When taking a Flowerpot Island boat trip, the beautifully weather carved formations called flowerpots are not the only amazing feature you will see.
Jason Paris from Toronto, Canada [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
A Flowerpot Island boat trip takes you to one of the many Georgian Bay islands that dot the watery landscape around Tobermory, at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. One island features not only unique landforms and vegetation, but also a mysterious indigenous Romeo and Juliet tale of romance.
A Flowerpot Island boat trip passes over a part of Georgian Bay that is 600 feet deep. With the winds whipping up the waves, and the boat rocking with each swell, we have a renewed regard for the sailors of the vessels that plied these waters centuries ago, and understand, perhaps, why there are so many shipwrecks on the floor of this region of Georgian Bay!
Arriving at Flowerpot Island, one is overcome by the beauty of the scenery.
Perhaps the most unique of all the plants one sees as they walk the island trails are gnarled tiny trees that dot the landscape, especially along the shoreline. At first glance one thinks that these are young plants waiting to grow to full maturity. But, most are many centuries old. In fact, one of them is considered to be the oldest tree in Canada! Scientists calculate that it is more than 1600 years old! The growth has been limited by the lack of soil between the cracks and crevices among the shoreline's rocky outcrops.
When you reach the island's eastern shore on a Flowerpot Island boat trip, there is an even more astounding sight to behold. There standing on the shoreline, like two majestic sentinels warning passersby of the presence of the island, stand two stone structures, carved over time by the wind, rain, and the waves to look like large flower pots.
Thesofa [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
Although early sailors likened the structures to ancient Roman wine jars, there is another story behind the flowerpots that predates the earliest European visitations to the region. It is a native legend, not dissimilar to Shakespeare’s tale of Romeo and Juliet.
Many centuries ago, there were two Indigenous tribes who lived on the Bruce Peninsula. Unfortunately, these two communities spent more time fighting each other than they did working as allies. At one point in history, a young man from one of the tribes fell in love with the daughter of the chief of the rival clan.
After many clandestine meetings the young couple decided to get married. Knowing that neither of their families would favour such a union, they decided to elope. Late one night the two lovers met near the princess’s encampment. It was not long before the Chief’s daughter’s absence was discovered. Suspecting that an elopement had occurred, the men of the tribe were soon in hot pursuit the young couple.
The lovers made their way to the shoreline, where they boarded a canoe. With the young woman’s family, friends, and neighbours in hot pursuit they paddled frantically towards an island on the horizon. When their pursuers arrived at Flowerpot Island, an extensive search failed to produce the couple. It was as if they had been swallowed up in the night.
An Indigenous legend suggested that the island was the realm of evil spirits and consequently, it had never been inhabited. It was believed that evil forces had engulfed the couple and they were never seen again.
What became of the young lovers who perhaps journeyed on the first romantic Flowerpot Island boat trip, will never be known. But, if you look carefully at the top of the largest flowerpot, you will see what appears to be the profile of an Indigenous warrior carved in the stone!
Our Flowerpot Island boat trips have been very enjoyable and we
encourage you to take a tour to this truly unique Georgian Bay island.
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Lumber Hookers Lumber hookers and tugs were an important innovation to improve the transportation of lumber on Georgian Bay.
Yachts on Georgian Bay A history of yachts on Georgian Bay.
Sailing Stories: the Captain Who Smelled his way into Port The Captain Who Smelled his Way into Port details how pioneer seamen on Georgian Bay safely sailed the rough waters without the aid of the modern technological tools so readily used by today's mariners.
Sailing Story: The Voyage of the Prince Alfred the incredible voyage of the Prince Alfred, fraught with danger for both vessel and the crew in the winter of 1880.
Georgian Bay Ferry Boat Service between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island has a history that is more than a century old. Today, the Chi-Cheemaun continues that tradition.
1867 Election Meant Sailing to the Soo. There was only one polling station in the Georgian Bay region in the first election after Canadian Confederation and that was in Sault Ste. Marie!
Shipbuilding As the southern Georgian Bay region became more populated shipping traffic increased to meet the needs of an expanding market place.
Georgian Bay's 1st Pioneer Settler In 1825 or 1826, depending upon the source, a lonely figure in a birch bark canoe could be seen paddling the waters of Georgian Bay.
Pioneer Travel Aboard the Fly Tells the story of a sailing vessel as the tenuous link between survival and death in a pioneer settlemnt in the 1840's in Upper Canada.
Masters, Mates, and Pilots Association created its first Canadian chapter on Georgian Bay, providing maritime safety education, and other seafaring issues to better inform its membership.
The Summer of 1844 was No Picnic for the early settlers in the pioneer area near what would become Owen Sound on Georgian Bay.
The CPR Grain Elevator Fire of 1911 spelled the end of Owen Sound's role as the eastern terminus of the CPR Great Lakes Fleet.
Chicora the first stage of an 1871 Great Lakes tour aboard a cruise ship on Georgian Bay.
Chicora the final stage of an 1871 cruise ship's voyage on the Great Lakes.
Historic Vacations: King's Royal Park Historic Vacations: King's Royal Park, opulent adventures for the wealthy of the day. It was the late 19th century and tourism was beginning to bloom.
Georgian Bay Sailing Georgian Bay Sailing history is a rich tapestry of tales of heroism, tragedy, and exploration. Sailing vessels traversing the rugged waters of Georgian Bay predate the arrival of European explorers and settlers.
Commercial Great Lakes Fishing It is probably safe to suggest that the commercial fishing industry was an important part of the early growth of this region.