Pelee Island Canada's Southern Island
Many people travel far south to find relaxed, island atmosphere, yet it exists directly in Ontario on Pelee Island! Pelee is known for its vineyards, quiet, secluded beaches, Ecological Trail System and the best bird watching opportunities in Canada. Many birds stop on the island to rest on their northbound migrations and people do too. Visitors may be surprised to get friendly waves from passers-by. This is just part of the congenial atmosphere of the island where the pace of life is unhurried. The beauty of island living offers a chance to retreat from the rest of the world.
Pelee Island Transportation offers ferry service across Lake Erie from Kingsville or Leamington to Pelee Island or from Sandusky, Ohio. Walk or drive aboard the M.V. Pelee Islander or the Jiimaan ferry (which means “canoe” in Ojibway) and enjoy the view as you cruise past the Lake Erie Isles. Traffic during summer can be especially busy, so reservations for cars and accommodations should be made well in advance: 1-800-661-2220
Comfortech Bike Rentals for adults, children and infant trailers are available at 1023 West Shore Rd, just north of the ferry dock. Compressed air for bike tires is available at the west, north and east canal pump stations.
Pelee Island Winery offers an interpretive video, trails, vineyard tours and tasting at its wine pavilion. The pavilion opens daily May to October, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (10-8, July & Aug.) Tours operate May to October at 12, 2 & 4 p.m. and include a wine appreciation seminar with a complimentary tasting glass. Visitors may walk the short distance to the pavilion or take a trolley ride from the west dock. A beach volleyball court, children’s playground, wine museum and giant barbeque picnic area offer something for people of all ages. The pavilion also hosts entertainment on summer weekends.
The island is intersected by dikes and canals that keep it from flooding. A pheasant farm raises and releases thousands of birds each fall for the annual hunt. Fishing is tremendous at Pelee Island since its shoals yield copious catches of bass and walleye. Marina facilities are located on the island’s north end at Scudder and at the West Dock. Erie’s waters are the warmest of the Great Lakes, making Pelee Island ideal for water sports and swimming. Camping is available at the East Park campground on East Shore Rd. The park has a shady picnic area, ball field and washrooms opposite a beach.
Provincial Nature Reserves enable visitors to see plants and animals that exist nowhere else in Canada since Pelee’s location in the middle of Lake Erie creates the mildest microclimate at that latitude. Prickly pear cactus even grow there. Lighthouse Point at the northeast end of the island has a lovely beach, the Old Lighthouse and sand dunes.
The Heritage Centre at the West Dock has fascinating displays of island artifacts that depict the geography and history of Pelee Island. Exhibits include fossils, wildlife and wonderful photographs of pioneering times. The centre also hosts daily video presentations and a Kite Museum.