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Tobermory Ontario's Underwater Capital

Tobermory is the “SCUBA Diving Capital of Ontario” and favourite resort of many people since it has a delightful assortment of services for such a small village. It still retains the quaint charm of a fishing village, as can be witnessed by taking a stroll around Little Tub harbour. Beautifully bricked walkways, flowerbeds and boardwalks surround the docks. Boats are big business in “the Tub”, where visitors can take cruise boats, dive or snorkel charters to 22 shipwreck sites, or launch their own boats from the harbours. Many people like to rent a kayak or canoe to paddle the pristine waters of the peninsula; the best places are sheltered coves around Georgian Bay, Cameron Lake, Cyprus Lake, Emmett Lake and George Lake.

A good view of Big Tub Lighthouse is possible at The Gap on the shoreline straight ahead at the Hwy 6 and Big Tub Road junction. Tobermory’s marine heritage and pioneering history is displayed at the St. Edmunds Township Museum on Hwy 6 near Warner Bay Rd. Sandy beaches can be found at Hay Bay, Dorcas Bay, Dunks Bay, Cyprus Lake and Cameron Lake.Tennis courts are located on Head Street. Happy Hearts Park has mini-golf on Cape Hurd Rd. The best locations for lakeside sunset views are found on Hay Bay Rd, Dorcas Bay Rd and Cape Hurd Rd at Sunset Park on Ray Drive East. A concrete skate park is located at the school.

 Tobermory’s two national parks feature an exciting Visitor Centre, located on Chi-Sin-tib-dek Road or off Head St. at the southeast edge of the village. Exhibits explain the fascinating geology, ecology and cultural history of the parks with a tour through a mock-up cave, secrets of the underwater park and a miniature lighthouse. A film show takes visitors on a helicopter ride over the peninsula’s most spectacular scenery. Interpretive programs put people in touch with indigenous plants and animals they might encounter in the wild. A 20-metre high, wooden lookout tower, the largest of its kind in Ontario, provides a panoramic view of the peninsula’s tip and islands. The centre opens daily during summer and on off-season weekends.

Bruce Peninsula National Park encompasses an area primarily composed of limestone bedrock, yet it holds many diverse features. Marl rock fens and sand dunes are found along Lake Huron where the most orchids grow. Towering cliffs, caves and cobblestone beaches make up the Georgian Bay shore where the views are most impressive.

Fathom Five National Marine Park contains both significant geological and man-made heritage sites such as shipwrecks and lighthouses. Unusual, underwater rock formations also exist at Little Cove, south of Tobermory. The 1885 Big Tub lighthouse marks the entrance of the harbour; picnic areas and dive sites are located there and on the east side of Little Tub Harbour. From the last Friday in June to Labour Day, diving in Big Tub harbour is allowed only 4-10:30 p.m. plus Sundays 9 a.m.- noon because of boat traffic. Divers must register before diving. Glass bottom boats operate tours to Flowerpot Island and to view the wrecks in the harbour three to six times daily.

The Niagara Escarpment is designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve since it contains a unique geology and rare life forms. The peninsula is far from sources of artificial light, so stargazing is simply amazing! For that reason the parks are also a Dark Sky Preserve. The Bruce Trail follows this backbone of limestone, offering hikers the most challenging trekking in the province, but also the best views from many cliff-top vantage points.

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