The largest freshwater island – Manitoulin Island – in the world sits on the northern edge of Lake Huron, southwest of Sudbury, and boasts 108 lakes of its own with their own islands and their own lakes. Between the fishing, waterfalls and lakeview trails, you will relish every moment you can get out and enjoy the fresh winter air.
1. Best view of Lake Huron
The Cup & Saucer Trailtakes you to the spot where virtually everyone visitor has captured a photo of the island-defining view of Lake Huron. You’ve seen it on every brochure so now you can see it in person! You’ll find the trail entrance 18 kilometres west of Little Current at the corner of Hwy. 540 and Bidwell Road. Snowshoe (or hike) to the 70-metre-high cliffs and enjoy.
Address: 4097 ON-540, Sheguiandah
2. Breath-taking falls
Depending on the weather, you may see Bridal Veil Falls in its frozen glory or defying the season by flowing along its many steps along its route. Hike along the trail and a staircase (please do not climb down if the staircase is closed) to see the cascading waters drop 11 metres as it pours out of the Kagawong River between Lake Kagawong and Lake Huron. Enter off Hwy. 540 at Kagawong.
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3. Skate under the open skies
Lace-up your skates and glide on the outdoor rink in Low Island park in Little Current. You can walk the one-kilometre trail in the park if you need to wait your turn to get on the ice.
4. Providence Bay Beach
Located on the south shore of Manitoulin and looking out upon Lake Huron, the beach at Providence Bay is said to be the best in Northern Ontario. Early native inhabitants of the area called the bay Bebekodawangog, which translates as “where the beach curves around the water”. In later years, after being shipwrecked offshore, survivors of the wreck reached the beach and called the bay ‘Providence’. Enjoy a winter walk along the beach.
5. Draw your McLean Park experience
McLean Park Trail winds through a 100-acre park of hardwood bush on paths cut to draw logs out of the area. The site includes a drawing box with supplies for visitors to sketch themselves, a sight from the trail or a feeling they had while out snowshoeing or skiing.
Pick up some speed on your toboggan at McLean Park on one of its sliding hills. The ride down will be a blast and the trek back up will keep you warm!
Address: New England Road, Assiginack
6. Slide like a pioneer
Is there any joy more simple and fulfilling than hurtling down a hill on a toboggan? It hasn’t changed much since kids first started sliding down the hill in Pioneer Park years ago.
Address: 301 Parkhill Drive, Billings
7. Ski near Little Current
The Manitoulin Nordic Ski Club lovingly cares for 10 kilometres of trails that take you in with the trees for a quiet but heart-racing outing. Membership fees are required before using the trails, so contact the club for more details.
Address: 2619 Hwy 540, Little Current
8. Ride along Running Buffalo
Honora Bay Riding Stable offers 30-minute horseback rides for pre-arranged groups, through its property and around neighbouring cattle fields Mondays through Saturdays. Rides require pre-registration.
Address: 299 Honora Bay Road, Little Current. Ph: 705-368-6032.
9. Bring the whole family to Maple Ridge
Maple Ridge Trails Club maintains a variety of short trails with minor slopes near Mindemoya. Four trails range from 500 metres to two kilometres, beginning at the Community Living Manitoulin office. You will see views of the town and local creatures. The prices are affordable at $2 per child, $5 for adults of $10 for a family.
Address: 6266 ON-542, Mindemoya
11. Skating a new path
A new 12-foot-wide outdoor skating path oval has been built at Ball Field A in Mindemoya to complement the rink at the arena. Enjoy exploring the outfield in a whole new way!
12. Endless fishing opportunities
With so much open water, you can fish a new honey hole every day and still never get enough. One professional angler calls Manitoulin Island “a fish factory in the best way” due to the number of choices and the range of trophy species: rainbow trout, jumbo perch, whitefish, lake trout, walleye and northern pike. Head to Wolseley Bay, McGregor Bay, South Bay, Lake Manitou, Mindemoya Lake, Lake Kagawong, and Ice Lake for your best odds. You can rent ice huts from Wiikemkoong Tourism.
13. Walk Gore Bay Boardwalk Trail
The Boardwalk Trail follows the town’s waterfront and connects with the Noble Nature Trail. It travels 1.2 km along the shoreline west to Fish Point Park, where the Harbour Centre Gallery and Split Rail Brewery are in the neighbourhood. The Boardwalk Trail offers an easy winter hike along the length of the town’s waterfront.
14. Snow-Laden Lighthouses
Hike or drive to the snow-laden lighthouses and landscapes that surround these beacons to enjoy some of the best scenery winter offers. It would be pretty amazing to go on a day trip just to see and photograph every single lighthouse (that is accessible during winter) on the island.