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Fort Frances, Ontario

By Amy E. Scanlon

Where the flat lands of the Canadian prairie meets the rocky terrain of the Canadian shield, there lies the perfect leisurely getaway. Sitting on the Canada - U.S. border to Minnesota, Fort Frances, Ontario has a lot to offer any traveling, but will please those looking for peace and quiet most.

La Place Rendez-vous, the best located hotel in town, sits on the shore of the Rainy Lake. Patrons who wish to stay in one of the 70 room at the Rendez-vous can drive or boat in, with plenty of parking spaces at the dock. The Rendez-vous is also home to a beautiful dining room, open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. which serves a variety of dishes including local fish and a daily special. Next door to the dining area is the Sand Bar Lounge and patio, with a bar, snacks and a big screen TV. La Place also has conference and banquet facilities.

Just down the road from the hotel is Pither's Point Park, open for camping, swimming and picnicking during the summer months, the best time to visit the Fort. Past the Point, up the waterfront walkway, bike path and picnic pavilions, is the Sorting Gap Marina, where boats are launched during the summer. Every Wednesday evening, visitors can stop and watch the boats race up the lake.

Life in the Fort area virtually revolves around the water, with two major fishing tournaments, the Walleye tournament in Emo, Ontario, approximately 30 minutes west of Fort Frances and the Canadian Bass Fishing Championship in Fort Frances, with over 100 teams from Canada and the United States competing each July.

Also in the summer, Fort Frances holds Fun in the Sun, a week-long celebration including a Canada Day parade and fireworks, a teddy bear picnic, queen and mini-queen pageants, horseshoe tournaments, food booths, bathtub races and more. For those crave the city, several are located within a day's drive. Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Mall of America are five hours to the south while Thunder Bay, Ontario is four hours east and Winnipeg, Manitoba is five hours west of town. Along the way are many other historic sites, with Kakabeka Falls, on the road to Thunder Bay and Kenora and Dryden in between the Fort and Winnipeg.

Fort Frances was founded in 1903 and was named for the wife of a visiting official of the Hudson's Bay Company. The Fort itself was torn down in recent years, but the local museum and cultural centre, located downtown, displays artifacts, books and paintings giving life to the history of the town, which now centers around the local Abitibi-Consolidated  Inc. pulp and paper mill. With all of this, one of the most attractive things about the Fort is the people, kindness and consideration for others prevail.

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