Culture and Heritage Ontario

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Culture and Heritage

Discover Ontario’s history and the stories that define our diverse cultural mosaic.


Many adventurers have explored Ontario, but as one of the first Europeans, France’s Samuel de Champlain holds a special place. Champlain was a cartographer, a naturalist, an ethnographer and, above all, a visionary in terms of his intention to establish a New France in America, and in fostering a relationship with First Nations people. Today historians consider him the father of New France.

The Ontario Champlain Scenic Route is based on Champlain’s 1615-1616 great expedition navigating the Ottawa River, the Mattawa River, Lake Nipissing, the French River and the waters of the Georgian Bay in search of a suitable site for a trading post and a viable path to the ‘northern sea’. Follow in Champlain’s footsteps with experiences and attractions that reflect the explorer’s legacy as well as our unique Francophone culture on these Champlain itineraries:
Ottawa and Countryside
Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley
Northern Ontario
Explorers' Edge
Kawarthas Northumberland
The Great Waterway

Discover more on the Champlain Route at


Honour Samuel de Champlain, the ‘father of New France’ at the annual Rendezvous Champlain in Penetanguishene and at Festival Café-Heritage in Sudbury. Revel in Francophone music, culture and history at la Nuit sure l’etang music festival or La Slague in Sudbury, Festival franco-ontarien in Ottawa or at Festival du loup, in Lafontaine near Midland.

A guitar

La Slague

La Slague  is a presenter of francophone artists' concerts in Greater Sudbury, Ontario. Its origins date back to the '60s and' 70s. Today, Slague has the title of best broadcaster in French Ontario!

Rideau Canal


DYK: UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal was given its name by Champlain who thought the beautiful falls on the Ottawa River reminded him of a thin “Rideau” which is the French word for ‘curtain’.