After being here for almost 12 years I finally went to Tobermory during the summer. This is the kind of place that’s too close to home to make me want to actually do the effort to plan a trip but not close enough to make it an easy day trip, so I postponed it forever.
Tobermory is a harbour village on the Bruce Peninsula (Ontario). The Bruce Peninsula National Park is known for the Bruce Trail footpath, Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath – 900 km from Niagara to Tobermory, and the Grotto, a wave-carved cave in Georgian Bay. The village lies next to Fathom Five National Marine Park, which is home to the Flowerpot Island sea stacks, 19th-century lighthouses and multiple shipwreck dive sites.
It’s a 4-hour drive from home, the hotels and AirbnBs are all booked months in advance and it’s not cheap. But boy, was it worth it!!!
We booked our AirBnB back in January (yup) and made a reservation to the Bruce Peninsula National Park a few months ago which is risky, since you have no idea about how the weather is gonna be on the day you choose, but leaving it for the last minute is almost certain you won’t be able to get a reservation. We got lucky. The day was amazingly sunny.
You can book it here. Each reservation is good for 4 hours, which we thought it was enough time for the hiking and enjoy the VERY COLD water by the grotto.
From the parking lot there’s a short but a bit challenging trail. It starts on easy mode, with the path well marked and clear but then it turns into either a rocky path with a lot of loose rocks, so it’s not easy to make it through or a dense woody area with fallen tree trunks all over.
But then you get to see this:
This was the coldest water I have ever seen in my life, and I have been to a lot o lakes here. However, after a few minutes I was fine with it. I think we spent about 1 hour in the water. It’s unbelievably clear, like Caribbean clear.
I guess if you want hike on all trails plus relax by the grotto 4 hours is not enough. We opted for the relaxing kind of day.
Another interesting thing to do is the Flowerpot Island tour. This one can be bought for the next day, no need to buy it months in advance. I feel like the COVID-19 restrictions played role here. The boat was not crowded and neither was the island and we had enough space and time to enjoy it too.
There are two companies that do the tour. We randomly picked the Blue Heron Cruises and it was a good experience. The boat goes over the Light Tub shipwreck and the to the island where you can stay for 3 hours.
The shipwreck in the picture is the Sweepstakes. On August 23, 1885, it hit a rock near Cove Island and sank in shallow water close to the light station. She remained there until September 3rd when she was towed into Big Tub Harbor. It’s very well preserved and people go scuba-diving there.
Once you get to the island, there’s a quick hike to the flowerpots where you can relax and
freeze go in the water, and here my definition of cold water was updated. THIS is the coldest water I have ever been into.