Southern Georgian Bay (Ontario, Canada) usually brings to mind the tourist area surrounding Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world. It is situated at the southernmost tip of Georgian Bay, a couple of hours drive north of Toronto. Wasaga Beach has stunning vistas, even at the end of October when the wind and waves are attacking the shore and only the hardiest are willing to walk the shores.
Just 20 minutes west of Wasaga Beach is Collingwood. Skiers will associate the area with the Crazy Canucks who trained on the hills at Blue Mountain. Hikers know its extensive trails with year-round access, allowing a leisurely stroll along the banks of a river or a strenuous workout up the side of a mountain.
We took several day trips during our visit. One in particular was a drive from Collingwood to Tobermory which is at the north end of Bruce Peninsula. It’s an easy drive straight up the middle of the peninsula on Highway 6. Note that there is no water view unless you take side roads to the coast, e.g. to see one of the many lighthouses. We stopped at the following towns and villages as we travelled:
Thornbury – one of the many farms along the highway is raising miniature horses; their feed station was identified as a mini saloon;
Meaford – everywhere we turned there were scarecrows hanging from sign posts and buildings; there’s an outlet mall which is set up like a junky garage sale but has some good deals on furniture and tools;
Owen Sound – this is a very pleasant town half-way up the peninsula; it’s the winter home of Chi-Cheemaun, the car ferry that travels from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island;
Tobermory – situated at the tip of the peninsula separating Georgian Bay from Lake Huron, this is the starting point for the car ferry; it operates from the long weekend of May to the week after Thanksgiving; unfortunately, we arrived two days late;
Sauble Beach – we stopped here on the return trip when we took a side road to the Lake Huron side; the waves were even higher than at Wasaga Beach; the wind was strong enough to make us stagger as we walked;
Southampton – also on the Lake Huron side, this is a tiny version of its predecessor in England; there were many sail- and fishing boats but no yachts or cruise ships as we saw in England.
Suggestion: Visit the area from mid-September to mid-October when the tourist attractions are all open. Otherwise, go in the winter for ski season.
Tourist info: www.visitgeorgianbay.com