Charlton Island

Charlton Island is a small island located in the middle of the Detroit River, just off the coast of Windsor. It’s not often that you see outsiders in this part of the world, but that all changed when a group of people from a small town in Michigan decided to build a summer home here. The island is a nature lover’s dream, with vast forests, meadows, lakes, and rivers. It’s also known for its many ghost stories and mysterious events. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check it out!

Charlton Island


Although the island was discovered by Europeans in the early 17th century, little is known about its history prior to that. It’s thought that it may have been used as a hunting ground by First Nations people, and there are some archaeological findings suggesting this is true. The first European to set foot on the island was likely French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535.

It wasn’t until 1793 that Charlton Island became part of Detroit Territory following victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The British decided to make use of the strategic location and built Fort Malden here on the island , which was relatively undefended at the time. There are numerous military installations and housing developments on Charlton Island as a result of Fort Malden, however these were mostly abandoned after World War II.

After that war ended in 1945, attention was focused mainly on Canada; there wasn’t much left to build here (and certainly not many people had interest). The Army Quartermaster Depot lied dormant for some 10 years before it would become the Motor City Match Factory park in 1952!


Charlton Island Climate

The climate on Charlton Island is significantly warmer than mainland Michigan. Summers are hot and humid, while winters can be quite cold but relatively dry. Average rainfall is 40 inches per year, with some years seeing up to 50-60 inches of rain. Snowfall is relatively rare despite the island being in Michigan and not Minnesota.

The primary school on Charlton Island is the “Charlton Island School” which serves students in K-5th grade. The high school portion of this facility (grades 9-12) has been deemed obsolete and was reopened as South Detroit High School after their old building contracted legionella and had to be torn down; however, it couldn’t take all 12th graders so those that wanted could attend Forest Park Senior HS instead.

Students having problems paying for busing may choose the nearby city schools, or they can both apply to Boardman Schools only 15 minutes from home via car or the buses which run through the rainy season in winter.

This is a very small neighborhood with only 15 homes, so any bus rides must be planned well ahead of time to allow enough time for that ride to some other place as there are limited stops on this island/strait.

Religion – While they have many churches and temples scattered around Windsor (and even one being built at least 10 miles away due to construction delays), Charlton Island has no religious institutions or buildings!



Unlike mainland Michigan, Charlton Island is culturally very diverse. The island is home to Scottish, Irish and Italian populations as well as other nationalities. Despite this diversity, there exists a strong sense of community on the island which has helped keep traditions alive despite the exodus of many residents over the years due to job opportunities or family reasons.



The primary economy on Charlton Island revolves around fishing and tourism – notably transportation (boats) between Charlton and Detroit are some of busiest in Michigan! Manufacturing has also played a role in recent decades with auto plants benefiting from proximity to suppliers. A wide array of small businesses have emerged over the years along with a plethora of bars, gift shops and restaurants.

While there are some nice homes on the island in various locations, they tend to not be available for rent due to costly maintenance fees. Some average around half-million dollars but may go up above $1 million depending on location although most residences are single family detached homes (no duplexes) which generally range from 1380s all through 4990s – about 2200 sq ft. These areas cost roughly $150 per month including utilities and no yard work is required!



Charlton Island is overwhelmingly Democratic – at nearly 70% of the population. While there are a few Republicans, they are in the minority. The island has not had an elected Republican representative since 1958! The economy of Charlton Island has strongly benefited from the nightlife and tourist industry. Between 2000-2004, over $300 million was brought into property value by Michigan’s opening of State Parks along with hotels and other attractions putting an additional strain on older homes in areas that typically see less traffic.

Government Services

Government Services

These are available on Charlton Island through the mail and via a volunteer fire department. Medical services are also provided by an ambulance service that is contracted out by the state. In order to vote, residents must register with their home address – no voting facilities exist on the island!



The island’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism. This sector grew by an estimated 38% between 2009-2013 according to state government data. Demand for lodging, dining and other services has put a strain on the infrastructure of Charlton Island resulting in long wait times at facilities such as the hospital and ferry terminal. While there are plans to build a new pier that will alleviate some of these issues, they are still ongoing. As a result, visitors should be prepared for long lines and waits during peak season (June – September).


Charlton Island is a small, uninhabited island in the middle of the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. It is located in the southeastern Hudson Strait, 473 km east-southeast of Iqaluit. The island’s topography consists of a mixture of steep ridges, depressed lowlands and sandy beaches. It has an ice-free coastline of around 43 km and an area of 5.4 km2. The island is part of the Baffin Island Hajj—the longest annual human migration in the world.


How To Get There?

The island is accessible by air and sea. Travelers can fly into Iqaluit or Frobisher Bay, then take a ferryboat to Charlton Island.

What Is The Population Of Charlton Island?

There are no definitive figures, but it is estimated that there are around 20 people living on Charlton Island.

How Big Is The Island?

The island is 5.4 km2 in size.

What Is The Temperature Like On Charlton Island?

The island has a warm, arctic climate. The average temperature in July is around 21 degrees Celsius and in January it is -1 degrees Celsius.

Are There Any Streams Or Rivers On Charlton Island?

There are no streams or rivers on Charlton Island.

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