The first day, we meet in either Montreal or Ottawa for the bus ride to Air Eau Bois Camp where we’ll spend our first night. As we get acquainted, we will learn the canoeing techniques needed for our expedition on Poisson Blanc Reservoir. We will familiarize ourselves with the large Voyageur canoes which are capable of carrying up to ten paddlers. In the evening, we will prepare our baggage, engage in discussions and take time to enjoy the warm surroundings of the Auberge.
The next day after breakfast, we pack our food and set out. Once the Voyageur canoes are loaded, we start on our 3-day and 2-night expedition to discover the beautiful wilderness of the Outaouais Region. Paddling on the Poisson Blanc Reservoir, we will see tall white pines and, with a little bit of luck, many species of birds and small mammals. If the group decides they would like a bigger challenge, we will portage to a small isolated lake. Like the long-ago voyageurs, we will portage our equipment and our boats to explore another body of water. Together, we will live the nomadic life, travelling on the water with everything we need to live. In the evening, we will set up camp and prepare the evening meal. After a full day of paddling, we can relax around the campfire, with marshmallows to roast and stories to tell.
Members of the expedition
We will be accompanied by a professional medical team – comprised of a physician, an oncology nurse and a social worker – that oversees the health of all participants in the expedition. Seasoned “On the Tip of the Toes” facilitators ensure the smooth functioning of the expedition along with experienced adventure guides who are thoroughly familiar with the territory to be explored.
Geography and History
“West of the Papineau-Labelle Wilderness Reserve, the Poisson Blanc Regional Park is a 30-kilometre reservoir with more than 80 islands. Canoe-camping enthusiasts will be charmed by the wild, isolated and ultra-calm landscapes with an endless view over water.”
Frédéric Sauvé, Espace magazine
The many sandy beaches on our way will mean many opportunities to take a break or have a picnic. Île Perdue (Lost Island), Île à l’Aigle (Eagle Island), Île Mystérieuse (Mystery Island) and Parois Éléphant (Elephant Wall) will be our world, our territory.
Before colonization, this part of Quebec was Algonquin territory. As its name suggests,The Poisson Blanc is a man-made reservoir. Early in the 18th century, the main activity of the French settlers was trapping and fur trading and many trading posts lined the Lievre River. Over time, fur trading declined and, in 1806, Philémon Wright from Boston started the forestry industry in the Outaouais Region.
Forestry in the region was based mainly on white pine, used in the European ship building industry. In the mid-nineteenth century, sawmills appeared in the region to transform the wood prior to selling it. To facilitate floating the logs down the river, the McLaren family built dams and dykes along the Lievre River. Consequently, around 1930, the Poisson Blanc reservoir was formed in the floods caused by the new infrastructure.
The year 1993 marked the end of the timber runs on the Lievre River and the beginning of tourism development. Many parks, hunting camps, campgrounds and vacation areas were created along the Lievre River and the Poisson Blanc Reservoir.
Schedule and itinerary
- Travel by bus from Montreal or Ottawa to Camp Air Eau Bois
- Settling in at the camp, initiation to canoeing and preparation for the expedition
- Start of our expedition on Poisson Blanc Reservoir
- Travel by Voyageur canoe on the lake, set up camp
- Overnight camping
- Dismantle the camp, travel on the Poisson Blanc Reservoir
- Arrive and set up camp
- Overnight camping
- Last day of the expedition, return to Camp Air Eau Bois
- Shower, lunch
- Return by bus to our meeting point in Montreal or Ottawa