Bruce Peninsula: Photo Essay
I recently took my first road trip of the season and decided to head up the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory for a few days. So often we fantasize of stunning cities like Venice and Paris or natural wonders like Iceland’s waterfalls and the Great Rift Valley, and we forget that there are so many amazing places to explore much closer to home. Which is why I decided to explore some of Ontario‘s natural wonders this summer. The Bruce Peninsula, located between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, approximately 300 kilometres north-east of Toronto, is home to an abundance of Ontario’s natural wonders.
So, I decided to put together a photo essay to show you a hint of the breathtaking beauty you’ll find on the Bruce Peninsula.
On our way up to Tobermory we stopped at various viewpoints and trails – of which there are many. One of my favourite hikes on the Bruce Peninsula was through Lion’s Head Provincial Nature Reserve. The area is overly picturesque and hiking the Bruce Trail through the Reserve offers a variety of habitats, from dense forest to meadows and so many lookout points. Also in the Reserve are potholes of which were created by water during the last ice age. But it was certainly the breathtaking lookouts that stole my heart. Weaving through dense forested trails, over rocky terrain and suddenly there on the limestone cliffs of Georgian Bay I was speechless and in awe. To me it was Ontario at its pure finest.
At the northern most tip of the Bruce Peninsula is Tobermory. Tobermory is this adorable little village that oozes charm. From its two harbours, Big Tub and Little Tub, with their endearing names, to the mix of eclectic shops and places to eat, all of which are local (you won’t find chain stores here!), you can’t helped but smile. Even the people were lovely, from the shop owner who gave us the low down on where to eat to our waitress at our favourite pub who was sweet and funny. It’s places like these that draw us in and make us feel right at home. It’s no wonder why people visit Tobermory again and again.
Flowerpot Island is known for its natural rock sea stacks, made from wind and water, and are affectionately called flowerpots. The Island is located a short boat ride from Tobermory and a must see. I loved approaching by boat and seeing its awesome flowerpots from the water. But I was so glad we decided to get off and explore the island for half the day. We hiked the trail through the forest, past plenty of garter snakes and to the tune of many a song birds. Then we hiked the trail that takes you along the island’s coast to the impressive flowerpots. It was so nice and peaceful to explore the island, not just the flowerpots where most of the visitors stayed, as it’s not inhabited and only offers a select few camp grounds. One of the highlights of out time on Flowerpot Island was catching sight of a bald eagle, who call the island home, flying just over the largest flowerpot.
This over 150 square kilometre National Park is home to a wide array of habitats, from meadows to wetlands and lakes to rock beaches. Bruce Peninsula National Park also has a ton of epic lookouts and vistas like Indian Cove and the world-famous Grotto. Hiking the trails through the park, around the serene Cyprus Lake and out to Georgian Bay we were able to catch sight of many of the natural wonders of the park. After the grotto we continued along the coast, along a huge rocky bay called Boulder Beach. Instead of heading back along Marr Lake Trail we went on the hunt for more epic views. So we continued along the Bruce Trail and just passed the beach we ascended a steep trail leading to more hidden lookouts just off the trail. I’m so thrilled to say I didn’t let my fear of heights hold me back as some of these vistas were obtained by doing a bit of minor rock climbing down and back up some narrow cliffs. But the sheer glorious views were so worth it.
The Bruce Peninsula is home to two National Parks, one on land – Bruce Peninsula National Park, and one in the water – Fathom Five National Park. Part of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Fathom Five has a unique ecosystem and is home to 20 islands, over 20 shipwrecks and stunning crystal clear turquoise waters. We took a boat cruise out to Flowerpot Island and along the way it took us over two shipwrecks. I was honestly floored. I had no idea that they would be in shallow water, of which was incredibly clear, and be so huge and nearly intact after all these years. Looking over the top deck of the boat I was awestruck.
My first trip up the Bruce Peninsula solidified what everyone kept telling me, “You’ll love it!” Indeed I did! From its breathtaking vistas, incredible wild beauty, and all the natural wonders, the Bruce Peninsula is an astounding place to explore. This slice of Ontario has captured my heart and I can’t wait to return.