The Bruce Peninsula
Located on a peninsula of land, 2.5 hours north west of the city of Toronto, is the Beautiful Bruce Peninsula.
The "Bruce" is classified as "almost and island" being that it has water on 3 sides. The mighty cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment line the shores of Georgian Bay, emerging from Colpoys Bay in Wiarton in the south to Fathom Five National Marine Park in Tobermory to the north. The other side of the peninsula has gentle shorelines easing into the warmer waters of Lake Huron, starting from the golden sandy beaches around Sauble Beach, and ending also in the deep waters of Fathom Five in Tobermory.
The escarpment of the Bruce Peninsula was formed over 5000 years ago, glaciers creating the rugged formations such as the "flower pots" unique to the region. The limestone cliffs on the peninsula plunge sometimes hundreds of feet deep into the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay, where shipwrecks from days long ago can be found by curious divers. Some of these shipwrecks are preserved by Parks Canada in the Fathom Five National Marine Park, located in Tobermory, the first marine park in Canada. 22 historic shipwrecks, along with 20 islands, rare ferns and orchids also reside in the national park, making it a haven for naturalists and explorers of all ages. The unique geological formations of Flowerpot Island and the coastal cliffs are features that attract visitors from around the world.
Tobermory, a small port town located at the tip of the peninsula, is the heart of the area - providing a starting point for both the exploration of Fathom Five National Marine Park, and the Bruce Peninsula National Park. The twin harbours - locally know as "Big Tub" and "Little Tub" provide visitors with dining, shopping and accommodations as well as a safe harbour for boaters. There is a National Park interpretation centre located in Tobermory, where visitors can learn the history and nature of the area. The Bruce Peninsula National Park, with a size of 155 square km, consists out of limestone cliffs, caves and underground streams, and ancient forests with some of the oldest trees in Canada. The famous Bruce Trail ends in Tobermory - or as we say - it starts in Tobermory - where it winds its way down the escarpment side of the peninsula to it's eventual end in Niagara Falls.
In the centre of the peninsula is the Georgian Bay shoreline village of Lion's Head. Lion's Head provides a perfect spot for anglers, hikers, boaters and sailors. There is a full service marina with transient docks for visitors, a boat launch and many hotels, B&B's and cottages for rent for those who wish to stay and experience Lion's Head's hospitality. There are several artist galleries in the area, as well as an artist co-op in the village for visitors looking for original local art. Some of the most spectacular hiking on the Bruce Trail can be found around Lion's Head. Lion's Head is a hidden jewel on the peninsula, where travellers can escape the hustle bustle of the typical tourist town, and relax and enjoy all that nature can offer.
Opposite Lion's Head, located on Lake Huron are some small unique towns which offer visitors quiet laid back tranquility. Stokes Bay, Miles Bay, Pikes Bay, Red Bay & Oliphant offer travellers unique home style bed and breakfasts, waterfront motels, small family rental cottages and restaurants. There experiences line the shores of Lake Huron all the way down to the golden sands of Sauble Beach. Here - the tranquility ends! Sauble is a true beach town, with 11 km's of golden sand beach, beach bars, amusement parks, shopping at trendy beach-ware shops and even a raceway! It is a place for families, friends, uncles & aunts. Children love the shallow waters and the perfect "sandcastle creating" sand. Blue Flag Certified - Sauble Beach is awarded Blue Flag certification.
Back to the Georgian Bay side of the Peninsula - below Lion's Head - there are some small bays, coves and inlets the that are home to tiny villages - like Jackson's Cove and Hope Bay. Hope Bay offers visitors the experience of the towering cliffs of the escarpment, the winding rugged hiking of the Bruce Trail, the clear waters of Georgian Bay with the chilled relaxing laid back feel of the peninsula. Here you will find cottage rentals, a campground and a stately bed and breakfast.
Further south, nestled against the towering bluffs of the Niagara Escarpment, Wiarton is a thriving four seasons community. Its most famous resident, Wiarton Willie, fuels Wiarton’s international recognition, as part of the Wiarton Willie Festival, which can run as long as 5 days, Wiarton Willie hosts national and often international media for his Groundhog Day prediction.
The Wiarton area is surrounded by nature. Georgian Bay provides visitors with endless water experiences, and the surrounding parks & conservation areas means there are endless options for hiking and nature gazing. The area is renown for it's wildflowers & orchids, and there are some fantastic gardens in the area to visit. The famous Bruce Trail runs through the waterfront of Wiarton - following it north from Bluewater Park - you can take a lovely hike to Spirit Rock Conservation Area. There is a mountain bike park located 10 minutes north of Wiarton - it is a great place to spend the day! In winter - the village is alive with snowmobilers - who come to this area to experience the great snowmobile trails that run north and south of Wiarton. There are some excellent ski trails near by - some groomed or choose to ski or snowshoe on the Bruce Trail.
From Wiarton to Tobermory, Lake Huron to Georgian Bay - the Bruce Peninsula is truly a wondrous place to experience.
It is a place to experience the water : sea kayak the Bruce Peninsula National Park and explore the caves burrowed into the escarpment by mother nature, canoe the Ranking River or the Sauble River, fish for prize winning salmon or lake trout, dive the deep waters of Fathom Five Marine Park and explore the wrecks of ships from a forgotten age.
It is a place to experience nature: view one of 44 varieties of orchids located on the Bruce, look upon some ancient cedars that cling to the rugged cliffs of the escarpment - some over 1000 years old!, Hike the Bruce Trail - some of the most spectacular scenery of the trail exists within the Bruce Peninsula, visit Flower Pot Island and see the famous formations created 1000's of years ago, star gaze our dark skies - the view from here is like no other in Southern Ontario
It is a place to experience culture: visit one of many local art galleries where artists put on paper, glass and fabric the beauty that surrounds them on the Bruce, visit St. Edwards Township Museum which dates back to 1898 and houses land deeds and registers, together with many photographs following the history of the people in this area, take in the Visitors Centre of the Bruce Peninsula National Park.
It is a place to experience life: the peninsula is home to yearly bird migrations, a small thriving community of black bears, racoons, beavers, minks & weasels, visit the "deer yard" in Johnson's harbour where the deer winter, there are many varieties of native plants, orchids and rare ferns, ancient trees - Life abounds in the Bruce Peninsula.