The Flora of the Bruce Peninsula: Tobermory’s Orchid and Wildflower Festival

Home to two national parks, stunning scenery, and the heart of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, the Bruce Peninsula is a naturalists’ spring paradise! Old-growth cedars sprout from wild cliff faces and a diverse collection of wildflowers call this wilderness area home.

To celebrate the Peninsula’s biological diversity, the town of Tobermory hosts the annual Orchid and Wildflower Festival on June 3rd and 4th, 2016. The festival includes naturalist guided hikes, boat tours to Flowerpot Island, photography, phoneography, watercolour and basket making workshops, and a wine and cheese gala with keynote speaker. For more details, a complete schedule of events, and costs, visit: Space is limited; register well in advance by email:

On Thursday June 2nd, make your way to Tobermory and check in at the Blue Bay Motel (32 Bay Street, 519-596-2392) or Ancient Coast B & B (63 Grant Watson Drive, 519-375-6315). For dinner, visit Crowsnest Pub & Restaurant (5 Bay Street, 519-596-2575) and sit on the fantastic patio overlooking Little Tub Harbour.

On Friday, enjoy a healthy, hearty, locally-sourced breakfast at Ancient Cedars Café (7178 Highway 6, 519-596-8626) before you head to the Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Centre (just off Highway 6 on Chi-Sintib'dek Road) to pick up a schedule of events, ask questions, and meet your guides. Join the 1pm boat trip to Flowerpot Island where you can hike in search of the coveted Calypso Orchid. After a of hiking and orchid hunting, treat your taste buds to a gourmet feast and a Bruce Trail Blonde Ale at Tobermory Brewing Company (28 Bay Street, 519-596-8181).

On Saturday, don’t miss “phoneography” with Laurence Ackland, a professional photographer from Toronto. Spend the morning capturing images and the afternoon learning to turn them into works of art. Spend the evening at the Festival’s Wine and Cheese Gala.

On your way home on Sunday, don’t miss Earthbound Gardens (14 Hea Road, Red Bay, 519-534-2483). Free tours of their butterfly gardens, ponds, and more are offered to all festival participants. The on-site nursery houses a large selections of hardy perennials, shrubs and vines, herbs, fruit plants, and an incredible selection of lilies for sale.

Of course, the Orchid and Wildflower Festival isn’t this only time to visit - Bruce County showcases wild and cultivated flora year round. Rural gardens can be found throughout the countryside and many are open to visitors. For a complete list of Bruce County’s rural gardens visit

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