Manitoulin Island, Ont.
I’M NOT SURE I have ever seen anything as beautiful as the sun rising over the North Channel of Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron. I’m also not sure I’ve ever seen anything as frightening as a huge black bear walking across the shoreline of my camp, right toward me, searching for food (particularly since I’d only recently seen The Revenant). In between those moments, Manitoulin Island has even more to offer. If you like the water, swimming underneath the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls or jumping off the dock of the Austin H. Hunt Marina in Kagawong are musts, and the sandiest beaches are on the south side of the island, right near where the massive Chi-cheemaun ferry drops you off. You won’t see any franchises on Manitoulin (they don’t allow them), so we prefer to stop at Turners’ department store in Little Current, which now has a sixth generation of Turners running it. And the 10,000-year-old presence of Indigenous people is there for all to see, at either the annual Wikwemikong powwow or Lillian’s souvenir store in M’chigeeng, where an impressive young chief named Linda Debassige heads the First Nation council. I may only get there a few weeks a year, but Manitoulin Island is my favourite place in all of Canada.
Swimming under Bridal Veil Falls, near the village of Kagawong.