Sandfield, on Highway 542, began life as Sandfield Mills in the late 1800s when mills harnessed the power of the water flowing out of the Lake Manitou and into the Manitou River.

The Manitou River is still the natural outflow of this giant lake, but the outflow is now carefully monitored, and a dam restricts how much water is allowed out of the late, depending on the season.

In the Sandfield area:

Kayaks are available to buy and rent at Sandfield, there are several nearby resorts (Watson’s Bay Camps; Timberlane Lodge; and Turtle Creek Lodge. A campground and a convenience store are important aspects of the hamlet, as is the community hall (which began life in the old one-room schoolhouse and, when it burned a decade ago, successful fundraising enabled the community to recreate the building, maintaining its exterior look complete with school bell.)

The Highway 542 bridge passes over the Manitou River as it tumbles down to Lake Huron and, on the dam side of the bridge, there is a tiny island parkette with a single picnic table, accessed by a little bridge. A great spot to observe the flow of Manitoulin’s longest river.