Peninsula is a peninsula in Ontario, Canada, that lies
Georgian Bay and the main basin of Lake Huron. The peninsula
extends roughly northwestwards from the rest of Southern Ontario,
pointing towards Manitoulin Island, with which it forms the widest
Georgian Bay to the rest of Lake Huron. The Bruce
Peninsula contains part of the geological formation known as the
From an administrative standpoint, the Bruce
Peninsula is part of
Bruce County, named after
James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin
James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin (Lord Elgin),
Governor General of the Province of Canada. A popular tourist
destination for camping, hiking and fishing, the area has two national
Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine
Park), more than half a dozen nature reserves, and the Bruce Peninsula
Bird Observatory. The
Bruce Trail runs through the region to its
northern terminus in the town of Tobermory.
Peninsula is a key area for both plant and animal wildlife.
Part of the
Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, the peninsula
has the largest remaining area of forest and natural habitat in
Southern Ontario and is home to some of the oldest trees in eastern
North America. An important flyway for migrating birds, the peninsula
is habitat to a variety of animals, including black bear, massasauga
rattlesnake, and barred owl.
Niagara Escarpment in the Bruce
Peninsula National Park.
Smokey head White Bluffs near Lion's Head, Ontario.
1.1 History from the 19th century
1.2 Natural history of the Bruce
Peninsula and the Niagara Escarpment
1.3 Native history
5 Wildflowers and orchids
8 External links
History from the 19th century
Up until the mid-19th century, the area known as the Bruce Peninsula
was territory controlled by the Saugeen
Ojibway Nations. The nations
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and Saugeen
First Nation. Historical and archaeological evidence from the area
concludes that at the time of first contact with Europeans, the
peninsula was inhabited by the Odawa people, from whom a large number
of local native people are descended. Oral history from Saugeen and
Nawash suggests their ancestors have been here as early as 7500 years
ago. The area of Hope Bay is known to natives as Nochemoweniing, or
Place of Healing.
In 1836 the Saugeen
Ojibway signed a treaty with Sir Francis Bond Head
to cede lands south of the peninsula to the Canadian government in
exchange for learning agriculture, proper housing, assistance in
becoming “civilized,” and for permanent protection of the
peninsula. In 1854, the Saugeen
Ojibway agreed to sign another treaty
– this time for the peninsula itself. In 1994, after decades on
increasing First Nations activism, the Saugeen
Ojibway filed a suit
for a land claim for part of their traditional territory; they claimed
breach of trust by the Crown in failing to meet its treaty obligations
to protect Aboriginal lands. The claim seeks the return of lands still
held by the Crown and financial compensation for other lands. This
claim is still active.
European settlement began on the peninsula in the mid-19th century,
despite its poor potential for agricultural development. Attracted by
the rich fisheries and lush forest, settlers found the land known then
as the “Indian or Saugeen Peninsula” to be irresistible. In 1881
settlers built the first sawmill on the peninsula in Tobermory. In
less than 20 years most of the valuable timber was gone and timber
industry jobs declined. Fuelled by the waste left
behind by the rapid logging and land clearances, intense fires sprang
up around the peninsula. By the mid-1920s formerly
abundant forests of the peninsula were nearly barren. When the lamprey
eel was accidentally introduced to the
Great Lakes in 1932, the
devastation on the fish supply made the peninsula a less attractive
place to live. Many left when fish stocks were depleted. The peninsula
underwent a steady decline in population until the 1970s. In the late
20th century, the peninsula started to attract a new kind of resident,
the cottager. Today seasonal residents out-number permanent residents.
The peninsula is a victim of its own success. The summer influx of
tourists is so great that many attractions, parking, and
infrastructure are overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
Natural history of the Bruce
Peninsula and the Niagara
Over-look towards the
Niagara Escarpment at Dyer's Bay, Bruce
Overhanging Point along the Bruce Trail
In its southern
Ontario portion, the
Niagara Escarpment is a ridge of
rock several hundred metres high in some locations,
stretching 725 kilometres (450 mi) from Queenston on the Niagara
River, to Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Today, in
Ontario, the Escarpment contains more than 100 sites of geological
significance, including some of the best exposures of rocks and
fossils of the
Ordovician periods (405 to 500 million
years old) to be found anywhere in the world.
Niagara Escarpment has origins dating to the
Silurian age some 430
to 450 million years ago, a time when the area lay under a shallow
warm sea. This sea lay in a depression of the Earth's crust, centred
in what is now the lower peninsula of the State of Michigan. Known
geologically as the
Michigan Basin, the outer rim of this massive
saucer-shaped feature governs the location of the Niagara Escarpment,
which is shaped like a gigantic horseshoe. The Escarpment can be
traced from near Rochester, New York, south of Lake
Hamilton, north to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula. It is covered by
the waters of Lake Huron, appearing as Manitoulin Island, then across
Michigan and down the west side of Lake
Michigan into the State of Wisconsin.
As occurs with present-day water bodies, such as Hudson Bay or the
Gulf of Mexico, rivers flowing into this ancient sea carried sand,
silt and clay to be deposited as thick layers of sediment. At the same
time lime-rich organic material from the abundant sea life was also
accumulating. Over millions of years these materials became compressed
into massive layers of sedimentary rocks and ancient reef structures
now visible along the Escarpment. Some rock layers now consist of soft
shales and sandstones while others are made up of dolostone (a rock
similar to limestone which contains magnesium and is more durable).
Today, fossil remains illustrating the various life forms can be found
in many of the rocks as they are slowly exposed by the action of wind,
water and ice.
Saugeen First Nation is an
First Nation located along the
Saugeen River and Bruce
Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. The original
territory included all of the
Saugeen River watershed and all of the
Organized in the mid-1970s, during a period of increased political
Saugeen First Nation declared itself the primary 'political
successor apparent' to the historic Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway
Territory, who had occupied this territory and made treaties with the
Crown. However, along with the Saugeen First Nation,
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation also claims to be the
'political successor apparent' to the Chippewa of Saugeen Ojibway
Territory. Under the Saugeen Tract Agreement, the portion south of
Owen Sound was ceded to the Crown, with reserves later established on
the Bruce Peninsula.
The claims for land and payment of rent on lands discussed in early
treaties are significant. "The two First Nations are claiming
aboriginal title to the lands under the water covering an area of Lake
Georgian Bay from south of Goderich, west to the
international border and north to the mid-point between the tip of the
Peninsula and Manitoulin Island; then east to the mid-point of
Georgian Bay and south to the southern-most point of Nottawasaga Bay."
There are 2 National Parks, 8
Ontario Parks, and 4 Federation of
Ontario Naturalists Parks located within the Bruce Peninsula.
The "Grotto" at the Bruce
Peninsula National Park.
Peninsula National Park  - In the heart of a World Biosphere
Reserve, the park contains massive, rugged cliffs inhabited by
thousand year old cedar trees. The park is composed of an array of
habitats from alvars to dense forests and several small lakes.
Together these form a greater ecosystem - the largest remaining chunk
of natural habitat in southern Ontario.
Fathom Five National Marine Park
Fathom Five National Marine Park  - The waters at the mouth of
Georgian Bay are home to Fathom Five - Canada's first National Marine
Conservation Area. The park preserves 22 shipwrecks and several
historic light stations. Fathom Five’s freshwater ecosystem contains
some of the most pristine waters of the Great Lakes. The park
contains rugged lake bed topography that is popular with scuba divers.
Ontario Parks  - include:
Black Creek 
Ira Lake 
Johnstons Harbour 
Little Cove 
Cabot Head 
Smoky Head 
Lion's Head 
Hope Bay Forest 
Ontario Naturalists  -
Ontario Nature works to
protect and restore the species, spaces and landscapes that represent
the full diversity of nature in Ontario.
The Bruce Peninsula's shoreline has several lighthouses, necessary to
provide guidance to the many ships that would pass by her shores.
The Cove Island Light, located near Tobermory is one of the six famous
"Imperial" lighthouses built in the 1850s by John Brown which can be
found on the mainland and on nearby islands of the northern Bruce
Cove Island Light
Cove Island Light in the Bruce Peninsula.
Other lighthouses include:
Lion's Head Lighthouse
Big Tub Lighthouse
Knife & Lyal Island Lighthouse
Cape Croker Lighthouse
Cabot Head Lighthouse
There are many varieties of wildlife on the Bruce Peninsula, such as
the northern flying squirrel, black bear, chipmunk, fisher, long-eared
bats, red squirrel, fox, massasauga rattlesnake, red-shouldered hawk,
barred owl, hermit thrush, black-throated blue warbler, scarlet
tanager and yellow-spotted salamander.
Peninsula is located on a major northern migration route, so
many species of birds, such as the bald eagle, have their wintering
The highest concentration of nesting birds can be found in the Bruce
in May and June each year. About 20 species of warblers breed on "the
Bruce," including the black-throated green, yellow, yellow-rumped, and
Blackburnian warblers and the ubiquitous American redstart. They make
their summer homes in the extensive wooded areas along the Peninsula.
The annual Huron Fringe Birding Festival in May observes the spring
migration. The endangered piping plover has made a comeback along the
northern shores of Sauble Beach as well, and nest in restricted areas
of the beach. These are well marked to prevent visitors overrunning
the area and to reduce negative human effects. Migrating hawks also
follow the Niagara Escarpment. Hawks travel during the day, and can be
seen in the vicinity of Cabot Head in the open areas west of Dyers
Bay, and near Tobermory, in April.
Wildflowers and orchids
Pink ladies slipper orchid in the Bruce Peninsula.
Some of the rarest flowers and ferns in
Ontario can be found growing
on the Bruce Peninsula. For example: lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris
herbacea var. glabra), dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris), and northern
holly fern (Polystichum lonchitis)
Globally, there are more than 30,000 orchid species.
Canada is home to
77 of these species.
Ontario has 61 varieties of orchids, and of
these, 44 can be found in the Bruce Peninsula.
A selection of interesting orchids on the Bruce Peninsula:
yellow lady's slipper — Cypripedium parviflorum
nodding ladies' tresses — Spiranthes cernua
eastern prairie fringed orchid — Platanthera leucophaea
ram's-head lady's-slipper — Cypripedium arietinum
European common twayblade — Neottia ovata
helleborine — Epipactis helleborine
Peninsula is composed of the Municipalities of Northern
Peninsula and South Bruce Peninsula.
The main villages in these regions are as follows:
Sauble Beach, Ontario.
Tobermory is located at the northern end of the Bruce Peninsula.
It has a landing for the passenger-car ferry MS Chi-Cheemaun. Nearby
Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park.
This port village has galleries, tourist shops and a historic
Lion's Head is located in the centre of the Bruce
Georgian Bay. The village has a public marina and sandy beach.
Wiarton, near the south end of the peninsula, is the home of Wiarton
Sauble Beach is more than seven miles (11 km) long.
^ a b Parks
^ "Geology of the Escarpment"
^ Geology of the Escarpment
Canada - Bruce
Peninsula National Park. Pc.gc.ca (2011-11-23).
Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
Canada - Fathom Five National Marine Park. Pc.gc.ca
(2011-11-23). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
Fathom Five National Marine Park
Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada
^ Welcome to
Ontario Parks. Ontarioparks.com (2013-01-16). Retrieved
^ Johnston Harbour - Pine Tree Point. Ontarioparks.com (2002-11-07).
Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
^ Hope Bay Forest. Ontarioparks.com (2002-11-07). Retrieved on
^  Archived August 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Tobermory Thebrucepeninsula.com, Retrieved on 2013-07-12
^ Lion's Head. Thebrucepeninsula.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
^ Sauble beach Chamber of Commerce
Guide to the Bruce Peninsula
Official website of Bruce
Peninsula Bird Observatory
Satellite view of the Bruce
Peninsula - dead link.
Coordinates: 44°56′43″N 81°16′37″W / 44.94536°N
81.27686°W / 4