It hurts as much to type this as it does to realize it: summer 2018 is slowly drawing to a close.
But don’t start that pumpkin spiced latte countdown just yet – there’s still plenty of time and sunshine left to sneak in a season-defining road trip.
And we have just the destination: Manitoulin Island.
The largest freshwater lake island in the world, Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron can be reached via ferry from Tobermory in about six hours from Toronto. Contrary to logic, we suggest making that journey a little longer, as there’s plenty to see along the way.
You can also take a less exciting route through Sudbury and access the island via Highway 6 over a bridge.
Here’s what awaits once you reach Manitoulin Island…
Bridal Veil Falls
Look, we know how important it is to ‘gram your weekend away from the city, so we’ll start with the best photo op. Bridal Veil Falls could be mistaken for a place in the tropics, with the crystal clear water of the Kagawong River collecting in an all-natural bathtub 35 metres below the crest.
Bonus: the nearby fish and chip stand.
Not only the title of a famous novel, but also the largest island in the world in a lake on an island in a lake. Very meta. There’s a pretty fantastic story about the origins of the island’s original name, Mindemoya, which means “old lady’s bottom.” Its unmistakable shape as such gives it a distinguished shape over Lake Mindemoya’s horizon.
Cup and Saucer Hiking Trail
Quite possibly Ontario’s most diverse trek, the Cup and Saucer Hiking Trail really has it all: wooden ladders, caves, deep woods, the aforementioned waterfall, and one hell of a lookout. And you know how much we love lookouts.
Touted as the best freshwater fishing location in the world, there’s no shortage of catches to be had. Salmon, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, and speckled trout are just some of your dinner options. And you don’t just have to sit around in a boat all day, either – river fishing’s just as plentiful.
Misery Bay Provincial Park
Don’t let the name fool you: this beauty of a park is anything but miserable. Misery Bay Provincial Park boasts Caribbean-coloured water surrounded by ancient flat rock arrangements that are part of a unique biological environment called an Alvar. Wildflowers liven up the otherwise barren shoreline during summer months and the unique rock formations make for great Instagram material.
Great Spirit Circle Trail
A trip to Manitoulin Island wouldn’t be complete without immersing yourself in the Aboriginal heritage of the area. Book a tour with locals who will guide you along ancient canoe routes and share the abundant beauty of Manitoulin from their perspective.
This serene gallery overlooking Lake Kagawong houses a wonderfully curated selection of works by artists who resided in or were inspired by the area. Not to be outdone by the artwork inside, the sprawling outdoor garden offers the perfect setting to unwind.
Manitoulin Island is home to seven lighthouses, each with their own charm. Scattered across all corners of the island, making a stop at each one is sure to invite a host of treasures along the way.
With files from Lloyd Braun