Outdoor Adventure Guide

Fathom Five National Marine Park

Fathom Five spans 50 square miles (80 square km) and is composed of 20 islands to the north and east of Bruce Peninsula. The islands of the Fathom Five where the Niagara Escarpment dips more than 656 feet (200 km) below the surface stake the northernmost portion of the park. It encompasses more than 100 on-and off-shore protected areas. The remarkable underwater topography is punctuated by the very human and tragic stories that come from the astounding number of shipwrecks still visible today.

Due to the park's position between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, it's usually sunnier and warmer in the summer. While severe weather is deflected away during the summer months, the reverse is true in the winter. Summer warmth extends further into the fall longer than most parts of Ontario, but heavy winter clouds mean later springs.

Camping is only permitted on Flowerpot Island within the Fathom Five park, but the nearby Bruce Peninsula National Park also offers a variety of camping choices. The parks are close enough to leave your car at one and day trip at the other. Be sure to tour the lighthouse on Flowerpot Island 's northeast corner. The area, staffed by volunteers, is a living history of the isolated and harsh life led by those who kept watch over the hauntingly beautiful Georgian Bay.

If You Go

  • Going snaky: Watch out for the garter snkes. They're harmless but because many of their natural predators haven't made it to the island, they are plentiful.
  • Going squirrelly: Guard your food from the squirrels. Native red squirrels are cute, but aggressive, and feeding them encourages rouge behavior.
  • Going romantic: Georgian Bay offers spectacular sunsets, which are worth planning your itinerary around.

How to Get There

  • By car: Fathom Five National Park is adjacent to Bruce Peninsula National Park. Take Highway 6 north from Southern Ontario via the Northland Ferry M.S. Chi-Cheemaun, (closed in winter). For details, call 519-596-2510 or 800-265-3163.
  • By other means: You can access the park by either private plane or boat.

When to Go

Fathom Five National Marine Park is open May to October, but diver registration begins as early as April. For a full range of fees, hours of operation and contact information, visit the official park site.

Reservations

Campsites can be reserved online or by calling directly:

  • In Canada : 877-737-3783 (877-RESERVE)
  • International: 905-426-4648
  • Sunset Dinner cruises ($40 per person): 800-265-3163
  • To reach the administration office contact 519-596-2233
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