BOATING ON THE BAY
Whether you own your own boat and
spend a lot of time in it, or just like to rent a boat occasionally
for an afternoon or even if you are looking for a fish charter or
cruise, Georgian Bay is the place to visit. There
are many harbours on the Bay close together or stopovers on trips
and within easy driving distance of most places in this area.
So let’s see what our neighborhood harbours have to offer.
a small beautiful harbour with a full service marina. To
reach it by car,
turn off Highway 26 toward the bay at the stop lights on Bruce St.
then right at the stop sign on Huron St. and down the steep hill
to the river and turn north into the harbour. If you are arriving by
boat from the direction of Collingwood look out for the Craigleith
Shoals that are about 5nm to the east of the harbour. The channel to the harbour is to the left of the pier: if the light on the pier is showing white
you are on course, if red you are to the right, and if it is green you are to the left of the course. You can reach the harbour master on VHF channel 68, or phone him at 519-599-6317. There are 25 transient slips but you will
need a reservation to obtain one. Fuel and pump outs are available
at the dock on the left as you enter the harbour.
Harbour facilities are maintained by
the Town of Blue Mountains and there are 250 docks, outside storage,
a launching ramp and 1.5 ton crane. As well as washrooms, showers
drinking water and ice. The yacht club is a group of sail and power boat enthusiasts
who dock in the harbour. Their object is to promote safe boating and good sportsmanship among all boaters in the Thornbury area. They organize social events, supervise seasonal launch and haul outs of all boats in the harbour, organize races, and in general promote
the sport of sailing and boating and act as an advocacy group for all boaters in the Harbour.
There is a motel, restaurant, snack bar and variety store close by.
Every year the boating season in
Thornbury is opened with the Blessing of
The Boats. All the boaters, both sailing and power craft line up to receive their blessing
for a safe season. It is quite a sight to see them parade by the Commodore and dip
their flags in an official salute. Everyone is welcome to come and view the event..
some of the other ports, does
not list their harbour/marina as a big tourist attraction,
maybe because they are still improving it. Cranberry/Southwinds Marina is at the Cranberry Yacht Club, 15 Harbour St., in the Federal Harbour. It supplies
a full range of services to visiting boaters who drop by or want to stay a while. There are yacht brokerage, rentals, repairs, and maintenance, 115 docks (maximum length 60’, fuel services, parts and accessories, rentals, restoration, outdoor storage, and launching ramp.
There are only 15 transient slips so if you want to reserve one, or for more information
phone 705 444 1251, or fax 705 444 4739. If you are thinking of docking your boat
here for the season you may want to consider becoming a member. The marina is easy
to see if you are arriving by boat, just look for the lighthouse and grain elevators.
If arriving by car from the Craigleith area turn off Hwy. 26 down 1st St, instead of turning
to go down the main street keep going straight. You will see parklands then the museum
and cinema on your right, turn left at this point and you will be on Harbour St. Follow
it past the public docks and park area to the grain terminal. There are two other boat
launches in this area, one at Harbourview Park Just off Hwy 26 at 1st St. (behind McDonalds) which is a small area with a winding boardwalk and wonderful views, a playground, and fish cleaning area. The other one you can use is at the harbour at the public dock, across
from the museum; for a charge of $3.00 a day or $40.00 a season for non-residents.
The harbour has undergone many
improvements since 1987 when it was deemed
unsanitary because of growths of algae and contaminated sediments; it included a wetland complex, waste-water treatment plant outfall, the former shipyards, the grain terminal
and marina. The cleanup began, aiming at preventing pollution and saving money. After working on the problems for seven years, Collingwood was delisted in 1994 when the Governments agreed it met the necessary standards to be removed from the list of areas of concern.
2002 Collingwood started creating parklands along the harbour. There
are walkways and gardens, an area with plaques and
another with memorabilia in memory of the city’s past shipping industry. It has become a beautiful place for a walk or to sit on
a bench and watch the boats go by. Downtown is only a short
distance away for supplies or general shopping.
At the public dock you can board a
fishing charter or cruise ship. Summer
Harbour Tours, (just one of many you could choose) offers a wide selection of cruises,
including BBQ’s, sunset tours, ones that include a swim, or stories about events that
occurred in the area, a corn roast, fishing and many more. You can even plan our own
agenda with the help of their experienced staff, if there is a group going. If you want more information, or would like to book a reservation phone 1 888 186 4528.
If your main interest is in small
craft like canoes or kayaks there is plenty of
opportunities to use or rent them throughout the area, some of them will even map
out a route for you, deliver your boat to a different starting point, or have an instructor
go with you. So there is no reason why you can’t get out and enjoy the water this summer!
www.meaford.ca/ www.visitmeaford.ca www.collingwood.ca