Heaven on earth

Sunset over Manitoulin Island

Photo: Sunset over Manitoulin Island


Steve Paikin

Natural heritage, MyOntario

Published Date: Feb 17, 2017

A month before Ontario turns 150 years old, I’ll celebrate my 57th birthday. I’ve lived all but one of those years in the province of Ontario and all of them in big cities. But my favourite location in the province is somewhere I only spend a few weeks a year.

My first trip to Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron was dramatic. I was 10 years old and had spent a few days fishing there with my dad, who flew us up in his little Cessna 172. Almost immediately after our departure, a huge windstorm whipped up, forcing him to make an emergency landing in a farmer’s field in Lion’s Head on the Bruce Peninsula – because all the airports were closed. After we safely landed, he admitted that he thought we were goners.

Despite that near-death experience, Manitoulin Island has become a huge part of my life. I’ve subsequently purchased a cottage (or “camp,” as they call it in northern Ontario) and even though it can take eight hours to drive there, I go as often as I can.

Manitoulin is the biggest freshwater island in the world. The people are warm and friendly, and the sunrises are utterly spectacular. It is heaven on earth. [Photo courtesy of Steve Paikin]