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Perfect Weekends: Manitoulin Island

Now that we’ve peaked your interest with our guide the perfect fish fry; why not travel to the part of Ontario where they do it best?

Manitoulin Island — Mnidoo Mnising in the Anishnaabeg language — is the largest island in a freshwater lake in the world and has itself dozens of inland lakes. The region is known for its pristine water, premier sailing areas, intact eco-systems, and rich cultural diversity.

In the summer and fall months Manitoulin�s population of 12000 grows exponentially because of the excellent fishing spots, hiking trails, and bar-none some of the world�s greatest hunting. People pilgrimage for the natural wonders littered across the island too, including Bridal Veil Falls, the Cup & Saucer Bluff and the Providence bay Beach.

Split Rail Ale in Gore Bay has become a hub for beer and food lovers alike on the Island.
Split Rail Brewing Co. in Gore Bay has become a hub for beer and food lovers alike on the Island.
  1. The area is well-known and celebrated for it’s lakefish — especially if it comes from Purvis Fishery. Try it at The School House Restaurant in Providence Bay — a restaurant built in a, you guessed it, old school house!
  2. While in the area, make sure to swing by Gore Bay and get your hands on some Split Rail ale. The brewery was partially funded through Kickstarter and has since released two delicious beers: Split Rail Copper Lager and Split Rail Hawberry Ale.
  3. The patio at Buoys is a great spot to enjoy a pint of Split Rail come summer! They strive to use as many local, fresh and seasonal ingredients as possible, offering the very best of Manitoulin Island. Pair that pint with trout from Meeker’s or a pizza made with Loonsong Red Fife.
  4. Manatoulin’s best kept secret is a small garden restaurant in Mindemoya called Maja’s. We suggest venturing on a sunny afternoon to try their homemade sorbet’s made with locally grown and foraged edibles like lilac, choke cherry and our favorite: sweet woodruff!
  5. Everyone knows the north grows the best wild blueberries — but have you heard of hawberries? Hawberries are the Island’s trademark treat. They’re said to taste like over-ripe apples and are so celebrated, that people born on the Island are lovingly called ‘Haweaters’.
  6. Come night fall, grab a table or a stool at The Anchor Inn. Have them pour you a pint and introduce you to some of the regulars. It’s the best way to find out why this area is so special.

Planning a trip to Northern Ontario? We’d love to know! Share your experiences with us @OntarioCulinary.