Paddling and Hiking the Georgian Bay Coast.


256 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-1-55046-477-1
DDC 796.5109713'15






Reviewed by John R. Abbott

John Abbott is a professor of history at Laurentian University’s Algoma University College. He is the co-author of The Border at Sault Ste Marie and The History of Fort St. Joseph.


Georgian Bay is the crown jewel in the Great Lakes’ diadem for paddlers and hikers. The bay’s northern reaches from Killarney to the French River delta, and from the delta south through the 30,000 Islands section of the Eastern Shore, offer enough opportunities for a lifetime of canoe tripping, sans the portaging. On the western side of the bay is that 250-kilometre section of the Bruce Trail that stitches its way from Owen Sound to Tobermory, often along the escarpment’s upper edge, but sometimes dropping to its base and winding along Georgian Bay’s cobbled shore. Kas Stone has written the best single guide to the combined paddling and hiking routes accessible from Killarney to Tobermory.


His introduction to the bay’s complex and fascinating geological history is not only concise and lucid, but often eloquent in its evocation of the forces required to form and reform the bay’s rock and land forms over some two billion years. After a short introduction to the human landscape, he embarks on a detailed description of 38 paddling and hiking excursions, beginning with the George Island Trail opposite Killarney and ending with a trip to view the wrecks of Fathom Five National Marine Park off Tobermory. Every track on land and water is sufficiently well-defined on accompanying maps to permit locating it precisely on either trail guides or topographical maps, or nautical charts. Cautions about weather, water levels (and their importance for chart reading in a drowned landscape like that of the eastern shore), stinging insects, noxious plants, and the one poisonous snake found in the region, are repeated at every point of relevance. His advice on access points, parking, clearances, camping, day trips, and longer excursions removes a good deal of the anxiety associated with the preliminaries of planning and provisioning. The pictures offer more than information; they delight the eye.


Stone, Kas., “Paddling and Hiking the Georgian Bay Coast.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,