Even people who’ve lived in Ontario their whole lives don’t always know about Manitoulin Island or the world-class grass-fed beef that’s produced here. We like it that way, but we’ll let you in on a few details if you promise to keep them to yourself!
First European Settlement: 1830’s
Size: 135 km long (83 miles); 55 km (34 miles) at widest
Population: about 13,000 year-round; 40,000 during summer
Getting to and from Manitoulin: 100-minute ferry ride from May to October, plus a short, year-round single-lane swing bridge
Climate: Cool, maritime climate, gardening zone 4B to 5A. Corn heat units: 2400-2500
Geology and Landscape: northern extent of Niagara Peninsula; limestone bedrock pokes through soil in some areas. Over 100 inland lakes on Manitoulin.
Last Word: authentically rural atmosphere; unique combination of real small towns, agricultural communities and clean, healthy lakes.
Nestled along the north shore of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada, Manitoulin Island and is one of the most diverse rural spots you’ll find anywhere. It’s a place of forest, farmland, over 100 inland lakes and ocean-like shore along the Lake Huron coast. More than one person has described Manitoulin as “forever on the fringe”. The abundance and diversity of birds and wildlife here is remarkable, and it exists in unusual harmony with the beef cattle on the Island.
Although Manitoulin residents consider themselves northerners, the landscape and climate is more like southern Ontario. Even though Manitoulin borders the granite rock and white pines of the Canadian Shield to the north, it’s a limestone island reminiscent of southern Ontario a century ago. Forested with a mix of cedar, poplar, spruce, hard maple, oak and beech, cattle raised on Manitoulin enjoy an uncommon mix of pastures, grasslands and access to the shade of forest trees.
Manitoulin’s century-old agricultural heritage does a lot to lend a character of settlement to the land. Three-generation family farms are common enough to be ordinary. Several full-service towns show what rural life can be like when the nearest Wal-Mart is three hours drive away. Where else but on Manitoulin could you find a town of 900 people that boasts two pharmacies, a new car dealership, a modern grocery store, the district courthouse, an elementary school, nursing home, doctor/dentist’s clinic, an outstanding health food store, a modern ambulance base, a complete library, summer theatre, a hair salon, restaurants, curling and skating rinks, and a golf course.
If you end up liking our beef so much you decide to move to Manitoulin, all we ask is that you don’t change anything! We like island life here just as it is.