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“did not live up to the hype”

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Canisbay Lake Campground
Reviewed 14 August 2013

I completely agree with TT's review...we found the park very congested, noisy, and no where near as private as we had expected. I can only assume that the reviewers who have described this campground as "very private" have never stayed somewhere like Arrowhead. We have camped in many other provincial parks and would recommend any of them over Canisbay Lake. Also, there should be a notice on the reservation website about the lack of a trailer filling/dumping station. We would have chosen to stay at another campground if we had known. Also, why are we paying a "premium" rate for a view of the road and comfort station??? Anywhere else, this rate would come with a waterfront site. On the plus side, the Whisky Jack staff were very diligent about keeping things clean.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank GailynS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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56 - 62 of 69 reviews

Reviewed 8 August 2013

This was my first time in Algonquin Park, and first time camping at Canisbay Lake Campground. I am a seasoned camper, and have been to several Ontario Provincial Parks, so I know how camping should be and what I like.

I must say I was very disappointed in this park. The park itself was very nice and clean, and the staff ( who are contracted out) are always driving around keeping the washrooms and park clean. The disappointment is the privacy and noise level.

Never before have I ever camped in such a noisy provincial park, and the disregard to wildlife and privacy blows my mind. I thought people coming to Algonquin were the real deal, the real nature loving campers....but this park proved me wrong. there was no respect for noise or your fellow campers. Kids were running around screaming until midnight, its like they were just let loose...where the heck were the parents? Oh and the cars...don't get me started! The traffic was constant...which I realized was because you had to drive to everything. URGH! Not what I wanted to see or hear while camping.

I don't like the fact that you had to DRIVE everywhere to do anything. Yes there was a small beach to play on in our campground, and yes you could take your kayaks out on the lake ( we did many times) however if you wanted a hiking or biking trail you had to drive to it.....again, I was not expecting this. I usually go to a campground, park my vehicle and don't drive it again until we leave. We spent so much time driving to hiking trails it was ridiculous.

The sites are shallow and open to your neighbours all around. There were very few sights, if any that were actually private.

I also was unaware of the fact that the water/dump station was no where near our campground, so that was a bit of a let down as well.


I will return to Algonquin Park because the views are simply spectacular, and showing my little boy the amazing wildlife was priceless, however I will never return to Canisbay Lake to camp again.

Room Tip: if you have a trailer that uses water, don't forget to fill up BEFORE you get to your campground...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank T T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2013

Don't leave home without your extension cord if you booked a "Hydro" site, you will need it. Don't believe the maps when picking a site. The maps do not accurately display either the privacy or adjacency of campsites. The maps also do not accurately display current shower locations. The reason given by the Warden for lack of map accuracy was that too many were printed and now it's too expensive to make new, updated maps. Really, even online? The final indignity for RV's is that there is only 1 sanitation dump station in the entire Park. For us at Canisbay Lake, it meant driving east at least 10 miles out of our way just to dump waste water. For a park this size, can they not find a place near the west gate for a sanitation station? Beyond all this, the washrooms and showers were often dirty. They seem to be cleaned only in the mornings, when you are not allowed to shower. Our toilet room had a broken hand dryer, and no alternative like paper towels were provided even after the staff were asked about it. Basically, the lands are beautiful, but there is no service philosophy to accompany and enrich the experience. I know we are "camping" but, at $40+/night, campers are the ones paying the bills and should get something more than a parking spot and fire pit. Second and last time to Algonquin.

2  Thank Dryfly880
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2013

We camped late July, with a 26ft trailer. I thought the campsites were pretty private, I would say about average. Some sites were small, but there were also some good size ones as well. The beach was fairly small and there was only sand farther up the shore. The lower beach was a gravel sand, that didn't hurt to walk on too much. The view from the beach out over the lake and hills is very pretty. As far as trails go, you have to drive down hwy 60 to get to any. But that is expected at Algonquin as it is a very large park. There is a mountain bike trail right beside Canisbay lake, but beware it is not for children or unfit adults. It is a true mountain bike trail, lots of roots, rocks, hill ascents and descents.
The only thing I really disliked is that if you have a trailer, the nearest dumping station is 13km's away. I don't know why they can't put a dumping station at each campground in Algonquin.

We also visited the logging museum and visitor center, both of which I highly recommend.

Oh, and I would like to echo other people's comments about Park staff, they are teenagers hired by Whiskey Jack Park services and they have little knowledge of the park and poor customer service. It wouldn't kill you to smile when welcoming a guest.

Enjoy, Algonquin, one of Canada's oldest and most beautiful parks.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Jonathan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2013

My wife and I just returned last weekend from Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park. We like our privacy and do our homework when booking a site on line with Ontario Parks. We decided on Canisbay Lake Campground 3, Site# 118. It’s a non-electric site. Sites 115-118 are very private, and are surrounded by a good cover of trees, blocking the view of your neighbors. Our van blocked the view from the road at the entrance. The campground is very clean. The Comfort station has flush toilets and showers, which are cleaned daily. There’s always hot water and the showers have handles that you can control. No annoying timed shower sensors here, like some of the other parks we’ve stayed at where you have to keep turning the shower back on every minute. We prefer to use the comfort station washrooms, but the Vault toilets here are very clean. The water taps had a boiled water advisory attached to them. Water had to be boiled for at least one minute before cooking with, drinking, or dental use. We had to brush our teeth with bottled water. This really wasn’t a big deal. You can buy ice and firewood from the front gate. The staff at arrival was not that friendly, I heard one person say they have a hundred bookings expected that day because it was the May 24 weekend. The staff outside and around the park are very friendly. The rangers rarely come around and that’s fine with us. This place is relaxing and quiet, there’s lot’s to do here. We visited the Hardwood Trail, which is only .8 km long. Steep uphill walk, followed by a gorgeous view of Smoke Lake. We drove along the Highway 60 Corridor between the West Gate and Canisbay Lake Campground and saw Moose and Turtles. We had NO bear sightings while we were there. Nice beach at the campground on Canisbay Lake. We didn’t swim the water was too cold. A few conoers and kayakers were on the lake. You can rent canoes here. Make sure to visit the Algonquin Visitors Center. Lots of history displays, balcony with a breath taking view of the park, cafeteria and souvenir shop. Bring everything you need. It’s a 60 km drive to the stores in Huntsville near Highway 11. About a 45-minute drive. We wanted Tim Hortons coffee bad one morning a drove the 60 km’s to get it. Worth the drive. We had neighbors with tents and trailers. I highly recommend you go here. I’m already planning to go back.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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10  Thank PineTree38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2013

Over the years, I've camped at most campgrounds in Algonquin but nothing appeals to me more than Canisbay. I've been going there since the mid-90's and seen many of the changes to the management, sites, trees, etc. Tried many of the sites but have to agree with a previous review that #157 is a "pond-in-the-making" during heavy rains, yet nothing has been done by the park to correct the drainage.
In 2011, we returned from a hike only to find our site submerged 6 inches deep in rain water. Shocked at the site of our belongings floating, we were able to salvage the weekend by relocating our tent to the driveway and out of the path of rain water incase it rained again - but it didn't. I was ready to go home but stayed for the sake of the children and we toughed it out.
Seclusion depends on the behaviour of your neighbours. The sites have relatively good privacy, sandy base and sufficient trees to string up a tarp for the ugly days you must plan for. Bears have been an issue for us on one occasion but blame it on the neighbouring site who kept their food and garbage in the open while they went for a walk in the late evening. Plan for the weather, expected the unexpected and play safe, and you will have a good experience at Cannisbay.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank 647martin2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2012

4 of us just stayed at site #85 non hydro section and we were not impressed. The sites are so close together you can overhear normal conversations. Also adjacent to us was a site where an Asian family of 8 had 4 Toddlers. All of which were screaming/crying/balling the whole weekend. You are not allowed Radios but yet are forced to listen to screaming children!? RIGHT!!!
Sites are ROCK hard and pure dirt/mud.
Outhouse toilets were Nasty and Smelly as you could imagine.
I would not recommend Canisbay Lake Campgrounds as the students working the front gate were also not very nice or co-operative.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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10  Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Canisbay Lake Campground

Address: Highway 60 at km 23.1, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Region: Canada > Ontario > Algonquin Provincial Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 16 Speciality Lodging in Algonquin Provincial Park
Number of rooms: 242
Also Known As:
Canisbay Lake Campground Hotel Algonquin Park

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