Misery Bay is located on Manitoulin Island, said to be the world's largest freshwater island. A great wedge of land that separates the waters of Lake Huron from the North Channel, the island, lying off the north shore of Lake Huron, is a familiar part of the Great Lake topography. Misery Bay Nature Reserve (MBNR) is located along remote stretches of Lake Huron shoreline at Misery Bay. It lies 35 kilometers west of the Town of Gore Bay.

MBNR is part of the townships of Burpee and Mills and Robinson where flora, fauna and glacial features are among the rarest of their kind in the province. This reserve spans Manitoulin Island at its "Narrows" where East and West Manitoulin are united by a slim natural land bridge no wider than a mile across in places. This natural causeway is unmatched for special geological features such as wide expanses of spreading flat rock with its exposed fossil records. The proximity of two great bodies of water, and the deposits of sand, silt and sediment that over the ages gradually converted a reef between two land masses into a rich land bridge have all contributed to produce a wonderful growth environment for special flora and fauna. They thrive here at The Narrows among its wealth of sandy bays, open farmlands, island-spanning wooded green corridors, and generous wetlands. Misery Bay shares that richness of features in The Narrows.

"As a park, nature reserve class, MBNR is managed for the protection of representative natural features while affording opportunities for the appreciation of its natural heritage, today and for future generations." To this end, the Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB) in cooperation with Ontario Parks, are in the process of developing viewing opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. An exciting system of carefully selected hiking trails and a boardwalk wind through less fragile areas of this unique natural environment. For winter enjoyment these same trails become a snowy wonderland.

A park Centre building, constructed by the Friends of Misery Bay with the assistance of the membership and volunteers and support of Ontario Parks, enhances the nature reserve. Funded by both governments and numerous individuals, the unique "green concept" building is open during the summer months.

Misery Bay Nature Reserve ( MBNR) is located on an ancient flat rock sea bottom. This unique feature, known as an alvar, presents unusual geological viewing opportunities for the visitors' enjoyment. It is this feature that makes the Misery Bay Nature Reserve a world class park. The Great Lakes Basin has the only alvars found in North America, and most of the alvars found in the world. Manitoulin Island is located on the northern rim of this large land feature. "The Manitoulin cluster of alvars are the most significant alvars found anywhere in the world."

Of special interest to some will be the relict remains of inland beaches left on the rocks at Misery Bay Park by the retreat of three different great prehistoric lakes. The park Centre building is constructed on the most ancient of these relict shorelines. The habitat here also produces its own unique flora that early records tell us attracted visitors to the area even during pioneer days.

Manitoulin is noted for its many migrant and resident birds, and Misery Bay lives up to that reputation. At MBNR birders will find a variety of birding environments and staging areas during migration. Butterflies are numerous in the park, as are turtles. Visitors might be fortunate enough to glimpse a variety of such other wild creatures as otter, fishers, fox, coyote, and other mammals. Friends of Misery Bay have produced a trio of checklists to enhance the visitors enjoyment of the nature reserve. Checklists of the flora, the birds and the butterflies of the bay area have been compiled after a number of years of careful study and research by several dedicated FOMB naturalists. The lists are on sale at the gift shop in the park Centre for a nominal fee.


by Doreen Bailey


 Trails are open all year. Use them at your own risk. The Visitors Centre building facilities are open during the summer months at the hours shown below.

In 2019  the Friends Of Misery Bay vounteers operate the Visitors Centre on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from Victoria Day weekend through Thanksgiving ,  usually between the hours of 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and daily during July and August.


Contact Us

400 Misery Bay Park Road
PO Box 114
Gore Bay, ON P0P 1H0

email address: infoATmiserybay.ca
(remove the AT & insert the proper @ symbol)

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