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Beausoleil Island
Kayaking Georgian Bay Islands National Park
©Outdoor Adventure Canada

The journey to Beausoleil Island by kayak begins at Honey Harbour. Due to the substantial boat traffic and unpredictable storms, only experienced kayakers should make the trip. Beausoleil Island is the largest of fifty nine islands that make up Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The National Park was created in 1929 to protect this unique maritime environment.

When you approach the island you are first met by desolate outer islands that have little or no vegetation. The sparse plant populations range from sedges and grasses to dwarf white pine. Bleak as the existence of these islands are; they provide a location for huge seagull and tern colonies and stopovers for migratory birds. Beausoleil Island has a dual personality because of its geology. The north end is barren Canadian Shield. The flora here consist of lichens, grasses; hardy flowering plants such as red nodding columbine that are then interspersed with scrub red oak and red juniper and finally punctuated with wind-swept white pine. These same weathered sentinels inspired the Group of Seven. The north end has a stark but delicate beauty.

The southern end of Beausoleil is opposite with its lush vegetation. This area would have had the shared the same environment as the north if it had not been for the layers of till deposited here by the Glaciers. These deposits provided a rich soil necessary for the mixed hardwood forest of sugar maple, beech and oak that support wildlife in the southern portion of the island. In addition to depositing till, the glaciers gouged out depressions that over time have become the variety of wetlands that dot the island. The perimeter of the island is predominantly rocky coastline with the exception of a few sandy beaches on the eastern shore and a beach of round stones on the western side.

The contrasting environments provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife species. There are 33 amphibian and reptile species, more than any other place in the country. The most noteworthy of these is the protected Eastern Massassaga rattlesnake, the only venomous in eastern Canada. This heavy bodied snake has a triangular head and is tan and brown color. You can read more about this snake in our Eastern Massassauga Rattlesnake article.

Beausoleil Island offers you varied camping experiences from primitive to semi-serviced sites. Cedar Spring campground has the most amenities and has excellent swimming. There are 87 sites and the campground has showers, flush toilets, fire pits, stone stoves and boat docking facilities. Tonch Point campground is next in line in the way of comforts with vault toilets and, like the Cedar Spring campground, has stone stoves, fire pits, and docking facilities. The point leads from the centre of the island and then protrudes toward the east side of the Bay. Honeymoon Bay is located on the North of the Island and is the final campground, consisting of only two sites at either side of the Bay. This location allows campers to view the awe inspiring big storms of the bay as they blow in. This campground is also in close proximity to the Fairy Trail. Each campground has its own unique view and the three are linked together by the Huron Trail.

With plentiful coves and inlets to explore, kayaking to and around Beausoleil Island provides a memorable paddling experience in a Canadian paradise.

For additional information please visit the Georgian Bay Islands National Park website.

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Beausoleil Island

Written by Laurie March
Photo of smooth rock shoreline ©Parks Canada/W. Waterton/Collection GBINP
Bottom Photo ©Parks Canada

masthead photo courtesy




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