In Nipigon, Ontario, you’ll find a special monument paying tribute to the legendary Indigenous artist and member of the Indigenous Group of Seven, Norval Morrisseau. Crafted in the likeness of his Spirit Name, “Copper Thunderbird,” this monument features photographs of Norval himself and his remarkable artwork. It also provides information on his life and profound influence within the art community.
This incredible monument is one you don’t want to miss. Not only does it offer a stunning overlook of the Nipigon River and the surrounding forest, but it’s also situated in an area with many activities. You could easily spend an entire day here, soaking in the experience. So, without further ado, let’s dive into a few fantastic places to explore and enjoy while immersing yourself in Norval Morrisseau. Let’s get started!
Just a stone’s throw from the monument, you’ll find the Nipigon Brightview Lookout Tower, which sprung to life in 2018. This tower treats you to some awe-inspiring views of Nipigon, the meandering Nipigon River, the picturesque marina, and the captivating northwestern mountainscape, which includes the iconic Dog Head Mountain. It’s the perfect spot to soak in all the breathtaking natural beauty that Superior Country is known for.
With 65 stairs and a view that’s 40 feet high, the view is unlike any other, and you won’t get a better one of Nipigon and Lake Helen anywhere else.
From the base of the Bridgeview Lookout tower, an accessible, paved path alongside the Nipigon River Bridge guides you underneath it. While you follow this pathway beneath the bridge, you’ll find breathtaking views of the Nipigon River, complete with the striking railway bridge. And when you look across the river, you’ll also be able to take in the picturesque sight of the Nor’Wester mountain range in the distance!
Once you make your way to the other side, you’ll be in the perfect place to see the Nipigon River flow into Lake Helen. I recommend taking a stroll on the Nipigon River Bridge as the sun begins to set. You’ll be treated to a truly magical sight as the sun lowers behind the mountains surrounding Lake Helen, painting the sky in hues of pink and blue.
This walk offers you a couple of excellent options. You can either go underneath the bridge and make your way back up towards the lookout tower, or you can head in the opposite direction, leading you down towards the Nipigon Marina via the historic Canadian Pacific Railway path. Whatever path you choose, stretching your legs while taking in the breathtaking Nipigon landscape is a fantastic opportunity.
If you’re hungry after your walk, there’s an eatery right down the street from the Bridgeview Lookout, called The Edgeview Restaurant. Here, you will be welcomed with warm hospitality and a smile.
The kind of food you’ll find at the Edgeview include crispy fries, loaded burgers, delicious pastas, and other local favourites. Anywhere you sit in the restaurant will provide an environment that reminds you of a home. If you’re lucky enough to sit near the window, you’ll see the incredible view of Nipigon’s Dog Head Mountain and the Nipigon River cascading towards Lake Superior.
For more information on the Edgeview Restaurant such as menu and hours of operation, check out their Facebook page here!
Across the Nipigon River Bridge, you will find yourself on the Lake Helen Reserve. While three different gas stations on the Reserve sell a variety of amazing Indigenous artwork, Pelletier’s Gas Bar sells merchandise with Norval Morrisseau’s artwork on them! You will find mugs, wallets, and other items with Morrisseau prints.
Along with the Morrisseau prints, there are many other Indigenous made artworks that are available to purchase in support of these incredible artists. Items such as beaded jewelry, ribbon skirts, and moccasins are available – just to name a few. Make sure you check out the Lake Helen Reserve for authentic Indigenous handmade work!
While you take in the amazing monument in honour of Norval Morrisseau and the Indigenous Group of Seven, make sure to plan a fun-filled day or two exploring all that Nipigon has to offer!