June 24, 2021 Midland, Ontario Parks Canada Agency
The Government of Canada is investing in national parks across the country to support sustainable tourism, create jobs in our local communities and complement the Government of Canada’s efforts to combat climate change.
Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced a federal investment over $700,000 for the design and construction of a reengineered, climate resilient Tobey Dock in Georgian Bay Islands National Park; the gateway and primary access point for visitors to the national park.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park is part of the world’s largest freshwater archipelago and located just two hours north of Toronto. Accessible only by boat, this island park is a peaceful and seemingly remote place where windswept white pines and granite shores of the Canadian Shield meet a dense deciduous woodland. Visitors to the national park enjoy hiking or biking wooded trails along with overnight camping at secluded sites and waterfront cabins.
Over the past decade, water levels of Georgian Bay have fluctuated significantly, resulting in record high and near-record lows. These forces have impacted the park’s in-water structures and caused repeated damage to park docks and infrastructure, including Tobey Dock which has been closed for periods of repair in recent years. A new dock will be designed and constructed to withstand water level fluctuations and changing patterns of environmental forces such as ice and wind. As a result, it is expected to require less maintenance and will continue to provide reliable access for visitors to the national park.
Environmental protection is a priority for Parks Canada, and mitigations will be put in place to ensure shoreline stability and the protection of fish and wildlife. In addition, this project will incorporate restoration elements for protection of species at risk habitat.
Parks Canada is working to improve the resiliency of national parks in Canada against the effects of climate change. Through the federal infrastructure investment program, the Government of Canada is protecting and conserving national treasures, while supporting local economies and contributing to growth in the tourism sector.
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“This important federal investment to reconstruct Tobey Dock at Georgian Bay Islands National Park will provide a sustainable and safe entry point to this cherished place, ensuring it remains accessible for visitors to discover, connect, and learn the island’s unique ecosystems and cultural treasures for decades to come.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canad
Georgian Bay Islands National Park was established in 1929 at the southern end of the famous 30,000 islands, the world’s largest freshwater island chain.
Beausoleil Island hosts the park’s core visitor offerings, with overnight accommodations including camping, oTENTiks and cabins while bike rentals, sandy beaches and easy hiking trails are a draw for people coming for just a day or extended overnight stays.
The park is an incredible destination that is only accessible by boat, including the park’s visitor shuttle “DayTripper” which transports visitors from Honey Harbour to Beausoleil Island.
From record low water levels in 2013, to record high levels in 2019, the water levels around Beausoleil Island fluctuated approximately 1.4 metres.
Funding for Tobey Dock is part of the Government of Canada’s approximate $2 million investment to support infrastructure work in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. This funding is part of the largest federal infrastructure plan in the history of Parks Canada.
To minimize impacts for visitors, reconstruction of Tobey Dock will begin after Labour Day. The dock will be closed once construction begins.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect experiences at Georgian Bay Islands National Park. Visitors should always plan ahead by checking the Parks Canada website before they travel. The website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit, and what services will be available.