Hidden Gems – Summer Gems: Cruising
by Leslie Gowen
June 6, 2023 – For many folks, late May and early June is the start of boating season. With so many large bodies of water close at hand, Central Ontario is the perfect place for water crafts of all kinds.
Love being on the water but don’t own a craft? No problem. Barrie, Orillia and the Muskoka area are filled with rental opportunities of canoes, kayaks, sailboats and cruisers. With a little bit of research, the perfect day out awaits you and your family.
Those wanting a more guided communal experience on a larger boat will also not be disappointed. Step back in time aboard the RMS Segwun. Operating out of Gravenhurst, this ship is the oldest continually operating Mail steamship in North America. This craft, built in 1887 was used not only to deliver Mail but also, like many other similar boats, to transport vacationers to lodges and cottages back when roads weren’t so plentiful or reliable. Now, from June til October climb aboard to enjoy short sightseeing excursions or lunch and sunset dinner cruises. To honour the important role the ship played in Ontario’s nautical history a stamp was created in 1987 to commemorate the Segwun.
Also located in Gravenhurst, head over to the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre for a fun filled family experience aboard the Wenonah ll. On select dates in July and August Pirate Cruises are offered from 9:30 to 11:30 am. With Captain Corbin at the helm, your trip is sure to be memorable.
Looking for a lifestyles of the rich and famous experience, the Lady Muskoka is just the ticket. Docked in Bracebridge, this 300 passenger ship provides access to beautiful landscapes, drinks and dining as well as a very popular Millionaire’s Row Muskoka Tour complete with locally sourced meals by an award winning chef. The huge open upper deck is also a popular draw for those wanting some extra fresh air and sunshine.
Head over to Midland to enjoy the best Georgian Bay has to offer via Georgian Spirit Cruises. Beausoleil Island and Honey Harbour are popular spots on this sightseeing tour. Lunch is available during the day and dinner is offered later on and during the sunset cruises.
Formerly known as the Miss Midland, the Tobermory Legacy is another 300 passenger cruise ship that offers 2 1/2 hour lunch and dinner cruises. Highlights of the tour include the Big Tub Lighthouse, Doctor and Russel Islands, Otter Island Channel, Cove Island Lighthouse and the world renowned Flower Pot Islands. Extend the experience by spending a night exploring the area in and around Tobermory.
With Ontario being such a « water rich » province why not celebrate the season by investigating its many beautiful lakes and waterways. All aboard!!