Flowerpot Island in Tobermory Ontario Will Blow Your Mind
Sometimes it takes someone to tell you about a place you never heard of to ignite your curiosity. And those blessed times when you are able to embark on a journey to witness that spot for yourself do come along now and then. Well this happened to me. Sitting at my desk planning summer trips and weekends discovering my own backyard, my colleague started raving about a spot in Southwestern Ontario she just learned about that may fit perfectly on the Heavenly Centenary adventure – Flowerpot Island, Tobermory Ontario.
A Few Facts About Flowerpot Island
- Flowerpot Island is approx. 2 km round in size
- Wildlife seen on this island include birds, snakes, squirrels, and chipmunks, and a bunch of pesky insects
- The island is located within Georgian Bay, a large body of water fed by Lake Huron
- There are two remaining flower pots. There was a third one that toppled in 1903.
- You can get to Flowerpot Island, a Canadian National Park, by boat or by raft. Tours frequent the island, bringing visitors from Tobermory.
- The flowerpots were formed through water, ice, wind, and dirt. The natural erosion through the ages caused this unique structure to form at the water’s edge where a cliff used to stand.
- There are camping facilities and fantastic hikes on the island.
- There is only one place for food and only one public washroom on the island.
Blue Heron Cruises
For our Flowerpot Island excursion, we opted to take a cruise via Blue Heron Cruises available right at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Tobermory. There are a couple of companies that run this cruise, but my advice to you is to book it a few days in advance to avoid disappointment. The cruises only go out to Flowerpot Island a few times daily and only bring a certain number of visitors to preserve the natural island environment.
The Blue Heron Cruise that we took included a stop on Flowerpot Island, glass bottom, and a visit to the famous shipwrecks of Tobermory. The price is $40+ per person depending on the cruise you choose. Some do not stop on the island and only allows for photographs from the water.
The Tobermory Shipwrecks
So Tobermory has been deemed one of the scuba capitals of North America. A great accolade to receive considering that Georgian Bay is not an ocean and for the most part scuba destinations are more focused on marine life, coral reefs, sharks, and all that jazz. But here in Tobermory, divers are enamoured by the clear water, the summer weather, and the mysterious 20+ shipwrecks found in the region.
When you head on a cruise or a scuba tour in Tobermory, the crew will bring you to Big Tub Harbour to show you two of the famous shipwrecks. Now don’t worry, nobody died on these ships and the reasons for their demise were strictly mechanical.
The first shipwreck that the cruise takes you to see is named Sweepstakes. It was built in Burlington Ontario in 1867. Sadly, the ship got damaged off Cove Island in Georgian Bay, and as it was being towed to Bathtub Harbour, sank right then and there in 1885. It is a diver’s haven as many enjoy exploring the centuries-old wreck for treasures. What is so incredible is the clarity of the water and the ability to see the ship from above. I am sure the aerial views are exceptional, but even from the Blue Heron Ship’s 2nd level, the vessel is as clear as a bell. Another option to see the sunken ships is to look through the glass bottom on the boat; however, from experience if you want great photos, do not rely on this method. The glass bottom is TINY and there are reinforcement wood panes obstructing your view. Sadly the photographs won’t be as impressive as if you were to go to the top level of the boat.
City of Grand Rapids Shipwreck
The City of Grand Rapids is the second shipwreck that the cruise takes you to view. This passenger ship sadly caught on fire while docked in Big Tub Harbour. Customary for ships that are burning, the ship was towed into open water and eventually sank. It is approximately 9 feet below the water surface and in quite shallow waters that are best for snorkelers over divers. This is the second ship that the cruise boats take passengers to see as it is clearly visible from above.
Arriving on Flowerpot Island
This island is the perfect spot for a day trip of exploring nature. Keep this in mind when planning your trip here as it has very few conveniences we are accustomed to nowadays. There is no WIFI or mobile signal on the island, no washrooms, and no water. Here is a list of things to pack to prepare for your time here:
- Bottled Water
- Hiking Shoes
- Water Shoes
- Swimwear for the beach
- Picnic supplies – food, plates, napkins
- Garbage Bags – you will be supplied with one, but you may need more
- Bug Spray
- Cash to pay the conservation fee
You are given approximately 2-3 hours to explore the island. If you want more, than be sure to let the boat team know so that they can update their records on your departure time from the island. We found that 2 hours was sufficient, but we didn’t swim or camp on the beach. The Canada Parks have done a great job in clearly marking trails, developing stairs, and making it a comfortable environment for all explorers. Camping facilities are available for those wishing to stay for more than one day. Do ensure to advise the cruise company you book with of your plans so that you are not stranded on the island for longer than you plan.
All in all it was a wonderful and scenic experience to see Tobermory’s beautiful island and sights. I am not usually one for shipwrecks, but these I didn’t mind as no humans died on either of them. The water is so clear making for exceptional photographic memories. I highly recommend the stopover on Flowerpot Island over just seeing it from the boat as you can get up close and personal with the ancient flowerpots that have been amazing travellers and visitors for centuries.
This experience is on our Heavenly Centenary Sights Bucket List (printable below) as we know Granddad would have truly enjoyed seeing Tobermory, Flowerpot Island, and the shipwrecks himself. Follow along with us on this incredible journey and tell us about your Ontario adventures.
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