Split Rail Brewery

Split Rail Brewery

Brewery • Gore Bay

About Split Rail Brewery

Founders Andrea Smith & Eleanor Charlton created Manitoulin Island’s first craft brewery, Split Rail Brewing Company in 2012.

After a Kickstarter campaign and an extensive search for the ideal site, Split Rail launched in 2015 in scenic Gore Bay, on the shores of Lake Huron’s North Channel.

Enjoy our licenced patio with lakeside views.

Our tasting room offers beer samples, by the 12oz glass, beer to go, merch and brewery tours.

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Contact Information:

31 Water St., Gore Bay

Zhiibaahaasing First Nation Traditional Powwow

Zhiibaahaasing First Nation Traditional Powwow

August 24th & 25th

Zhiibaahaasing First Nation is home to three monumental installations: the World’s Largest Peace Pipe, the World’s Largest Dream Catcher and the World’s Largest Powwow Drum and when anyone visits the Zhiibaahaasing Traditional Powwow the fourth weekend in August each year, they will also be visiting these much larger-than-life monuments which are adjacent to the powwow grounds in the community. Expect good hospitality and an ample number of food and crafts vendors at the event. Zhiibaahaasing First Nation is accessed through the same road that leaves Highway 540 five kilometres west of the hamlet of Silver Water and is the entry to Sheshegwaning First Nation. Follow the road through Sheshegwaning to Zhiibaahaasing.

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Sheshegwaning First Nation Traditional Powwow

Sheshegwaning First Nation Traditional Powwow

June 15th & 16th

Sheshegwaning First Nation is located on the western portion of Manitoulin Island and its entry point off Highway 540 is five kilometres past the hamlet of Silver Water. Its traditional powwow is held the third weekend in June each year and visitors find it a friendly place to enjoy the dancing and drumming and visit the many traditional food and crafts vendors.

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Theatre

Live Theatre on Manitoulin

Manitoulin Island is able to boast three theatre groups, each of them unique

Burns Wharf Players

Named after the Manitowaning waterfront warehouse (Burns Wharf) where this talented group treated patrons to 15 years of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, the Burns Wharf Players are now bringing musical theatre to the revamped Knox United Church (in Manitowaning, at 25 Napier Street) while their beloved playhouse is being restored. The congregation at Knox United invited the players in and, during the spring rehearsal and late spring performances, have literally transformed the church’s sanctuary into a theatre setting. For details on Burns Wharf Players’ offerings, contact the box office at 1-866-967-8167 or book online at www.burnswharf.net

 

Gore Bay Summer Theatre

Gore Bay Summer Theatre presents two offerings through the month of July each year. This talented and well-directed group of volunteer actors, set designers and carpenters, lighting and sound technicians are also busy in the winter months when they pick a challenging dramatic work, polish it and go on to compete in the Northern Ontario regional drama festival, Quonta. Since they often win this event, they are also often off to Theatre Ontario’s showcase to compete against Ontario’s other regional winners in amateur theatre. The Gore Bay troupe is often successful at the provincial level too.

When you take in a summer production at the Gore Bay Summer Theatre, you’re being entertained by local thespians who hone their craft year-round. To see what’s on, call the box office at 705-2420 extension 3 or visit the town’s website www.gorebay.ca.

When you attend a production at Gore Bay Summer Theatre, you’ll find yourself in the town’s classic community hall at 25 Meredith Street in the downtown core.

De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Storytellers

Debajehmujig Storytellers is one of only a handful of professional Indigenous theatre groups in Canada.

Debajehmujig is headquartered in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory but has its offices, rehersal space and theatre space in the village of Manitowaning at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre at 43 Queen Street.

The troupe has been presenting original work for over 35 years and has toured all across Canada and the United States, Europe and Great Britain.

The players present their own work at the Creation Centre theatre space which also often hosts touring performances.

Having their own theatre space gives Debajehmujig Storytellers flexibility and the versatile year-round theatre space is a real asset to Manitoulin Island’s cultural community.

The Creation Centre is also home to an art gallery with continually changing exhibits and installations.

The Debajehmujig Storytellers pride themselves on also being a land-based operation so crew and cast members get, literally, grounded in the growing season by spending some of their time helping to grow food and, each winter, hosting Manitoulin Island’s first ‘seed swap’ of the season. At Thanksgiving, the storytellers host a ‘Six Foot Festival’ of installations that fit in that space and there is an annual Christmas Cabaret show.

In the summer Debajehmujig Storytellers also often produce plays at Wiikwemikoong within the scenic stone ruins of a two-storey dormitory that once housed the community’s parish priests.

It is located on Wikwemikong Way, on top of one of the village’s highest point beside historic Holy Cross Catholic Church.

To find out what is going on at Debajehmujig Storytellers, visit [email protected] or call the theatre office at 705-859-1820.

When you take in a summer production at the Gore Bay Summer Theatre, you’re being entertained by local thespians who hone their craft year-round. To see what’s on, call the box office at 705-2420 extension 3 or visit the town’s website www.gorebay.ca.

When you attend a production at Gore Bay Summer Theatre, you’ll find yourself in the town’s classic community hall at 25 Meredith Street in the downtown core.

Golf

Manitoulin Golfing

If you’re a golfer, by all means pack your clubs and come to Manitoulin Island.

Manitoulin is a large island (the biggest one in fresh water in the world) with a relatively small population (13,000-plus) but there are three golf courses here and each one of them is distinct in its features.

“Manitoulin’s Old Course” is the nine-hole Brookwood Brae Golf Course located not only within 2 km of the busy village of Mindemoya but also on the shoreline of Mindemoya Lake, one of Manitoulin’s larger inland lakes.

The nine hole course comes with its own array of bungalow cottages and is neighbour to three more housekeeping cottage businesses and a motel, all within walking distance of the course.

The course has challenging features and is also a fine course for golfers of every skill, especially those who, following their swing, can look forward to a glimpse of the beautiful lake, the large island called Treasure Island whose profile (an old woman on her hands and knees, according to local Ojibwe legend) will come in and out of your view as you play through, giving you the time to make up your own mind about the legend.

Just outside of the North Channel port town of Gore Bay, the Manitoulin Island Country Club offers golfers nine holes of bucolic beauty. The course, set in the fertile farmland that marks the Gore Bay area, is both gentle and subtly challenging. Manitoulin Island Country Club is Manitoulin’s only municipally-owned golf course; the rural township of Gordon/Barrie Island, although primarily agricultural, besides the golf course, is also the proud host of the Gore Bay-Western Manitoulin Airport and, along its share of the North Channel shoreline, one of Manitoulin’s distinctive and historic lighthouses: Janet Head Light.

We’ve covered the golf courses in Manitoulin’s central region and in its West End.

On Manitoulin’s eastern side, and just outside the historic village of Manitowaning, the Rainbow Ridge Golf Course is Manitoulin Island’s championship 18-hole golf course. It is also unique as it is owned and operated by the neighbouring Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. This challenging course has numerous water features and a clubhouse that enables golfers to play their favourite game year-round, in any weather, at the state-of-the-art virtual golf course that has been installed there. Players can choose to play this way at most of the world’s most famous and challenging courses: suddenly, you’re there, at, for example, St. Andrew’s, and you have to match your play to the giant computer-generated vista before you and you must accommodate its perks and foibles as you play through as the virtual program gives you an extremely realistic experience, course by course.

Golf carts and clubs are available to rent at the pro shops at each course. Each club has dining facilities at its clubhouse and you’ll meet Manitoulin Island golfers as you play through or relax in the clubhouses.

Brookwood Brae
Golf Course

Ketchankooken Trail, Mindemoya

705-377-4979

Rainbow Ridge
Golf Course

Clover Valley Rd, Manitowaning

705-859-2990

Manitoulin 
Golf

25 Golf Course Rd, Gore Bay

705-282-2282

Canadian Yacht Charters

Canadian Yacht Charters

• Discover the magnificent

North Channel •

Located on Manitoulin Island, CYC offers the finest selection of impeccably maintained modern yachts – sailboats, powerboats and catamarans. Our standard is second to none. CYC is located in the heart of the best freshwater cruising grounds in the world – “The North Channel”.  Only 12 miles from the breathtaking Benjamin Islands.

Imagine pink granite islands, millions of years old, covered with windswept pines and scattered throughout a 120 mile expanse of the bluest freshwater in the world. Dozens of untainted anchorages, secret gunkholes and quaint harbour towns make up this “Boater’s Paradise”. This supreme waterway offers breath-taking scenery and solitude yet is within close reach of services and all amenities.

The timeless and unique pink granite of the Benjamin Islands, the protected sailing of the Whalesback Channel and the white quartz cliffs lining the 8 mile fjord of Baie Finn, are but a small part of this world renowned cruising area known as the North Channel of Lake Huron. The North Channel spills into Georgian Bay and there are literally hundreds of beautiful anchorages to discover.

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Contact Information:

30 Water Street. Gore Bay, Ontario, Canada. P0P 1H0

North Channel Cruise Lines

North Channel Cruise Lines

• Discover the magnificent
North Channel •

We offer a variety of maritime services on the waters around Manitoulin. From the Killarney region to the western reaches of the North Channel – our events program is comprised of Regularly Scheduled Adventures offered to the public. Our public events calendar is then carefully woven in with a busy private charter and motor coach agenda. 

Our signature tour offerings are comprised of main feature tours operated weekly in the summer and each one is quite diverse from the others. The main tours are known as “Sunset Dinner Cruise” – all with quality live entertainment aboard, “The Benjamin Islands“, “Baie Fine Fjord” and “Voyage to Killarney” adventures. In addition to these events, we are often create unique theme and seasonal offerings such as our Country Fest Songwriter Showcase and numerous dates with top notch live entertainment. From pirate parties to fall colours, we regularly add new events to keep our product range dynamic.

Contact Information:

1 Water St West, Box 596 Little Current, On, P0P 1K0

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Purvis Marine Museum

William Purvis Marine Museum

Gore Bay

Overlooking the distinctive V-shaped bay bordered by the lushly-cedared heights of the East Bluff on one edge and the town and the gentler slopes of the West Bluff on the other, the Harbour Centre extends a commanding welcome to Gore Bay’s waterfront.

Within, on two floors, is a warren of light-filled, wood-lined artist studios, galleries and shops offering all manner of Manitoulin-made fine art, glass works, textiles, soaps, jewellery and much else to browse. On the third, topmost floor, up a broad staircase to a bright lobby, is the William Purvis Marine Centre, housing the Town of Gore Bay’s huge collection of nautical memorabilia gathered by historian G. I. ‘Buck’ Longhurst during his long career on the Great Lakes.

Visitors, researchers and boating enthusiasts are treated to a unique display that comprises an impressively thorough history of commercial shipping on the Great Lakes. In the temperature- and humidity-controlled loft space, the lives of the legendary fishing, freight and passenger boats are laid bare in original log books, ships’ wheels, lanyards, flags, photos, shipping company cap and jacket badges and even little plates and coffee mugs decorated with a ship’s name, from a long-ago ship’s dining room; intricate handcrafted model boats dot the room, re-creating all the details, in miniature, of the great commercial sailing vessels of the past.

Mr. Longhurst is the curator of the collection, including an archive room of “17,000 slides and 20,000 prints and the history of practically every company and vessel that sailed on the Great Lakes,” amassed over a lifetime of working on their waters and shores.

But his love of the ships started way before then. “As a kid, I was always at the dock watching the boats unload. I watched all day as the boats came through, the boats I’d read about.”

After high school Buck went into the navy until Canada’s defense forces were amalgamated in 1965, then became a letter carrier and supervisor until 1970 when his life changed on meeting Jack Purvis on the waterfront in Sault Ste. Marie.

The marine museum is named in honour of William Purvis, explains Mr. Longhurst, the Scottish patriarch of the Purvis commercial fishing clan, who was appointed the first lighthouse keeper at Great Duck Island in 1872–13 miles from today’s Purvis Fisheries location at Burnt Island; by 1882, William had started to fish commercially with his five sons  

“The Purvis family is one reason why Gore Bay grew to be a boomtown in the 1880s and 90s,” says the historian. “They built the town, many of their huge old houses still stand today. The boys all were commercial fishermen. William’s son James started Purvis Brothers Fisheries, and he also ran the mail, snowplow and motorcar services, a livery stable and a dairy. The Purvis’s were the prime movers behind Gore Bay’s becoming the judicial seat of the Island. By 1934, they owned the largest independent fishing fleet in the Great Lakes.”

Buck Longhurst started working for Jack Purvis soon after their meeting on the docks, spending years on Jack’s ‘YankCanuck’ as a deck hand, crane operator and second engineer, earning his tug master and marine and hoisting engineer credentials as he went. In the museum, he proudly shows off the ‘YankCanuck’s steering column, wheel and ship’s bell below a photo of the ship as he fondly remembers it.

“I used to see all these old boats out there. With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, all the little canal boats, the small upper lakes boats, were disappearing. I started taking photos and whenever I got a vacation I’d be at Sarnia or the Welland Canal taking pictures or getting rides on boats and taking more pictures. My hobby turned into an obsession.” As he towed ships to their final resting places in the scrapyard, he’d salvage unwanted name plaques, keys, flags, log books and brass railings to add to his growing personal collection.

In the museum, there’s a model of the ‘Gore,’ the ship that got stuck in the ice of the bay until spring and gave Gore Bay its name, built by Buck Longhurst himself, along with his models of the SS ‘Manitou,’ the ‘Mindemoya’ and the ‘Langell Boys.’ The SS ‘Manzutti’ has a miniature crane on the deck, a replica of the very crane Mr. Longhurst operated for 20 years. “This model was built by a professional model builder,” he says, pointing to the fine detail work, “and cost eleven thousand dollars.”

The ‘Avenger IV’ display features a beautiful large model of the tug and the log book of her decommissioning trip to Gravesend, England in 1985. Yes, Buck Longhurst was on that trip, “as a crew member for 59 days. There was no heat on those English tugs.”

Here’s a model of the ‘Edmund Fitzgerald,’ immortalized in song by Gordon Lightfoot, tragically sunk in hurricane-force winds on Lake Superior in 1975, drowning all 29 aboard. “It’s a great song,” says the marine history expert, “but Lightfoot got some details wrong. He says she was fully loaded – she wasn’t. And that she was bound for Cleveland – but she was going to Detroit.” There’s no reason to disbelieve this author of eighteen books and fervent devourer of maritime lore.

Buck Longhurst remembers the long-gone days when “you couldn’t get a semi-trailer truck onto the ferries until the 1960s, and they’d only get as far as Espanola on the north shore. The road from Espanola to Little Current “was impassable in all seasons” for trucks, and was nicknamed the Drunken Snake Trail. “Supplies were hard to come by and costly. Boats got through where cars and especially trucks could not.

“When I look around today I can say, ‘I dredged the marinas at Gore Bay, the Sault, at Spider Bay in Little Current. I put in the helipad at Gros Cap Lighthouse, built the Lafarge docks at Birch Island. In Gore Bay, all the boats in the marina are making use of the work I and others did; it makes the toil and hardship worthwhile. If you helped to shape the face of the area, it’s great to know your work means something.”

William Purvis Marine Centre: Third Floor, Harbour Centre, 40 Water Street, Gore Bay. Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm; Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm, admission by donation. https://www.gorebaymuseum.com/marine-museum

Article by

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry is a photographer and writer who has also worked extensively in the field of human rights advocacy. Her photos have been widely exhibited and she has published articles in many magazines; as programmes director and executive director for PEN Canada for twenty years, she worked on behalf of the right to freedom of expression internationally. Now living on Manitoulin Island, Isobel works as a freelance writer and photographer and is a frequent contributor to the weekly Manitoulin Expositor newspaper and the annual This is Manitoulin magazine. Her interests lie at the intersection of arts, culture and human rights.

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Gore Bay Museum

Gore Bay Museum

Gore Bay

Tucked into a hillside in the town of Gore Bay, a complex of limestone buildings was erected in 1889 when the town became the judicial seat of Manitoulin Island: a courthouse, a land office and a home for the jailer—with jail cells—perched on the lower slopes of the West Bluff, visible from every vantage point.

Today, the large courtroom in the classical-style building at 27 Phipps Street still hears the cases for the District of Manitoulin every week of the year. The jailer’s home, a quaint farmhouse-style stone structure at 2 Dawson Street around the corner from the courthouse, now houses the Gore Bay Museum.

The former home of the jailer and his family, and the ‘lockup’ part of the house—four tiny jail cells with a high barred window, narrow barred cell door and barely enough room for a cot—were separated by a thick wood door. Nowadays, this part of the museum, home and jail, accommodates early settler artifacts, furniture, lace bedspreads and table runners, dolls, toys, dresses, hats and kitchen implements in its perfectly preserved, original rooms; a noteworthy collection honours the career of local photographer Joseph Wismer with exquisite prints made from his glass negatives taken between 1900 and 1930. The prisoners’ wood refectory table, off-limits to photographs, is a moving memorial to the men who carved their names on its surface.

A new wing, designed by architect Brian Garratt and built in 2005, beautifully accentuates the old jailer’s quarters, and has also expanded the museum’s role in the community as host to artist exhibitions, lectures, concerts, book launches and readings within the wide space and, in summer, also outside on the long, stone-column-lined ‘porch’ on two sides.

Recognized with the Ontario Historical Society’s 2014 Russell K. Cooper Living History Site or Heritage-Based Museum Award for ‘heritage-based excellence in programming, ingenious problem solving, or site development,’ the Gore Bay Museum has presented unique cultural offerings for over 30 years.

Since 1987, Nicole Weppler has been the director of the museum, overseeing continual improvements as well as the building and programming expansion that then led to the development of a ‘satellite’ site on the waterfront, the Harbour Centre, dedicated to showcasing local art and artists in their studios, galleries and shops and the William Purvis Marine Centre on the third floor.

“Nothing beautiful happens without a multitude of people helping,” says Ms. Weppler, who works with the Museum Board of Gore Bay’s town council and many community volunteers to stage multiple events–with homemade donated catering–every year to benefit the community and raise funds for the preservation of the historic museum building. For the last three years, Cheyenne Barnes has been the able summer intern greeting visitors, clearly enjoying the “great environment and people experience” and showing her anime-inspired drawings in the gallery gift shop before she heads to Laurentian University in the fall for zoology and music studies.

This summer, until September 30, the large, modern space is showing two local artists’ fine works in traditional and modern media: ‘Confluence’ is an exhibition of brushwork paintings in Japanese Sumi-e inks and Chinese watercolours on Japanese and Italian fine art paper by Lynne Gerard. The artist, whose studio and shop is in the Harbour Centre, merges her considerable skills in painting, poetry and calligraphy to create each artful, enlightening meditation on birds, horses, ravens, hummingbirds, a bicycle ride home after work, life, art.

Another gallery is dedicated to the memory of Donald Moorcroft (1935-2015), a photographer who summered for years at Ice Lake; a former professor of physics at the University of Western Ontario, he was a hobbyist at first. On Manitoulin, he said, he could “suddenly see what was in front of my eyes.” His work is of deep contemplation of patterns, textures, landscapes and feelings in Nature: lichen as you’ve never seen it, mesmerizing veins in rock, a forest melting in golden fog.

Slipped in behind the gallery is the ‘dental office’ with two dental chairs and all the grim accessories necessary to the gruesome procedures available then. There’s a ‘grocery store’ display with cash register and typewriter on the clerk’s desk and boxes and cans of popular old brands of household goods stacked on the shelves.

Step over the door sill that separates the gallery from the home and jail to be transported into Gore Bay and environs of the late 1800s. In the warren of original rooms, upstairs and down, little dioramas are created, each a surprise to come upon. A child’s bedroom resonates with the care of the painstaking hand work in the lace bed cover and embroidered nursery rhymes. In the jail, one cell is exactly as it was then, cot overlooked by barred window; other cells are arranged as curio cabinets of fascinating relics of bygone days: clothing, dolls, wash bowls and jugs ordered from the Eaton’s catalogue.

At the Gore Bay Museum, the legacy of yesterday seamlessly melds with contemporary artistic expression, tomorrow’s cherished heritage.

Gore Bay Museum, 2 Dawson St, Gore Bay. Tel: 705-282-2040. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday 2 to 4 pm. gorebaymuseum.com

Harbour Centre, 40 Water Street, Gore Bay. Open Tuesday- Sunday 12 pm to 4pm. gorebaymuseum.com/harbour-centre

Article by

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry is a photographer and writer who has also worked extensively in the field of human rights advocacy. Her photos have been widely exhibited and she has published articles in many magazines; as programmes director and executive director for PEN Canada for twenty years, she worked on behalf of the right to freedom of expression internationally. Now living on Manitoulin Island, Isobel works as a freelance writer and photographer and is a frequent contributor to the weekly Manitoulin Expositor newspaper and the annual This is Manitoulin magazine. Her interests lie at the intersection of arts, culture and human rights.

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Noble Nature Trail

Noble Nature Trail

Difficulty     •    Approx. 2 – 4 Hours

About the 
Noble Nature Trail

The Noble Nature Trail is an easy to moderate trail that offers a 1.1km stroll east from its starting point at the intersection of Water and Bay Streets on the Gore Bay shoreline up to and along the East Bluff overlooking Gore Bay and the town. The Noble Nature Trail ends at the Harold Noble Memorial Park which offers a high vantage point that provides outstanding panoramic opportunities for that perfect photo of the Port of Gore Bay and its busy harbourfront.

You may wish to bring:

Tips from a Local

The trails on Manitoulin Island have some of the best views around. Bring along a camera to capture your trip and leave the trails exactly as you found them so others can enjoy the hikes. Remember: take only pictures, leave only footprints.

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