Story & Photo by John Arkwright
“Welcome my friends to where the snow never ends. We’re so glad you could attend. Come and ride, come and ride.” Just a little ditty I came up with (a little help from Emerson, Lake and Palmer) while riding in Ontario’s James Bay Region in the winter of 1998 on the Gold Rush Tour.
The JBF Region is truly a snowmobiler’s paradise offering some of the finest snowmobiling in North America. Over 5,000 kms (3,000 miles) of trails are groomed and maintained smoother than most highways and by the way they, boast the longest grooming season in Ontario.
I first rode in this region during the winter of 1996 and since then the Gold Rush Tour, introduced in the fall of 1998, has turned out to be a Grand Slam! Now ten years later, it’s still going strong and is an absolute gem of a tour!
This region has some newly discovered gems to enhance the touring snowmobiler’s holiday. In Kirkland Lake there’s the new Hockey Heritage North Museum with many of the same features as the NHL’s Hockey Hall of Fame!
In Cochrane, get ready to add another half day because the new Polar Bear Habitat and Heritage Village will require some extra time. Plus, there’s a snowmobile museum as well.
Gerry Miller, our village tour guide who owns most of the artifacts here will take you back in time to relive history as you could never imagine.
Another must do when you are in Cochrane is a day trip to the Abitibi Canyons. The trip there features powder snow riding and short, steep pulls at sea level.
Two great places to visit in Timmins are Cedar Meadows Resort Wildlife Preserve and the Shania Twain Centre. At the Wildlife Reserve you’ll get to observe moose, deer, buffalo and elk up close and personal. Ever fed a moose? We did.
The Shania Twain Centre facility will take you from Shania’s early days in Timmins to her present day fame.
Nearly forgot to mention we had five days of incredible snowmobiling. We may have sacrificed some miles of riding by taking in these attractions but it was worth it. Do something a little different. Trust me you’ll be glad you did.
The JBF Region stretches from the town of Latchford through to Hearst, Ontario. On this trip we only rode the eastern portion of this region and there’s another four days of world class riding through Smooth Rock Falls, Kapuskasing and Hearst.
Call 800-461-3766 and visit SnowmobileInOntario.com for more information on this region.