Shad Flies - the species has been around for more than 300 million years

North Bay, Ontario - So why do some of the people of North Bay walk around with a big insect on their t-shirts? They’re celebrating the arrival of something special from Mother Nature: Shad flies, some of the oldest insects alive - a species that has been around for more than 300 million years. The skinny shrimp-like ‘Shads’, which are also known as May flies, arrive for a few weeks in late June and only live for from a few hours to two weeks. They are an important food source for other insects, birds and fish. The good news: even after millions of years of existence, the curious little creatures have mouths that are not fully developed so they can’t bite.

Where: Shad flies are found in fresh water lakes like Lake Nipissing. North Bay, which is on the Trans Canada Hwy, sits on the eastern shore of big Lake Nipissing, one of Northern Ontario's largest lakes. You can explore the lake on the 320-passenger 'Chief Comanda II', which offers regular day-time and evening summer cruises. You can visit the Dionee Quituplets Museum (more than 3 million people came to visit the quints themselves during the Great Depression), and at Discovery North Bay in North Bay's historic CPR Station you can learn about local heritage. North Bay can be reached by road, rail and air. Want to see the fall colours? Ontario Northland often offers a 'fall colour' train trip from North Bay called the Dream Catcher Express, which travels the 100 km to Temagami and returns the same day.

In the News: Cyclsts take note - The Bike Train (a non-profit initiative) is now offering a service between Toronto and North Bay some weekends. "Knowledgeable Bike Train staff are available onboard to provide cycling maps and useful information. Passengers join a community of travellers who are happy to share stories and anecdotes about their trip during the train journey."


Lucy Izon

Canada Cool is produced by award-winning Canadian travel writer & speaker Lucy Izon. Her travel stories & reports have appeared in numerous leading North American publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul. Bio page

Canada’s Coolest:

Welcome to a new feature on Canada Cool. I'll be presenting different 'Coolest' lists with my favorites and I encourage you to nominate suggestions from your own experiences. You can Twitter @CanadaCool or email Let me know what makes your suggestion exceptionally cool. Remember, by contributing your comments you are giving Canada Cool permission to quote you. Only a selection of submissions will be included, but all comments and submissions are greatly appreciated!

The first feature is: Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives

Here are some of my favorites...

Icefields Parkway - the world's most accessible glacier

The Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta - This 229 km (142 mi) Rocky Mountain route from Banff/Lake Louise to Jasper passes 100 frozen rivers and nudges the base of the Athabasca Glacier - the most accessible glacier in the world. You can stop and explore it. It spills down from the Columbia Icefield, an area of ice so massive that you could fit the entire population of North America on it with each person getting at least a square metre of space.

Algonquin Moose Viewing

The Corridor, Algonquin Park, Ontario – this 56-km stretch of Hwy 60 cuts through the southwest section of Algonquin Park. Less than three hours north of Toronto the park is a nature-lover's paradise with 7,725 km of lakes, rivers, forest, trails, camping, comfortable lodges and 2000 km of canoe routes. Offers hiking trails to stop and enjoy, but what makes it really cool is that it’s one of the best places in North America to spot moose (especially in May and June). And, on Thursday nights in August up to 600 cars will gather to listen to wolves howl.

Cape Breton Cabot Trail drive

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Driving this 303 km (187 mile) route is like riding a roller-coaster: the road snakes around hairpin turns, rises to heights over 365 metres (1200 ft), weaves around headlands revealing spectacular coastal scenery, and plunges down to sea level taking you into the heart of small fishing communities. The most dramatic scenery is between the Cape Breton Highlands National Park entrance near Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay, so go slow. And, plan some flexibility into your schedule, so you can drive it on a clear day.

And here are some of your nominations for 'Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives'...


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'Canada's Coolest' topics we'll be publishing in the future:

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  • Haunted Hotels
  • Hotel Special Services

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