Manitoulin Island is located in Ontario. The name comes from the Ojibwe language of the Anishinaabe people, and it means ‘spirit island.’ For many people, Manitoulin Island is a spiritual place to admire raw nature and appreciate the area’s culture.
Manitoulin Island, Ontario, has a lot to offer. So, let’s begin with a few facts about Manitoulin Island and what it offers.
1. Facts to Know about Manitoulin Island
Knowing a few things about Manitoulin Island helps get a clearer picture of why it’s a favorite attraction for tourists.
1.1 The largest island of Freshwater in the World
Manitoulin Island is located in Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada, and covers an area of 2,766 km². The island has a unique geography, with rocky cliffs, forests, and sandy beaches. It is also home to many species of plants and animals, including black bears, wolves, and bald eagles.
1.2 The Prehistoric Site of Sheguiandah
The Sheguiandah site is one of the most important archaeological sites in Canada. The site contains evidence of human habitation dating back to the end of the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago. The artifacts found at the site include stone tools, pottery, and animal bones, which provide valuable insights into the lives of the island’s earliest inhabitants.
1.3 108 Freshwater Lakes
The island’s lakes are popular for fishing, swimming, and boating. Lake Manitou is the largest lake on the island and is a popular spot for recreational activities. The island’s lakes are also important for the local ecosystem, providing habitats for a variety of fish and other aquatic species.
1.4 The Little Current Swing Bridge
The Little Current Swing Bridge is an important transportation link for the island. The bridge was built in 1913 and spans the North Channel of Lake Huron. It is a vital connection for the island’s residents and visitors, as it is the only way to get on and off the island by car.
1.5 Historical Lighthouses
The Strawberry Island Lighthouse is one of several historic lighthouses on the island. The lighthouse was built in 1881 and is located on a small island just off the coast of Manitoulin. It played an important role in guiding ships safely through the waters around the island and is now a popular tourist attraction.
2. 8 Things to do on Manitoulin Island
As mentioned, this easily accessible island has many things to offer tourists. Here are eight things you can do on Manitoulin Island.
2.1 Visit Lake Huron
Lake Huron is the fifth-largest freshwater lake in the world. It is home to over 30000 islands, with Manitoulin Island being the largest. There have been around 1000 shipwrecks on this lake, and many are preserved as artifacts.
According to a legend, ‘Mishebeshu‘ (great lynx) has an underwater cave near the Serpent river that flows into Lake Huron. The Benjamin Islands is a place for boaters to enjoy because of the pink granite rocks and their beauty.
2.2 Check out Blue Jay Creek
Blue Jay Creek has some of the island’s largest raised beach and swale systems. The Provincial Park contains a mixture of cedar, pine, and spruce, along with the wetlands containing black spruce, black ash swamp forest, cedar, open and tree bogs, riparian marshes, and treed fens. The park offers hunting, fishing, exploration, canoeing, and nature appreciation facilities.
2.3 Visit the Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay is near the Main Channel, which leads to Lake Huron. The principal rivers in this bay are the French, the Muskoka, the Severn, and the Magnetawan.
The area has a natural environment for hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, canoeing, biking, and some of the best fishing in Canada. It also has a friendly resort for tourists.
2.4 Explore the Treasure Island
Lake Mindemoya, also known as Treasure Island, is full of perch, walleye, bass, and whitefish. It has a startling turquoise hue which makes it stand out.
Mindemoya is the third-largest lake on this island and has swimmer-friendly temperatures. ‘Mindemoya‘ is Ojibwe for ‘old woman.’
2.5 Enjoy the Haweater Festival
If you’re visiting Manitoulin Island in August, you must watch the Haweater Festival weekend! This festival is packed with vendors, inflatables for kids, barbeques, live entertainment, the annual Haweater Car show, a horse show, a beach volleyball tournament, a mixed slow-pitch tournament, the Miss Manitoulin Island pageant, cardboard boat races, fireworks, and the Haweater Parade.
There are also multiple dances, including a teen dance, a 19+ Hawfest dance, and a street dance. Be on the lookout for a fantastic fireworks display at the end of the day!
2.6 Enjoy the Manitowaning Fall Fair
The town of Manitowaning has a lot of traditions, and the Manitowaning Fall Fair is one of them. It takes place during the second week of September.
It includes vendors, exhibits, live entertainment, a pancake breakfast, a parade, a bake sale, barbeques, livestock judging, horse pulls, horse shows, kids’ activities, and wagon rides.
2.7 Check Out the Gore Bay Harbour Days
The Gore Bay Harbour Days are held on the 4th weekend in July.
This weekend includes many outdoor adventure activities like the farmers market, an outdoor movie, a pancake breakfast, a summer water sports traveling show, the Gore Bay Summer Theatre, a classic car show, a fish fry, a licensed dance, and a cardboard boat regatta.
2.8 Adore the Cup and Saucer Trail
Amongst the many hiking trails on Manitoulin Island, the most famous one is the Cup and Saucer Trail after great spirit circle trail. It is over 12km long and has a 2km adventure trail with ladders and rock scrambling. It has some steep climbs, a lot of scrambling, and some big climbs, but it is worth it.
If you want to check out another island Canada offers, feel free to check out this article
Manitoulin Island has a lot of spots to offer. It may not be easy to trace your way through them, so you should reach out to North Channel Tours. North Channel Tours is a small business that offers lunch, dinner, and sunset cruises on the east side of Manitoulin Island.
Manitoulin Island is popular for many reasons and has more than 100 inland lakes, some of them with their islands. This island is full of history, culture, and traditions that are helpful to its islanders’ highest level of respect.
Manitoulin Island is a great sport for tourists, and you won’t be disappointed when you visit. Even if you get the most out of a few lighthouses, the Haweater festival, and a few fairs, you will have a great time on Manitoulin Island!
Frequently Asked Question
1. What is the best time to visit Manitoulin Island?
A: The best time to visit Manitoulin Island is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather during this time is warm and sunny, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and boating.
However, it’s important to note that this is also the peak tourist season, so be prepared for crowds and higher prices.
2. What are some must-see attractions on Manitoulin Island?
A: Manitoulin Island is full of natural and cultural attractions that are worth checking out. Some of the must-see attractions include the Cup and Saucer Trail, which offers stunning views of the island from its highest point; the Manitoulin Island Country Fest, a popular music festival held on its own islands; and the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, which celebrates the island’s indigenous culture and history.
3. What outdoor activities are available on Manitoulin Island?
A: Manitoulin Island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, and cycling. The island is also home to several golf courses and scenic driving routes, making it easy to explore the island at your own pace.
4. What are some local foods to try on Manitoulin Island?
A: Manitoulin Island is known for its fresh and delicious seafood south shore and providence bay, including lake trout, whitefish, and perch. Visitors should also try the island’s famous fudge, which is made using traditional methods and comes in a variety of flavors.
Other local specialties from the beautiful Manitoulin island and Northern Ontario include wild blueberries, maple syrup, and locally grown produce like strawberries and apples.