Georgian Bay, named for King George IV and also often referred to as the “6th Great Lake”, has some interesting history along with a few world records! Here are 10 fun facts about the Bay:
#1: Wasaga Beach on the southern shore is the world’s longest freshwater beach.
#2: Manitoulin Island at the NW edge is the world’s largest freshwater island.
#3: The Georgian Bay Ship Canal, if built as planned in the early 1900’s, would have joined Ottawa to the Bay through the French River. This project would have been along the same scale as the Panama Canal, with large commercial freighters and cargo ships passing through what is now the unspoiled wilds of the French River. Here is a link to the story if you wish to learn more:
#4: The Bay’s 30,000 islands form the largest freshwater archipelago in the world. From Beausoleil in the south to French River in the north, it is these islands along the eastern shore that create some of the spectacular scenery and protection boaters and cottagers love so much.
#5: Imperial Towers are the name for six lighthouses built in the 1850’s, four locations being on the Bay – at Griffith, Nottawasaga, Christian and Cove Islands plus two others on Lake Huron. Constructed mainly of thick white washed limestone, these 85’H towers played a critical role in creating safer commercial shipping routes during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
#6: Largest deepest natural freshwater port in the world – Parry Sound, Ontario on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay.
#7: Current home to the oldest and last remaining Edwardian passenger steamship in the world – the beautiful SS Keewatin built in 1907 which resides in Port McNicoll. This month marks the 10th year anniversary of her return home to Georgian Bay from Michigan. There are many of us boaters who remember that day well, meeting her at Giants Tomb and following her grand entrance into the port!
#8: The Bay is well known for her shipwrecks, many well preserved due to the fresh cold water. In 2018 an intact 1927 Chevy Coupe was discovered in the hull of the Manasoo, a ship that went down in 1928 north of Owen Sound. Oddly enough, they claim this ship wreck was caused by cows…here is a link to further info with pictures:
#9: Camp Kitchikewana on Beausoleil Island is over 100 years old and I know that cause my Grandma went there as a kid and hopefully it continues for another 100! Nothing beats an outdoor education as a kid.
#10 Fun Fact: Yes boaters, there was a Henry! Henry’s Fish at Frying Pan Island was founded over 50 years ago by Henry Lepage, a commercial fisherman on the Bay. Here is a link to this very interesting story and, although no longer involved with the restaurant, his son has continued the family’s commercial fishing tradition:
So this weekend while enjoying the stunning sunsets and evening sky from your boat or cottage, remember our Georgian Bay is a true world class destination like no other! If we all do our part to keep it that way, the Bay will be here forever! Happy Canada Day everyone!