This picture story was submitted by Maria Matusik from Toronto, Ontario.
Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island and is located in northeastern Ontario on Lake Huron. The island has over 100 lakes itself.
The current name of the island is the English version of the historic Odawa name Manidoowaaling, which means “cave of the spirit”. It was named for an underwater cave where a powerful spirit was said to live.
There are two main ways to get to Manitoulin Island from the mainland. The first is by driving across Little Current Swing Bridge along Hwy 6 coming from Sudbury. The second way to get to the Island is via the MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry that runs from Tobermory to South Baymouth.
Our first day trip to Manitoulin Island was in the summer of 2012 during a few days vacation in Tobermory. In the early morning we drove to the ferry to take the Chi-Cheemaun to the island.
The cruise takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. When we arrived in South Baymouth we went to Pierside Restaurant for breakfast. We had a very tasty bacon, vegetable, and scrambled eggs sandwich with a jam made from local fruits, which tasted amazing! In the gift store near the restaurant we bought some of the jams to take home.
After that delicious meal we took a road trip to discover the more of the island. Our first stop was at the Cup and Saucer Nature Reserve Hiking Trail.
It offers 12km of hiking trails, a 2km adventure trail and numerous beautiful panoramic views from atop 70-metre cliffs. The Cup and Saucer is the highest point of Manitoulin Island. Along the trails we had a lot of fun hiking and admiring the beautiful landscape.
We next stopped in the small town of Kagawong to see the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls. The falls are approximately 11 metres high formatted by the Kagawong River. You can swim or splash around in the fall’s natural basin but the rocks at the bottom of it are sharp and slippery. So be sure to bring your water shoes!
Then we stopped in Gore Bay, a beautiful quiet town of about 900 residents, which is nicely located on the north shore of the island. The restaurant we went to for dinner was right on the harbourfront. It was beautifully decorated, and we enjoyed the view of bay of Lake Huron from the restaurant windows.
Returning from Gore Bay we stopped at the beautiful sandy beach at Providence Bay. We had an amazing time relaxing there after our long hikes and great food.
Finally drove to South Baymouth to catch the ferry to return to Tobermory. When we reached our destination, there was quite a long line of cars waiting to board the ferry.
The MS Chi-Cheemaun is the third largest passenger and car vessel on the Great Lakes. It has capacity for 648 passengers and 143 vehicles, including room for large vehicles such as buses and transport trucks. It replaced MS Norgoma and SS Norisle in 1974. The name Chi-Cheemaun means “big canoe” in Ojibwa.
It was a beautiful trip to Manitoulin Island. It is full of adventures and rich in history and culture. We had a wonderful time enjoying the natural beauty, wonderful views, and lots of fun on the trail where we met and talked to other hikers. The view from the top of Cup and Saucer was breathtaking. A spot to remember!
We enjoyed it so much we went back again in summer 2015 to discover even more new places!