The Canadian Heaven: Tobermory
Jennifer J. Lacelle
What’s more magical than a glowing cave on a cloudless summer day? Not much. If you’re looking for one such experience, The Grotto (Tobermory, Ontario) is the place to go.
This sea cave has an underwater tunnel that leads from the opening all the way to Georgian Bay. Due to this, the cave often has a spectacular luminescence from sunlight that streams through the underground water tunnel. The cave is an extremely busy location as thousands of tourists visit the site every year. In fact, it’s recommended to reserve your parking far in advance, there’s also a four-hour time limit.
Tobermory has a great deal to offer when it comes to it’s clear, glistening waters. There are over 20 shipwrecks in the area that are not only historically fascinating but are perfect diving opportunities. There are five permitted diving locations, suitable for beginners to pros, that are available for dive passes. The area receives over 8,000 divers a year and has become known as prolific diving location in Canada.
Tobermory’s stunningly clear waters also feature two different cruise opportunities. One is the Chi-Cheemaun, which has made thousands of trips from Tobermory all the way to Manitoulin Island. The boat features an art galley, shop, vehicle transport, live entertainment, a full menu and more.
The other cruise business in action is Blue Heron Cruises. They offer three types of boat rides. One is their sunset cruise whose departure times vary to keep up with dusk. It follows the Niagara Escarpment to The Grotto. Their second cruise is the Nonstop Scenic Cruise which is about 1.5 hours, cruises over two shipwrecks and rides through a couple magnificent channels. The third is a Drop Off Cruise to Flowerpot Island.
This island features beds of rock, more described as pillars, that have the appearance of flowerpots. Flowerpot Island is part of the Niagara Escarpment, which spans 700-kilometers from Niagara Falls all the way to Tobermory. Visitors of the small island can spend a whole day or half day on the island exploring the trail, scenery or swimming the waters. It’s also possible to camp on the island provided reservations are made in advance.
Feel the need to shop? A hankering that can’t be stopped? Head to their local stores! Some of which include Verna’s, The Chart Shop, and The Net Shed. They each offer an array of items, including specialized souvenirs, clothing, camping gear and more.
When you’re famished from all the exploration, head over to The Fish & Chip Place. They serve fresh whitefish from Georgian Bay alongside French fries, salads and draft beer (or juice for the kiddos).
Let’s not forget community staple Crowsnest Pub & Restaurant, whose menu includes burgers and fries, beers on tap, oh and live entertainment.
Feeling a crave for something on the sweeter side, yet still a meal, then visit the Shoreline Café & Lunch Patio. They offer Belgian waffles, pancakes, burgers, and sandwiches galore!
Finally, end your day with a high note at one of the community’s many lodging options. In fact, there are over 45 places to pick from! However, one place of note is Trail’s End Lodge. It was built in 1912 by the Canadian government (Department of Naval Service). In the 1940s it was sold to a private entity and turned into lodging for tourists.
It features nine bedrooms, two kitchens, three bathrooms and a living room. The lounge is separated by a fireplace where people are welcome to relax with a cocktail or read a book. The lounge has access to a deck that also leads to a boardwalk along the stunning Georgian Bay.
The perfect end to a perfect day.