Georgian Bay Attractions
Highways 400 and 93 from Toronto.A large bay, so cut off it is almost a lake, Georgian Bay is part of Lake Huron, and was named after George IV. In the north, with its wild, rocky shoreline, it has an atmosphere all its own, dotted with small islands, some no more than a big, bare rock, others with a couple of crooked pine trees.
The bay shore in the west and in parts of the south has the high limestone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, which, together with the long, sandy beaches on the southern shore and the Midland Peninsula, help to make Georgian Bay the ideal place for anyone who enjoys spending time on, in, or around the water.Owen Sound, Penetanguishene, Washaga Beach, Midland, Parry Sound and Collingwood are all popular holiday resorts on the bay's shores, rich in history and atmosphere.In the early 17th c., Georgian Bay, home to the Huron Indians, was where the Jesuit missions first set out to convert the Indians, starting with Etienne Brulé in 1610. He was followed by trappers and Jesuit missionaries from Québec, who established their first station here in 1639. Weakened by disease introduced by the new settlers, and under constant threat of attack from the Iroquois to the south, the Huron eventually succumbed, but when several of the Jesuits were tortured to death in 1649, the Ste-Marie mission station was abandoned.The resorts on the southern shores of Georgian Bay are very popular at weekends and in the summer, and can become just as crowded as any European holiday playground.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
The northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, recently designated a National Park, has bizarre limestone formations and eroded rock pillars, very rare orchids and all kinds of wildlife, but especially amphibians. It is accessible from a network of footpaths.There is also a campground at Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Fathom Five National Marine Park
Fathom Five National Marine Park, north of Tobermory is the site of more than a dozen shipwrecks, of which some are heavily overgrown. These, together with the extraordinarily clear waters, make the Marine Park a mecca for divers and underwater photography. Another most unusual attraction is the so-called Flowerpot, a rock pillar in the shape of a huge vase.Visitors can visit Flower Pot Island and see a sunken boat on excursion boats that leave from Tobermory. Tickets can be purchased near the dock. This is a wonderful trip that allows time to hike around the island as well as relax on board the boat while soaking up the scenery.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
The delightful islands of Georgian Bay are from a natural point of view part of the Canadian shield, their topography shaped by the last Ice Age. This paradise of some 30,000 islets and small islands has long been a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts and artists such as Tom Thomsen and the "Group of Seven". In 1929 some 59 of the archipelago's islands were designated a National Park. Still virtually unspoiled, they can only be visited by boat, trips being run from mid-May to October from Honey Harbour, Penetanguishene and Midland. They follow much the same routes as were taken by the French surveyors Brulé, Champlain and LaSalle when setting out to explore the North American interior.
Tobermory is a picturesque little fishing village with half- timbered houses and secluded coves at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula - geologically speaking a foothill of the Niagara Escarpment - which separates Georgian Bay from Lake Huron itself. The crystal-clear water also make it very popular with scuba-divers.This is largely a summer destination with many of the stores and lodges shutting down during the winter months.
St Edmunds Museum
The St Edmunds Museum, about 3km / 2mi south of Tobermory, has mementoes from the pioneering days and displays on the natural history of Georgian Bay.
Wasaga Beach, Canada
The busy holiday resort of Wasaga Beach lies on a sandy spur of land between Georgian Bay and the Nottawasaga River. Its main attraction is its beach of fine, white sand, stretching for about 14km / 8.5 mi.Following a fire in late 2007 in the main shopping area of Wasaga Beach, the town has seen some new development.
Nancy Island Historic Site
The Schooner "Nancy" was a British supply vessel, and the only ship to survive the naval battle on Lake Erie which the British lost in 1812, but the Americans discovered the "Nancy" hidden away on the Nattawasaga River and subsequently sank her. The hull was salvaged in 1927 and today stands in front of the museum which tells the story of the War of 1812 and the three hundred years of navigation on Lake Superior. There is also a reconstruction of the engine room of a Great Lakes steamer.
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (140ha / 346ac) is open all year round and has beautiful beaches, picnic areas, tennis courts, cycle tracks and, in the winter, ice rinks, and snowmobile and cross-country skiing trails.
Collingwood - Blue Mountain
The scenic road along the southern shore of Georgian Bay from Collingwood to Meaford - 35 km / 22 mi on Route 26 - leads to the Blue Mountain Resort, 11 km / 7 mi west of Collingwood. On a clear day the view from the highest part of the escarpment over the Bay and surrounding cliffs is an exceptional experience.Blue Mountain Resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in southern Ontario.
Penetanguishene is a former garrison town, a few miles northwest of Midland, in a scenic setting on Georgian Bay. A large hospital has been established here. To symbolize Anglo-French harmony, the French- Canadians, who are in the majority here, have put up two angels at the south entrance to the town.The harbourat Penetanguishene has been turned into a tourist attraction.
In 1812 the war with the Americans forced the British to set up a naval base on Lake Huron. After two garrisons in the area fell to the Americans in 1818 Penetanguishene became a garrison town as well. Some buildings here, on Discovery Harbour have recently been restored, and visitors can see recreations of the officers' quarters, crew rooms, stores, and ships' repair shops.
Address: 93 Jury Drive, Penetanguishine, ON L9M1G1, Canada
Opening hours: May 23 to Jun 30: 10am-5pm; Closed: Sun, Sat
Jun 28 to Sep 3: 10am-5pm
Jun 28 to Sep 3: 10am-5pm
Entrance fee in CAD: $6.00, Students $5.25, Senior $5.25, Child 6-12 $4.25, Child 5 & under FREE
Useful tips: Last admission at 4:30 pm
Penetanguishene Centennial Museum and Archives
Penetanguishene Centennial Museum depicts local history when John A. MacDonald was Canada's Prime Minister. Displays include the original 1875 General Store and Lumber Office, the Great Hall with changing art exhibits, and the Penetanguishene Sports Hall of Fame.
Address: 13 Burke Street, Penetanguishene, ON L9M1C1, Canada
Opening hours: May 1 to Oct 10: 9am-4:30pm; Sun: 12pm-4:30pm
Oct 11 to Apr 30: 9am-4:30pm; Closed: Sun
Oct 11 to Apr 30: 9am-4:30pm; Closed: Sun
Always closed on: Good Friday - Christian, Easter - Christian
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $4.50, Senior over 64 $4.00, Students $3.50, Child 4 & under FREE
Useful tips: Special Events Include: Canada Day, Easter Eggstravaganza, Halloween Spooktacular, Sunday Evening Concerts (July & August).
Collingwood is located on the shore of Georgian Bay, at the foot of Blue Mountain. Activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skiing as well as hiking, fishing, boating and canoeing. This is a popular resort destination year round for people in Southern Ontario.
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures allows visitors to learn about the historical significance of the caves and how they provided a natural shelter for the Hurons. The Scenic Caves also allows guests to climb to the top of the Niagara Escarpment safely so that they can view the surrounding land mass.
Bygone Days Heritage Village
Thirty reproduced and original buildings depict life in Collingwood from 1860 to 1940. Highlights of Bygone Days Heritage Village include a carriage and sled display, pioneer houses, tractors and a harness shop.
Address: 879 Sixth Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y3Y9, Canada
Opening hours: May 1 to Oct 31: 10am-4pm
Entrance fee in CAD: Family $25.00, Adult $10.00, Child 18 & under $7.00, Senior over 64 $7.00, Child 11 & under $5.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Collingwood Museum examines the history of Collingwood and 150 years of marine heritage. It is housed in the reconstructed 1873 Grand Trunk Rail Station.
Address: 45 St. Paul Street, Box 556, Collingwood, ON L9Y4B2, Canada
Opening hours: 9am-5pm; Sun: 10am-3pm; Closed: Wed, Thu
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Good Friday - Christian
Useful tips: Donations requested.