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Devil's Rock: becoming less seldom seen, more iconic (4 photos)

It could be the start of a food/tourism destination, says Back Roads Bill Steer

It may not be akin to Prudential Insurance’s long-standing Rock of Gibraltar logo but it seems to be headed that way. Community businesses are dispelling the notion that one of northern Ontario’s best and most accessible vistas is seldom seen, the dramatic drop is becoming iconic

It could be the start of a food/tourism destination.

Devil’s Rock on the west side of Lake Temiskaming near North Cobalt rivals the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park and the Ouimet Canyon east of Thunder Bay. It is not just the sheer height of the cliffs that take your breath of the way. The 180°- plus panoramic view has an uninterrupted sightline in three directions.

You won’t see a sign on Highway 11 North urging you to “exit here” to Devil’s Rock. On the standard 1:50 000 topographic map, it is called ‘Devil Rock.’ Three very different businesses have branded some of their offerings utilizing the iconic vista.

You may have a copy of the Hardy Boys book.

To young detectives worldwide, he was known under the pseudonym as Franklin W. Dixon author of the Hardy Boys series and one of the novels, House on the Cliff. The rendition of the cliff from the mystery novel series is Devil’s Rock.

Leslie McFarlane the Canadian ghostwriter of the popular youth series of novels, lived in nearby Haileybury. In the original version of The House on the Cliff, pp. 118, Devil’s Rock is described:

The cliff jutted up out of very deep water and rose to a great height…The face of the steep rock was uncompromising. There seemed to be no foothold for man or beast.

The mystique of the 150-metre, 2.2 million old fault cliff has other stories. Long before the lumber barons, explorers and Jesuits discovered Lake Temiskaming.

At this time, the Ojibway legend of the “rock demons” or Memequayshowak was firmly in place.

An indigenous clan surprised the little inhabitants of the many rock crevices and the raiding party captured one of the gnomes and his knife. As they withdrew, one of the remaining diminutive spirits retreated inside a deep crevice and created such fearsome noises that his captors threw back the stolen knife towards the opening of the crevice they believed was the entrance to the underworld. From which evolved the local name of Devil’s Rock. You can see these crevices from below or above.

It is rumoured that Northern Ontario’s One-Horned Sasquatch has also been seen at this lofty precipice.

Thornloe Cheese, located on Highway 11 just north of Temiskaming Shores, has become a popular attraction for travellers hungry for cheese, cheese curds, and ice cream. It is an outlet for local dairy producers who wish to ship to a Northern Ontario location, more than 3 million litres of milk runs through their processing plant.

The Devil's Rock Creamy Blue Cheese – Pyramid is one of Thornloe’s specialty cheeses. It is sealed in a black wax casing it is creamy and slightly sharp in taste but not as strong as some traditional blue cheeses.

Lace Laframboise is Business Administrator for Thornloe Cheese, located on Highway 11 just north Temiskaming Shores. Thornloe Cheese launched a product expansion of small-batch artisanal cheeses named to honour the local agricultural communities in and around the Little Clay Belt.

Devil’s Rock, a landmark escarpment overlooking Lake Temiskaming, offers stunning views of the unique region and into Quebec. A creamy, mild blue cheese, pyramid in shape and coated in black wax to resemble the rigid cliff, Devil’s Rock has become a cornerstone product for Thornloe Cheese.

The Devil’s Rock Tackle Company is a northern Ontario manufacturer of handmade lures for various species of fish including walleye, pike, Muskie, bass, and trout.

Rick Shaver was raised in North Cobalt, just a few kilometres from Devil’s Rock. His family spent a lot of time at nearby Bucke Centennial Park as both my parents were part of the founding group that started the park.

“I believe it’s important to promote our area to those that haven’t had the opportunity to visit. I pondered many names for the business and it always came back to Devil’s Rock. Local First Nations call it Spirit Rock and Festive Rock. There is a feeling that goes through you when you’re at Devil’s Rock. Be it the amazing view, the wind that picks up off the lake or the smell of the trees and foliage surrounding the lookout. Perhaps it’s more spiritual than all of those combined.”

Ben Fairfoull is the owner of a new bar in Temiskaming Shores, Tap That Bar & Kitchen.

“The drink we are promoting is called: 'The Devils Rock Caesar,'" he said. “Devil’s Rock is known as one of the best lookout points to view Lake Temiskaming. It's been featured in many articles over the years and probably one of the most spoken about landmarks in northeastern Ontario. This drink is one of our best sellers and seeing that it has multiple local ties, it's become a big hit for us. We had been eating Thornloe’s blue cheese at home and came up with our Caesar idea from their initiative.” More news, any day now the restaurant and bar will launch its own house brand beer, “the Devils Rock IPA brewed by New Ontario Brewing Company in North Bay and look towards an iconic logo on the can!”

Visit the businesses and the vista.

The snowshoe or walk is less than 30 minutes (one way), it is approximately 2 km in length (linear route) from an unsigned, small parking area on secondary Highway 567. The trailhead will be on the left or east side of the secondary road at WGS 84, Zone 17 T E 605620 N 5250762 or N 47 24.106 W 79 36.012, it is approximately 4.7 km from Highway 11 B and North Cobalt.

Winter is coming, the Devil’s Rock is there, yours to discover.

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Bill Steer

About the Author: Bill Steer

Back Roads Bill Steer is an avid outdoorsman and is founder of the Canadian Ecology Centre
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