Points of Interest
South Baymouth, the charming little town that will forever be associated with the Chi-Cheemaun ferry service as her Manitoulin terminus, is certainly that but more besides.
The community, in the largely agricultural Township of Tehkummah, is situated at the point where the large and deep bay called South Bay is connected to Lake Huron.
Just at the docking area, across the street from the ferry’s parking lot, is the community’s business centre which caters to tourists with dining options, souvenirs, art gallery, accommodation, fridge (naturally) and where that street curves into Given Street, more food and an art gallery which also features local crafts.
The appropriately names St. Andrew’s By the Sea United Church marks this street’s intersection with Highway 6.
In its wisdom, the local municipality laid claim to the town’s one-room school when the Manitoulin Board of Education was phasing out these rural landmarks as centres of learning in the early 1970s. It was repurposed as the Little School House Museum and for the visitor to the “school” it’s a step back in time as the displays and artifacts could have been left by the last pupils when they left their school behind at the end of June in a particular year, racing out to begin their summer vacation before moving to endure school bus rides to a larger school when the education year began in the fall.
In the South Baymouth area:
It is Manitoulin’s only one-room school that has been maintained as a museum school.
The museum complex is on Highway 6, steps from the Chi Cheemaun terminal building and parking lot.
A modern museum building has been built on the old schoolyard and it features the history of the town and the township, complete with large photos and biographies of every local person who served in both of the World Wars in the twentieth century.
The town was founded by commercial fisherman and its marine history is always on display as well as a myriad of other artifacts and displays that tell the stories of the rugged pioneers who chose to settle in this area.
There is a busy public marina just south of the ferry terminal, largely populated by sturdy private crafts whose masters enjoy challenging mighty Lake Huron in their hunt for salmon, rainbow trout and lake trout. The marina is, of course, also adjacent to South Bay which abounds also in bass, perch, pike and pickerel.
A delightful park, with walking made easier thanks to the boardwalk path, is accessed from the Lake Huron side of the marina and brings visitors close to the town’s two “mini lighthouses.” They are, in fact, range lights and when they were built in the 1880s, they were (and still are) designed to bring mariners safely into port, avoiding the shoals that litter the near-shore waters. The park is an ideal spot from which to watch the Chi-Cheemaun appear on the horizon and make her way into the port.
There is a hiking trail, named Bowerman Trail in honour of the local couple (Dick and Eunice) who created and maintained it. Follow the road behind the marina leading away from the part just described.
Walk the road, maintain this vector in this direction until you spot the signs marking the trail head. This corner of Manitoulin has its own climatic zone, so the trail gives easy access to the flora particular to Tehkummah’s Lake Huron shoreline.
En route to the downtown, there is the community’s grocery store (and camp store), gas station and a large restaurant.
Just north is South Bay Resort that features a long shoreline, camping facilities and cabins to rent.