be scary sometimes, especially when camping out in the backcountry in the middle of nowhere! Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Neither did I! You learn something everyday. I highly recommend taking a road trip in Northern Ontario. The drive is so incredibly scenic and there are great wildlife viewing opportunities and hiking trails along the way.

      • winteroseca says:

        Thanks for the recommendation! I visited Ontario more than 20 years ago and it was Ottawa. I love road trips and I can’t wait to get to a point to do them in my beautiful, new country! 😍

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Well there’s no better place to go for a road trip than Canada! We’re just assuming that travel restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future and are planning a few road trips for next year.

      • winteroseca says:

        Nice! Can’t wait to try it! One thing I forgot to mention about the Winne the Pooh theme of your hike was I remember when I took a California Geography class at UC Berkeley. There was a guest lecturer who talked about maps with themes and it was amazing the creativity of these maps! There should be a Winnie the Pooh themed map for Canada!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, I would recommend visiting White Lake. The hiking trails aren’t particularly challenging, feature some nice views of wetlands and lakes, and all of them have benches along the way. We didn’t have enough time to go swimming, but the beach area looked really nice – sandy and shallow.

  2. kagould17 says:

    Hmmm. We drove right by the Winnie-the-Pooh memorial in 2018 and did not even know it. Pity. I actually think that that was where we met up with a morning semi rollover and had to detour through the town after an hour long wait. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s the one downside to visiting Northern Ontario (besides the bugs) that if there is construction or an accident on the highway, you are pretty much screwed. We had to wait for well over an hour on the highway one of the days on our road trip due to construction – they were blasting some of the rock away along the sides of the road. That’s too bad you missed the Winnie-the-Pooh memorial. It was neat learning more about Winnie’s history. I guess you’ll just have to come back someday. Take care.

  3. Diana says:

    I had no idea Winnie the Pooh was based on an actual bear. Thanks for teaching me this fun historical tidbit! As always, pretty pictures too 😊

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      One of my favourite things about taking a road trip is making random stops along the way. The Winnie-the-Pooh memorial was one of them. I appreciated the signs explaining the history of Winnie as I wasn’t aware of many of these details either. Thanks for reading.

  4. Monkey's Tale says:

    Looks beautiful I can just imagine little Winnie climbing the trees 😊! We heard this story a lot since I grew up in Winnipeg, but didn’t know the actual park where he was from.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The first time we drove through Northern Ontario we just passed right through White River and didn’t even realize that the Winnie-the-Pooh Memorial was there. Glad we were able to return later in the summer and had time to check out the memorial and do some hiking in White Lake Provincial Park. It’s a lovely area.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We were so lucky that we had mostly nice weather during our road trip through Northern Ontario, especially since we camped every night. The scenery just looks so much nicer against blue skies. I’m glad we made the most of our summer because now that it’s getting colder outside and I’m finding it’s tougher to motivate myself to get outside! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Ab says:

    I loved learning about Pooh’s origins at White River this summer! We only had time to do a lunch time pit stop at the road with the playground and Pooh statue and never got to explore the town and provincial park. Will make time next time if our itinerary allows. We were also there in August so we may have missed you or perhaps even crossed paths!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It certainly was a nice place to stop and break up the drive. They did a great job telling the story of Winnie-the-Pooh through all those signs around the memorial. I highly recommend visiting White Lake Provincial Park. The park is relatively small and quiet. There are a few short hiking trails and the beach area is really nice, sandy and shallow. And yes, maybe we did cross paths during our road trip. Who knows, maybe we’ll see each other next summer when we return to Northern Ontario.

      • Ab says:

        If we do another roadtrip it’d be in the first half of August. So who knows?! I can’t wait till summer arrives again. 🙂 Thanks again for the recommendation about White Lake. Will keep in mind as we plan out our itinerary.

  6. Lookoom says:

    The blue sky in the pictures is really attractive, now that we are in winter. Thank you for clarifying Winnie’s story. I had heard competing claims from Winnipeg and Ontario, you bring the last link: the soldier from Winnipeg in Ontario before leaving for France.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We were so incredibly lucky that we had pretty decent weather during our road trip. We didn’t have to hike in the rain at all. We did get rain, but it came either overnight or when we were driving. After getting our first snowfall yesterday, I am definitely missing these summer days too. I knew some details of the history behind Winnie-the-Pooh, but was nice to learn about the full story.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I had a lot of fun learning more about the history of the areas we visited along our road trip. I had no idea that Winnie was born here in Northern Ontario. You learn something new everyday. Thanks for reading.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I grew up with Winnie-the-Pooh, so it was neat to learn more about its history. As an added bonus, we got to visit White Lake Provincial Park, which is very scenic. It also helped that we had fabulous weather. Take care.

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