Visiting the Bruce Peninsula

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When he lived in Toronto, my brother did extensive camping and hiking through Ontario.  Now he lives in Canberra, Australia and is surrounded by some amazing scenery and gets to nature reserves and explores the natural surroundings of his new home as much as he did the old one.  During his visit back to Ontario this summer I was determined to show him a part of the Greenbelt that would top all of that and be like nothing else he’d seen on either side of the globe.  Up for the challenge was Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula!

Around this office we look at maps of the Greenbelt all the time, and that jagged strip of the Niagara escarpment going all the way up to Tobermory has been calling out to me for some time now.  Not to mention whenever we have spectacular scenery pictures with rocks and water and people ask “Wow, where’s that from?”  and the answer is almost always “Tobermory!”

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 When you visit the Bruce Peninsula you do see a part of Ontario that is quite unlike anywhere else.  You can see the escarpment come up and go under the water and you can see water that you’d swear should be in the tropics rather than Georgian Bay.  A few highlights from our trip incuded seeing Indian Head Cove and The Grotto which are within the Bruce Peninsula National Park.  The amazing symmetry of limestone cliffs and caves with stunning water is quite a sight and an even better swim.  The walk to get there is actually part of the Bruce Trail, the 800km plus hiking trail that follows the Niagara escarpment from end to end.

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 Another favourite spot was Singing Sands beach on Lake Huron where you can walk out about a kilometer on the rippling sandy beach and still be only waist deep. The water on this side of the peninsula is much warmer than the Georgian Bay side.  In addition to swimming we took some canoe rides on Cameron Lake and Cyprus Lake, we saw some turtles on the way but missed the bear that other canoers saw going the opposite direction.  We took a bigger boat ride out to the Fathom Five National Marine Park, Canada’s first underwater park where we saw the Flower Pot of Flower Pot Island.  If you go to Flower Pot Island at the right time of year, you can see an amazing display of wild flowers and several types of orchids growing.  

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The area is much more than rocks and water, the Bruce Penisula is just covered in trees, including some ancient forests which are home to some of the oldest trees in Canada. If you’re in the area, and I suggest you make your way there, don’t miss the National Park Visitors Centre as well - lots of great advice and information and a walk up look out if you’re not too afraid of heights.

 Enjoy the Greenbelt from top to bottom!

-- Elissa Hermolin

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