By: Jocelyn Schwalm
Located at the southernmost point of Canada, Pelee Island is a hidden oasis unbeknownst to many. A small island that can only be reached from May – October by ferry, Pelee Island is the private getaway that more and more millennials have taken notice of.
Pelee Island is among the top destinations in Ontario for eco-tourism, a niche tourism industry linked to endangered habitats. The island contains countless endangered species, both plants and animals, as well as the migratory routes of multiple rare birds and butterflies, attracting countless birders to the island year round.
The island has recently started up a music scene with their largest music festival that takes place yearly in July. The Unplugged Music Festival is an up and coming festival that boasts local talent as well as rising stars. The island also draws quite a big artistic crowd. The Annual Stone & Sky Music & Art Series is a collaboration of different types of art, from visual to live performance. The festival hosts local talent who wish to break into the local art scene that extends far beyond the island itself. With bike routes along the perimeter of the island, everything is accessible by bicycle, making the island extremely environmentally-friendly. Although cars are allowed on the island, many opt for the more carefree approach to biking, a nod to the laid-back feel of the island.
One of the most appealing attractions, at least to those who enjoy a good glass of wine, is that Pelee Island is home to 10 000 acres of vineyard. Being located on such a prominent nature-preserve has resulted in the environmentally-conscious approach to winemaking at Pelee Island Winery. The winery itself operates sustainably using controlled pesticides, natural fertilizer and water conservation. The winery also uses the island environment to its advantage by allowing air flow from Lake Erie to keep the grapes’ high quality and fresh for the winemaking process, as well as using renewable resources to ensure that there is a low environmental impact. For those who want to spend their day-trip solely at the winery (and who would blame them) there are interactive wine tours to show exactly what goes into the making of their award-winning wines.
Most who choose to visit the island elect camping as their overnight accommodation of choice as Pelee Island is far enough away from the city that it reveals uninterrupted starry skies. If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway and want to experience all that nature has to offer in one concentrated area, this island may be off the beaten path, but it’s worth the visit.