It has been said time and time again that the natural wonders of the Bruce Peninsula serve as timeless remedies to the human soul; from meditation to inspiration. There is surely something unique about the Bruce’s wide, extensive geography that touches the realm of travellers, seeking adventure in this last untouched nook of southern Ontario (see also: Can the Bruce Peninsula stay ‘dark’? The last true piece of nature remaining in Ontario rests in our grip).
The boundless landscapes, however, perform more than just nourishment and self fulfillment wonders. They also imbue life-long lessons to the many – young and old – visitors who seek to fully explore the natural environmental enclave of the Bruce Peninsula. Through delicate ecology, geology, and the charismatic joys of country living, time spent in Bruce County is sure to teach one many eternal lessons.
1. Nature always lends an ear.
Time spent outdoors can affect a person in a plethora of ways. When life as humans persist becomes challenging, no one knows how much nature can uplift feelings more than those who live or play on the peninsula. There is no denying the fact that life may sometimes present unfortunate and unpredictable circumstances, but when goings do get tough, head outside and bask in the sun or fresh Georgian Bay breezes along the many lookout hikes of the Bruce trail. Nature almost always comforts the human soul, no matter how sequestered the feelings may be.
2. The importance of geology.
The Bruce Peninsula perfectly mirrors the universal sentiment: geology affects our daily life. With nearly 200 kilometers of the ecologically and recreationally significant Niagara Escarpment spiraling its way through the length of the peninsula, geology is met with outstanding enthusiasm and recognition. One hike through the densely forested limestone terrain will reveal much about the true importance of geology, and how these very resources intercept with our development as humans. Urbanization, development, availability and quantity of drinkable water all rely on one huge resource that is literally underfoot: geography.
3. The importance of keeping the Great Lakes … great!
From diverse ecosystems, to sources of recreation and fresh, clean and reliable drinking water, to successors of industry and targets of geopolitical turmoil, the Great Lakes have and continue to shape the lives of North Americans; but they are easily taken advantage of (read also: 2017 high lake levels: a cause for concern, or celebration?) Excellent educational opportunities exist in Bruce County where one can immerse themselves in the beauty and wonder of Lake Huron, while learning to protect it. The development of a strong tourism niche on the peninsula has enabled newer generations of Canadians to experience the significance of this fresh-water system in ways that will ultimately lead to the betterment of its future.
4. The importance of patience.
The Bruce is blessed with a network of charming and peaceful communities — some settled on the shores of spectacular Lake Huron. Here, the pace of living is somewhat slower than in the metropolitan centre of the GTHA (Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area). Break away from the haste in the city, and experience something that the Bruce teaches quite well: patience.
5. The importance of maintaining tradition.
From Sauble’s Sandfest, to Owen Sound’s Festival of Northern Lights, and the Port Elgin Pumpkin Fest, Bruce and Grey are well equipped with a multitude of fine festivals, events and traditions that makes visiting all the more desirable. Perhaps the most outstanding of all, is the ability to maintain these cherished festivities – a power that is not easy to come by in this generation. Volunteers and community members from all walks of life – young and old – understand that there is no greater gift than sharing traditions for the sake of maintaining culture and heritage. The past and present really do live in perfect hamony on the Bruce.
6. The importance/meaning of community.
One of the many things that first attracts many to the Bruce is the profound feeling of community. The meaning of community dwells deep in both Grey and Bruce Counties. Neighbours are friends and community members are family.
7. The gift of simplicity.
Time spent on the Bruce is sure to take one back in time – to a time simpler, and carefree. Attire and materialistic objects become obliviated. Take a gentle stroll through the quaint downtowns, and discover what it was like to live in a time that was genuinely incompatible. “Live life to the fullest,” and “do not dwell over trivial things,” are two well accounted philosophies on the grand Bruce Peninsula.
8. The importance of conservation.
Set amid the booming and ever-changing epicentres of this nation, the Bruce Peninsula remains a miracle; a place yet to be targeted by malicious environmental turmoil. However, with the advancement of new technologies, a new scope of living, and constant pressure to adapt to consumeristic approaches, the future of this unscathed, environmentally precious corner of Ontario is being checked. It is up to us, stewards of this earth, to acknowledge and greet the issues which plague our environments.
It is a place so many come to love. From the turquoise, Mediterranean blue waters, to its countless geological wonders, the Bruce Peninsula does more than inspire. Once beckoned by its beauty, a person cannot help but fall miraculously in love with the peninsula, while being taught the life-long lessons it strives to teach.
Joseph Gentile – Editor and freelancer of environmental affairs, TheLumberjack.ca.
Photos unnamed throughout the article are content of Joseph Gentile.