Towering limestone cliffs, superb scuba diving with some spectacular natural scenery
The Bruce Peninsula is a small strip of land that extends north from the main body of Southwestern Ontario between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. It is one of the most beautiful regions in the Province as it contains unique geological formations as well as flora and fauna not to be found elsewhere in the Province.
The landscape of the peninsula is breathtaking with its towering limestone cliffs, weathered pines and wave beaten shores. The area has long been famous for its unbelievable sunsets and while small in total area, “The Bruce”, more than makes up for it in sightseeing and recreational activities.
The Bruce Peninsula area
The Bruce Peninsula stretches from the Town of Wasaga Beach in the east to Town of Southhampton in the west and encompasses all the land in between to its ending at the tip of the peninsula near the Town of Tobermory at its extreme north.
The region is very sparsely populated with its largest town being the City of Owen Sound with a population of approximately 22,000 people. The only other communities of a significant size are the towns of Collingwood and Meaford. All three lie at the extreme south of the peninsula along the shores of Georgian Bay.
While the region is limited in the number of permanent inhabitants this is one of the most heavily visited portions of the province and its population significantly swells with tourists on a year round basis but in particular during the summer vacation months. Located about 2 hours north of Toronto the parks, beaches and mountains offer locals and visitors alike an unlimited amount of recreational activities to partake in.
Highlights of the “the Bruce” include:
- Wasaga Beach with the longest freshwater sand beach in the world
- Collingwood with nearby Blue Mountain, arguably the best skiing in the Province
- Sauble Beach has the second longest freshwater beach in the world and warmer waters than Wasaga Beach.
- Craigleith Provincial Park, famous for its fossilized marine animals
- Bruce Peninsula National Park with its “Flowerpot Rocks”
- Fathom Five National Marine Park one of the best scuba diving locations on the planet
- Tobermory which links Southern Ontario to the north via Manitoulin Island through the summer operating MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry.
Getting to the Bruce Peninsula:
As it is relatively remote car is really the only practical way of visiting the various attractions scattered throughout the region. Highways # 10 and # 6 are the traditional routes for reaching the bulk of the region but these are older, slower routes and are now considered secondary highways and pass through many small communities as they travel north.
Most people heading to the “the Bruce” will travel on Highway 400 north out of the Toronto area until arriving in the City of Barrie from which point you would take Highway #26 west toward Owen Sound. Once past Owen Sound you would link up with Highway $6 to continue you journey north until your final destination.
It is approximately 2 hours to drive from Toronto to Owen Sound (with no traffic) and then another 1 hour to reach the tip of the peninsula at Tobermory.
Highway 400 is one of the most heavily congested highways in the country as it is the main route in Ontario’s cottage country. Be forewarned that heading north on a summer Friday or coming home south on a Sunday will result in a long journey. It can sometimes take over 4 hours to simply get from Toronto to Owen Sound. Try to travel mid week and you will most likely not experience any delays.
While some of the peninsula’s communities have small local airports there is no international flights into anywhere in the region. Commuter flights from other Canadian cities are also non-existent, flying into the region simply isn’t an option.
By Public Transport:
There is no rail service into any of the communities in the region.
There is a public bus service offered by Greyhound Canada into many of the communities in the region but the ride can be quite lengthy as it makes many stops along the way. Depending on where you wish to travel to you can expect to spend the bulk of the day sitting on a bus before you finally arrive. Visit www.greyhound.ca for schedules and fares.
Strap on your scuba gear to explore sunken ships and a labyrinth of sea caves in an amazing underwater marine park. Be awed by towering limestone cliffs and rock formations, rare orchids and a sky streaked with fiery hues as the sun dips behind one of the area’s many lighthouses.
While it may be somewhat remote the Bruce Peninsula area is definitely one that any visitor should consider when planning a trip to Ontario Canada. The activities and spectacular natural scenery make it a worthwhile journey. There are plenty of accommodations in the area and the Bruce Peninsula also offers some of the best camping conditions to be found anywhere in the Province.
The region has also proven to be a year round destination as an abundance of ski resorts have popped up all along the southern shores of Georgian Bay. During the summer, the beaches of the Bruce and its surrounding regions are well known as most likely the best that Canada has to offer.
I would definitely recommend a journey to “the Bruce” if you plan on visiting Ontario Canada for more than a few days, two days is sufficient to see most of the sights and attractions and the best way of doing this is by renting a car and doing a self-drive tour.
For a complete list of the Bruce Peninsula attractions and sights visit the pages below for more information.
"The Bruce" Attractions:
A famed First Nations transportation route today this is one of Southern Ontario’s great recreational canoe routes. Suitable for paddlers of any experience even novice for more information visit my Beaver River Canoe Route page.
While the Bruce Peninsula may have more famous beaches such as Sauble Beach and Wasaga Beach the beach at this quaint little park has the same fine white sand and warm shallow waters. A lot more quiet is makes for a great place to spend a quiet afternoon on a warm summer day. For more information visit my Black Creek Provincial Park page.
Towering limestine cliffs, turquoise water and ancient cedars are just some of the natural wonders at this park that many consider to be the most beautiful in the province. A bit out of the way visitors will surely not be dissappointed. To find out more about this incredible park area visit my Bruce Peninsula National Park page.
The heart of Ontario’s four season recreational playground this small community on the southern shore of Georgian Bay caters to a higher end visitor at its Blue Mountain Resort but also makes for a great day trip. Located less than 2 hours north of Toronto if planning a visit, check out my Collingwood page for more information.
Located on the southern shores of Georgian Bay this small park if famous for its 450 million year old fossils of long extinct marine animals that can usually be found along its beautiful shale beach. In the shadow of Blue Mountain this camping hub is very close to some of the province’s best recreational opportunities. For more information visit my Craigleith Provincial Park page.
Canada’s first marine national park it is located just off the tip of the Bruce and is accessible from the nearby town of Tobermory. Known for Flowerpot Island and its many shipwrecks the frigid clear blue waters make it Ontario’s premier diving destination. For more information visit my Fathom Five National Park page.
A small town set amongst spectacular scenery a sidetrip to the area is a must for those seeking to see one of the most beautiful parts of the Province. Also a hub of outdoor activities especially for those that wish a more extreme adventure. To find out more about this beautiful area visit my Lion’s Head page.
The historic “Iroquios Outlet” is a legendary paddle route along the Nottawasaga River to its mouth at the legendary sands of Wasaga Beach. One of the best recreational kayak and canoe routes in Southern Ontario it is suitable for paddlers of any experience. For more information visit my Nottawasaga River Canoe Route page.
Located at the base of the Bruce Peninsula it is its largest community and sits at the end of a beautiful inlet of Georgian Bay . Museums, waterfalls and the natural beauty of the Niagara Escarpment surround it. While many only pass through it on their way to destinations further afield the community does have much to offer. For more information visit my Owen Sound page.
A summer holiday destination it has a nice collection of beaches along the Lake Huron coastline. Perfectly located at the centre of a multitude of recreational activities if you are planning a visit get more information at my Port Elgin page.
Marking the south eastern boundary of the Bruce Peninsula this tiny park sits near the Niagara Escapment’s highest point at Osler Bluffs and contains some glacial erosion features unique to the area. A nice quiet place for a hike or snowshoe, for more information visit my Pretty River Valley Provincial Park page.
Consistently competing for the title of “best beach in Canada” this small town has 11 kilomtres (7 miles) of soft golden sand affronting shallow warm waters that make it perfect for swimming. For many, the only place in the Bruce they ever visit, get all the information you need to plan a trip to this memorable holiday destination at my Sauble Beach page.
One of the Bruce Peninsula’s true gems this small park boasts excellent fishing, swimming, camping and canoeing. Loaded with fish during the annual spring and fall spawning seasons the park is known worldwide to avid anglers and is one of the Province’s MUST visit fishing destinations. Visit my Sauble Falls Provincial Park page for more information.
The oldest port on the Bruce Peninsula it sports a beautiful beach that is much quieter than its more famous neighbours, a bird Sanctuary located just offshore on Chantry Island and an iconic lighthouse. A great place to spend a weekend get all the information you need at my Southampton page.
Located amongst some of the most stunning scenery in all of Ontario the area is a must for those seeking beauty unmatched elsewhere in the Province. While isolated and located far from the major toursit attractions the tiny hamlet definitely should be included on any extended itinerary. The scuba diving capital of the province for more information visit my Tobermory page.
The Province’s most famous beach destination it is also home to the world’s longest freshwater beach. This glorious stretch of soft white sand is one of Ontario’s premier long weekend party destinations and it can get extremely crowded. A summer destination not to be missed for more information visit my Wasaga Beach page.
The world’s longest freshwater beach is actually part of this park that also protects some unique and rare dune ecosystems. The province’s most visited provincial park if you are gong to Wasaga you are going to the park so visit my Wasaga Beach Provincial Park page for more information.
Located halfway up the peninsula this small town is known as the “Gateway to the Bruce”. It is also world renowned as the home of Wiarton Willie, the world’s most famous weather prognasticating rodent. For more information visit my Wiarton page.