manitowaning ontario

Home Regions of Ontario North Eastern Ontario Region

Manitowaning, Ontario

Manitowaning is located in Assiginack Township, on Manitoulin Island. It is one of the earliest European settlements on the island.

In 1836, on the orders of Sir Francis Bond Head, the Governor General of Upper Canada a small community was built to entice the native people to relocate from areas around the Bruce Peninsula and Lake Huron to Manitoulin Island. A community was established and buildings erected.

Tradesmen such as carpenters, masons and blacksmiths were hired by the government to teach skills to the native population. Most continued native traditions such as fishing and hunting and the community which was initially designed as a farming community was never successful.

Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island Ontario, 16-August-1856

Numbering the Indians, Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island (Ontario), 16-August-1856
Courtesy of Toronto Public Library

In 1843 the government ceased it's funding, yet the tiny settlement on Manitowaning Bay continued to flourish. European settlers began to arrive in the 1870's and used the settlement as a commercial base. The natural harbour became a port for steamers and schooners that plied the Great Lakes.

The S.S.Norisle was a steam powered ferry that sailed from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island from 1946 until 1974, when she was replaced by the much larger and more modern MS Chi-Cheemaun. The wharf is now part of the Manitowaning Heritage Complex, where the S.S. Norisle is docked. The S.S. Norisle Heritage Park is also located here and has a public boat launch and a wonderful sandy beach.

St. Paul's Anglican Church, built in 1849 is the oldest Anglican parish church in Northern Ontario. The lighthouse, located behind the church overlooking Manitowaning Bay was built in 1885.

Places to Explore

Killarney Provincial Park
Manitoulin Island

Ontario Towns and Cities

Little Current, Ontario
Manitowaning, Ontario


Explore by Region

R1: Southwest Ontario
R2: Niagara Canada
R3: Hamilton, Halton & Brant
R4: Huron, Perth, Waterloo & Wellington
R5: Greater Toronto Area
R6: York, Durham & the Hills of Headwaters
R7: Bruce Peninsula, Southern Georgian Bay & Lake Simcoe
R8: Kawarthas & Northumberland
R9: South Eastern Ontario
R10: Ottawa & Countryside
R11: Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley
R12: Muskoka, Parry Sound & Algonquin Park
R13a: North Eastern Ontario
R13b: Sault Ste. Marie – Algoma
R13c: Northwest Ontario