Manitoulin Island is a big place – the biggest freshwater island in the world, to be exact. There’s so much to do here, but we’ve narrowed the extensive list to a top five. What’s great is that many of these activities mean exploring more of the Island and seeing all its amazing angles!
The Great Spirit Circle Trail
One of the best experiences you can have on Manitoulin Island is a Great Spirit Circle Trail tour. On these nature-based tours – hosted by Aboriginal people from the area – you’ll learn more about the heritage and culture of Manitoulin Island. Each tour has a carefully-planned itinerary that offers a true reflection of the history and culture of the region and the Anishnawbek: the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi peoples.
Depending on your booking, you could experience authentic Indigenous foods, participate in Anishnawbek cultural and spiritual traditions, and get an in-depth tour of the nature and history of the Island. You may never see this destination the same way ever again!
Swim Underneath Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Falls is one of the high points for many tourists – figuratively and literally! Approximately 11 metres (35 feet) high, this beautiful landmark starts as the Kagawong River, which flows between Lake Kagawong and Lake Huron. A staircase and walking trail lead you to the beautiful, cascading falls. From there, you can for a dip, enjoy a picnic by the water, or follow the route down to the bay. At the mouth of the Kagawong River is a small village with art galleries and a museum – the perfect way to cap off your adventure.
Take A Lighthouse Tour
Lighthouses are some of the coolest hidden treasures on Manitoulin Island, and there are 10 of them scattered around the coast. Make sure to see them all, starting while on the ferry from mainland Tobermory to South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island; from here, you can spot the tall, century-old Cove Island Lighthouse. One of the Manitoulin Island lighthouses that are most easily accessed lighthouse is Janet Head Lighthouse in Gore Bay.
Make sure to see the Mississagi Lighthouse. Dated back to 1879, this is the oldest lighthouse on the Island, and it hosts an on-site museum open during the summer showing visitors how a lighthouse keeper and his family would have lived.
Experience The Wonders Of The Dark Sky Preserve, Gordon’s Eco Park
So far, the things we’ve shared are best done during the day – but Manitoulin Island is full of wonders at night, too! Far from any large urban area, there is little light pollution on the Island, but nowhere gets as dark as Gordon’s Eco Park. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada gave this park the coveted Dark Sky Preserve designation, and once you see it, you’ll understand why it’s so special. The park hosts Astronomy Nights where no white light is allowed after sunset, allowing visitors to see the night sky in a whole new (lack of) light!
Taste The Flavours Of Manitoulin Island
While you’re here taking in new experiences, why not sit down for a meal that fits right in with the day you had? The environment and culture of Manitoulin Island impart a unique terroir (the character of local food), and the food you eat should reflect that. From local favourite hawberries to fresh fish and game, there’s no reason to go for the burgers-and-fries kind of fare!
It’s what we strive to do at the Garden’s Gate, and though this local institution is under new management, we’re committed to what makes Manitoulin Island so special!