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Killarney Provincial Park and the townsite of Killarney boast the classic Canadian Shield landscape, with beautiful, clear sapphire lakes set amongst rock outcroppings of pink granite and quartzite. It is the rugged topography that was immortalized in the paintings of the Group of Seven.

Killarney Mountain Lodge, on the shores of Georgian Bay, was constructed to fit seamlessly into this environment. The luxurious resort is all about the water, windswept shoreline, Jack pines, forests, and adventure in the outdoors, with hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, fishing, and motorboat cruises available for guest enjoyment.


Killarney Mountain Lodge resort Marina with boatds at dock
Killarney Mountain Lodge offers guests opportunities to get out on the water and explore Georgian Bay 


Shebahonaning, Killarney’s original Ojibwa name meaning “safe passage,” is off the beaten path, 68 kilometres from the Trans-Canada Highway along a quiet, forested road that leads past Killarney Provincial Park, to the village. It is 120 km southwest of Greater Sudbury and about a 4.5-hour drive north of Toronto (just follow Highway 400 north past cottage country Muskoka!).


The History of Killarney Mountain Lodge Resort


Named after the town of Killarney in Ireland, the area was first settled in 1820 by French Canadian fur trader, Étienne Augustin de Lamorandière and his Anishinaabe wife, Josephte Saisaigonokwe, and was where the couple established their trading post.

Expanded in the 1940s and early 1950s by the former Fruehauf Corporation, Killarney Mountain Lodge was designed to function as a private corporate retreat. Accessible only by bush plane or boat, guests were brought to the lodge for a unique wilderness experience, spending their stay canoeing, fishing, and hunting. In the 1960s the retreat became a hotel when the road to the Trans-Canada Highway was completed connecting the quiet escape to the rest of the world.

The nearly 162,000-hectare Killarney Provincial Park, one of the best provincial parks in Ontario, sits next door to the village. This attractive wilderness area has 183 campsites on 50 separate lakes and offers up a bevy of backcountry adventures, with 80 kilometres of marked hiking trails and 11 different canoe routes.


Killarney Mountain Lodge Enters a New Era


The park is open year-round and was Ontario’s first provincial park to be designated a Dark Sky Preserve. For those seeking a little more comfort in their accommodations, a fantastic waterfront, and a bustling marina, while still having access to all the activities that the Killarney region offers, Killarney Mountain Lodge is the perfect destination.

Now Killarney Mountain Lodge is entering a new era. Its current owners, Holden and Carey Rhodes, who have family roots here, have been navigating the lodge through a major expansion without sacrificing the charm and simplicity that has endeared it to generations of visitors. The renovations have included new guest rooms and a huge log building that houses a conference centre.


Private cabin with Muskoka chairs at Killarney Mountain Lodge
Accommodation options include cozy private cabins with Muskoka chairs


The front lobby is rustic and cozy, the huge dining room is stunning, and the views from the waterfront back patio are even more impressive. The walls display local, Indigenous artwork, and the main lodge boasts a swimming pool, fitness center, sauna, and a games pavilion with shuffleboard, pool, and ping pong.


Fun Things To Do in Killarney


Rhodes named the new conference centre Canada House because it displays the primary features of Canada: water, rock, trees, endless space, and fabulous views. It is purportedly the world’s largest log-built conference centre, a 34,000-square-foot log cabin constructed with 1,000 logs, with the names of each room paying tribute to local communities. Within Canada House is The Ranch House restaurant, a fine-dining steak house with chef-created meals and wine selections. Fittingly, just outside of the world’s largest log conference centre is the world’s largest paddle, The Big Dipper, constructed in 2020.

The Covered Portage Suites at Killarney Mountain Lodge resort are the newest choice for accommodations, with rooms facing the Killarney Channel boasting high wooden ceilings that match the hardwood floors, and comfortable king-sized beds. Views from the balcony of the second-floor rooms are incredible with the windswept trees and pink granite rocks lining the waterway straight out of a Group of Seven painting. It is easy to enjoy the scenery relaxing in the red Muskoka chairs right outside of your room.


Author James Ross after a hike to the lighthouse
Author James Ross enjoys a fun hike to the Killarney East Lighthouse


There are boat cruises, fishing opportunities, guided hikes, canoeing, kayaking, tennis courts, and a gym, and great hiking trails are accessed right from the property. The East Lighthouse Hike starts near the Canada House Conference Centre, a wonderful route along a winding path over gnarled roots and huge swaths of granite. The trail cuts through boreal forest and over rocky knolls, around boulders and along the coastline to the Killarney East Lighthouse. Along the way, you are rewarded with incredible views of the Killarney Channel and Georgian Bay.


Enjoy Water-based Adventures at Killarney Lodge


The village of Killarney and Killarney Mountain Lodge sit on the Killarney Channel where the north shore of Georgian Bay meets Lake Huron. While it can be rough out in the open water, the channel itself is protected from the waves by George Island. It is perfect for canoers and kayakers, who can paddle the sheltered waters while watching otters playing along the shoreline. Canoes and kayaks are complimentary for guests of the lodge, and activity coordinators at the resort also organize instruction for beginners and guided sunset paddles.

Big boats can also dock at the lodge’s recently expanded marina and have access to Georgian Bay. Some guests bring their own boats, but you can also rent or charter sightseeing or fishing boats. There are also learn-to-sail and learn-to-kayak programs, and if you prefer exploring on dry land, bicycle rentals are free to guests.


Big Dipper Paddle at Killarney Mountain Lodge resort
The world’s paddle, the “Big Dipper” is a fun attraction at Killarney Mountain Lodge 


Killarney Mountain Lodge is, in essence, the ultimate Northern Ontario getaway, built in a beautiful but rugged region of granite and Jack pine. The lodge radiates the spirit of First Nations legends and Group of Seven landscapes, with the occasional eagle’s nest, playful otter, osprey, busy beaver, or lumbering black bear.

For the latest info and rates, and to make reservations, visit Killarney Mountain Lodge & Conference Centre.




Contributing Editor James Ross writes about destinations and travel adventures for various international publications. You can see more of his work at


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