DescriptionAlong the southeastern portion of Georgian Bay, Georgian Bay Islands National Park protects 59 islands or parts of islands scattered about the bay. Along this stretch of 30,000 islands, glaciers have dramatically divided the archipelago into two well-defined natural areas. The Canadian shield has gnarled pines clinging stubbornly to expanses of pink rock in the ragged northern islands. By contrast, the southern islands are softened by meadows, swamps, wetlands and forests, representing the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Forest region of eastern Canada.
Beausoleil Island is the park's largest island. Trails traverse the island, emerging from park campgrounds, picnic and docking areas. From the walking trails visitors can see various rare species of wildlife, a variety of birds, spectacular landscapes, precious habitats and evidence of the historical past. Summer recreational activities include fishing, hiking, swimming, bicycling, boating, kayaking and canoeing.
Access to the park's islands is by boat only. Visitors may rent one at a local marina or be transported by water taxi from Honey Harbour. The park's Day Tripper boat service provides a scenic 15-minute voyage to Beausoleil Island; phone (705) 526-8907 for information and reservations. Of the 87 campsites available at Cedar Spring Campground, 39 campsites are available by reservation, two of which are accessible to the physically impaired; phone May 1 through Labour Day for camping reservations.
Most park facilities are about a 15-minute ride from Honey Harbour, at the end of Muskoka Road 5, off Hwy. 400. Information and maps are available year-round at park headquarters in Midland, at the office in Honey Harbour from Victoria Day through Labour Day and at the visitor center and information kiosk at Cedar Spring. During July and August the park also offers exhibits, slide presentations, wildlife viewing, outdoor theater presentations, guided hikes and heritage education programs on the Greater Georgian Bay ecosystem.
Admission, during Apr.-Oct. $5.04; $4.26 (ages 65+); $12.78 (family, up to seven arriving in a single vehicle); free, rest of year. The schedule and admission, including rates for heritage education programs, may vary. For more information, contact the Administration Office, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, P.O. Box 9, 901 Wye Valley Rd., Midland, ON, Canada L4R 4K6; phone (705) 527-7200.