chantry island

Chantry Island in Ontario is surrounded by shipwrecks and home to an old lighthouse

Chantry Island is where to go if you want to feel like a modern-day explorer. The beautiful isle on Lake Huron is encircled by abandoned shipwrecks and home to a towering historic lighthouse. 

The isolated piece of land, just south of the mouth of the Saugeen River and about a kilometre off the shore of Southampton, is also a natural sanctuary for migratory birds of all kinds. 

Its lighthouse was one of the earliest towers built on Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay, and has functioned for more than 150 years. 

Massive underwater boulders make this area one of the most treacherous in the Great Lakes, which is why there are over 50 known shipwrecks around the island. The lighthouse was built in an effort to help guide boats through the area. 

When visiting the island on a clear day, you might even be able to make out the outline of a few of these sunken ships. 

The island is accessible only with a scheduled boat tour provided by the Marine Heritage Society, so make sure to plan ahead if you wish to add this spot to your explorations this summer. 

Once on the island, climb the 107 steps in the lighthouse tower to reach the lightroom for an incredible view of the lake and surrounding 47-acres of rocky land. 

There's also the recently restored home of the lighthouse keeper, which was in use until the early 1950s, and a boathouse on the dock to check out.

The Marine Heritage Society is currently taking tour bookings for the 2022 season, which will run from May 28 until September 11. Online bookings are not accepted, so reach them by email or phone to confirm.

Each two-hour tour costs $30 per person. 

Make sure to respect the rules of the area during your visit. Adhere to social distancing measures by visiting with a small group and pick up your trash to leave the area just as beautiful as you found it.

Lead photo by

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