Manitoulin Island Activities
There are two types of activities to enjoy from our Manitoulin Cottages. First, are activities on the property. Second, are activities on the island in general. This is a very outdoor oriented area – there are a few very good restaurants, some art galleries, and antique shops to poke around in, but the majority of ‘stuff to do’ involves either, relaxing onsite, some sort of physical activity or driving somewhere to look at something. If you are hoping for a metropolitan experience this isn’t the place. To put things in perspective, the islands deer population outnumbers the human population by at least 3 to 1.
Summer is high tourist season, but any time of year has something to offer. The tourist season slows down when the ferry stops its service for the year; therefore, some activities stop or slow down.
If you are traveling from or through Southern Ontario take advantage of your trip to the island. The Bruce Peninsula, North Bruce Peninsula is a fantastic area with plenty to see and do. See how many of the Top 40 list of activities for Bruce County you can complete.
If you are driving around (there is a bridge at the north east end of the Island that connects it to the mainland) and not taking the ferry across to the island then you can also check out these attractions. There is Science North, the giant nickel and plenty of other things to do, all explained at the Greater Sudbury District web site.
We suggest that you pick up a local copy of the Manitoulin Expositor when you arrive on the island or look at the Coming Events section of their online site for events both big and small.
Just down the street (in country terms anyway – about a 5 minute car ride) is Perivale Gallery.For a more complete list of places to go click here
Turn off the lights at the property and you’ll notice that there isn’t much light pollution. The property/island is a great place to observe the night sky. There is a book onsite called “Night Watch” that will point out the constellations and many interesting facts about the night sky. There is also “The Great Manitou Star Party” on the island every year.
This website has some information about ATVing on the island:
http://www.mudhole.ca/viewtopic.php?p=74227. Note: On the Mudhole page linked to the information from Bronco82 seems decent, the part about “It is a Schedule B highway” and driving on the roads is something to look in to further but they include the link to the government regulations. Weedman3 is wrong, there is zero to very limited crown land (I don’t know of any). If you rent my 3 bedroom White Pine Vista Cottage you could go in the open field that I own to the east of that cottage. There is about 20 acres of open field. However, there are a few fissures so ensure you check the field out first. John, who is a neighbour and helps me manage the property owns an ATV and could give you more details in general about driving on my property and he stated that if you have a valid driver’s license you can go on the roads if you follow the proper laws.
Further information I’ve been given from island residents: “There are no ATV trails on the island. ATV’s are not allowed on the snowmobile trails.
Atv’s are allowed on the sides of the roads here, as long as the driver has valid insurance and a valid driver’s license. All land on the island is private property.”
The further west on the island that you go the less cars/people you tend to see into even on the roadway.
There is a net, racquets and birdies on site.
If you are coming here specifically for biking then you’ll need to bring your own bike. With the low traffic volume and gorgeous scenery the island is a great place to cycle. A number of bike clubs across Ontario have annual trips here for the reasons mentioned above.
With many different varieties there is always plenty to see. For recent sightings check out the Manitoulin Island, Recent Birding Reports
On route to Manitoulin Island, if you are taking the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry there are a number of activities on your way to or from the ferry. You need to plan your ferry crossing time appropriately or stay overnight in Tobermory or a near by town. Here are some activities that may be of interest on the Bruce Peninsula:
Flower Pot Island: You need to book a boat which departs from Tobermory.
There is a basic 15.5′ Coleman on site (one canoe at each cottage is included in the cost of your rental). This is a tough, but fairly heavy canoe. It comes with two paddles and two adult size life jackets. You can also rent kayaks.
Ski on over 55 acres of property, or travel on some of the ski club trails.
Honara Bay – 60-member, family-oriented club has 10 km of trails ($5 trail fee) and Jackrabbit program.
The cottage is on the shore of Kagawong Lake. Lake Kagawong is best known for small mouth bass and perch. Many pike, and the odd catfish or pickerel can also be caught in the lake. A short drive away you can be at Lake Huron, The North Channel/North Shore, or a little further to Georgian Bay. The cottages proximity to so many bodies of diverse water acts as a great central location for catching brook trout, coho salmon, chinook salmon, lake trout, muskie, perch, pickerel, pike, small mouth bass, large mouth bass, splake, rainbow trout, whitefish and smelt.
For detailed information on Ice Fishing – Manitoulin Island.
Ministry of Natural Resources – Fish Ontario can provide full details on Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary. The Ministry is constantly changing around their web links and zone names so I’ll apologize upfront if any of the links are broken. Here was the link to the MNR regs for Lake Kagawong:
The cottage is located in “Fisheries Management Zone 10”; however, Manitoulin Island itself is located in “Fisheries Management Zones 13 & 14”. You can easily drive to zone 13 (Lake Huron) & zone 14 (North Channel/North Shore/Georgian Bay) from the cottage.
Fish Consumption – Introduction, to find out how many fish the Ministry considers safe to eat over what period of time go to this link – and seach on “Kagawong Lake” – it was in the top left of page 147 the last time we checked in 2008 but it keeps moving.
There are a number of places that rent boats. For a 15 HP, 16′ boat your cost is likely to be over $50.00/day +taxes during the summer. If you need a boat let me know and I can direct you to the people on the lake who rent them (one place is as close as 5 minutes away).
At last check (March 9, 2005) there were 42 geocaches located within 80 km of the cottage. A lot are within a 30 minute drive and on some great hiking trails. See http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx?zip=P0P+2B0&dist=50 for details.
A Geocache is a hike with a GPS to find a “treasure chest” of items left behind by other geocache people. The cache could contain anything but normally includes things like key chains, or small knick knacks. The fun is definitely more with located the hidden treasure, more so than the items involved. The idea is that you leave a small item (usually of low worth) and take one. Some people leave disposable cameras and ask that you take a picture of your Geocache team and move the camera to another Geocache location – they ask the last person to mail them back the camera COD. All kinds of interesting things are done. To take part in a Geocache you need a GPS of some sort as you start off the geocache knowing just GPS (longitude and latitude co-ordinates and usually a rough area (such as a park, or hiking trail) to search. For more details click here
There are three courses, plus a fourth in nearby Espanola.
Made ‘famous’ by the Arrogant Worms’ song “Mounted Animal Nature Trail”, and with so much to see and do, Gordon’s Park deserves to be mentioned. We’ll let their web site explain who and what they are.
Gore Bay (town of)
The world’s largest fresh water island, with the Niagara Escarpment running through it. The most popular hike is The Cup and Saucer, but there are plenty of hiking trails with stunning views. Here is an article about Manitoulin hiking trails from Hike Ontario Magazine.
The deer, grouse and rabbits are plentiful in the area and on the property. To hunt on the property you need a signed authorization from the owner. If you wish to hunt you have to let me know so that you can get the proper signed form on checking in.
Ministry of Natural Resources Publications Web Site can provide full details on regulations for hunting.
More details on rabbit, grouse and deer hunting
The gun hunt week starts the 3rd Monday of November and goes to the following Sunday but hunters should check with the MNR regulations to verify, in case there have been changes. The bow season begins the first Saturday in October and continues to the Friday before the gun hunt. Early in December, there is now a three-day black powder season, combined with an extended archery hunt. The deer on the island have no natural predator and without the hunting season the deer population would get out of control. In fact according to Animal Planet deer are the most dangerous animal in North America to humans because of traffic accidents. The property is located within the Ministry of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Unit #43. If you look at previous MNR reports you will find that WMU 43 is one of the best deer hunting locations in Ontario and likely North America.
Moose are rare on the island and there is no hunting season for moose here.
The hunting season is generally end of September to mid December 15th. See MNR link below. The most popular bird on the property is the Ruffed Grouse.
For all other animals, and to verify that the information above is correct please see the MNR website.
Honora Bay Riding Stable in Little Current offers various types of activities.
We have 2 kayaks available for rent on a first come/first served basis. $25.00 per day or $70 for one kayak for the week or $100/week for both kayaks (HST tax to be added on top of all amounts listed). You may pay for them when you reserve the cottage, or rent them with cash, from John & Rolanda – the property managers, if the kayaks are still available, when you are at the cottage. With the $100/week for both kayaks they often rent in advance.
Kayaks must be returned after rental. You must be capable of controlling the kayak and wear a lifejacket at all times. Kayak must be kept within sight of cottage when not in use, you are financially responsible for the kayaks during your rental period (if you rent them). You must pull the kayak away from the shoreline when you are not in the immediate vacinity (we don’t want them to float off if larger waves come along). For a larger rental selection check out the local outfitter (3rd Party Store): http://www.paddlemanitoulin.ca/
Gordon’s Park has an 18 hole mini putt with a natural theme.
There are numerous varieties of animals, birds, insects, right on the property. There are a number of books onsite about the local wildlife. Common animals that you will come across while driving on the island are White Tailed Deer, Fox, Rabbits, Mink, Fishers, Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, Wild Turkeys, Osprey, Loons, Ducks, Merlins, Hawks, Pheasants, Cormorants, Herons, Turkey Vultures, Woodpeckers, Grouse. The property has various species of plants, and insects (too many to list here).
There are open areas and trails on the property for the responsible use of ATVs etc,.
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With many First Nations and Canada’s only Unceded Indian Reservation there are numerous powwows throughout the summer to enjoy.
For the Manitoulin Island and Sagamok Region
Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation
Traditional Pow wow typically early June
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
Traditional Pow Wow typically end of June
Sheshegwaning First Nation
Traditional Pow Wow typically end of June
Sheguiandah First Nation
16th Annual Traditional Pow Wow – typically early July
21st Annual Traditional Pow Wow – typically mid July
Zhiibaahaasing First Nation
Traditional Pow Wow – Typically mid-July
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
45th Annual Cultural Festival and Pow Wow – typically end of July early August
Whitefish River First Nation
12th Annual Traditional Pow Wow – typically mid-August
M’Chigeeng First Nation
18th Annual Traditional Pow Wow – typically early September
The above gives you an idea of how many pow wows there are and the approximate weekends to look for them. The best site to get current dates for the pow wows is The Great Spirit Circle Trail pow wow schedule. That link is specific to 2012 so go to the http://www.circletrail.com and search for the current years schedule.
See our Manitoulin Island Restaurants blog posting.
The north channel is considered by many experts to be have the 3rd best sailing conditions in the world. There are many marinas. There are a few places to rent sail boats.
On your way to or from the cottage you can stop and dive at Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario’s only underwater park. It is one of Canada’s best dive locations. The Bruce Peninsula in general offers a lot to offer divers between ship wrecks, under water forests, and other adventures. You can also SCUBA Dive in Lake Kagawong. The water is fairly warm in the summer, visibility is quite decent for an Ontario dive.
The island has a number of hikes that are great for Sightseeing. There are the First Nations and Unceded Indian Reserves. You can also check out some of the first non native settled towns on the island, the main ones are Little Current, Gore Bay, Kagawong, Mindemoya, Providence Bay.
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There are over 500 Km of well marked, well groomed trails on the island.
For more details sledding on Manitoulin Island.
There is a volleyball net and balls on site. The net can be set up on site or taken to an area such as Providence Bay to play on the very large sandy beach there.
There is a large private dock and a small bouy/tie off a short canoe paddle in front of the dock. The dock tends to go in to the water mid-May and come out of the water mid-September. If the dock is very important to you please ask us about the status of the dock before booking if you are coming before mid-May or after mid-September.
Rainbow Country Winter Tourist Guide, plus activities right at the cottage (or close by), such as Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, Ice Fishing, Horseback Riding, Nature Study, Satellite TV, DVDs, XBOX.