Lost & Found #42: Pointe-au-Baril Lighthouse, Canada

Pointe-au-Baril Lighthouse, on Georgian Bay in Canada, 2006

Pointe-au-Baril Lighthouse, on Georgian Bay in Canada, 2006

As it's Canada Day (if you factor in the date line, of course), I thought I'd post something from one of my visits back to 'the old country' where I grew up for today's Lost & Found.

This is from an area about 3h north of Toronto on the Great Lakes - Georgian Bay, to be specific, which is part of Lake Huron but practically a lake unto itself by any normal standards of measurement.

Sunset at Pointe-au-Baril Lighthouse, on Georgian Bay in Canada, 1999 [click to embiggen]

It's an unusual landscape - granite scraped clean by glaciers centuries ago, with only the smallest bit of dirt between the rocks for trees to sprout, in many areas. Slightly desolate, but really beautiful!

The area is known as Pointe-au-Baril, and this is the point in question (with a relatively new barrel to the left of the lighthouse), which originally marked a safe inland passage for fur traders & logging rafts travelling south along the shore.

I know, it's just a lake; to most people outside Canada it seems odd that you'd need an inland passage, but believe me - when the lake is big enough that you can't see the other side, the storms & waves can get quite large out in what we call 'the open', so a sheltered route through the islands would be most welcome.

In modern times, of course, the lighthouse is used in lieu of the barrel - and the range light behind it is lined up to show you the way through the reefs. (Did I mention they're granite, too?)

Of course, being Canada, the lake freezes over in winter; so, like a lot of 'cottage country', most of the buildings are summer houses on islands that can only be accessed by boat, and many don't have power or running water (apart from a pump coming from the lake). So for most people, this part of the country is somewhere you only see in summer, which means July & August really!