Eight Bears Island-You Have To Know



Eight Bears Island


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Eight Bears Island is an uninhabited island located in the eastern Georgian Bay, about 150 kilometres northeast of Toronto, Ontario. It is a popular destination for hikers and kayakers.

The island can be reached by a three-hour paddle from the tip of Elk Point, or by a four-wheel drive vehicle from the nearest town, Marathon. Eight Bears Island is noted for its rugged scenery and abundant wildlife: black bears, white-tailed deer, beavers, porcupines, ospreys, bald eagles and American coots.

Eight Bears Island History

Eight Bears Island


The first settlers on Eight Bears Island were the Hurons. They relied on the island for hunting and fishing, as it was well-forested and had plenty of fresh water. In 1879, Charles Booth built a cabin on the island to study Iroquois people in their natural environment. The following year, he published his landmark work “Life and Labour in Great Britain” here.

In 1922, physicist Frederick Reuter relocated to the island and continued research on Native Americans. He later founded the University of Toronto’s Department of Physics in St. George Campus at York Mills, north-west of downtown Toronto, with his home serving as the departmental offices until they were built in 1924 just next to Deerhurst Road where it is now part of Downsview Park (formerly International Business Park or IBP).

In 1925, Robert Leetham acquired Eight Bears Island from Charles Booth, an architect and lumberman, for $80,000. Originally nicknamed Leetham’s Island after itself to distinguish it from nearby Owen Sound and Leopold Islands which are also known as Eight Bears due to their significant populations of black bears (also the Ogilvie family lived on a small private island in Georgian Bay called “Owen Sound” since 1902), owing mainly to its proximity with Owen Sound where most of Toronto’s freshwater containers were buried. Robert Leetham spent his entire fortune fixing and improving Eight Bears Island for its pastures, residences, barns, and docks.

The island is unofficially divided into two sections: east (now Deerhurst) has become a suburban village known as “Coldwater” because of the high-quality freshwater found in Lake Ontario; west (Norseman Point or Pitcairn Bay to most locals) remains relatively isolated with few modern developments. It is not accessible by vehicle except via the Port Dover harbor and Leetham Road, a one-way residential street originally carved out of an old field road upon its arrival in 1938.

The east section was connected to Owen Sound through many private roads constructed years later until 1964 when Canada’s main transportation highway (the Queen Elizabeth Way) linking Toronto with Niagara opened on that stretch connecting it more directly to Owen Sound & Kingston.



The climate of Eight Bears Island is humid continental with cold winters and warm summers. The island experiences significant rainfall, averaging 600 mm annually. As of 2017, average temperatures have increased by 2.8 °C since 1960 due in part to climate change and development on the west side which permits more sunlight into this area than on the eastern half where houses now cover some fields that were once utilized for farming.

Temperatures rarely reach below -12 C with an average high temperature of 19 degrees Celsius even though it is less covered in ice during winter months compared to neighboring Leopold or Owen Sound.

As an unincorporated area, it is a part of Region 5 Halifax Municipal District (HMD). The HMD is the premier regional government for the city and region with various departments providing services such as fire protection, parks & recreation, general administration, and health care.



Residents of Eight Bears Island maintain their unique culture characterized by its close-knit community feel and strong agricultural tradition. The island has a long history dating back to the early 1700s when it was part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Today, there are many descendants of these original settlers who continue to live on the island and engage in farming, fishing, forestry, and other traditional trades.

The residents are also avid sports fans with teams from the nearby swimming & diving club and an annual Fourth of July fireworks display that is enjoyed by many.



The current school on Eight Bears Island has its roots in a one-room school across from the post office which was built around 1906 with three classrooms up until 1960 when it became part of Owen Sound Board of Education. Since then, there have been six additions to accommodate for population growth and change over time. In 1987, the administration moved back to the school from its previous location in Owen Sound.

Although not technically part of Nova Scotia’s public education system, it is a satellite campus for Nipissing Superior School Board with 95 students living on Eight Bears Island. The remote island may be inaccessible to some transportation options but interschool bus operations operate year-round offering multiple routes throughout the community and into nearby communities such as Pembroke Ontario, Peterborough.



The current elected officials on the island are: Mayor- David McGrath Deputy Mayor- Laurie McNamara Councilors- Doreen Jenner, Gordon Kempton, Evelyn Maynard, Heather Hicks, and Shirley Robertson There is not always an election every term if a vacancy arises. The next scheduled general elections will be in October 2014.

The Island has a modest Memorial Hall which operates as the community hall during winter months when there are no school classes.

Government services

Government Services

The only government services which are on the island year-round are a small police detachment, operated by the Ontario Provincial Police, and a fire department run by the Municipality of Owen Sound.

Emergency medical services do not travel to Eight Bears Island although there is an ambulance service that operates out of Pembroke during emergencies.



There is potential for small-scale tourism on Eight Bears Island with visitors able to explore the town, view seasonal decorations and enjoy whale watching in the nearby Georgian Bay.

A ferry service operated by Six Nations of the Grand River provides transportation between Owen Sound and Georgian Bay Islands every half hour during summer months but this would not be feasible for tourists as passengers are required to stay on board until arriving at their destination.


Transportation on Abbott Island

There is no public transport on the island although a private company, Silver Star Shuttle provides year-round transportation between Owen Sound and Eight Bears Island.

There are limited options for getting to the island by car with only two access points available – one-off Highway 6 and another off County Road 45.


Eight Bears Island is a secluded paradise located in the clear waters of Georgian Bay. Home to a wide variety of wildlife, Eight Bears Island is the perfect place to get lost in nature. Known for its natural beauty, Eight Bears Island is a popular tourist destination for those looking to explore the outdoors. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and canoeing through the many trails that make up the island. With so many ways to have fun, it’s no wonder Eight Bears Island is a popular spot for families.


1.What Is Eight Bears Island?

Ans: Eight Bears Island is a small island located in Georgian Bay, just off the coast of Owen Sound. It’s home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, bears, and seagulls. The island is also known for its natural beauty – it’s one of the few places in Ontario where you can see both sunrise and sunset from a single spot!

2.What Is The Largest Island In The World That Is Uninhabited?

Ans: The largest uninhabited island in the world is called Nares Strait Island. It’s located between Ellesmere and Greenland, and it’s about the size of Montreal.

3.Why Is It So Special?

Ans: Nares Strait Island is special because it’s the only place in the world where you can see both sunrise and sunset – meaning there are always new, awe-inspiring sights to see!

4.How Did The Idea For This Project Come About?

Ans: Eight Bears Island was originally discovered by a fisherman in the early 1900s. Over time, the island grew more and more popular as a tourist destination, and various organizations started working to protect it. In 2001, Eight Bears Island became a provincial park – meaning it’s now officially protected from development!

5.Is There Anything That You Would Do Differently If You Were To Create Another Game Like This One Again?

Ans: There are a few things we would have loved to include in the game but weren’t able to due to technical limitations. We would’ve loved to have been able to include more wildlife – both on the island and in the surrounding waters – as well as more challenges for players.

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