The Bruce Peninsula

The Bruce Peninsula is a compelling place to visit.

tobermory ontarioTobermory ~ The Tip of The Bruce Peninsula


Once you have traveled to the Bruce, we guarantee that you will return, again and again! It is a great travel holiday locale. You can explore the various communities, the history, and the events that make this region a great place to visit for a month, a week, a weekend or simply a day trip.

If you live in the North Eastern United States, or the Province of Ontario, it is not difficult to drive to this part of the Niagara Escarpment and the world-famous Bruce Trail, which has been designated as a World Biosphere region by the United Nations.

We have included driving directions to help you find your way a little easier. These driving directions have been divided into sections. First, we have defined directions according to your geographic access point to the region. And, secondly, we have provided a more leisurely set of directions to allow you to explore the region more thoroughly as you travel from the base peninsula in Owen Sound to the tip of the peninsula in Tobermory.


Brilliant Sunrises; Romantic Sunsets...

The Bruce Peninsula is more than a haven for those wishing to hike and explore the natural beauty of this region. Its coastal communities boast excellent harbour facilities for marine craft of all shapes and sizes. As well, they offer world-class scuba diving amenities ranging from equipment sales and rentals, to guided tours and diving lessons. The rugged shoreline of the Georgian Bay coast provides excellent opportunities for rock climbing, fishing, sailing and stunning scenery, not to mention brilliant sunrises to signal the beginning of your day of adventure or simple relaxation. The sandy shoreline of the Lake Huron coast also provides great opportunities not only for sailing and fishing but also for swimming. And, of course there are those romantic sunsets to mark the end of your day.
 

History and Historic Names
of the Bruce Peninsula

The land mass known today as the Bruce Peninsula has had many names throughout its history.  It first appeared on a 1775 map created by the French explorer d’Anville. On this map the peninsula was called “Ouendiagui”. Some historians speculate that “Ouendiagui” is the French spelling, and pronunciation, of a word used by the Huron nation to describe the peninsula. The English later changed the spelling to Wendiaghy. The use of this name did last long. Although the reason for its passing from use is not known, it is speculated that it was not long after the appearance of the map that the Huron nation disappeared from the area. The term “Ouendiagui” or “Wendiaghy”, aptly describes the peninsula, as its rough translation is “island or peninsula cut off”. In the 1840s, the area was an Ojibway hunting ground and was called the “Saugink” or “Sauking” Peninsula after the tribal name of the natives who hunted there. Gradually the name evolved to “Saugeen”. Over the course of time the peninsula has also been called the “Indian” Peninsula.


Shipwrecks, Tobermory & Ferry Service

The northern tip of the peninsula marks the confluence of the waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Canadian Maritime history details the dramatic history of this region and the countless ships and sailors who have lost their lives in this watery graveyard. Today, thousands of divers from around the world come to explore the shipwrecks that rest at the bottom of the lake bed near the community of Tobermory.

The area around Tobermory is dotted with many interesting and scenic islands.  There are glass bottom boat tours which will not only take you over the shipwrecks that rest at the bottom of the clear blue water, but they will also transport you to island paradises of natural beauty such as Flowerpot Island. On the island you can walk along the trails enjoying the scenic beauty. 

The Bruce Peninsula is also an important transportation link between northern Ontario and southern Ontario. For almost a century, ferryboats like the MS Chi Cheemaun, also known as “The Big Canoe”, have sailed the passage between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island carrying passengers and freight.

In the pages that follow we will endeavor to lead you on an exploration of this unique part of the Georgian Bay region of the province of Ontario. You will find interesting travel routes, historical facts and folklore. At the end of the day there are many great bed and breakfasts, motels, and inns offering you quality accommodations. When it is time to eat, the Bruce Peninsula restaurants and cafes offer a wide range of local and exotic culinary treats.

But, most of all you will enjoy the amazing natural beauty of the Bruce Peninsula. Don’t forget your camera to record your memories and the stunning scenery.

Enjoy your trip! 


Discover More About the Bruce Peninsula

Getting to the Bruce Peninsula is a relatively easy driving trip. Here are driving directions from three regions to the peninsula.

Barrow Bay Ontario a Picturesque Georgian Bay Community owes its origin to the once-thriving Bruce Peninsula lumbering industry. Today it is a quiet summer get-away!

Bruce Peninsula Lumber History details the impact of the forest products industry on the development of the region.

Bruce Peninsula Lumbering provided the stimulus to develop and grow the pioneer economy on the newly settled Bruce Peninsula. 

Bruce Peninsula Municipal Politics: No matter what the venue, or the issue, seldom is a popular decision made that suits everyone. 

Bruce Peninsula Travel Routes were often a matter of debate because in the early years, land travel was virtually unattainable for settlers and lumbermen alike.

Aboriginal History: Bruce Peninsula has a long indigenous heritage not just for the native nation living there today, but for other native groups as well.

Aboriginal History: the 1836 Treaty made promises to the native peoples of the Bruce Peninsula which did not last long before everything changed again.

Aboriginal land history continues the story of aboriginal land issues on the Bruce Peninsula. How it happened is a point for discussion by everyone.

Settler Impact on Bruce Peninsula Natives was not only from the imposition of treaties, but also from British military plans.

"Half Mile-Strip" Treaty made it possible for a relatively smooth overland connection to be built between Owen Sound and the Lake Huron shoreline.

Catherine Sutton: aka Nahneebahweequay was a hero, fighting for her Indigenous rights and those of her family.

Allenford United Church history details not only some important information about that community's church, but also about one of the founders of this Ontario community.

Colpoys Bay Vista - Awesome! A short drive from either Wiarton or Owen Sound is one of the most magnificent views to be found in the province of Ontario!

Dyer's Bay Ontario: Began as a Lumbering Settlement and today it is a wonderful vacation retreat.

Elsinore Ontario is the southern-most point on the Bruce Peninsula, located about half-way between Owen Sound and the Lake Huron shoreline.

Forest Products on the Bruce Peninsula contributed greatly to the growth and development of that region of the province of Ontario.

Gillies Lake: aka Ghost Lake has a mysterious past as its original name, Ghost Lake, implies.

Great Grey Owls on the Bruce Peninsula was a surprise discovery for ornithologists and others. Sadly, the story of their visit had an unfortunate conclusion.

Pioneer Campers: Hope Bay mostly considered the peninsula untamed wilderness and some of the locals were not about to disappoint them!

A Pioneer Community: Driftwood Crossing, at the southern-most part of the Saugeen/Bruce Peninsula was at the midpoint between the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron coasts.

Pioneer Missionary James Atkey arrived on Colpoys Bay to minister to the native community near Oxenden until a treaty uprooted his parishioners.

Pioneer tourists first visited the Bruce Peninsula in the 1800s and the region continues as a great recreational and tourism destination today!

Pioneer Vacations on the Bruce Peninsula got an eerie start in the Hope Bay region of the peninsula.

Lighthouses  Lighthouses were vital to Georgian Bay Sailing.

Sauble Beach Ontario has seen it all. A fishing outport; a sawmilling centre; and an internationally acclaimed tourist resort area!

Sauble Beach  This popular beach is known as Canada's Daytona Beach.

Lion's Head  Sailors often sought refuge from the stormy Georgian Bay waters in its well-protected harbour.

Park Head  Grand Trunk Railway in Park Head Ontario was an important railway depot on the Bruce Peninsula when in 1894 the first train chugged through Park Head.

Stokes Bay  Welcomed fishermen as their first non-native visitors. Today, if you are a fisherman, you will also probably want to try your luck landing a walleye, lake trout or any of the other game fish that live in the coastal waters of Lake Huron.

Tobermory Ontario has a rich history and, is the northern- most destination point for travellers visiting the world famous Bruce Peninsula.

Tobermory Ontario Tourism is focused on shipwreck diving which has become so popular that tourism has become an important part of that community's economy. 

Tobermory pioneers experienced a life in a community that was anything but the tourism hive of activity that it is today.

A Flowerpot Island cruise is not only entertaining, but it is also very educational as you will see things that you have never viewed before!

Wiarton Ontario  This historic community was a great place to live in the early settlement days and still is a busy tourist stop on your way up the Bruce Peninsula.

Wiarton  had ambitions to Succeed but while success brought them a railroad and other ventures did not have a sweet ending for many in the town.

Wiarton Ontario’s First Newspaper  A catalyst in supporting road construction and bringing the railway to Wiarton in hopes of making the town the economic leader of the area. But disappointment looms...

Wiarton news: 1890s, as seen in the pages of the local newspaper revealed problems typical of today's communities 

Wiarton Beet Industry was to be a great boost to the town's economy. Instead, it left most people with a bad taste in their mouths.

Travel the Bruce: Owen Sound to Wiarton  A wonderful journey from Owen Sound to Wiarton.

Travel the Bruce: Wiarton to Tobermory  Relaxing and historic journey.

Bruce Peninsula  The Bruce Peninsula is a compelling place, with a rich history, to visit. Once you have traveled there, we guarantee that you will return, again and again!

  1. History Articles
  2. Bruce Peninsula