HOW TO GET TO
Air + Water + Land
The Historic One-lane Swing Bridge Manitoulin Island
Besides being a historical landmark for Manitoulin Island, the famous Little Current Swing Bridge is also the only way for visitors to access the island year-round. Located on the northeastern corner of Manitoulin on Highway 6, the swing bridge has been in operation for over 100 years and is an Ontario Heritage site. The swing bridge allows people to cross on to the island all year, however in the summer visitors should be aware that the bridge really does swing! Each hour on the hour during daylight, the bridge will swing for 15 minutes to let marine traffic through. To get to the bridge, travellers take Highway 17 to Espanola, and at the Tim Hortons/Wendy's intersection, follow Highway 6 through the town of Espanola. By continuing on Highway 6 through Birch Island/Whitefish River First Nation, travellers will eventually come to the swing bridge, where they will wait at the stop light before crossing onto Manitoulin Island for their next adventure.
The Passenger and Vehicle Ferry to Manitoulin Island
Running from May to October, the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry offers a fun and unique way to reach Manitoulin Island. This route is also convenient for those in southern/southwestern Ontario, reducing driving time and allowing for a relaxing voyage across Lake Huron instead. The Chi-Cheemaun begins sailings in early May, and finishes on Thanksgiving weekend in October. The ship accommodates all sorts of traffic, including cars, trucks, trailers, and walk-on passengers. During off-peak season (early May to mid-June, as well as Labour day to Thanksgiving) there are two daily sailings between South Baymouth and Tobermory, with a third sailing on Friday evenings. There is also a third sailing on Victoria Day and Thanksgiving Day holidays. During on-peak season (mid-June to Labour Day) there are 4 daily crossings all week long. The trip across lasts approximately 1.5 hours and includes many scenic views of Lake Huron, Tobermory, and various islands.
The ship itself houses plenty of amenities to make your trip more pleasurable. There is a full cafeteria/dining lounge serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as to-go snacks. There is a "Boatique" gift store with a variety of souvenirs. Lastly, there is the Forward Lounge, which includes chairs, tables, and a bar. There is often live, local entertainment on the Chi-Cheemaun, including live music, storytelling, presentations/speakers, and much more.
While the ferry is an exciting adventure, spots do fill up quickly, particularly on weekends and holidays. If you are wanting to bring a vehicle across on a busy day, you will want to look into making your reservation well in advance. This can be done on the Ontario Ferries website, here. Be aware that travellers with reservations must be at the dock at least one hour in advance for their spot to be held.
The Manitoulin East Private Airport (CYEM)
The Manitoulin East Municipal Airport is located in the East end of Manitoulin on Highway 6 in between Sheguiandah and Manitowaning. The airport is a year-round, unique access point for Manitoulin Island. With excellent facilities including ample aircraft parking and hangar rental space, the Manitoulin East Municipal Airport is perfect for aircraft enthusiasts looking to visit.
To find more information about visiting via air, please visit their website for further contact details here.
The Gore Bay-Manitoulin Commercial Airport
The Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport serves air traffic and fly-in access on the West end of Manitoulin. Located on Airport Road just West of the town of Gore Bay, this location provides hangar rental spaces, parking, and many other amenities year-round.
For those looking to travel to Western Manitoulin by air, please visit their website for further contact details and information here.