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Point Pelee National Park of Canada, Ontario

World-renowned for bird and butterfly migration, this year-round southern park offers scenic vistas, walking and biking trails, and a staffed visitor centre with theatre.

Point Pelee is an 11 mile long peninsula that extends into Lake Erie about 50 km south east of Windsor and is the southernmost tip of the Canadian mainland. Point Pelee has the same latitude as Rome, Barcelona and northern California. The last 6 sq miles of the peninsula is Point Pelee National Park. Small by park standards, Point Pelee National Park sees apx 500,000 visitors a year. They come to enjoy the sand and the cool, clear waters of Lake Erie, to witness the migration of dozens of different species of birds and butterflies, and take in all that mother-nature has to offer.

Evidence exists that the area was visited by aboriginal people thousands of years ago, who came to the area to enjoy its summer bounty. Many of the settlements were in close proximity to the marsh areas which suggest that they relied heavily on aquatic plants and animals for food. The extensive stands of wild rice that once flourished in Point Pelee's marsh may have been another source of food. Point Pelee derived it’s name from the French word pointe pelée," meaning "bald point." An early surveyor, Abraham Iradell, in 1799 reported that the land was home to a number of Aboriginal families who lived in wooden cabins and cultivated corn. These surveyors also noted an abundance of timber suitable for use in the building of ships. In order for the British to protect these timbers they set aside certain areas that could not be logged by the incoming settlers. The southernmost 1500 hectares (3840 acres) were given the title Naval Reserve, the boundaries being taken from Abraham Iradell’s survey. Over 100 years later, these same boundaries were used to define the boundaries of Point Pelee as a National Park.

It was with the help and support from such people as W.E Saunders, who began the Great Lakes Ornithological Club (GLOC) which was dedicated to the study of bird migration in the Great Lakes region, especially at Point Pelee. In 1913, W.E. convinced a local bird enthusiast Jack Miner, who had drawn national attention for his Canada Goose Sanctuary in Kingsville, Ontario, to join their fight in preserving this national treasure. On May 29th, 1918, Point Pelee National Park was established.


Point Pelee National Park of Canada
407 Monarch Lane, RR1, Leamington, ON  N8H 3V4
(519) 322-2365


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