The Bruce Peninsula

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Dividing Lake Huron from the crystal waters of Georgian Bay is a thin stretch of forested land called The Bruce Peninsula. ‘The Bruce’, as it is often called by locals and tourists alike, is a geographical wonder that has a completely separate mineral composition and biological environment than the rest of Southern Ontario. The Bruce is part of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Project, and hosts 1 national park, 12 provincial and municipal parks, 4 bird sanctuaries and some of the oldest living trees in North America!

The beauty of the Bruce can only barely be captured in photos. Although only a 2-hour drive north of the Toronto metropolis, the Bruce feels completely isolated. The dozen or so scattered communities across the peninsula are anchored by Owen Sound, at the base of The Bruce. Camping, hiking, cycling, boating and rock climbing bring adventurers and admirers to The Bruce, but it is the jaw-dropping beauty and serenity of this unique wonder that leaves an unforgettable impression.

LIFE

The Bruce is 155 square km (60 square miles) of mostly forest, surrounded by the clear fresh waters of the Great Lakes. The Bruce is home to a dizzying array of wildlife that has almost vanished from the rest of Southern Ontario: black bears, massauga rattlesnakes, red hawks and yellow salamanders. The Bruce is also filled with Ontario’s provincial flower and emblem, trilliums, a rare white flower that can only be found in parts of Ontario. 20 species of warblers breed every year on The Bruce, and visitors flock to the bird sanctuaries in the late spring to be surrounded by singing and flying commotion.

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The forests of the Bruce Peninsula are thick and filled with life.

The forests of the Bruce Peninsula are thick and filled with life.

Owen Sound, with 20,000 inhabitants, is the largest "city" in the Bruce region.

Owen Sound, with 20,000 inhabitants, is the largest “city” in the Bruce region.

The Bruce is a popular destination  for bear-spotting

The Bruce is a popular destination for bear-spotting

20 species of warblers live on The Bruce, like this rare Hooded Warbler.

20 species of warblers live on The Bruce, like this rare Hooded Warbler.

The Bruce is home to Canada's only venomous rattlesnake: the massasauga rattler.

The Bruce is home to Canada’s only venomous rattlesnake: the massasauga rattler.

Salamanders and newts call The Bruce home.

Salamanders and newts call The Bruce home.

The Trillium is a rare plant that only grows in parts of Ontario, including the Bruce Peninsula.

The Trillium is a rare plant that only grows in parts of Ontario, including the Bruce Peninsula.

At the northern tip of the peninsula rests the town of Tobermory, a popular summertime tourist destination.

At the northern tip of the peninsula rests the town of Tobermory, a popular summertime tourist destination.

FUN

Tourists flock to the peninsula to escape from the summer heat of southern Ontario, Michigan and upper-New York State, where cool air, crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and miles of hiking and biking trails await them. In the winter The Bruce becomes a mecca for cross-country skiers, although the extremely heavy snowfall of the average winter makes travel unpredictable at this time of year.

Camping is a popular activity on The Bruce, and more than a dozen parks and campgrounds host visitors all summer long. Swimming on Lake Huron’s sandy beaches, or cliff jumping from Georgian Bay’s dizzying bluffs, keeps visitors cool. Canoeing, kayaking and sailing are popular pastimes in the summer, as is fishing for trout, pike and bass. Nighttime is jaw-dropping, as a lack of light pollution opens the starry heavens up to those below, and millions upon millions of stars can be seen. August is a good time of year for shooting stars, while January is awesome for spotting the Northern Lights, provided a warm cottage is available, of course!

Summer on The Bruce is a time of pure heaven.

Summer on The Bruce is a time of pure heaven.

Winter on The Bruce is very, very snowy, with some of the heaviest snowfall in all of Canada!

Winter on The Bruce is very, very snowy, with some of the heaviest snowfall in all of Canada!

Camping is the most popular, and most economical, activity for tourists to The Bruce.

Camping is the most popular, and most economical, activity for tourists to The Bruce.

 

Sauble Beach, on Lake Huron's Ontario side, is one example of a popular sandy beach that draws tourists in the summer.

Sauble Beach, on the Lake Huron side, is one example of a popular sandy beach that draws tourists in the summer.

For the brave, the Georgian Bay side offers fantastic cliff jumping opportunities!

For the brave, the Georgian Bay side offers fantastic cliff jumping opportunities!

Boating around The Bruce is one of the most peaceful and beautiful ways to spend your days...

Boating around The Bruce is one of the most peaceful and beautiful ways to spend your days…

Nothing renders the mind and soul utterly speechless like a Bruce Peninsula sunset.

Nothing renders the mind and soul utterly speechless like a Bruce Peninsula sunset.

From The Bruce, entire galaxies can be see with the naked eye in the nighttime sky.

From The Bruce, entire galaxies can be see with the naked eye in the nighttime sky.

The lucky get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

The lucky get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

CURIOSITIES

When visiting The Bruce, there are some sites that cannot be missed. The sunken boats around the town of Lion’s Head; a trip on the Chi-cheemaun ferry; Ā the Grotto; Bruce Peninsula National Park; the laid-back beaches of Port Elgin and the strange rock formations near Tobermory are all things that cannot be missed!

The eerie shipwrecks of Georgian Bay

The eerie shipwrecks of Georgian Bay

The Chi-cheemaun ferry takes passengers and vehicles from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island, gateway to Northern Ontario.

The Chi-cheemaun ferry takes passengers and vehicles from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island, gateway to Northern Ontario.

The Grotto is a famous series of underwater caves leading to isolated subterranean pools. Beautiful and mysterious. Some of them are swimmable; others require SCUBA gear.

The Grotto is a famous series of underwater caves leading to isolated subterranean pools. Beautiful and mysterious. Some of them are swimmable; others require SCUBA gear.

A visit to the national park is a must.

A visit to the national park is a must.

Bruce Peninsula National Park is awe-inspiring.

Bruce Peninsula National Park is awe-inspiring.

The calm, laid-back sandy beaches of Port Elgin will free your soul.

The calm, laid-back sandy beaches of Port Elgin will free your soul.

Millions of years of erosion have created some bizarre rock formations around the peninsula.

Millions of years of erosion have created some bizarre rock formations around the peninsula.

Lighthouses, some still in use, dot the area.

Lighthouses, some still in use, dot the area.

Indian's Head in calm weather.

Indian’s Head in calm weather.

Indian's Head in not-so-calm waters. Storm watching on The Bruce is an awesome, if dangerous, hobby.

Indian’s Head in not-so-calm waters. Storm watching on The Bruce is an awesome, if dangerous, hobby.

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5 thoughts on “The Bruce Peninsula

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, ThumbWind. Those formations are dotted around the peninsula, and are called “flowerpots” by many of the locals. As for official names, I’m not sure what those would be, but “flowerpots” gets my vote!

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