Pelee Island: A Weekend Getaway from Toronto

I’ve lived in Ontario for several years, but I had never ventured to its tip, Pelee Island. The island is located just north of Middle Island, which is Canada’s most southerly point.

A sunny weekend ahead, we decided to pack the tents in our Honda CRV and go for it!

Around three and a half hours drive from Toronto, you’ll reach Kingsville Ferry Terminal, where it is surprisingly cheap to get a car over to Pelee. We drove aboard the boat with a cargo full of barbecue treats ready to cook around our campfire, and of course a few cheeky beers in the back ready to crack open later as we celebrated our latest adventure.

Pelee Island Ferry
Our Honda CRV crossing on the Pelee Island Ferry from Kingsville

The journey over to Pelee was blissful as we watched the Canadian flag flap in the winds against the blue skies and deep blue water. You can take it all in with a glass of Pelee Island wine, too, which is available from the ferry cafe. Yum.

After about an hour, we arrived on Pelee Island ready to find our home for the next two evenings, the East Shore Campground. Pitching up, we had a few hours to play in the sun before fire time so we headed straight to the beach for a jump about in the lake waves. Ahoy there, seagulls!

Our Honda CRV at Pelee Island East Shore Campground

On the menu was sausages and baked potatoes with a delicious smoked Gouda we had sourced in Kingsville. Some friendly camping neighbours gifted us some fresh corn, telling us all about a number of produce spots alongside the roads leading up to the ferry terminal on the mainland, which we stopped at on the way home to obtain scandalous amounts of fresh tomatoes for $2!

A night under the stars in our tents saw us refreshed to hike across the island to the Pelee Island Winery, which offers tasting tours for just $5 per person. Here we learned all about the grapes grown on the island and pressed on the mainland, and even got to try some of the delicious fruit for ourselves. Nothing, though, was as delicious as the wine we were treated to in the tasting section of our tour. We unanimously decided the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Ladies wine was our favourite, so much so we bought a bottle to take home.

Pelee Island Winery
Pelee Island Winery

Feeling bright eyed and rosy cheeked after our vino venture, we travelled up the lake shore for a cheeky afternoon ice cream at Pelee Island Coneheads, which we ate overlooking the views of the afternoon sun reflecting on the water.

As our final adventure of the day, we took the short hike up to the most northerly tip of the island to a secret lighthouse, hidden amongst trees and rocks. Sadly it was built after several cargo ships had already sunk in the area! From here you can look over to the vast expanses of water and spot other little land masses.

Pelee Island Lighthouse
Pelee Island Lighthouse

Pelee Island is an excellent area for nature! Throughout our stay, we spotted two snakes, a number of loons, cormorants, some rabbits, a few too many spiders and my very first encounter with a stick insect! What a treat. I am also told that the island is the only Canadian home to the small mouthed salamander, which I can only assume were hiding under some damp logs as we traipsed the islands idyllic trails.

On our final day, before heading back on the ferry to Kingsville, we stopped at Conorlee’s Bakery for a delicious lunch of pickerel chowder, served with a tasty garlic and cheese bun. We had to nab a few cakes to take home with us too… it would have been criminal not to!

Back on the ferry we went, waving goodbye to our beautiful weekend escape, feeling very good about one of Ontario’s best-kept secrets.

Thanks to Honda Canada for providing the press vehicle for review. For more information about Pelee Island, visit www.pelee.org.

 

 

Rebecca Felgate
About Rebecca Felgate 107 Articles
Writer for Toronto Guardian