Lat: 44° 46.458 Long: 079° 56.423
Penetanguishene Ontario (or Penetang as its known locally) is the oldest town in Ontario and the second oldest in Canada, after Quebec City. Long a favoured hunting and fishing location for the Wendat and Abinake peoples, the first European here was Etienne Brule, Samuel de Champlain's intrepid scout, likely around 1612.
The French presence increased with the establishment of the Jesuit mission of Ste. Marie in what is now present-day Midland, ON. With the destruction of the Huron nation by the Iroquois in 1649, all European presence in this area disappeared.
In 1793, John Graves Simcoe, the Lt. Governor of Upper Canada (now Ontario) arrived with a military party to survey the area as a possible site for a naval base. Penetanguishene harbour was recognized as ideal and the land was purchased. British naval units were consolidated there. A road was also build to connect Penetanguishene to York, the British fort on Lake Ontario (what is now Toronto). The mid-1800's saw several waves of immigration into the area from the province of Quebec. Lumbering grew as an important industry.
Today, Penetang has a mixed economy with several large public institutions, large industries and a vibrant tourism sector. Noteworthy is the fact that Penetang has a large percentage of Franco-Ontarien residents - one of the highest concentrations in Ontario. You will certainly hear French spoken as you explore around the town.
Penetanguishene Ontario lies at the southern end of the 5 nm Penetanguishene Bay, on the east side of the Penetanguishene Peninsula on the east side of Georgian Bay. The Bay is entered between Beausoleil Island on the east and Pinery Point on the west. Simply follow the very well-marked channel directly to Penetanguishene Harbour. On your way down the Bay, you will pass several marinas that could all be options for visiting sailors. They will be detailed below.
MARINAS, YACHT CLUBS, MOORINGS, ANCHORAGES
The principal harbour destination is the Port of Historic Penetanguishene This will be described first and the others will follow, starting from the northern end of the Bay.
Port of Historic Penetanguishene (705) 549-7777 VHF 68
The Port, also known as the Government Wharf, has 109 slips with about 2 dozen set aside for transient sailors. There is no fuel dock but there is a pumpout station. Water and power are available at slips. There are washrooms and showers. There are picnic tables scattered around the harbour. As this is right in the centre of town, local shops, restaurants services are only steps away.
Northwest Basin Marina (705) 549-2655 VHF 68
Northwest Basin Marina is located on the west side of Penetanguishene Bay, once you have entered the Bay proper. They have about a dozen transient slips available. There is no fuel dock but there is a pumpout station. Water and power are available at slips. There are washrooms, showers and laundry facilities. Other amenities include picnic areas and BBQ grills.
Dutchman's Cove Marina (705) 549-2241 VHF 68
Dutchman's Cove is located on the east side of the bay, south of Magazine Island. There are several slips available for transient sailors. There is no fuel dock but there is a pumpout station. Water and power are available at the slips. There are washrooms and showers, Amenities include a small lounge with internet access, picnic area and BBQ grills.
Bay Moorings Marina (705) 549-6958
Bay Moorings Marina is located on the east side of the Bay, immediately south of Dutchman's Cove Marina. This is a large marina with 362 slips, of which about a dozen are set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and a pumpout station. This is a full-service marina and repairs can be carried out on engines, mechanical and electrical systems as well as hull and fibreglass repairs, canvas work and emergency repairs. There is water and power at each slip. There are washrooms, showers and laundry facilities. Amenities include a swimming pool, recreation facilities, picnic areas and BBQ grills. There is a ship's store on site.
Beacon Bay Marina (705) 549-2075 VHF 68
Beacon Bay Marina is located at the very 'bottom' of Penetanguishene Bay, about .5mi/.8 km south of the Port of Historic Penetanguishene. This is a large marina with 330 slips. About 20 slips are set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and pumpout station. This is a full-service marina and repairs and maintenance can be carried out on engines, mechanical and electrical systems, hulls, rigging and sails/canvas. Water and power are available at slips. There are washrooms, showers and laundry facilities. Amenities include 2 motel rooms for on-shore, overnight stays (or for guests), a ship's store, childrens' playground, gazebo, picnic areas with BBQ grills and internet access. There is a travel lift for haulouts.
Harbour West Marina (705) 549-9378 VHF 68
Harbour West Marina is located on the west side of the bay, across from the Port of Historic Penetanguishene.There are 150 slips here with about 2 dozen set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (gasoline only) and pumpout station. Engine and mechanical repairs can be carried out. There are water and power hookups at each slip. Washrooms and showers are available on-site. Amenities include a ship's store.
Hindson Marina (705) 549-2991 VHF 68
Hindson Marina is a large marina with docking for almost 500 boats. There are about 20 slips set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and pumpout station. This is a full-service marina with qualified staff to carry out engine service, mechanical and electrical repairs and fibreglass and hull repairs. There are washrooms, showers and laundry facilities. There is a well-stocked chandlery on site. Other amenities include children's playground, gazebos, picnic areas with BBQ grills and a swimming pool. Wireless internet is available.
There is an excellent anchorage available at Discovery Harbour, on the east side of the bay, immediately behind Magazine Island. The bottom is mud with weeds with good holding. Discovery Harbour is a reconstruction of the historic British Naval Base and a great place to explore. (More on this below)
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE, PROVISIONING, BANKS/ATM's
Beacon Bay Marina (See above)
Bay Moorings Marina (See above)
Hindson Marina (See above)
Foodland grocery store is the closest supermarket to the Government Wharf. It can handle all of your re-provisioning requirements.
Meridian Credit Union downtown has counter service and ATMs. Other major banks have branches downtown as well.
Georgian Bay General Hospital (705) 526-1300 serves Penetanguishene Ontario and is located in nearby Midland, ON, about 2.5 mi/4 km away.
Shoppers Drug Mart (705) 549-2332 is located about 4 blocks from the Government Wharf.
PLACES TO EAT
Penetanguishene Ontario has a number of restaurants along Main St., heading from the Gov't Wharf. Right on the town dock is the aptly-named Dock Lunch offering casual summer food and a great view of the bay. A couple of blocks away is the Blue Sky Restaurant and Tavern with good food and drink. JJ's Restaurant has a good reputation for quality food and service. Froth Cafe is a great place to drop in if a really good cup of coffee and maybe a fresh, warm scone sounds like a good way to start a beautiful summer morning.
THINGS TO DO/SEE/VISIT
A key attraction of Penetenguishene Ontario is Discovery Harbour This is the reconstructed British Naval Establishment located immediately south of Magazine Island. There are 2 replica 19th century schooners, reconstructed buildings and an active historical program. Built in 1817, eventually about 20 Royal Navy ships were based here and it was the centre of Royal Navy activities and patrols on the upper Great Lakes.
At one time, Lt. (later Admiral) Henry Bayfield who surveyed much of the Great Lakes was stationed here. The great Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin stopped here in 1825.
Themed War of 1812 tours are available, you can visit HMS Tecumseh and HMS Bee. In August 2013, the Tall Ships will gather here the last weekend of August to commemorate the Naval Establishment.
Penetanguishene Centenial Museum showcases the community's rich logging history. There are lots of shops to wander through and explore in this lovely Georgian Bay town. There is also the Penetanguishene Ontario tourism site that will give you many ideas on getting the most of your visit.
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