Sunday, July 20, 2008

Georgian Bay - Philip Edwards Island (near Killarney)

It's hard to imagine a better place for kayak-camping than the Georgian Bay. Thousands of picturesque islands, many of them publicly owned with free camping access outside of provincial park boundaries (first-come first-served basis).

We circumnavigated Philip Edward Island on a 7-day (6-night) expedition in early July with our guides Denis and Jérome of Détour Nature ( Transportation was provided to/from Montreal as was all kayaking and cooking equipment. Participants provided camping equipment and clothing.

The islands include a surprisingly diverse array of flowers.

The islands also included some spectacular wildlife. Below is the only venomous rattlesnake in Ontario, the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake:

The food in two of our kayaks was gulped down by a young black bear just as we were loading up to leave for the day. Below is a picture of Mama Bear who obviously wasn't supervising her young cub closely enough!

The scenery was breathtaking and we enjoyed this trip so much, we're already planning on going back as soon as possible.

We truly enjoyed sharing this experience with a fine group of participants, we'll cherish the memories for a long time to come.

Photo credits: first and last picture by Françis Simard, all others by author

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Blogger QAJAKJRNY said...

I plan to do Prince Edward Island for a 3 day trip this July or August .
I will appreciate if you can provide recommendation/trip details as to possible routes for a 3 day/2night trip

2:41 PM  
Blogger Marc Charron said...

For the Philip Edward Island, access is from the Chikanishing River. There is a parking lot at the end of Chikanishing Road. You have to get a parking permit from the Killarney Provincial Park Office on the way in (on route 637).

From there, paddle out to Rattle Island to start with. Then, depending on what time of the day it is, you have an almost unlimited number of islands to pick from that surround PEI.

Depending on a lot of factors (weather & water conditions, your skills and endurance, if you want to take your time or see a lot of the area, etc...) you might want to consider:

- Crab Island
- Le Hayes Island
- Solomon Island
- Jill Island
- Lowe Island
- Blockbuster Island (with two apparently excellent viewpoints)
- Fox Islands (East, Center, Sly and West)
- Martins Island
- etc...

There are lots of bays worth exploring also, such as:

- Winakaching Bay
- West Desjardin Bay
- others...

I strongly suggest you purchase Chrismar's map for the area, it will be your best planning tool and will make navigation much easier. See for details.

Let me know if you want additional details.

Have a good trip!

9:33 PM  
Blogger QAJAKJRNY said...

The information is greatly appreciated, Thanks

12:25 AM  
Blogger Michelle Duncan said...

Hello we are planning a trip with three families to Prince Edward Island because we understand we won't need a camping permit and our group of13 can stay together. How long will it take from the access point to canoe to the island. We are slow. Also you mentioned a number of other Islands and inlets, are they also crown land. Is there a place you would recommend? Thanks

9:00 PM  
Blogger Marc Charron said...

Sorry for taking so long to respond to your comment. You will need a parking permit if using the parc's lot but no camping permit (assuming you stay off private lands and reserves). Suggest you get the map from Chrismar to plan your trip. Finding a spot for 13 can be challenging but not impossible. With canoes you may have more otions than we had with sea kayaks. Suggest you camp ontthe "bay-side" of the island or one of the adjacent islands. The "inlet-side" has only one fair option for a group of that size. I don't know how slow is "slow" so I can't estimate the time it will take you.

6:16 PM  
Blogger isabelle Dupont said...


We will be going from Chikanishing river to Edward iland, to french river and back.

Is there any place to sleap near Chikanishing River so we could start early in the morning ?

8:56 PM  
Blogger Marc Charron said...

Yes, many people start by camping on Eastern part of South Point Island on the way in, usually late in the day after a long drive to get to Killarney. It has fairly generous open areas allowing for multiple campsites. During the peak season, it can get fairly busy there. If you don't find a spot there, the Western tip of Phillip Edward Island is very close by and has room for a half dozen tents. That's where I took my favourite picture

I strongly recommend that you buy Chrismar's waterproof map of Phillip Edward Island. I did not check but they may have a map of French River also.

Have a great trip, I can't wait to go back.

11:03 PM  

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