A 7 Day Canoe Trip With My Dad Around Philip Edward Island - Why It's Worth Visiting
Georgians Bay's Philip Edward island is one of the most spectacular areas of Ontario to explore.
The camping is free (crown land) and the aqua-clear waters, windswept pines, and smooth lines of pink granite are classic Georgian Bay.
It's pure magic, and I got to explore it on a 7-day canoe trip with my Dad this summer.
He turned 70 and to celebrate we planned a canoe trip on the beautiful aqua-blue waters near Killarney Provincial Park in Northern Ontario.
Philip Edward Island has been rated as one of the top ten paddling destinations in North America by some leading paddlers. It just so happens that my Dad's name is Philip so it was a fitting objective. And the best part? No portages!
Having paddled the French River with my Dad a few years previously we had loved the ocean-like vistas from Georgian Bay and wanted more of it.
Many trip plans suggest taking 7-10 days to do the full circumnavigation of the island but this is generous unless you want to spend extra time exploring, which we did.
Many paddlers just stick to the southern portion of the island where you can explore the wide open bay within your own timeline.
We went ultra-luxury for this trip. With no portages requiring us to lug our gear through the woods, weight wasn't a concern. Our giant cooler included fresh steaks and a liter of cream for the blueberries. Need I go on?
We started off with a 1-hour drive from my parent's house to the Killarney Park office to buy a parking pass for the Chikanishing access point.
We loaded up and enjoyed the sheltered and picturesque paddle along Chikanishing Creek before the landscape opens up to the glorious open waters of Georgian Bay.
We lucked out with the weather which allowed us to paddle out to the breathtaking Fox and Hawk islands. We knew that if the wind picked up we would likely be stuck out there, but what a great place to be if you got stuck!
The massive rock islands that dot the landscape are stunning. They feel so smooth under your bare feet and are fascinating to explore.
It is here that glacial erosion has caused the smooth pink granite to form into wave-like rock formations! See all of them here:
My Dad loves to fish for one main reason, to eat them!
We decided from day one that we would follow our curiosity to any bay or inlet that we imagined looking enticing to fish.
And boy did that payoff. The fishing was epic, and so were the feasts! The area around Philip Edward Island is teeming with fish!
Human history is rich here.
Although many avoid the exposed waters of Georgian Bay in an open canoe we lucked out with sunny skies and low winds most days. We made sure to make camp by early afternoon every day before the wind and the waves picked up. Being that we were on Lake Huron the weather can change on a dime but there are hundreds of islands surrounding Philip Edward Island that you can tuck behind if a wind picks up. A nice perk on this trip was that we had cell phone signal for much of it which allowed for updated weather reports throughout.
There are many rocks below the surface, like an underwater roller coaster they undulate and sometimes like to sneak up on you as you paddle along. This makes for an exciting experience on a calm day, but not so much on a windy one where you could be pushed into them. It's quite wonderful to be gliding in 40 feet of aquamarine water and see all the way to the bottom and the next moment have rocks almost scraping the bottom of your canoe.
And oh the water is so clear! A Caribbean blue shading into pure turquoise. My brain sometimes had a hard time computing I was still in Canada.
If you ever choose to explore this magical place go in mid-August on.
You'll skip the bugs and most of the people.
If you love solitude, beauty, and campsites with breathtakingly beautiful views, then Philip Edward Island is the place for you.
This is the inspiration behind my new art piece called Windswept Glory. If you have explored any of the lakes on the Canadian Shield may this bring you back to that feeling of joy!
New Release: Windswept Glory
I created this piece to celebrate the beauty of this wild landscape. My heart has always been drawn here, having grown up in this area. I love the vibrant movement that the fire and ink captured which showcases the tree, molded by the elements.
The Art Inspired By The Adventure
Helpful Resources & Links For Planning Your Visit
2.Killarney Outfitters Trip Planning Recomendations for Phillip Edward Island.
3. An Explore Magazine Article That Gives Some Highlights & Recommendations For Exploring Philip Edward Island.