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Kakabeka Falls

Posted by Lorac Friday, 29 May 2009

Kakabeka Falls, Thunder Bay
I have done a lot of traveling for work over the years. Last November found me heading to Kenora Ontario, almost to the Manitoba border. The route through Ontario is beautiful any time of year but it is eerily beautiful in the early winter before it gets its blanket of snow. On the way back from Kenora, heading to Thunder Bay we stopped at Kakabeka Falls. I had been here in the summer before but that was nothing compared to the winter view. Known as Niagara of the North, Kakabeka Falls plunges 40 metres over sheer cliffs and some of the oldest fossils in the world.

The colour is a luscious rust, so coloured from all the minerals, especially iron in the water. It is a stark contrast against the evergreens. The falls makes a steady roaring drone as it tumbles over itself to get downstream.

All around the perimeter of the falls and the river is a boardwalk tucked into the forest. Made out of wood, it blends in nicely.
There was a fine snowfall at the time and the wood planks were very slippery!

There is abridge up stream that spans over to the other side and gives you a view from the top. Crossing here you can go to the other platform looking out over the river.

The view from the south side. It is really nice that you can walk all around and get photos from different angles.

The predominate wind blowing from the north to the south blows the mist from the falls onto the embankment on the other side and
here the mist has frozen over all the trees and weeds into a thick crust.

Kakabeka River, Thunder Bay
The water falls down to this magnificent river.
There is a lovely Native story about the falls. This exert is taken from The City of Thunder Bay Tourism.

Chieftain White Bear, the peace-loving grand old leader of the Ojibway tribe was interested only in the welfare of his people. One day Chief White Bear was greatly vexed to learn that large numbers of the fierce warlike Sioux were approaching his tribe's encampment at the mouth of the Kaministiquia River, bent upon the destruction of his tribe.

Being too old to go to battle himself and not knowing how to ward off the enemy, the old Chief was greatly distressed. Seeing her father's dilemma, Princess Green Mantle devised a plan.

Bidding her father farewell she hurriedly left the camp and paddled swiftly up the Kaministiquia River. Many times before she had gone for long canoe rides with her brother and she well knew of the Great White Falls. Leaving her canoe at the foot of the falls, she ran swiftly along the bank until she reached a point well above the waterfall.

She soon came within sight of the Sioux Camp. Boldly the young maiden walked into the camp of her bitterest enemies. At once they pounced upon her and captured her. Pretending to have lost her way, she led them to believe she was very frightened. Green Mantle was taken before the Sioux Chieftains and they decided to put her to death. Bargaining with them she followed through with her plan and told them that if they would spare her life she would lead them to her father's camp. The Sioux Chiefs were elated, thinking that they had indeed been blessed by the Gods.

The following morning the young Princess was placed in the lead canoe and the great band, in their war canoes followed, tied as Green Mantle suggested, one behind the other so that they would not get lost. However, she did not tell them about the falls and as they swiftly turned the bend of the river, they plunged headlong into the great gorge, killing all.

Princess Green Mantle of course lost her life also but all of her tribe were saved from the torturous hands of the most dreaded of all Native tribesmen.


  1. I like hearing local native American legends but this one is too real and too sad. Beautiful falls though.

  2. Lorac Says:
  3. I is a sad tale. There is a memorial placed by the falls for her.

  4. Delwyn Says:
  5. Hi Lorac,
    I was hoping she would jump out before the falls...but then there would be no moral except cunning...

    Happy days

  6. Lorac Says:
  7. Alas.. it is true! Brave soul, wouldn't be me!

  8. Sandra Says:
  9. Great photos and story.


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Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
I have lived in Georgetown for 37 years but have traveled around a great deal. I own my own business which takes a lot of my time but try to blog as much as possible! I love to take pictures, no training, just a love of photography. Enjoy the pics but please do not copy them.
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