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On the first day, head to Flowerpot Island on one of the many cruises that will take you there. On the way, you will see two shipwrecks and views of Big Tub Lighthouse. End the day with dinner at The Fish & Chips Place.
The next day, enjoy breakfast at the Princess Dining Room before heading to Bruce Peninsula National Park, visiting The Grotto, Boulder Beach, and hiking the trails. Head to Beaver Tails for a snack before taking the MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry to Manitoulin Island or hop on one of the lighthouse tours that are available. Return for lunch at Della Rocca Pizzeria before visiting the St. Edmunds Peninsula Museum. Grab dinner at Shipwreck Lees.
St. Edmunds Peninsula Museum allows you to visit a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse and a cabin, built-in 1875, where Jacob and Agnes Belrose raised their family of eight children. The museum houses artifacts that provide an understanding of the early settlers of the area. It is located on Highway 6 in Tobermory.
The average monthly temperatures in Tobermory are as follows:
The snowy period in Tobermory lasts from November through April, but accumulations are light. The summers can be windy while winters are very cold and windy, although the humidity is low.
Coconut Joe’s Harbour Bar and Grill provide you with the best sunset viewing in the area. Their outdoor patio gives you the feeling you are enjoying your cocktail, wine, or beer on a tropical island with views of the harbor. You can arrive by land or boat at their 53 Bay Street South location. The menu includes beach bites, tacos, island feasts, bonfire burgers, and a kid’s menu as well as a full bar where you can get some of the best specialty cocktails.
Crowsnest Pub & Restaurant is known locally as the “Pub in the Tub,” due to its location in Little Tub. Here, you can grab an ice-cold beer, grab some locally sourced pub food and relax on the patio overlooking the town. The Pub Burger, a 100 percent Ontario sirloin with bacon, sharp cheddar, and BBQ sauce, is a local favorite as are their many specialty cocktails. They also offer live music regularly.
The Bruce Peninsula Orchid Festival is held in Tobermory on Chi-Sinteb’dek Road. The festival promotes the preservation of the orchids that grow in the area. It includes educational programs, activities, and more that celebrate the stunning flowers that grow throughout the Bruce Peninsula.
The main street tradition since 1948, the Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band Parade begins at 8 AM with the sound of bagpipes as spectators line Queen Street. The event is rain or shines with traditional Scottish bands heading from Victoria Park to Quinn Plaza. They take a short break before returning to Victoria Park following the same route. A concert is then performed in the park. Later, as the sun starts to set, the Phantom Piper plays from the Kincardine Lighthouse.
The Tobermory Winter Carnival, held in February, offers indoor and outdoor games, events, and live entertainment. Local non-profit organizations offer breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the festival. Be sure to check out the cardboard boat races, snow events, and indoor activities designed for the entire family.
Sauble Beach Sandfest, held in August each year, is a favorite in the area. It is a full week of live music, a sandcastle building contest, games, children’s activities, and a classic car show. During the day, families work on elaborate sandcastles in hopes of winning cash prizes. At night, the sandcastle area becomes a free concert with an amazing laser light that can be viewed from the beach or from a boat anchored off the shore in Lake Huron.
Huron Fringe Birding Festival, held the last weekend in May and the first weekend in June, includes educational information about the birds and other wildlife on the Bruce Peninsula. You can learn about the black bears, piping plovers, bird banding, and more. The event is held at MacGregor Point Provincial Park.
MS Chi-Cheemaun Festival celebrates one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions, the MS Chi Cheemaun ferry. The first festival was held in 1975 to celebrate the arrival of a new ferry that runs from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island. The weekend begins with the J.P. Johnstone Slo-Pitch Tournament, a children’s art contest, and live entertainment. There is a pancake breakfast, food booth, and beer garden throughout the one-day festival which ends with a fireworks display. Activities include face painting, games the Ladies Auxiliary Pie Sale, an antique car display on the dock, and a Whitefish Dinner. On Sunday, an ecumenical church service is held followed by the Mini Golf Tournament and presentation of trophies for the slo-pitch tournament. The festival is held at 116 Maple Golf Crescent.
Held in September, the Lighthouse Blues Festival has been named one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario. The festival celebrates the strong influence of blues on the local music scene. The Beach Pavilion and the Windsor Hotel, since demolished, were frequented by many well-known blues artists over the years, including James Cotton. In 2006, a blues society developed, created as a chapter of a London-based society but eventually becoming the independent Canada South Blues Society. In 2009, Rick and Marilyn Clarke, Brad and Craig Kirkconnell, Mike Brough, and Rob MacLeod sat down to plan for a blues festival to be held in the parking lot of The Bruce. In 2010, the first Lighthouse Blues Festival was held in July with bands such as Breakwater Blues Band, Dark Angel Blues Band, David Rotundo, Chris Murphy Blues Band, and the Bluesbells to name a few. The festival benefits the Kincardine District Lions Club. In addition to live music, there is also a Saturday Street Festival with a petting zoo, a British sportscar display, an Artist Row, and an area for children.
The concept of the Southampton Marine Heritage Festival began in 2011 when a group of like-minded individuals decided to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Chantry Island Lighthouse and Housekeepers Cottage restoration. The first event included speeches by local politicians as well as stories about the restoration. Those were followed by family fun that celebrates the marine heritage of Southampton. The next year, which was also the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the festival’s events centered around that milestone in history with cardboard boat races, a cannon demonstration by the Royal George Society as well as events families enjoyed year before. Each year the festival has grown larger and is a favorite for locals. Events are held at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre and Pioneer Park.
Nawash Pow Wow is held in August and evolved from the Grass Dance Societies that developed in the early 1800s. The dances provided warriors with the chance to show tribe members through dance the brave deeds they had accomplished. As reservations were established throughout Turtle Island, these tribal customs were outlawed with only the Grass Dance permitted. The songs performed have been passed down from generations long gone. Visitors are invited to bring lawn chairs and are reminded that all dances performed are considered sacred. Most dances occur in a circle which represents unity, and dancers often move in the clockwise pattern of the sun. The Pow Wow is held at Cape Croker Park.
Lucknow’s Music in the Fields, held in August, began as a Kinsmen event, starting with just 1,200 attendees and growing to more than 8,000 in recent years. The event is held on a farm purchased by the organization and offers camping as well as the concert experience. Called Graceland as an homage to former owner Grace Hopf, the concert venue allows you to choose your own camping spot and all proceeds go to charity.
Port Elgin Pumpkin Fest is held in early October each year, created when the Town of Port Elgin decided to create an event to extend the tourist season. The first festival, “The Great Pumpkin Event,” was a competition where the largest pumpkin received an award. By 1988, the town had joined the World Pumpkin Confederation and the event was renamed the “Port Elgin Pumpkinfest.” The first event had 200 visitors but in recent years, there have been over 30,000. In addition to the annual weigh-in, there is a bingo, celebrity seed spitting contest, pumpkin carving contest, home and business decorating contest, a Cinderella’s Carriage Car Show, a pumpkin pie sale, dance, and the Harvest Star competition.
Take your family on one of the three lighthouse tours in the area. The Southampton Lighthouse Tour starts in Paisley and ends in Southampton and is a 20-minute drive. On the tour, you will see four unforgettable lighthouses, take a boat ride to Chantry Island and see some stunning scenery. The Peninsula Lighthouse Tour allows you to see all the lighthouses on the Bruce Peninsula. It begins in Tobermory and ends in Cape Croker, taking about an hour. At the Lion’s Head Lighthouse, be sure to look for the lion’s head hidden in the cliffs. The South Shoreline
Lighthouse Tour takes about 20 minutes, starting in Point Clark and ending in Kincardine. The two lighthouses have museums that are open during the summer. Point Clark Lighthouse requires a bit of a climb, but the views are well worth it.
Hiking is a great family activity and Tobermory offers trails for all levels of experience. The Georgian Bay Marr Lake, Lion’s Head, Burnt Point Loop, and Flowerpot Island Loop trails are all rated for beginners
Tobermory Cruise Line offers tours of Flowerpot Island as well as scenic lunch or dinner cruises. You can relax in the sunshine on the upper deck or enjoy them from an enclosed cabin on the lower deck as you listen to the guides provide education on what you are seeing.
Little Cove Adventures, located on the tip of the peninsula, offers a fun adventure for the entire family. The aerial park includes ropes courses of various levels with obstacles around poles and trees. There is a high rope course with challenge elements high above the ground and a low ropes course for younger adventurers. Find them at 7111 Highway 6.
Search for shipwrecks in the waters around Tobermory. If you are a family of divers, this area offers some of the best underwater shipwreck sites in the world. Or take a tour boat out in Fathom Five National Marine Park to learn more from above the water. There are 22 shipwrecks off the coast, including schooners, steamers, passenger ships, and more.
MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry travels between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island, a gateway into the heart of Canadian wilderness. There you can learn more about the First Nations people, habitats for animals, and more. The ferry offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a full bar offering craft beer, local wines, and specialty cocktails. Relax on the upper deck in a Muskoka chair as you sip a cocktail and take in the sites.
Shipwreck Lee’s, located at 2 Bay Street in Tobermory, is your place for all you can eat fish and chips. A local favorite, the fish and chips are created from local whitefish. They also offer an expansive menu that includes vegan and vegetarian options. They are family-friendly and also offer a full bar with beer, wine, and cocktails. The restaurant has been a favorite in the area for over 36 years, serving delicious food pirate style.
Della Rocca Pizzeria offers wood-fired pizza with your choice of toppings. All dough is made fresh daily and you can choose from several specialty options, like the Margherita, Deluxe, Greek, or BBQ Chicken. You can also build your own pizza with unique toppings like roasted garlic, artichokes, and ricotta cheese. They are located at 30 Bay Street in Tobermory.
Beaver Tails is a one-of-a-kind artisanal Canadian pastry shop that began in 1978 when Pam and Grant Hooker began serving the pastries at the Killaloe Fair. Today, they have expanded their original recipe using locally sourced ingredients. The whole wheat, hand-stretched pastry is topped with almost every type of flavor combination you can imagine. The Killaloe Sunrise includes cinnamon, sugar, and a slice of lemon, or try the Brownie, hazelnut spread topped with brownie pieces and chunks of white chocolate. You can also get signature BT Sips, including lemonade, strawberry lemonade, fresh smoothies, and hot chocolate. They also serve poutine, fries, the Beaverdog, and PouTail, their signature poutine served on a BeaverTail. Find them at 24 Carlton Street in Tobermory.
The Fish & Chip Place offers both indoor and outdoor seating with views of the harbor. Their fish and chips are created with whitefish fried to perfection in their signature batter. The menu also includes shrimp in a basket, chicken fingers, a chicken or fish taco, and more. The bar offers draft and bottled beers as well as wine coolers. They are located at 24 Bay Street in Tobermory.
The Princess Dining Room allows you to enjoy your meal overlooking Little Tub Harbour and the Georgian Bay. Sit on the outdoor patio or relax in the beautiful dining room watching yachts sail past. The dining room is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering an upscale atmosphere. The breakfast menu includes standard fare like Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, breakfast hash, Belgian waffles, French toast, and more. Lunch offerings include sandwiches, fish and chips, falafels, pizza as well as house-made burgers. As for dinner, the local whitefish is a specialty, and their steaks melt in your mouth. Enjoy chicken or shish kebob prepared in a traditional Greek manner. Find them at 34 Bay Street South.
Tobermory Brewing Company & Grill offers a delicious menu that pairs perfectly with their own brewed beer. Brews are locally crafted using the best ingredients and created in small batches. There are no additives or preservatives. They are located at 26 Bay Street and you can enjoy your meal inside or outside on the patio where there is a stunning view of the harbor.
The closest airport to Tobermory, Canada, is Wiarton Keppel International Airport, about an hour away. The best way to get to Tobermory from the airport is to rent a car.
There is a pharmacy in the Foodland grocery store in Tobermory a well as the Peninsula IDA, McKenzie’s IDA, Bayside IDA, Owen Sound IDA, and Pharmasave Sally’s Pharmacy.
There are about 200 crimes each year on the Bruce Peninsula, most of which are property crimes such as theft, burglary, and auto theft.
With dolomite that is 420 million years old rising from the waters of Lake Huron, Fathom Five National Marine Park is a freshwater ecosystem with 22 shipwrecks, making it a popular location for divers. Trails provide stunning views of a wide range of orchid species. There are camping areas available as well.
Little Tub and Big Tub Harbors are both nature lover’s paradises. There are many locations where you can take memorable photographs as well as excellent hiking, diving, and kayaking spots. The harbors also offer galleries, quaint boutiques, and outstanding restaurants where you can enjoy your meal overlooking the harbor. You may even be able to view a shipwreck below the surface of the water.
Flower Pot Island, located in Five Fathoms National Marine Park, is accessible through boat tours. The island is known for its beautiful rock formations that resemble flowerpots. Plan at least a half-day to explore the island. It takes about three hours to see the flowerpots, cave & light station. You can also make a day of it a full day with a picnic lunch and a hike of the entire loop trail. Doing that along with the flowerpots, cave, and light station can take up to five hours.
Bruce Peninsula National Park is where you can view the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay with its stunning cliffs as well as diverse wetlands. The trails are lined with ancient cedar trees and you can see wild orchids and ferns in a wide range of habitats. Camping is also available in the park.