Eco tours of Georgian Bay
Heading north from Toronto, the promise of adventure lies just beyond the most distant suburb.
As the bushy foliage of central Ontario merges with the hardy conifers of the north,
Georgian Bay slips into view — a deep, dark-blue inland sea that is an awesome remnant
of the glacial forces that carved this landscape.
Georgian Bay connects the rambling expanse of Manitoulin Island
in the north with the craggy cliffs of the Bruce Peninsula. In between,
the bay nudges the borders of Killarney, Parry Sound, Muskoka, and
Midland, while weaving through traditional territory of the Huron,
Ojibwa and Mohawk peoples.
It's a landscape that captures the imagination and strength
of the Canadian spirit. Wild, rugged, and startlingly beautiful — Georgian
Bay is a sanctuary for the wandering soul.
To book your Zodiac Wilderness Fly-Out Adventure on
Georgian Bay, email Robin Tapley at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call (705) 789-1399. Tours (2 nights, 3 days) run through July and
August, and prices range from $500 per guest for the basic trip to
$1,500 per guest for a trip with all the frills. Spaces are limited
for trips in summer 2007.
For travel information about Georgian Bay, visit www.ontariotravel.net/greatdrives or
call (800) 668-2746.
The Pointe au Baril lighthouse (est.1889) is open
to summer visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays to Mondays.
Visit lighthouse keeper Emmaline Madigan to learn more about the
region's rich history and to sample her homemade butter tarts.
To learn more, go to www.lhdepot.com and
search for "Pointe au Baril".
To learn more about the natural history of the
region, go to georgianbayecomuseum.com.
For information about Massasauga, Killbear or Killarney Provincial Parks,
or to reserve a campsite on Georgian Bay, visit www.ontarioparks.com.
For help planning your trip to Muskoka, check
But it's also a first-rate playground for the adventurous-at-heart.
Just ask Robin Tapley, a dedicated naturalist with more than 20
years' experience navigating Georgian Bay and beyond. Captaining
a Zodiac — a sturdy, inflatable rubber dingy with a 90 horsepower
outboard motor — Tapley guides visitors on overnight trips
through the maze of inlets and channels that flank the bay.
Tapley's tours take visitors along a coastline that is largely
inaccessible by car and introduces them to the ecological history
of the region.
The tours also offer a range of typically "Muskoka" experiences.
Well-heeled adventure-seekers can treat themselves to exotic meals
and luxurious accommodations at any of the local resorts, while
those looking to commune with nature can tour by water and camp
with a knowledgeable naturalist.
The Zodiac trips are limited to
five or six people, so guests are invited to customize their adventure.
Stop for a swim in the middle of a deep bay, scour the shore for
berries and wildflowers, or wander into the past with a visit
to the historic Pointe au Baril lighthouse. At the end of the day,
cozy up to a crackling fire and fall asleep under the stars to
the sound of the water lapping the shore.
— Julia Kilpatrick
About naturalist Robin Tapley|
Robin Tapley is a bush pilot, self-taught astronomer, ornithologist
and national and international expedition leader. He roamed the
woods on his family's property in Muskoka's magnificent
Lake of Bays as a child, and has led excursions to the Yukon, Antarctica,
the Galapagos, Madagascar and Costa Rica and many Canadian destinations.
He was the Newfoundland Circumnavigation Expedition Guide in 2003.
Eco-tourism or nature-based tourism is hardly unique to Canada.
Tapley calls it, "the fastest growing segment of the travel
industry worldwide. I can't help but be proud and excited
that I was leading green adventure treks over twenty years ago,
well before they became hot."
Tapley is also an environmental consultant who has
worked with the Canadian Wildlife Service, The Tourism Company,
Land of Lakes Tourism Association, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership
(OTMP) and the Canadian Tourism Commission. In addition to developing
educational materials and wetland inventories, he is a sought-after
speaker on the lecture circuit.
What gets you outdoors in the winter?