Shopping and Sightseeing

There are five main centres on the Bruce Peninsula, each with a distinctive character:

Wiarton Train Station

Wiarton Train Station

HISTORIC WIARTON

The largest and oldest of the Bruce Peninsula communities is Wiarton. A major port in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Wiarton was also a railhead, back when there were railways. All that’s left now is the station. Built in 1904, the station was recently designated under Ontario Heritage.

Wiarton is worth exploring for its architecture alone. When it was a major port, it was home to many of the movers and shakers of the Ontario frontier. Those families built beautiful homes along the edge of the escarpment; many of those homes are still standing proud. It is well worth taking a couple of hours to drive, cycle or walk around the town.

Downtown, the century old streetscape is mainly red brick with a lot of limestone in less visible locations such as footings and sidewalls.

The shops vary from quirky to mainstream, but the town has been a regional supply centre for 150 years. You can find pretty much everything in Wiarton.

Restaurants offer a wide variety of options from fast food to casual fine dining.

A pedestrian-friendly town, Wiarton offers excellent on-street parking, but there are also large lots immediately behind the stores on the uphill side of Berford Street.

Sauble Beach

Sauble Beach

SAUBLE BEACH

Sauble Beach is the consummate summer party town, and has been for most of a century. The stores and shops sell everything a beach party (or a beachfront cottage) could possibly need.

Sauble offers a variety of sit-down and take-out food, a speedway and, of course, many miles of world-class sandy beach. Parking fees apply.

LION’S HEAD

One visit to Lion’s Head and you will want to make it a regular stop. The views are nothing less than stunning. The limestone cliff rises from the turquoise Caribbean coloured waters; at sunset and sunrise they turn an amazing pink with the sun’s reflection.

One of the must do’s in Lion’s Head is the Bruce Trail. You can park at Moore Street, see the Indian Potholes and Lion’s Head Point. A shorter walk begins at Lion’s Head Beach .

Lion’s Head is a designated Dark Sky community. On Friday and Saturday nights in July and August be sure to take in Bayside Astronomy (see www.bpba.ca).

The village of Lion’s Head offers stunning views of limestone cliffs and clear blue water. Make your way down to the marina to see if you can spot the Lion’s Head in the cliffs.

The village of Lion’s Head offers stunning views of limestone cliffs and clear blue water. Make your way down to the marina to see if you can spot the Lion’s Head in the cliffs.

Lion’s Head is small but mighty. It offers almost every amenity you could want — grocery store, hardware, bank, LCBO/beer store, hospital, pharmacy, garage, chiropractor, dentist, restaurants and some great shopping — all within easy walking distance. There are also artists’ studios and regular events.

FERNDALE

Located at the intersection of roads to Lion’s Head, Stokes Bay and Tobermory, Ferndale has developed a healthy service sector with restaurants, stores and gas stations. Once mostly marshland, the Ferndale Flats were drained to produce land for farming and grazing cattle.

In 2002 an entrepreneur saw the potential of the area and erected three large wind turbines at the narrowest part of the Peninsula to catch the wind between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.

TOBERMORY

Tobermory began life as a port and fishing village and retains the character and picturesque charm. Over the last half century, Tobermory has become something else as well.

Tobermory Harbour

Tobermory Harbour

With two national parks, the largest car ferry on the great lakes, world class boat tours and much more, Tobermory has become a major tourist destination. It has art galleries, dozens of shops, a pioneer museum and a National Park Visitor Centre. It is the SCUBA diving capital of Canada, with several vessels taking diving and snorkel groups out to historic shipwrecks.

More than a dozen restaurants offering everything from fast food to fine dining. In case of doubt, order Whitefish — it has been a local specialty for 70 years. There is live entertainment in the pubs most weekends.

Tobermory is also a very pleasant place to walk around, with benches, picnic tables, monuments, interpretive stations and a boardwalk.

Getting rid of your car can be an issue. Parking downtown is sparse and time-limited, but there are two large, paved lots within a three-minute walk of downtown. The Community Centre (with the large, blue Welcome Centre sign) parking lot offers free, all day parking, as does the Legion Street Lot (turn west on Hay Bay Road, then right on Legion Street).